Email Design Agency

Some people still consider email marketing 'dead'. But in a world of constant privacy & data changes, as well as growing CPCs and CACs, it gets extremely difficult to deny (even for them) how much email marketing, when done right, contributes to keeping a business up and running.

Now, no one claims email marketing is also easy. Putting together a successful email marketing campaign can be tricky. It can consume a lot of your time and there are so many different technical factors to consider.

Thankfully, that’s where the professionals come in — email design agencies that specialize in 1 thing and 1 thing only — email design.

If you're looking for one, there are a few things you need to know first. First of all, what is an email design agency, what do they do exactly, and how do you find one (or the right one)?

Some other key factors you need to consider when hiring them are the price, what services they offer exactly, how long it takes to do a single email design, and which tech stack they use.

We help break down everything you need to know. So, let's dive into it.

What is an Email Design Agency?

An email design agency is a specialized group of email marketers who focus on designing and building high-converting emails for their clients.

Let's break it down even further:

"Specialized group of email marketers"

To be a successful email designer you need to know more than just graphic design. Psychology, marketing, why people buy, and how people consume content, are just some of the things an email designer needs to think about before designing an email.

It often takes a very long time to properly onboard and train people in the art of email design, which is why most brands opt for hiring an agency rather than doing it in-house.

"Designing and building high-converting emails"

No one wants to send an email out and have it generate just 16 clicks. If you've got a huge list, or even a smaller one, the amount of people you could be getting to your site on a regular basis increases with each campaign you send.

But in order to do so, you need to design your emails with a lot of things in mind, some of which we even mentioned above.

Email Design Agencies often spend hours and hours analyzing past performance, what subscribers clicked vs. just skimmed through, heat maps, and overall clarity and credibility of the emails.

The appeal of emails is most often not as important as the actual function and clarity of the design. In order to do this in-house, it would take so much time and resources, that frankly, some brands just don't have. Hence, the existence of email design agencies.

How Do You Find an Email Design Agency?

Finding an email design agency is not that difficult really. All you have to do is type in "Email Design Agency" in Google, right?

But finding the right agency for you can take months and months of calls, consideration, reviewing proposals, etc. And it's probably why you're here, right?

When vetting an email design agency you need to know these 4 things:

How Long Does It Take to Design an Email?

Litmus did some research a while back and found that 23% of respondents say it takes on average a few days or less for their brand to create an email; 24% say it takes around a week, and 53% say it typically takes more than two weeks.

This of course is correlated with team size: Some 20% of large teams (with 11+ people working on emails) say it takes more than a month, on average, for their brand to create an email.

That's a LOT! Who has that time really? I mean it maybe makes sense for very, very large brands such as Coca-Cola or Nike, but if you're an e-commerce store or in a small company with an even smaller email team, you won't really have that much time to come up with the strategy, copy, design, development, testing, launch, reviewing results.. should we go on?

Email Design Agencies to the rescue. At The Better Creative, 92% of our emails take up to 3 days to create, with over 80% of the emails taking only 2 days. Compare that with the numbers above and you see a huge difference.

Not only does hiring an agency cut time spent designing, building, and testing, but it also frees up your time to focus on other aspects, such as strategy and reviewing performance.

If the agency you're considering says it takes more than 4 days to do an email. Run. Oh, and similarly, if they say they can do a lot of emails in a single day... run. Either the email is going to be terrible, or they actually won't do it in a day.

What Does an Email Designer do?

Now, this is a trick question you want to ask on a consultation call. If the agency says "Our designers do everything in Photoshop"... Run, again.

Email design is not a simple thing, and if a single person would do it, it would definitely be extremely overwhelming. That's why our creative process consists of:

  1. A senior designer who reviews past performance and gives design directions based on a detailed analysis
  2. Implementation designer who does the work, which includes designing an email, implementing it in the client's ESP, and testing it for issues (including responsiveness and accessibility)
  3. Quality Assurance Specialist who reviews the emails for any and all defects they can find in an email
  4. Finally, a design review is done by the same senior designer that gave the directions in the first place

You don't want just a single "dedicated" designer working on your account. If you hire an agency that boasts "You get 1 dedicated designer", expect to see few to almost no improvements in the design after a couple of emails.

What Tools Do You Use to Design an Email?

A lot of ESPs (Email Service Providers) have a built-in email editor that can be used to design an email. But, if you solely go with those, you'll be quite limited in things you can actually do in an email.

When vetting an agency, ask them what tech stack they use. For example, at The Better Creative, we use a mix of Adobe Suite, Stripo, Email on Acid, and any ESP the client decides to use. Yes, really, any ESP.

Don't settle for an agency that will do simple, drag-and-drop emails inside your ESP or an agency that will create PSD (Photoshop) files that you will, later on, have to cut yourself, implement in an ESP, and test, only to find out that it's not well optimized for any email client.

How Much Does a Custom Email Design Cost?

The final major thing to consider when looking for an agency is the actual cost, which is often based on the type and number of email campaigns you want to do. This can be anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for a basic design, or up to (and over) $2,000 for some more complex emails.

We find that to be a lot for a single email, even for more complex ones. That's why we pride ourselves on our $149.99 pricing for a single email. And no, the price really doesn't change depending on your email's complexity.

The $149.99 includes basically everything — our senior designer giving directions and guidance, the implementation designer creating the emails and developing them in your ESP, and even the QA rigorously testing those emails for any defects and issues. We bet you can't do all of that in-house for the same price.

Some Final Thoughts

Whether you're looking to get ahead of your competition, lower your email design costs, improve the quality, or just free up your time to focus on other things — an email design agency is the way to go.

There is a case to be made for an in-house designer, but for the price and the number of things an email design agency does, it really is a no-brainer which way most brands go.
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