When you lay out the data, there are almost more digital marketing agencies than coffee shops. How are you supposed to filter through thousands of companies to find a few that can help your business with email marketing?

To help you vet email marketing companies, we’ve asked a community of email marketing experts, small business owners, and marketing professionals for their best tips.

Here’s what they had to say about ways to vet email marketing agencies.

Relevant Experience

I would ask about relevant experience within your industry, or company size, as well as their creds; for example how long have they been working in email marketing, who do they work with, what certifications and accreditations do they have. If they don’t know what they are talking about, then move on. We’ve been in the email game for 15+ years, but someone could quite easily set up a website like ours and you wouldn’t know any wiser. Ask lots of questions until you feel confident they understand your business and what you need. There seems to be a growing trend for digital agencies supporting email marketing, but email is such a niche area, so some agencies may not be able to back up their claims. Be careful.

Doug Dennison, MailNinja

Mailchimp Expert Directory

Start your online search for an email marketing company at a trusted source for information. For example, Mailchimp has an Expert Directory that includes listings from freelancers and agencies who specialize in different aspects of email marketing. Search for a specific area of need, like an email template design or email automation sequence. Or, find someone local in your area. By using a directory that has already been vetted by an email marketing company, a business like yours can more easily trust that the company listed is truly an expert.

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

Automation Campaigns

Perhaps one of the most critical components of an eCommerce email marketing strategy is the automation campaigns. Timing is everything in eCommerce, which means that automation campaigns like abandoned carts, welcome sequences, and product onboarding needs to be segmented and set up correctly. If an email marketing agency can’t speak to the automation campaigns they’d set up from the start, then keep searching for the right agency that will help produce sales.

Elliott Greenberg, TouchFree Concepts

Preferred Platform

Email marketing today differs by platform. Mailchimp is different from Active Campaign, and Constant Contact is different from Klaviyo. Find an email marketing company that is an expert at your existing platform. This way, you’ll avoid wasting time and paying for any migration or set up fees. Plus, you can rest assured that you have a true expert running your campaigns.

Carey Wilbur, Charter Capital

Team Dynamics

Working with an email marketing company, or any other external company for that matter, requires developing a good relationship. Partnering with a company that is performing a service on behalf of your company will require you to work well with their team and communicate often. Team dynamics are important for driving a successful email campaign as well as being able to communicate and innovate if something missed the mark. When vetting an email marketing company, research their team to ensure they are staffed with people that you will be able to help you accomplish your marketing goals.

Henry Babichenko, Stomadent Dental Lab

Sign Up for Their Marketing List

It sounds simple, but signing up for their email marketing list is an effective way to determine how good they are. If they don’t have one, then that should ring the alarm bells. If they do, then you can evaluate the design, subject line, title, color schemes, and more. If they tick all the boxes, then you can feel more comfortable about moving forward.

Liam Quinn, Reach interactive

Determine Compatibility

I would make sure you both are aligned from strategy to results. In terms of expectations and results, understand what they are promising, how they determine success and what metrics will they provide you. In terms of compatibility, do their services or software integrate into your current CRM? Lastly, I would interview current customers and ask to see sample campaigns to get a better understanding of the quality of work they provide.

Megan Hari, Swoon

Ask Your Network

The chances are high that your network of fellow business people has already tried multiple email marketing companies. You can save money and time by asking for recommendations. Otherwise, you risk trying your luck on an unknown email marketing company that might not deliver their promises.

Yaniv Masjedi, Nextiva

Case Studies and Client Reviews

Do your research into what their clients and staff have to say about them. Search for reviews on Google and other sites to hear about current and past clients real experiences. If there are no reviews and it’s not a new company, that should be a red flag to investigate further. Similarly, check Glassdoor and Indeed to see what their team has had to say about working there, leadership styles, and more. If there are case studies available, read through them and contact the client to get their current opinion of the email marketing company.

Colton De Vos, Resolute TS

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