How Much Does Email Marketing Cost?

How Much Does Email Marketing Cost?
13 March, 2023 • ... • 1267 views
Nikita Nilov
by Nikita Nilov

Seven US dollars. 

Is it too little? And what about a thousand dollars, is it too much or too little?

Imagine we could just come up with the exact figure for the email marketing cost instead of this article. This leaves you with even more questions. How many customers? What are the tools, what services does that cover and what capacity does it have? And most importantly, is VAT included? 

Let’s find out, what could be the range of cost of email marketing and if it’s even possible to come up with the exact number.

What factors impact the cost of email marketing?

Email marketing is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. And certainly, there can be more than one way to make the strategy work — that goes for every element, including the pricing. By the way, here are some great tips for email marketing.

And like any other parameter, the cost associated with email marketing can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. 

So what impacts the cost? 

The software you use

There are many email marketing software providers available, and the cost can range from free to several hundred dollars per month depending on your set of tools and services, as well as the number of your contacts. 

Email marketing software providers usually would charge you per campaign, or the monthly fee — both depending on the number of contacts and services you are utilizing.  .

There could be different ways of It’s definitely worth deep diving into the details of the best email marketing software and its pricing.

A monthly fee is not always a fixed price — it could vary depending on the number of tools and services you want to utilize, so basically it works much like your Netflix subscription. For instance, the cost of Selzy packages varies from a free plan and up to $220 for the same number of contacts — of course functionality is very different. The top-of-the-line option includes tailored end-to-end management service and unlimited options, while the $7 plan covers just the basics.

Cost of Selzy packages by contact list
Pricing of Selzy packages depending on the contact list size

Another case would be cost per email pricing option. This could also go a few different ways: for instance, using Selzy you can go with monthly or yearly packages or choose to be charged per email. This is a good way to start and test your email campaign, while you are checking other possible services.

Cost of Selzy packages by annual email volume
Cost of Selzy packages depending on the annual email volume
Cost of Selzy packages by monthly email volume
Cost of Selzy packages depending on the monthly email volume

The number of emails you send per month impacts the cost of your email marketing directly. Most email marketing software providers charge you based on the number of emails sent monthly or weekly.

If you are expanding your email base or building a new one, consider its growth when planning budgets for email marketing. Say, you are now at 1,000 contacts and paying per email, while you plan to increase the base to 10,000 and use custom email scenarios. In that case, you might be likely to consider a fixed plan ($42 vs $50).

Comparison of costs of Selzy packages
Comparison of pricings of Selzy packages depending on the email volume

The complexity of your email design

The complexity of your emails’ design can also impact the cost of email marketing. If you choose to create custom email design templates for your content, it can be more expensive than using a pre-designed template by an email service provider. For instance, a typical offer of email design on Fiverr made by a freelancer is around $30-40.

email design costs on Fiverr
Samples of email design offers on Fiverr

Selzy offers plenty of pre-made email templates for you to use in a simple drag-and-drop email builder, and it is included in the basic plan already.

Selzy email templates
Some Selzy email templates for different scenarios

Additionally, if you use stock images or purchase images from a stock image website, this can also add up to the cost. 

This also goes for the content you are using: you can recruit specialized agencies or authors to create tailored content for each scenario or you can go with your own content resources. For instance, offers on Fiverr typically start at $20 and could go up to $300 or even more.

email content costs on Fiverr
Samples of email content offers on Fiverr

Features

The services and features you require can also impact the cost of your email marketing. For example, if you need advanced segmentation and automation features, this may increase the pricing of your email marketing software. Every extra add-on could give you more insights — but sure enough, this will cost you. Check the detailed breakdown of possible costs for different Selzy plans. 

Hey, this is where we got to tell you about all of the cool features of the Selzy starter pack! 

You can utilize bulk email service, you can build professionally designed email templates and send up to 1,500 emails to 100 contacts — all as a part of a free plan.

Go ahead and try Selzy for free!

In your free plan, you can also create beautiful email templates in our simple editor, go deep into the analytics, choose the perfect timing for sending, or include forms — check all the features now.

The quality and size of your email list

The quality of the email list would determine the output you would get: open rate, conversions, CTR and other metrics. 

Imagine you are presenting a scientific discovery in a room of people who came for a stand-up show — chances are you won’t be taken seriously. Even if you have the perfect message, the outdated and irrelevant email list won’t allow you to be heard.

If you have a large email list, it is one thing. But if your email list is obsolete or not relevant, you (or your agency) may need to invest in additional tools or services to improve the quality of your list. Selzy has a tool for updating the contact list — go check it out.

This mostly is about the accuracy, relevance, and engagement level of the email customers on the list. A high-quality email list contains email addresses that are accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to the specific audience and purpose of the email campaign. 

Make sure the email contacts on the list are opted-in or consented to receive emails from the sender, to avoid spam complaints and low engagement rates. The engagement level of the email list can be measured by open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, which indicate the level of interest and responsiveness of the audience. In summary, a high-quality email list is one that contains accurate, relevant, and engaged email addresses that have opted-in to receive emails from the sender. This is why it directly impacts cost efficiency — and therefore needs investments.

Additional costs associated with the email marketing

In addition to the factors discussed above, there are also other costs associated with email marketing that you should consider. 

Cost of management

If you choose to work with an email marketing agency, this can also increase the cost. Agencies typically charge a percentage of your email marketing spend with flat minimum cost. An agency could make things a lot easier for you but at the price.

Alternatively, this could be done by a freelance specialist, which could cost less, or your company’s employee. Of course, in the case of the latter, you should evaluate the workload: the time of your employee is an asset too.

Selzy offers the campaign management feature starting from $600, while price of the other services vary from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Campaign related costs

There may be additional costs associated with specific email marketing campaigns. For example, if you are running a contest or promotion, there may be costs associated with prizes or incentives, or some other services for your emails. This could also be some kind of co-promo where you are making a discount for other brand’s customers.

Lead nurturing and drip email marketing costs

Lead nurturing campaigns are meant to nurture the relationship between the prospect and the brand. It is a tool to “promote” a lead to a customer.

If you are using lead nurturing campaigns, there may be additional costs associated with lead generation tools and services.

This could also include data management costs. For a lead nutritioning campaign it is crucial to maintain an accurate and up-to-date email list: it requires list cleaning services or email verification tools, as well as A/B testing software or analytics tools.

Drip email campaigns are an automated way to send emails to your customers or subscribers at predetermined intervals. This is a highly effective email marketing strategy, but it can also be more expensive, requiring additional services.

They could be included in the ESP package (like in Selzy’s plan), but in any case would require more time to set up and test.

The best way to wrap your head around it is to treat it like multiple consecutive emails or email campaigns.

These costs could be included in your ESP fee (for instance, Selzy plans include A/B testing and email list checking tools), otherwise, they would add up to your total email marketing cost. 

Email lists gathering or purchasing

If you need to purchase lists of emails, this can also add to the cost of your email marketing. However, it usually is a bad idea, and your effort would be definitely more valuable in building a decent email list of contacts that will work for you. 

The gathering would take effort and time. This would also require subscription forms — which are provided by specialized services. For instance, an unbranded Optimonk widget would cost you $39 a month. Alternatively, this could be a part of a regular plan, like in Selzy.

Whatever you decide, it is the cost you need to take into account.

So, how much does email marketing cost overall?

The cost of email marketing can vary greatly depending on all of the factors discussed above, and whether you use an agency or not. Businesses can expect to spend between a few dollars and a few hundred dollars per month on emails. However, it’s important to remember that the cost can be higher or lower depending on the number of contacts in your email list and the tools and services you require.

What makes email marketing worth paying for

Despite the potential costs for the services and templates, email marketing is definitely worth investing in for many businesses. It allows you to create contact with your audience and be more personal in the emails than in the other forms of marketing. You can segment your email list and send targeted messages to specific groups of people. Additionally, email marketing can be a highly effective way to drive conversions and sales. 

As another example, small businesses could rely heavily on email marketing as a tool not only for retention, but for the acquisition of customers. Check some email marketing for small businesses now!

In terms of the return on investment (ROI), email marketing is one of the top channels. Overall it could vary depending on the industry and a lot of other factors. Litmus’s study shows that it could be as high as 36 (meaning email marketing generates $36 in profits for every dollar), growing year to year. And that is huge!

Many consider email marketing one of the last-standing instances of owned media — the channel which brands could utilize and control.

General marketing channels scheme
General marketing channels

How to measure your email marketing ROI

To determine if your email marketing efforts are worth the cost, first of all you need to measure your return on investment (ROI) for your brand: a ratio of your email marketing costs to the profit it generates. 

ROI formula
ROI formula

The only downside of this is of course the capacity — in other words, your brand’s reach is limited by the size of your email base, unlike in social media or ad platforms, where you can get as massive in terms of your share of voice (SOV) as you like, usually being limited merely by your budget. 

To have a better idea of the effectiveness of your campaigns, your brand should track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated. By analyzing these metrics, you can determine the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. 

Final thoughts

Let’s try to sum up the cost for the monthly campaign using the example: 

Jeremy has a flower shop and he wants to use email marketing to increase the number of returning customers. He has a customer base of 1,000 people and he’s planning his monthly budget.

  1. ESP: Jeremy decides to go with Selzy’s standard monthly plan for $11. He doesn’t have more than 1,000 contacts and he’d like to use some features like A/B testing and Email quality checker — he wants to make sure not to hit any spam filters.
  2. Design: he does not want to go too far and utilizes his existing templates, using his ESP plan. 
  3. Email marketing agency: Jeremy is good by himself without an agency, so no extra cost here.
  4. Campaign-related cost: oh, Jeremy does want to set up a contest for engagement, using 20$ worth of his flowers.
  5. Lead nurturing: no, Jeremy is good without it, at least for the moment.
  6. Drip marketing: probably some other time too.
  7. Email list gathering: Jeremy learned that buying the email base is probably not the best idea. But he decided to increase his base anyway and give a small discount to people who would subscribe. He calculated that this would be $100 for him this month for growing his email base as high as 1,000 contacts.

    Which means that the total = $131.
13 March, 2023
Article by
Nikita Nilov
Nikita is a marketer by calling, exploring the world of digital marketing with experience in agencies, corporations and media platforms with a journalist background. Nikita is experienced in multiple industries and markets: from automotive to telecom and from government to FMCG, and from Eastern Europe to Middle East. Outside of work, Nikita’s interest lies in music, cycling and learning languages.
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