7 tips for hiring an email design agency

by | Wed 5 Aug, 20

If you have ever felt like your emails need a little nudge to perfect them, you have probably considered hiring an email design agency. Whether you have done your research or not, simply searching “email design agency” into your web browser isn’t going to help you make an informed decision.

So we wrote this guide to help you out a little – 
Here are 7 tips for hiring an email design agency

Tip 1 – Confirm with the agency what is included

Probably the easiest tip to follow is to clarify what kind of services and resources you’ll be receiving from the email design agency you are considering. Do they have a tiered service with accurate descriptions of what is included in each package? 
Not only should you be checking what you’ll be receiving, but you should find out how much content you’ll get to use, or how long they’ll be giving you support for. Sure, you might love the templates on offer, but you can’t just stick to a single template for every marketing email after that – It will bore your readers as they’ll be seeing the same images, fonts and shapes for purchase confirmations and product announcements. Seek out how many email designs you’ll receive, and whether these designs can be modified following the initial delivery.
The last thing you want is to think you received too little for what you paid, simply because you didn’t contact the design agency before purchasing, to clarify everything that was included. Here at Mail Ninja, we offer helpful features such as one-click revisions, so you know that you can come back to us to get the design looking the way that you would deem spot-on!

Tip 2 – Clarify whether you get full ownership of the designs you are sent

Email design agencies, just like a lot of other services you may hire, can sometimes have rules regarding the usage of templates for future projects. Although you might find it strange that some email design agencies can do this, it is always worth checking, so you know whether you can continue to use the design exclusively, or without having to give credit to the agency or individual design (Sometimes you might have to pay to remove watermarks).
Copyright claims with digital agencies
Also check if small changes can be made to the designs on your end – You probably don’t want to pay for small corrections if you can do them yourself in the Mailchimp portal for example.
Always be sure to read any contracts you are provided for your service agreement, so you know what rights and/or ownership you will be receiving. It is best to assume that you will get full rights to the designs after using them once, but it is definitely a safe bet to double check with the agency that the designs can be used at another time, following the completion of your email design project.

Tip 3 – Work out who your service manager is, and get to know them better!

Generally when you hire an email design agency, you’re going to be assigned your own project (campaign) manager. Here at Mail Ninja, we follow this process, so that you have a single point of contact for all of your queries. Here’s a few members of our amazing team, in case you were interested! – 
Get to know your digital agency manager
A design manager is going to be able to answer all of your queries, and they will probably provide their email address and mobile number/DDI (Direct Dial In). When you have your own personal point of contact, you can have your queries answered faster, and your problems solved quicker.
Remember, it is important to take into account the size of the agency you work with, as they may have either a lot of other first-time clients, or just a few that they work with on an ongoing basis. Size matters, and it can be the deciding factor in delivery time, quality of work and response times for additional queries or email communications. If you’re a smaller business, it is probably going to be a lot better for you to choose an email design agency that is similar in size to your own company. This way, you can expect to be treated well and receive the best possible service and support, even after the initial project period.
Here at Mail Ninja, we are a small business too, so our focus revolves around helping other small to medium enterprises with their email design and email marketing projects. 

Tip 4 – Will copy-writing be involved?

It is always great to know this one, as your email design might be falling behind due to your own grammar and use of words. Email design isn’t entirely about the way images, fonts, logos and colours look, it is in the wording of the email too. 
We recommend you always check that copy-writing is part of the email design package. Outsourcing copy-writing can be very important in determining whether your own use of words is hindering your click-through performance from your email marketing. By combining both email design and copy-writing into the service you pay for, you might see your email click-through and engagement rates shoot through the roof.
Copyright in email marketing
Sometimes the biggest indicators we see surrounding email marketing and its failures are companies displaying below-par use of spelling and grammar. It is definitely going to be worth your time if you outsource or delegate copy-writing. Whether that is with the agency themselves, another member of your team, or a separate agency/freelancer who is an expert in the art of copy-writing, any of those options can help.

Tip 5 – What do I need to provide beforehand?

Email design isn’t done blindly. You will, for sure, need to clarify if there are any materials, resources or project briefs/notes that you need to provide prior to starting your email design project. Design agencies are experts, but they are not magicians.
Digital agency questions to ask
This shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you’re open to ideas and are happy to let the creative workers do their thing, but if you have a vision in mind for the look of the email, give them some kind of brief at the very least. Even if it is a sketch on the desktop paint app, or a couple of templates you got from Pinterest, these are always going to give your design manager/s a better idea for what they are expected to deliver back to you.
Some important resources to provide an email design agency can include anything from current email performance statistics such as click-through rates and revenue per campaign, to visual aids, such as your own images of products or company information you’d like in your email footer. It is really a case of the more you provide, the quicker you’ll get your results. The more you give from your end, the more things your email design manager will have to take inspiration from when they are getting your email designs completed. 

Tip 6 – Don’t be afraid to assert yourself

Email marketing and email design can be hard to perfect, and ultimately the visual aspect is entirely dependent on your approval, and not just assuming your email design agency have done the job 100% to your liking first time.
Choosing a digital agency to work with
If something about your service is bugging you, or you feel there is something that could be improved upon, please let your design manager know! They will feel much better that you confided in them, as it allows for better communication about what your visions are. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries, and the majority of email designers are more than happy to receive constructive feedback, which they’ll then revise for you.

Tip 7 – Discuss your budget and time frame

Lastly, make sure you know two things before starting your search for an email design agency. Number one – Your budget, and number two – Your time frame. There isn’t a set way that email design agencies can disclose how long your project will take, without knowing what your plans are.
Tell the email design agencies when you need the content ready, and how much you are willing to budget for that content, that way you will know straight away if you need to look elsewhere or not.
Setting a time frame for digital agency work
Some email design agencies can push their time frames for you, as their regular time frames might be in place to allow for an influx of new clients. If you get your delivery early, great! Check the work and ask for revisions if you think there are any tweaks to be made. 
If the project is completed on a higher budget, don’t assume the work is going to be perfect, as you’re the only person/company that truly knows what your brand needs. So please, don’t stop working with your design manager until you’re truly happy and you have got everything you paid for.

If you’re looking for an email design agency that understands how to make your emails look AWESOME, please feel free to contact us at MailNinja!
While you’re here, why not check out how we can help.

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