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Email Mktg Strategy

What You Need to Know About Average Email Marketing Cost

Alt text: An image showing an email marketer’s work set up.

The cost of email marketing varies widely depending on your chosen platform, the number of subscribers on your email list, and the nature of your email marketing campaigns. Working with a specialized email marketing agency or doing it yourself will also influence the cost. 

WebFX data shows that self-managed email marketing campaigns cost about $1000 while working with an email marketing specialist places the cost at around $300 to $1500 monthly. 

These figures don't capture overheads like recruitment and staff training costs that working with an email agency helps you avoid. 

In this article, we discuss the cost of email marketing and detailing what you need to know about the average email marketing cost.

What Is The Average Cost of Email Marketing? 

The average amount that businesses spend monthly on a basic email marketing platform is around $500 to $2000. This figure cuts across email list management, copywriting, design, and campaign management.

Naturally, expect to spend more money if you have a longer email list because most email service providers (ESPs) charge based on the number of subscribers. 

If you work with an email marketing agency, they may use their own tools to manage your email campaigns. Often, the costs for this all-inclusive suite of services will average between $2000 and $6000 monthly. 

While this amount is higher than what you may spend when handling your email marketing campaigns in-house, it saves you from having to hire additional staff. 

Factor in the staff recruitment costs, wages, and the amount of time you must put into running the campaigns, and you likely end up with a much higher figure. This is why most businesses prefer outsourcing a full-service agency to handle their email marketing. 

So, there is no fixed number as far as the average cost of email marketing is concerned. The important thing to note is the dynamics that influence these costs and how to mitigate them. 

But first, note that your email marketing strategy can go in one of two directions: in-house or the agency way. 

Average Cost of In-House Email Marketing

This is the cost you will incur for a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach. It cuts across the ESP charges, email copywriting fees, design fees, list building costs, lead nurturing expenses, and the costs of hiring and maintaining the email marketing staff. 

In other words, the average cost of in-house email marketing is the mean of the various costs constituting your email marketing budget. 

Average Cost of Agency Outsourced Email Marketing 

When you choose to hire email marketing first to handle your campaigns, the amount you pay will vary depending on the level of service you are getting. 

Most agencies will charge a monthly base figure of $300 to $500. This amount should take care of creating and deploying your marketing emails, given an existing email list. 

However, a full-service email marketing agency will use its email software and automation tools to run your campaigns. For such cases, the agency will factor these additional charges into their prices. However, your total amount is ultimately a fraction of what you would pay for email marketing solutions and tools if you bought them yourself. 

Quick Facts about the Average Cost of Email Marketing 

An image elaborating email marketing in progress.

Email is one of the most popular digital marketing channels for many reasons. 

If done correctly, email marketing can be a powerful tool for driving conversions and solidifying customer loyalty. It is the primary customer acquisition method for 81% of small businesses. Additionally, 80% of small businesses rely on email marketing for customer retention. 

These are just some of the data showing how small businesses depend on email marketing. Here are some exciting facts about the cost of email marketing. 

Email Marketing Pricing Models You Should Know About 

Email marketing companies won't always charge the same way for their services. And this does not apply only to the figures but the pricing models too. 

Some models can be more suitable for some email campaign arrangements than others, so understanding them can help you plan better and choose a more cost-efficient model for your case. 

Here are the pricing structures you need to be aware of 

Monthly retainer

Under the monthly retainer model, you pay a fixed amount every month, regardless of the number of emails you send. The email service provider charges a recurring monthly fee instead of applying the fees to the number of emails or level of service offered. 

This model is the ideal choice for businesses with regular email campaigns and a growing subscriber list. You can expect this model to offer you unlimited email sending, making it a preferred choice for a business with high email volumes.

The monthly retainer model is common with agencies that handle email campaigns on behalf of businesses. The agency on retainer usually works with the business organization on a long-term basis, with the relationship spanning multiple email campaigns and marketing projects. 


You guessed it; the pay-per-email pricing system charges you a set amount for each email sent. This model can be extremely costly for high-volume email projects, so consider it only if you have infrequent email campaigns and few emails to send. 

The pay-per-email model is suitable for businesses with occasional email marketing needs. Like the pay-as-you-go model, it eliminates budget wastage by allowing you to spend only on the few emails sent.  

It can be an excellent way to stay within budget, especially tight budgets. 

This pricing model can be cost-effective for small businesses or startups that are just starting with email marketing or have a limited subscriber base. 


As the name suggests, the pay-as-you-go model charges you based on the email volume. 

It is the ideal model if your business sends different numbers of emails at different times. This way, the fluctuating volumes will not lead to any wasted budget. You can pay less for low months and more for high months.

The pay-as-you-go pricing model strikes a decent balance between pay-per-email and monthly subscription models. It lets you purchase email credits in bulk, and the credits are deducted based on the number of emails you send. 

It is an excellent model if your business has fluctuating email volumes or if you want to try out different campaigns without a long-term commitment.


The pay-per-subscriber model charges you based on your email subscriber list size. It is an excellent option for businesses that want to maintain control over their costs while accommodating a fluctuating number of subscribers. 

Custom pricing

Custom pricing is available with some email marketing service providers. It customizes the charges based on the business’s specific needs. 

Custom pricing is suitable for large businesses with unique requirements and typically combines features of all the other pricing models plus a few added services or features.

If you have a large business with many email subscribers, custom pricing may suit your needs. It will allow you to pay for the service in your preferred way and easily trim down your options.

How to Create a Budget for Email Marketing

A picture showing different elements of a budget for email marketing.

Now that you know what you should expect to spend on email marketing, the expected returns, and the models to choose from, how should you budget for it?

Here are some crucial steps when budgeting for your email marketing strategy. 

Determine and define your marketing goals.

We have mentioned that email marketing is an incredibly popular customer acquisition and retention tool. It is also a massive ROI booster, making it ideal for steering your business to scale. 

Whether scaling your business or growing your customer base is the reason for starting email marketing, you must define that objective first. 

There is a lot you can do with email marketing, from driving website traffic to increasing sales and everything in between.  

Once you know what you want to achieve with your marketing emails, you can define the scope of your campaigns and allocate the right budget for them. 

Identify the various email marketing costs.

Email marketing costs include the purchasing cost for your email marketing software, campaign-related costs, lead nurturing costs, and email marketing agency fees. 

If you choose to run your email marketing campaigns in-house, you may also have to hire additional staff to manage the marketing emails. The recruitment process and the additional staff wages also add to your email marketing costs.

Alternatively, you can outsource an email marketing agency to handle your campaigns. In this case, you will only have their fees to worry about. 

In any case, decide which direction you want to go beforehand to help you identify the costs to prepare for. 

Evaluate your past earnings. 

You will need to evaluate two types of earnings. The first one is from your past marketing campaigns. Consider what returns they brought and how much you were able to comfortably allot to them.

The other set of earnings to consider is your business income. These earnings will determine how much you can allocate for marketing.

Set your email marketing budget.

Once you have an idea of the costs to incur and the amount available to spend, it is time to allocate the appropriate budget for your planned campaigns. 

While setting your budget, consider the determining factors like your email list size and the volume of emails you intend to send monthly. 

Calculate the average cost of your intended email campaign 

After determining the kind of email marketing campaign you want to run based on factors such as the projected email volume and list size, you can estimate the average cost of your planned campaigns. 

This estimate will help you plan a sustainable budget for the intended campaign duration.

Align your budget with your email campaign costs. 

While determining the cost averages, ensure you keep your budget at the back of your mind. 

You would be forgiven if you exceeded your budget with an ambitious campaign strategy. Don't leave any loose ends. This is one of the areas where it pays to err on the side of caution. We advise having a budget in excess of the projected costs to be on the safe side. 

Pick your email automation tools.

With the money and a good idea in place, proceed to your selected ESP and initiate your email marketing campaign. Ensure the chosen solution aligns with your goals and has automated workflow features like behavioral triggering and tagging, analytic features, and audience segmentation.

Measure the results and tweak your budget accordingly 

Tracking and measuring the results are essential parts of the budgeting process because they allow you to weed out ineffective targets and optimize your campaigns. 

Based on the results, you can determine where to invest more and where to cut the budget. It only makes sense to invest more of your budget toward areas that are driving the best returns. 

Summary of What You Must Know About Average Email Marketing Cost 

There you have it: the average cost of email marketing, the appropriate way to budget for your email marketing, and the essential facts about the average cost of email marketing that will likely inform and influence your email marketing budget.

We have also covered the applicable pricing models, including pay-as-you-go, monthly subscription, pay-per-email, pay-per-subscriber, and custom pricing models. 

Wondering how much to allocate to your email marketing budget? Here is a blog that explicitly discusses how much you should spend on email marketing and why. 

Need more help deciding how to budget for your email marketing? Book a free appointment with an email marketing specialist today and have them point you in the right direction.