Email marketing is a powerful way for digital marketing agencies to acquire new clients, engage leads, and engage existing clients to improve retention.

In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about email marketing campaigns for agencies, from the benefits to the different ways you can use it to examples of valuable content you can include in your emails to engage your clients.

We’ll cover:

Ready to start using email to grow your agency? Let's dive in.

Why Do Agencies Need Email Marketing?

There are a variety of reasons why digital agencies need to invest in email marketing efforts. These include:

1. Best Channel for Client Management

All agencies will have different preferences and systems for client management. But, one thing remains the same: your clients will communicate with you using email.

No matter if your agency clients are local businesses or Fortune 500 companies, they'll be monitoring their inboxes throughout the day. Whenever you send them an email, they'll see it.

If your clients have an urgent question, they can send you an email without the hassle of needing to log in to a dedicated client management portal and figuring out how to use it just to get in touch with you.

2. Easily Reach Key Decision-Makers

Similarly, all decision-makers use their email, so if you're prospecting for new leads and potential clients, email campaigns are one of the best ways to start a conversation with them.

If your agency’s value proposition solves a problem they’re currently facing in their business, they’ll be happy to have a conversation over email, then take that to a meeting or call if it sounds like there’s a fit.

3. Own Your Marketing Channels Rather than Relying on Algorithms

Your agency's digital marketing strategy shouldn't rely on Google or Facebook algorithms. Email marketing is an effective strategy that gives your agency ownership over how you engage with and communicate with your leads and customers.

When you have your audience's email addresses, you have a direct line of communication to their inbox, and it's one of the best ways to generate engagement and move clients through the sales funnel.

Building An Agency Sales Pipeline With Cold Email Campaigns

The first step in your agency’s email marketing strategy is leveraging the channel to acquire new customers.

Cold email is a powerful sales and marketing channel for agencies.

You can build a list of qualified prospects, reach out to them with a personalized email and helpful content, and start a conversation if they're interested.

1. Prospecting for Qualified Leads

The first step to creating a cold email strategy at your agency is to define your prospects and source their contact details.

Assuming you already know what your ideal customer looks like, you can use a tool like UpLead or ZoomInfo to quickly create a lead list.

These email-finding platforms provide you with:

  • Someone’s name

  • Their company name and details

  • Verified contact information, including their email address

It won’t be long before you have a list of prospects, all matching your agency’s ideal customer.

2. Formatting Your Prospect List

Once your prospect list is in place, you need to format it. We'd recommend using Google Sheets, which makes it easy to collaborate with your team or a VA.

In your sheet, make sure each attribute (name, company, job title) is mapped to a column. Then, add a new column titled “Opening_Line.” In this column, you'll write out a custom icebreaker for each person you're reaching out to.

This is going to make the process longer, but it’s worth it. 

When a prospect sees you’ve actively researched them and their company, they’ll be far more likely to reply than if you just sent your standard agency pitch out.

Not sure what to write in your cold email opening line? Check out our guide with examples and best practices for writing opening lines.

3. Reaching Out with a Personalized Cold Email

Once you have your prospect list of potential customers ready, it's time to reach out with a personalized email.

You can use a cold email tool like QuickMail to manage this process. Once you connect your inbox, you can quickly create multi-step campaigns and send them to your agency leads on the schedule you decide.

First, you’ll need to write your email template. Don’t overthink this process. Make sure your email conveys the value of your services to your recipients and demonstrates the reason you're reaching out to them specifically.

As you prepare your email template, use attributes in the editor to personalize them. 

These attributes will autocomplete with the information from your prospect list.

Then, add as many follow-up emails as you need. 

These follow-up emails are sent automatically if someone doesn't reply, and it's one of the best email marketing solutions to increase your reply rates.

As your campaigns run, you’ll start to see replies rolling in and will be booking calls and meetings with qualified leads for your agency.

4. Syncing QuickMail with Your CRM

When replies come in, you need to react quickly. To ensure you never miss a lead, QuickMail integrates natively with CRMs like HubSpot and Pipedrive.

You can create a system where new deals are created when you receive a reply, or existing prospect records are updated with information about the latest reply.

You can even use Zapier to set up custom workflows, such as sending a Slack message to your team when a prospect replies, so you know when to jump into your inbox and keep the conversation going.

Using Email Marketing to Nurture Your Agency Leads into Customers

Once your leads are in your sales pipeline, it’s time to nurture them into customers.

This process isn’t always fast, so it’s important to be patient.

Here’s an email marketing process that agencies can follow to turn sales leads into clients.

1. Types of Content Marketing to Send Leads

In this stage, you’ll already have had conversations with leads – either over email or on a call. They’ll know the services you offer but aren’t quite ready to commit.

a. Case Studies and Testimonials

The most powerful asset any email marketing agency has is its case studies and client testimonials. If you can show leads that you've generated big results for existing clients, they'll be more inclined to want to work with you.

As part of your agency’s email marketing, make a habit of sending case studies to interested leads.

If the case studies have actionable information inside them and show proof of the results you generated, it’s going to be compelling for your leads.

For example, if you show someone that your lead generation agency managed to generate 30 leads per month for a client similar to your lead, they'll want those results for themselves.

You can create a simple campaign that sends one case study per month to leads and has a call-to-action at the end asking if they’d be interested in getting similar results in their business.

b. Invites to Webinars and Value-Add Events

Your leads are in your pipeline because they’ve engaged with you and are considering using your agency’s services.

One of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise is by running online webinars or similar events and inviting your leads to join or register and get the recording after the event.

This can be a powerful tool to show why your agency and team are proven experts and the best option for your future clients to choose.

You can also re-purpose these events into videos for YouTube and content for social media or your agency blog so that it will be time well-spent.

There are plenty of video editors who can create an engaging video out of a webinar recording. You can apply video overlays, add captivating titles, and even include different effects to make it more interesting.

c. Ask Questions to Learn More About their Pain Points

Another essential type of email in your nurturing email sequence is one asking your leads a simple question.

For example:

  • Are there any challenges you’re facing around lead generation at the moment?

  • Want me to send over a short audit of your website SEO with a list of improvements we can make?

  • Want me to audit your Google Ads account for quick wins?

These questions are powerful ways to encourage a response from a lead who isn’t immediately ready to become a customer but has been considering it.

Because you’re offering real value to your leads, there’s a strong chance they will reply.

This conversation can restart the sales process and their interest, helping you move them through the customer journey and one step closer to being a paying client.

2. How Often to Send Email Marketing Follow-Ups to Leads

Agency sales processes can take time. Email marketing services typically come with a high price tag, and buyers need to have internal discussions and decide if it's the right time.

Don’t send too many nurturing emails in a short period.

One or two emails a month is generally enough, assuming you’ve already had communication with your leads in the past.

Your agency will stay top of mind, and when your prospective clients are ready to choose an agency partner, you'll be the first one they reach out to.

Keeping Your Agency’s Clients Up to Date with Action-Based Emails

As well as your cold outreach and nurturing emails, you’ll need an email marketing strategy to engage your agency’s customer base.

Here are some common action-based emails to consider implementing:

1. Email When Invoices are Paid

Most email marketing tools let you create action-based automation, such as sending someone an automatic email when they pay an invoice.

You won’t have clients wondering if their payment has gone through 

2. Weekly Report Email

Your clients want to know if your agency is generating results for them.

A simple email to send in your weekly or monthly routine is your client reports.

For example, a lead generation agency can send a list of new leads. An SEO agency can share keyword rankings. A Facebook ads agency can share the total ROAS and improvements planned for next week.

3. Client Feedback Email

To improve your services, you need to listen to customer feedback. The best way to collect that is over email.

This email can be sent around 30-60 days after you've started working with a new client and periodically throughout the engagement.

Most agencies gather more useful information from qualitative feedback rather than quantitative, so use this email to start a conversation and schedule a meeting with your clients so they can go into detail on any feedback they have.

Not only will you gather feedback on how you can improve your agency’s services, but you’ll also learn more about the problems your clients want you to solve. You can then use those insights to improve your overall sales and marketing process and positioning.

4. Upsell and Loyalty Boosting Newsletters

Your existing client base is one of your best sources of new revenue – if you can successfully upsell to them.

You can send a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter to your clients with updates from your agency, including content you’ve published or learnings you’ve had to help improve how you deliver work to them.

Here’s what Zach Grove, who runs email marketing at Single Grain, thinks about email:

At Single Grain, we use email to retain our client base.

We send a quarterly Client Digest newsletter to our existing agency clients. This email follows a curated format of value-add content with industry news and content from our blog or podcast. Its purpose is to deepen our relationship with clients—offering invites to in-person dinners/events and planting the seed for upsell/cross-sell services. It works like a charm.

If you can consistently add value to your existing clients, they'll trust you as the main expert in your field and want to invest more and more into your services.

4. Email Marketing Tools for Agencies

Ready to build your agency email marketing software stack? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best tools you’ll need to get started.

1. Send Personalized Cold Emails with QuickMail

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QuickMail is a sales engagement platform with all the tools to help agencies manage their outreach campaigns.

First, you can send personalized cold emails to anyone in the world. Upload your prospect list, write your customizable templates, and schedule your campaign to send.

Next, you can set QuickMail to automatically follow up with your agency prospects if they don’t reply to your opening email. 55% of replies to cold emails come from a follow-up, so this is an essential step.

When your prospects reply, they're sent directly to your main inbox, so it's easy for you to reply and move the conversation forward.

QuickMail is made for agencies. Unlike most cold email tools, QuickMail lets you bring your whole team onto the platform and add as many inboxes as you need to your account. 

You can then send emails from multiple inboxes at once to spread out your sending volume, and your whole team can keep track of campaign performance and handle replies.

There is also a native integration with a deliverability tool, MailFlow, to ensure your emails land in your prospect's inboxes, – and it can be used for free. 

If you want to try out QuickMail and get more customers for your agency using cold email, start your free trial today.

2. Quickly Build Qualified Prospect Lists with UpLead

UpLead is a helpful platform to speed up your prospecting. You can filter for companies based on criteria like:

  • The amount of revenue a company is doing

  • The location of the HQ

  • What software they’re using on their website

  • Number of employees

The list goes on. When you’ve found a list of prospects that match your ideal customer persona, you can export the list to a CSV file, complete with an email address and contact information.

After reviewing your prospect list, you can upload it into QuickMail, reach out to your qualified list of prospects, and start conversations with them.

3. Clean Your Email List with NeverBounce

NeverBounce is an email verification tool. Before sending emails to anyone, you need to check if the emails in your list are valid. Upload the list to NeverBounce, and it will check the emails in your list and remove them if they're invalid.

This is critical to the success of your agency's email marketing. If the emails you reach out to are invalid and bounce, email service providers like Gmail and Outlook will start to be suspicious, and your email deliverability can be hurt.

NeverBounce also integrates with QuickMail, so you can verify emails in your dashboard before you ever reach out to them.

4. Create Automated Email Workflows with Zapier

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Zapier is an essential tool for agencies, and there are a few ways it can help you with your email marketing. Firstly, you can use it to connect your email marketing software to other tools in your business.

For example, you can build workflows that send automatic emails to people who submit their email in a contact form or automatically email someone who pays an invoice in PayPal or Stripe.

You can automate most of your everyday email marketing needs with Zapier and an email platform like QuickMail.

Wrapping Up

Email is a powerful platform for agencies. You can use it to prospect and acquire new clients, nurture qualified leads through your sales pipeline, and engage your existing client base to keep your agency top of mind.

The examples we’ve looked at in this guide are excellent starting points. If you implement those, you’ll already be ahead of most of your competitors and your agency will quickly see results from them.

It’s also key that you don’t overcomplicate things. Implement one new sequence at a time, test how it performs, optimize it, and move on to the next one.

When you’re ready to start implementing an email strategy in your agency, see how QuickMail can help you reach out to more prospects and start conversations with qualified leads.