The challenges faced by agencies when pricing an email marketing service for clients

When agencies are looking for an email service provider (ESP), it can be extremely difficult to find one that ticks all the boxes.

You may find one where the price is right, but they can’t handle all the varying sizes of your clients contact databases.

Or, you may find a provider that is absolutely perfect – apart from the fact it’s a commission model and you’d be set to add pretty much zero revenue!

So forget about commission for a moment. In fact, forget about all limitations. Because now you’re at Instiller.

Instiller was designed specifically for agencies like yours! As such, we pride ourselves on providing all of the tools needed for agencies to deliver a complete email marketing service to their clients.

In this article, we are going to explain the differences in pricing between the other ESPs you may have come across, and Instiller.

Not your average ESP…

A lot of ESPs boast flexible pricing models but, when it comes down to it, many of their pricing models are quite basic and limited.

ESPs generally price their packages based a combination of the following:

  • Set-up fees
  • Number of contacts
  • Yearly or monthly volume of emails
  • Feature usage
  • Support costs
  • Account management

Granular pricing of this kind can make it very difficult for agencies when trying to create pricing for clients and sometimes it can lead to misunderstandings where things are missed from proposals and you end up paying because it was left out of the quote – we’ve heard of this happening regularly because of complicated pricing structures and we can totally see why!

Commission models aren’t great either. Firstly, there’s no tie-in to the client so they could take all of your hard-work and go elsewhere in a heartbeat and secondly, the revenue generated will be very low – admittedly, you don’t have to do much but again there’s no tie-in and that stops you from being able to establish and take care of long term relationships between you and your clients.

Say goodbye to tiny commission kick-backs

At Instiller, we do things a little differently. All we ask for is a simple monthly fee,  for agencies sending up to 100,000 emails each month pricing starts at £325 and goes up in bands of 100,000 emails until it hits 1 million per month.

Agencies that send more than 1 million per month benefit further from an even lower rate per email and automatic price breaks as volume increases.

We never charge a setup fee and the monthly service fee we charge covers everything.  There’s no charge for individual features and all future updates are included as standard.

No surprises

For agencies on our Growth plan (senders of less than 1 million per month) you just pay your flat rate, and you’re free to charge your clients whatever you like.

Our £325 / month package works out at approximately 0.325p per transaction! Here’s what you get:


There’s more! 

Even though the first band on the Growth plan allows for up to 100,000 transactions per month, you have the added advantage of being able to burst through your allowed volume and up to 2 million transactions with no additional costs!

This extra flexibility allows you to cover busy periods, such as Black Friday, without worrying about unexpected charges.

You could even use this as an opportunity to offer out free trials to potential clients and never have to worry about incurring costs when trying to generate new business.

There’s absolutely no risk of running up unexpected additional costs. Only if there has been a major growth in volume consistently for one or two months will we contact you to discuss pricing.

If the growth in monthly volume is going to be sustained then that’s great for everyone and we will move you up to a more relevant band to meet your requirements, but we will never charge your account without speaking to you first.

Don’t just take our word for it!

Since 2004, we’ve been busy designing, developing, and fine-tuning our solution to the point where agencies across the world now rely on Instiller to manage thousands of clients and to send billions of emails every year.

Here’s what just a few of agency folk think of the service we provide:

Instiller allows us to manage all of our clients in one app easily. It looks great and is easy to use” – Kristian Gough, Incite.

We rely on the solution to deliver timely emails for Premier Inn each time a room is booked, or a customer request is made. Instiller is fast, secure and never lets us down” – Ian Bourne, Rapide.

The platform was easy to integrate and understand and I am blown away with the level of customer service” – Karl Rahmani, The Whole Caboodle.

Click here to see some of the agencies we currently work with and take a look on Getapp.com to read reviews of what people think of Instiller.

It doesn’t stop there

Software is just one part of the email marketing service agencies provide and once you’re up and running with Instiller it opens the door to a wide range of other exciting revenue opportunities for things like:

  • Fully managed services
  • Email template design & coding
  • Copywriting
  • Integration
  • Automation
  • Data management / list hygiene
  • Sender reputation management & dedicated IP addresses
  • Brand management

Combining the powerful features of Instiller and being able to provide these additional services means you’ll be able to offer clients a complete service, or in other words, the kind of service they won’t want to go anywhere else for.

What do you charge your clients?

Because we only charge one monthly cost that covers everything it gives more flexibility when thinking about what to charge clients for using your email marketing service.

How you choose to price your service you offer is up to and it might be that it varies between each of your clients depending on their requirements or budget.

Some common options for pricing include…

Premium – Fully managed service
This is the kind of service where you would do everything for your client. You would more than likely charge a setup fee and then an ongoing monthly retainer for a set number of campaigns / total email sending volume.

Managed services are great for clients that want to outsource and for those that aren’t confident enough or don’t have the skill set to deal with all of the different aspects of running email marketing projects.

A fully managed service will generate the highest revenue and generally, the relationship with the client will last a lot longer.

Self-service – Package offering
If clients want to use your solution but are confident with setting up their own lists, templates and sending their own campaigns then that’s fine too.

Feature access for each client account setup within Instiller can be controlled which means that even though we don’t charge for features – you can!

Charging for feature access, monthly email volume and may be even the number of logins permitted means you can generate good revenue but when priced correctly it means you can still offer a very competitively priced service to clients.

You can also control the settings and costs for the integrated Litmus features which means you can make good use of the 25 free tests (50 on High Volume plans) included with Instiller solutions as standard and healthy margins on any additional tests used.

Ad-hoc – Hourly rate
Some clients won’t want to commit to a monthly fee as it may be that they send emails infrequently and other clients may just need some extra help every now and then.

Offering an hourly rate as an option is a good way of dealing with this type of requirement and means you can help clients out with whatever they need in a cost effective way and not have to worry about giving time away for nothing.

Charging an hourly rate for ad-hoc requirements such as integration, design, deliverability investigations etc. can be lucrative and the trick is to ensure you don’t oversell to the point where your team are running around like lunatics servicing small requirements whilst other projects suffer.

Final thoughts

Choosing the right ESP for any email marketer is not easy and it’s even more complicated for agencies that want to provide email marketing as a core client service offering.

Instiller ticks the boxes so why not give it a try with a free & unlimited 14 day trial?

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