How much does email marketing cost? A guide to budget-friendly campaigns

Email marketing is one of the most popular and effective ways to reach your fans, promote your brand, and sell your products.

But how much does email marketing cost?

And how can you make the most of your email marketing budget?

In this article, we’ll break down the main factors that affect email marketing costs, and share some tips and tricks from celebrities who use email marketing to grow their audience and income.

An image illustration of How much does email marketing cost
How much does email marketing cost.

Email marketing costs depend on several factors, such as:

  • The size of your email list: The more subscribers you have, the more you’ll pay for your email service provider (ESP). ESPs charge based on the number of contacts you have, the number of emails you send, or both. For example, Mailchimp charges $9.99 per month for up to 50,000 contacts and 10,000 emails, while Constant Contact charges $20 per month for up to 500 contacts and unlimited emails.
  • The features you need: Different ESPs offer different features, such as templates, automation, analytics, segmentation, personalization, and more. Some features are included in the basic plans, while others require higher-tier plans or add-ons. For example, HubSpot offers a free plan with up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 emails, but you’ll need to upgrade to get advanced features like A/B testing, landing pages, and CRM integration.
  • The quality of your content: The content of your emails is what makes them stand out from the crowd and get your subscribers to open, click, and buy. Creating high-quality content requires time, creativity, and sometimes professional help.

So, how much does email marketing cost in total?

According to a survey by Litmus, the average email marketing budget for small and medium businesses in 2020 was $9,000 per month, or $108,000 per year.

However, this number can vary widely depending on your goals, industry, and strategy.

How much does an email marketing agency cost?

Managing your in-house email marketing campaigns may feel overwhelming, but an email marketing agency can assist with their services.

While an experienced full-service agency might cost $2,500 monthly, you can find agencies at varying price points based on their services and expertise.

Before selecting an agency, assess their email marketing capabilities, skills, and quality to ensure they justify their pricing.

The agency’s cost structure is influenced by whether they employ blended or tiered rates.

A blended rate implies uniform charges for billable hours across all team members, while a tiered rate means higher costs if an executive is involved compared to a junior team member.

Costs associated with email marketing

1. Purchasing an email service provider (ESP)

Collaborating with an email service provider is essential for your business to utilize email marketing and other features like email automation, ensuring efficient communication with large contact or subscriber groups and delivering polished emails.

Through an email service provider, you gain access to professional email templates, tools for list management and growth, and tracking features revealing engagement metrics.

Moreover, you enjoy guaranteed delivery rates, ensuring your messages reach the intended recipients effectively.

How much?

Constant Contact’s email marketing software offers a risk-free 60-day trial for businesses, making it an ideal choice for those in their early stages. No credit card is required, ensuring a no-risk experience with complete access to all email marketing tools, live expert support, and online resources.

Cancellation is flexible, and special discounts are available for franchises, nonprofits, or those opting for prepayment plans. There’s no commitment, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is in place if you choose to close your account early—keeping it hassle-free.

Following the trial and discounts, your monthly email marketing cost could be as low as $17, a nominal amount.

2. Running your email marketing campaign

For small businesses or solo operators, the prospect of adding a new marketing platform may seem time-consuming. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. With the right tools, anyone can become an email marketer. Using platforms like Constant Contact, you can set up and launch your email campaign within minutes. Even with a learning curve, our live email experts are available to guide you through any challenges.

Email marketing offers the advantage of scheduling emails well in advance, a time-saving tactic employed by top email marketers. Additionally, you can create automated email series tailored to send targeted content based on subscriber actions, from making purchases on your online store to filling out specific signup forms on your website.

In essence, a highly effective email marketing strategy requires minimal time investment, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running your business.


Hiring a dedicated employee, marketing agency, or freelancer to handle your email marketing could incur costs ranging from $15 to $100+ per hour. However, by using Constant Contact, there’s no need for additional hires. You can successfully execute email and digital marketing campaigns with the existing resources at your disposal. In this context, we consider this cost to be free.

3. Design work and imagery

One significant contrast between traditional email and email marketing lies in the ability of email marketing to incorporate design elements into your messages. Employing a well-crafted design can enhance customer engagement and increase the conversion of emails into sales.

For instance, you have the option to brand your emails, incorporate product images or stock photos, or even integrate entertaining videos or gifs. It’s crucial to ensure that your emails are designed to be responsive, commonly known as “mobile-friendly,” ensuring they maintain a visually appealing and functional appearance across various devices used by the readers.


Similar to the previous section, companies often engage an in-house or freelance designer to create and brand their email templates, incurring a substantial cost ranging from $25 to $150+ per hour.

Now, let’s continue the “free” theme and discuss the simplicity with which Constant Contact users can build, brand, design, and customize emails. The platform provides numerous free email templates ready for use, requiring only the addition of text. No need to hire a designer or web professional to craft professional-looking, conversion-focused emails. Free? Absolutely!

Email templates are not the sole advantage within Constant Contact; it also offers complimentary stock photos for use in your email campaigns, saving you from the expenses associated with purchasing stock photos. Another cost marked as free!

Factors influencing the costs of email marketing

  • Your choice of email marketing platform
  • The number of emails sent
  • The quality of your email list
  • The complexity of your email campaigns
  • Doing email in-house or outsourcing

How to create an email marketing strategy

Up to this point, we’ve focused solely on the expenses associated with email marketing. Email marketing stands out as a potent channel, boasting an average return of $38 for every $1 invested.

To achieve such success in your marketing campaign, however, a robust strategy is essential. Crafting an effective email strategy entails setting clear goals and establishing measurable success metrics.

So, how can you formulate a victorious email marketing strategy? Here are the steps I’ve compiled to guide you:

1. Define your email marketing goals
2. Cultivate your email list
3. Develop an email marketing calendar
4. Dispatch your emails
5. Evaluate your performance

The Average Price of Email Marketing Software

If you’re handling your SMB email marketing campaigns independently, the monthly cost for software with a list of 5,000 email contacts ranges from $0 to $99.

As your email list size grows, the price escalates.

For example, when surpassing 50,000 subscribers, anticipate a cost of approximately $270.


Why is email marketing cost-effective?

The average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is $38 for every $1 spent.

The cost-effectiveness of email marketing is attributed to its scalability, allowing both small and large businesses to engage in it. The primary distinction lies in the size of their respective budgets.

What is the average cost per lead for email marketing?

During 2020, the average cost per lead (CPL) stood at $198. However, this figure is subject to variation based on factors such as industry, marketing channels, and competition. Notably, the financial services sector reported an average CPL of $160, retail recorded $34, and SEO and online retargeting boasted the lowest CPL rates at $31. Conversely, the highest CPL was observed in the event and trade shows category, reaching $811.

What does it cost to create an email loyalty program?

Establishing an email loyalty program can range from $500 to $10,000. If you possess an existing email list, proficient email marketing software, and the ability to construct email sequences, your costs will be towards the lower end. Conversely, lacking any of the mentioned elements may place you closer to the $10,000 mark. Your existing resources dictate where you fall within this spectrum.

How much would I pay for MailChimp management?

MailChimp management services typically cost between $200 and $5000, varying based on your specific requirements. Alternatively, you have the option to self-manage your MailChimp account, which would only require an investment of your time.

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