How Much Does Email Marketing Cost in the UK?

sam hollis

Sam Hollis is a Web Designer, Business Owner, Dad,  Digital Marketing Expert and Podcaster

‘I’m always happy to chat and advice is always free’

The average cost and value of email marketing in the UK

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing techniques, raising more than £36 for every £1 spent. That’s more than four times as high as social media, direct mail, paid search and online advertising. This is why businesses spend a significant 16% of their budgets on it and get an even more significant 23% of their returns from, it on average. To get an accurate idea of what your email marketing costs will be, you first need to make a big decision.

The big decision: Hire an email marketer or do it yourself

Perhaps unsurprisingly, you can create and send your own emails for less than you can hire a pro. It’s possible to carry out small and simple campaigns for free with time being the only thing invested. On the other hand, professionals have the knowledge, focus and ability to get much higher returns, so investment can often be justified.

Average business email marketing spend

 In-house email marketing – £7 – £800 per month

Using a professional-  £200 – £600 per month

In-house marketing spends vary a lot more than third-party professional investments. This is because they include small business owners using their own valuable time to do it themselves and big corporations hiring marketing specialists for large campaigns. On the other hand, professional prices are clearly defined by competition. Whatever you choose, it only works when it’s implemented correctly, and a big part of that is costing and calculating returns.

How can email marketing help my business?

Email marketing offers high returns on investment and is particularly effective for e-commerce companies selling directly to clients. It’s best to pair up regular emails, such as newsletters, with automatic emails, such as post-purchase thanks. This pairing works well because it feels relevant to users, especially if you use personalisation. If you want to know more about sending automated marketing emails using the Moosend platform, take a look at my video tutorial on the subject.

By far the best returns come from emails sent automatically by online shops and service providers when customers have shown interest and then left. These automatic emails are a must-have for e-commerce operators who often make huge returns on them.


Deciding how much to spend on email marketing

As I mentioned above, you can create and send your own small marketing campaigns without paying anything. Simply subscribe to the free versions of platforms like Moosend or MailChimp.

Your email marketing service provider

As Moosend is the email marketing platform I utilise and recommend, I’ll use it as an example. It lets you email up to 1000 subscribers with plenty of options available to customise, personalise and enhance your emails. Paying $7 per month (£5.50 at the time of writing)  will let you double the number of subscribers, and the prices scale up from there. The platform mixes easy useability with lots of powerful features to improve your email marketing. There are a few fiddly bits, but it’s generally intuitive and fun to use. The pricing system meanwhile is simple and affordable. If you know how many subscribers you have, you can get a price easily on this page.

Mailchimp allows you to have a list of 2000 contacts. It also allows you to send up to 10,000 emails per month, free with the company’s branding and limited functionality. That is more than enough for most small businesses. It does charge £10 for its impressive automatic emailing service though, as well as its campaign management dashboard and several other services.

Remember, your time is valuable!

Your email marketing platform is the main expense if you do it yourself because the act of creating your emails doesn’t cost anything except time. If you have some of this precious resource to spare on writing and designing the email, as well as a little skill, you can get something attractive and engaging sent within a few hours. Once you have a template you like, you can save it, replicate it and alter the content for each new edition. This isn’t just a time-saving cheat – familiar templates help to build reader loyalty and increase clicks.

If you want to really improve your stats and increase the amount of money you make from your email marketing campaign, you can pay an expert to do it for you.

Professional email marketing – Using designers and agencies

For most smaller enterprises, outsourcing email marketing is the way to take this technical and creative practice to the next level. This allows you to cut the time invested and improve returns. Prices and results can vary. As mentioned above, the average medium-sized business spends £200-600 per month on email marketing, but there are cheaper options that are ideal for smaller operations. For example.

There are companies out there who will manage your emails and plenty of writers who will happily provide the text. If you want to take the whole process off your mind though, make sure you invest in a provider that offers both services.

How do professional email marketers help me?

The main benefits of email marketers over do-it-yourself marketing are that they can achieve your marketing goals better than you can on your own, and they take up a lot less of your valuable time doing it. We have a professional copywriter and digital marketer on the team who knows exactly the right writing, graphics, links and layouts to use to increase leads or achieve any other goal. He can achieve click rates and returns that are many times higher than a business owner creating an email themselves because he has trained, learned and focused on doing that. Meanwhile, owners can get on with other important aspects of running their business, knowing this is in good hands. The downside of course is that this option does cost more than the DIY approach, but improved returns will justify the extra expense.

Is hiring a professional email marketer worth it?

Is it worth hiring a professional to do your emails, instead of doing it yourself? To answer this question:

  1. Divide your income from your business by the number of hours you work.
  2. Multiply the result by the number of hours taken to create an email. This gives your time-value investment in the email.
  3. Find out (or estimate) the value of business you get from each email and divide that by your time-value investment. That’s the return on investment you’re getting from creating the email yourself.

This sets a good base for evaluating the professional email marketer by comparison. They need to get a better return on investment than you to make it worth your while. I would advise setting a minimum return on investment goal that is significantly better than what you can achieve as an amateur when doing this.

For pros: ROI = Value generated / cost

For you: ROI = Value generated / (hourly earnings x number of hours worked)

  When you are doing any such evaluation, it’s worth considering that emails can take a while to generate returns, so evaluate over several months.

Getting hold of email addresses

You need to factor in the cost of acquiring email addresses into any email marketing campaign. There are two options for this:

  • Compile a list yourself by asking contacts and website visitors for their emails, often by providing a freebie in return.
  • Buy a premade list from a data seller.

I would almost always recommend option one, as it means your valuable emails will be directed at people who might want to hear what you’re saying. You can learn how to do this in my blog on collecting emails from your website. Giving away a free sample of your offering or knowledge on your website in the form of a download or giveaway in exchange for email details is an excellent way to do this. This is called a lead magnet and you can often engage your web designer or marketer to create one for you or you can do it yourself.

To sum up …

Smaller email marketing campaigns can be designed sent and managed by you for free with a little know-how. If you have subscribers or want premium features, you may have to upgrade to a paid account with providers like Moosend beginning at around £7 ($10) per month. If you want better results and fewer demands on you and your team, you can engage a professional to manage your email marketing for you. Companies spend £200-350 on average doing this.

Working out your ROI (value generated / cost) can be a good way of evaluating and costing all your marketing efforts. And don’t forget the cost of getting hold of the email addresses in the first place using things like Lead magnets. I’m more than happy to help anyone out with any part of this process. If you have any questions or if you need help with your marketing emails, just contact me at

sam talking to a client

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