When it comes to email marketing for agencies today, most agree that an effective email marketing program is critical to the success of their marketing strategy. It’s exciting to see many agencies viewing email marketing strategies as vital to their overall program due to how email has evolved.

Recently, the trend in email marketing has been a move toward personalization and content that’s more effective at converting leads. SharpSpring partnered with Ascend2, a leader in B2B research marketing, to ask how agencies are planning to use email to engage customers and deliver relevant experiences in coming months.

The Agency Marketer’s Perspective on The State of Email Marketing, represents the opinions of the 123 marketing professionals who provide agency services, specifically email.

This research has been produced for your use. Put it to work in your own marketing strategy. Clip the charts and write about them in your blog or post them on social media!

The State of Email Marketing Today

If you were asked to gauge the success of your email marketing right now, what would you say? Would it be unsuccessful, somewhat successful, or best-in-class?

The majority of respondents viewed their email marketing efforts as at least somewhat successful. Almost a third called their strategies best-in-class compared to their competitors. This group of agency marketers not only understand email, but are always on the hunt to improve it. Let’s dig into what we found.


We wanted to know what agencies thought were the biggest challenges to making their email program successful in the next year. Not surprisingly, 50% said that increasing engagement was a huge hurdle.

This is a common challenge in email marketing which is why so many agencies are looking for strategies that are personalized and hit customers at the right points along their buyer’s journey. This is another reason why all-in-one marketing automation tools have become more necessary for businesses. These types of tools allow for better insights into customer behavior, more robust reporting, and more effective lead nurturing campaigns.

Another 34% also said that integrating email data with other data was a struggle. This is a common theme we’ve heard from marketers across departments. Agencies working with complex marketing tech stacks are starting to realize that they’ve created a data flow problem that’s stopping marketers from being able to see the full picture.

The Plan

Since improving engagement is a broad challenge, we asked which elements were the most critical to improving engagement the quickest. 60% of agencies said that personalization was at the top of their lists. Another 58% agreed that better quality content would also be a key factor in improving engagement, which is just another reason that marketers and agencies alike are looking at all-in-one marketing automation tools.

These tools allow for better data and segmentation of your lists. When marketers can properly segment lists based on website activity or stage in the sales cycle, they can more easily tailor content that is made for the right people at the right time. 91% of agencies agree, integrating email data with other data sources should be a top priority when it comes to improving email campaign performance. These types of tools make it easier to do exactly that.

We were also curious how agencies were using dynamic content in their campaigns. We asked how often they were using it and where in campaigns it was used most often. To see the results from that section, download the full report.

The Importance of Email in the Year Ahead

No matter how many times we’ve heard the angry cries of “email is dead”, email marketers know better. We know that emails have a 50 to 100 times higher click-through-rate when compared to Facebook and Twitter. We also know these high engagement rates translate to high conversions for the marketers that are doing it well!

That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see that 92% of agency marketers agreed that executing email effectively is critical to the success of the overall marketing strategy.

Of course, effectively is the key word here. Most marketing teams know that to grow their strategies for the year ahead they will need more robust email capabilities. To stay competitive in this marketing landscape, agencies are looking to create more automated campaigns that can be triggered to send at the best time in the customer’s journey, they’re looking for better segmentation options, and working to integrate data across departments and strategies.

The trends we saw come up for agencies working on their 2022 strategies also highlighted all these themes.

Agency Email Marketing Trends

Digital marketing has come a long way and email has had to change with it. Today’s never-off pace of technology means that email marketers are looking for solutions that will help them automate and personalize to create better individual customer experiences.

Today’s marketers are focused on combining traditional email tactics with newer features like dynamic content and responsive designs. They’re looking to the future of email and adapting with it. To see the rest of the trends that topped the list, download the full report.

Moving into the year ahead, we expect to see a lot of exciting new strategies and much more personalized experiences. Of course, as agencies are able to tie in marketing data and create automated drip campaigns, that means that traditional tracking is changing too. We wanted to know which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are going to be at the top of every report next year.

46% of respondents said that conversion rate makes the top of the list for most effective KPIs. Understandably so since we all know that if you can show the ROI then marketing budgets become easier to secure.

The trends for the year ahead point at engagement and conversions being the top metrics. Another 38% of those surveyed said that click-through-rate is going to continue to be an important feature of reporting.

Email in the Year Ahead: Agency Takeaways

No more throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. Email marketing of the future is based on data. In the upcoming year we can expect to see:

  • A bigger emphasis on personalization that involves behavioral data
  • More drip campaigns that are tailored to customers needs at various stages in the journey
  • A push for more unified data across all customer touch points
  • Reporting that is more focused on engagement and conversion metrics

Are you ready to tackle it all? If you need a revenue growth engine that can help take you there, talk to us today about how SharpSpring can bring not only your email but your entire marketing program to the next level.

Kim Jamerson
Kim Jamerson
As Vice President of Marketing at SharpSpring, Kim heads up lead generation efforts through a variety of channels and processes. She has an extensive background in marketing and communications, ranging from TV news to enterprise software and healthcare.