How to Drive Email Marketing Sales without Paying an Agency Retainer

How to Drive Email Marketing Sales without Paying an Agency Retainer
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You need to run email campaigns but you can’t afford to pay an agency's retainer fees.

I’ve seen this happen quite frequently and have even been involved in many of these sales discussions with brands generally doing around $1-3million in annual revenue.

And even though I’d still argue that investing $60k per year into email marketing is one of the safest, highest value investments you can make, some people just don’t want to pay the monthly fees.

To each their own.

I’m not here to argue about whether you should pay the fees or not - I’m here to provide an alternative solution if you want to do things on your own.

How to Drive Repeat Sales on Autopilot and Stop Churn

Most customers buy again within 30-45 days after their first sale - or they don’t at all.

This is true for the overwhelming majority of brands we’ve worked with in the FMCG space in D2C and after pouring over masses of data.

Getting that second sale is critical and that’s why having a fantastic post-purchase experience is so important.

However, you also need to stay top-of-mind with relevant content and yes, sometimes, offers to encourage customers to come back and buy again.

This is why email campaigns are important: they provide a low-cost, highly engaged touchpoint that drives repeat browsing sessions.

Yet setting these email campaigns up can be time-consuming, hence the reason most brands outsource to an agency.

But if you’re a scrappy DIY-kind of entrepreneur or brand that’s just not yet ready to take the leap, there’s a second option which can (sort of) work just as well.

Enter the 90-day Post-Purchase Flow.

ALSO READ: Managing campaigns in-house VS with an agency

90 Day Post-Purchase Flow

The methodology behind this flow builds upon what we’ve just discussed.

As a general rule of thumb, for FMCG businesses, people churn at the 90 day mark which is why consistent acquisition is so critical to running a successful store.

And while winback campaigns can vary in degrees of success, most repeat sales are generally driven within this 90-day post-purchase window, which is where the majority of email campaign revenue comes from.

Thus, the purpose of this flow is to stay top-of-mind and maintain mental availability in the mind of the consumer whilst simultaneously alleviating the pressure on you to create manual campaigns on a weekly basis.

In order to achieve this, we need to build a flow that covers the duration of this period. Let’s discuss:

  1. The trigger for the flow
  2. The content in the flow

1: Flow Trigger

A common mistake I see with traditional post-purchase flows is that they use the “Placed Order” metric as the Trigger.

This can be a mistake, as occasionally, customers will cancel their order or have a customer service issue whereby they need support.

It’s better to use the “Fulfilled Order” metric as this is usually a decent benchmark of when the item is ready to ship, mitigating any potential complaints and souring the experience.

If you have a 3rd-party shipping integration into Klaviyo you can also use this for when the item is shipped as the trigger.

2: Flow content

Keep the first 30 days focused entirely on the customer experience.

Focus on teaching them how to make the most of their new product, eliminating buyers remorse, and making sure they’re engaged with your content with fun, playful emails.

A review request/CTA for UGC at some stage after the order has been delivered is also reasonable.

But after the first 30 days, this is where you’ll want to stick to a simple format that delivers two emails per week over the next 60 days (roughly an additional 12 emails to your standard post-purchase flow).

In these emails, you should aim for a balance between content and product-focused selling, or a blend between the two.

Don’t overcomplicate things if you’re stretched for time; simplicity is the whole purpose of deploying this strategy.

I would go with something akin to the following format:

Create a Sales Focused Email

For this, you’ll want to set up a Product Feed inside Klaviyo.

I recommend to blend the Viewed Product and Ordered Product metrics to create a personalisation engine that’s most likely to drive click-throughs and hopefully, sales.

For the email itself, follow a simple format like this:

  • Header/logo
  • Hero image (mock one up in Canva in 5 mins)
  • Intro paragraph
  • Dynamic product feed
  • Footer

It really is that simple. Here’s a quick mock-up of how it would look inside the Klaviyo editor:

Klaviyo even has a raft of templates you can take advantage of from their product library for this.

Create a UGC/Engagement Email

Follow the same format as above but replace the dynamic product feed with a content block that pulls in some reviews from your review software. If you use a native integration to Klaviyo such as Okendo or, you can dynamically pull these into the email editor.

However, feel free to simply copy and paste some text otherwise and display it like this:

Hopefully, you would have some aesthetically pleasing UGC to throw up there, but if not, just use plain text in the email - it’ll do the job.

If you have engaging articles, blogs, tutorials, etc, these can also work well in these emails to give the customer a breather from product pitching.

ALSO READ: 3 strategies to increase your email marketing revenue


I prefaced this article by saying this technique was “scrappy but effective”.

Is it as effective as crafting bespoke, personalised campaigns with intelligent segmentation? No.

Might it be more profitable for brands doing sub $1million per year as opposed to hiring an email marketing agency? Most likely, until you have the budget you can allocate towards driving a more sophisticated email marketing strategy.

The take home message: this works, and something is better than nothing. Invest a day into getting this flow set up if you’re in this position and it will alleviate a lot of pressure you’re currently feeling to drive repeat sales.

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