What Does an Email Marketing Specialist Actually Do?

Dr. Anneke Schmidt, Contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

The email marketing specialist plays a critical role in any digital marketing team, as they are responsible for managing email campaigns from start to finish. But if you’re new to the world of digital marketing, you might be wondering: what does an email marketing specialist actually do? Keep reading to find out.

Email marketing has come a long way since the days of batch-and-blast campaigns—the process of sending the same generic message to your entire email list. These days, a successful email marketing strategy is all about creating personalized, targeted content that resonates with your audience and drives results. But crafting effective email marketing campaigns is no easy feat. It requires a keen understanding of email marketing best practices, strong copywriting skills, and the ability to analyze data and optimize campaigns for maximum ROI.

Sounds a little overwhelming? Don’t worry. To help you get a better understanding of what an email marketing specialist does on a day-to-day basis, we’ll address the following questions:

  1. What is an email marketing specialist?
  2. What do email marketing specialists do?
  3. What skills do email marketing specialists typically have?
  4. How much does an email marketing specialist make?
  5. How to become an email marketing specialist
  6. Next steps

1. What is an email marketing specialist?

An email marketing specialist focuses on email marketing as part of an organization’s broader digital marketing strategy. This involves developing strategic plans, creating and managing content, analyzing data, and constantly testing and optimizing campaigns for better results.

Their main goal is to increase engagement with email list subscribers and eventually convert them into paying customers or clients. To do this, email marketing specialists need to understand human behavior and what motivates people to take action. They must also develop effective strategies to earn consumer trust and build long-term relationships. This requires a mix of practical skills and theoretical know-how.

Let’s start with the practical tasks most email marketing specialists handle on a regular basis.

2. What do email marketing specialists do?

Email marketing specialists are responsible for a wide range of tasks, all revolving around the goal of increasing a company’s visibility and reach through email campaigns. These tasks include:

  • crafting email marketing campaigns that align with a company’s business goals
  • segmenting lists to ensure that messages are relevant to the recipient
  • designing eye-catching email templates
  • writing persuasive copy that drives results
  • A/B testing subject lines, calls to action (CTA), and other elements of the email
  • analyzing campaign performance data and making recommendations for improvement
  • working with marketing team members to ensure email campaigns are integrated with other marketing initiatives.

Email marketing specialists wear many hats. They need to be creative and analytical, strategic and tactical, left-brain and right-brain—or, to put it another way, equipped with many hard and soft skills.

So, let’s dive deeper into the skills you would need to succeed in this role.

3. What skills do email marketing specialists typically have?

While the specific skills required for the job may vary depending on the company and position, there are certain skills that are essential for all email marketing specialists. Here are the most important examples:

Communication skills

Without strong communication skills, it would be difficult to manage stakeholders, collaborate with team members, and deliver clear and concise messages to customers. It is, therefore, essential for email marketing specialists to be excellent communicators, both in written and verbal form.

Interpersonal skills

In addition to being great communicators, email marketers also need to have strong interpersonal skills. This is crucial for building relationships with customers, managing team members, and dealing with difficult situations that may arise, such as responding to customer complaints.

Psychological skills

As mentioned earlier, email marketing specialists need to understand human behavior to create strategies that motivate people to take action. They need to know what makes people tick and what will encourage them to engage with a brand.

Writing skills

This one should go without saying. As the leading creator of email marketing content, email marketers need to have exceptional writing skills with a particular focus on copywriting—the art of creating persuasive, compelling, and actionable text.

Research skills

Another critical skill for email marketing specialists is the ability to conduct research. This includes everything from understanding a customer’s needs and wants to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends.

Analytical skills

Moreover, email marketers need to be able to analyze data, identify key insights, and use those insights to drive decision-making. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as open rate, click-through rate (CTR), and unsubscribe rate should be closely monitored and analyzed on a regular basis.

Organizational skills

With so many moving parts, email marketing can quickly become overwhelming. That’s why email marketing specialists need to be organized and detail-oriented, with the ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines.

Management skills

Depending on the size of the company, email specialists may also be responsible for managing a team of one or more people. This requires strong leadership and management skills and the ability to delegate tasks and manage workloads effectively.

Technical skills

And finally, this list of email marketer skills would not be complete without mentioning some basic technical skills. While email marketing software has become increasingly user-friendly, specialists still need to be able to navigate their way around various marketing automation tools, such as Mailchimp, Hubspot, MailerLite, or Constant Contact.

4. How much does an email marketing specialist make?

A glance at job postings on any major job board reveals that there is no “typical” salary for email marketing specialists. This is because salaries vary widely depending on professional experience, qualification, skills, location, and company size. However, the following salary ranges can give you a general idea of what to expect.

Let’s take the United States as an example. According to Payscale, the average base salary for an email marketing specialist in the U.S. is $55,203 per year, with the total annual pay ranging from $41,000 – $71,000.

This is slightly less than what Indeed reports, with the average email marketing salary in the U.S. coming in at $50,012 per year, although it’s worth noting this number applies to all marketing specialisms. By comparison, Indeed’s average base salary for Email Deliverability Specialists is $46,068—a role that falls under the umbrella of email marketing but with a focus on ensuring emails are delivered to the inbox rather than the spam folder.

5. How to become an email marketing specialist

Email marketing is one of the most accessible of all digital marketing types. No specific qualifications or certificates are required to become an email marketing specialist, which means that—in theory—anyone can do it. However, in practice, it’s not quite that simple, and competition can be fierce.

So, if you’re seriously considering a career in email marketing, here’s what you need to do:

Develop your copywriting skills

If you’re not a natural writer, don’t despair. Copywriting is a skill that can be learned and perfected with practice. Take some time to study the art of persuasion and learn how to craft compelling copy that engages the reader and drives conversions.

Find learning resources

Online resources can go a long way in helping you to develop the skills you need to succeed in email marketing. Here are some opportunities to educate yourself in the digital marketing field:

Build your portfolio

Start putting together a portfolio of your best email marketing work to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers. If you don’t have any professional experience yet, that’s okay. You can also create spec work or use case studies to show what you can do.

Get work experience

In addition to acquiring the necessary skills, try to get some real-world experience under your belt. The best way to do this is to find an internship or entry-level job at a company that offers email marketing services. Alternatively, if you’re currently working in a different industry, see if you can get involved in your company’s email marketing campaigns and gather some insights and experience from there.

6. Next steps

Email marketing is a rapidly growing field with immense potential. If you’re looking to break into it, take some time to learn the basics of digital marketing. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some experience, there are plenty of resources to help you hone your skills.

Or, if you do better with online courses and have the time and dedication to commit to your learning, consider studying for a certification in digital marketing. While having a qualification is not necessary, it will make you more employable and give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs.

Want to get a feel for what it’s like to complete a digital marketing course? Why not try out this free, 5-day short course? It’s a great way to get started and see if digital marketing is right for you.

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