Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing. It gives brands a way to engage their audience, build a community, and increase sales.
Email marketing managers are responsible for overseeing the success of the company’s email marketing efforts.
In this post, I’ll show you what it takes to be a great email marketing manager and the steps you can take to get there.
What Does an Email Manager Do?
Email marketing managers plan, develop, and implement a company’s email marketing strategy.
Some of the day to day duties and responsibilities of email marketing managers include:
- Developing lead generation strategies
- Creating opt-in forms and landing pages
- Designing email templates
- A/B testing different variables of email campaigns
- Evaluating important email marketing KPIs
- Compiling and presenting reports
- Setting up automation and workflows
- Creating email list segments
- Finding areas of improvement
- Communicating with other decision-makers (social media managers, merchandisers, etc.)
7 Steps to Become an Email Marketing Expert
These are the seven steps to follow to learn email marketing and become an email marketing professional.
- Understand how email marketing works
- Build your email marketing skills
- Learn how digital sales funnels work
- Choose your email marketing tools
- Master the A/B testing process
- Build your copywriting skills
- Study email marketing case studies
1. Understand how email marketing works
The first step to becoming an email marketing manager is to gain a complete understanding of how email marketing works.
In simple terms, email marketing is a method of digital marketing where you communicate with your audience through email messages.
It is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing and was around well before pay-per-click ad services and social media platforms.
While these more recent forms of marketing allow businesses to reach their audience at scale, there are still advantages to email marketing not found in other types of marketing.
Some of the biggest benefits to using email marketing include:
You own your audience – Unlike other marketing channels, you can control your list of email subscribers. As such, you can market to them as much as you like and in the manner you like.
High ROI – Email marketing has shown to generate up to a 4400% return on investment (ROI). This is considerably higher than most other digital marketing channels.
Easy to automate – Today’s email marketing software makes it easy to configure your email marketing campaigns to automatically trigger when people take certain actions.
Improved relationships with customers – Email provides a direct channel to your audience. You can communicate with your subscribers on a more personal level, building a stronger connection in the process.
Here is a quick summary of how the email marketing process works.
You create an email marketing strategy
Like any other marketing channel, email requires you to plan your strategy in advance. You need to know how email fits into your overall marketing strategy and what goals you want to achieve with your campaigns.
Establishing clear objectives for your email campaigns will help you know what tools to use and the best approach to take.
You get subscribers onto your email list
Your email list is a critical part of email marketing. If you want your marketing efforts to be successful, you need a list with plenty of active subscribers.
Building an email list involves getting sign-up forms in front of your target audience. You place the forms on your website, whether as a popup or part of a dedicated landing page.
Opt-ins forms often give users something in exchange for free. These free gifts (known as lead magnets) help incentivize people to join an email newsletter.
Popular things you can give away for a subscription include ebooks, checklists, discounts, webinars.
You configure email automation
Modern email marketing software allows you to automate a wide variety of tasks. Once a subscriber is on your list you can have automated campaigns send them a sequence of messages.
Some of the most common email automation tasks include:
- Welcome emails
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Post-purchase win back series
- Loyalty rewards
- Requesting customer feedback
You monitor performance
Email marketing managers must continually monitor the success of their campaigns to find areas for improvement.
By diving into the analytics within your email marketing solution, you can see which messages are driving the best results and which members on your list are the most responsive.
You clean and segment email lists
Over time people may lose interest in your business or may even forget that they signed up for your list. Making the effort to remove inactive subscribers can make your email list cleaner and easier to manage.
Your analytics will better reflect the effectiveness of your campaigns as the performance data is not diluted with inactive subscribers. A healthy list can also lower costs given that many email marketing services based their pricing on subscriber count.
2. Build your email marketing skills
Email marketing managers require a variety of different skills
Some of the important areas email marketers must develop include:
List building and management – Email marketers should know how to use different tactics to get their target audience to subscribe to an email list. As the email list grows, you need the ability to create relevant audience segments
Engagement – Email communications must be engaging while also presenting the unique value of the business. Email marketers have to know how to create messages and campaigns that get opens and clicks.
Deliverability – There are a variety of factors that can affect email deliverability. Email marketers need to know how to configure their messages so that they have the greatest chance of landing in their subscribers’ inboxes.
Automation – Email marketers need to know to set up different email automation tasks. This includes creating autoresponder campaigns and assigning tags or custom fields to subscribers who take certain actions.
An effective way to quickly develop the skills needed as an email marketer is to take an email marketing course.
Courses pack everything you need to learn a subject into a single resource. This saves you the trouble of having to compile multiple resources and wondering how to order the topics you study.
It is designed for complete beginners and teaches you:
- How to grow an email list quickly
- How to create an email list
- How to set up email automation
- How to improve your emails’ engagement
- The best email marketing tool available
3. Learn how digital sales funnels work
Digital marketing funnels help businesses engage with prospects throughout the buying process before they are ready to become customers.
Digital marketing funnels are typically divided into four stages:
Awareness – In this initial stage, a person becomes aware of your business for the first time. They could first learn about your company through social media, paid ads, organic search, another website, and more.
Discovery – During this stage, a person will start engaging with your business more by consuming your content and learning more about what you offer.
Consideration – In this stage, the prospect will spend even more time on your website. They may even follow you on social media or subscribe to your email newsletter.
Conversion – This is the stage where you convince the customer to complete a purchase. The amount of time it takes to complete the conversion stage will depend on the type of product or service you are selling.
Each stage of the funnel uses different types of content to target that particular audience segment. The further down the funnel you go, the more narrow the targeting.
When planning content for the digital marketing funnel, it is helpful to view the funnel in the following segments:
Top of the Funnel (TOFU) – Top of funnel content introduces prospects to your business during the awareness stage. Common types of TOFU content include paid ads, landing pages, visual media, and videos.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) – This type of content targets the discovery and consideration stages of the funnel where people are starting to pick up their engagement with your business.
Content during this stage should look to provide value while solving the audience’s pain points. Examples of MOFU content include case studies, long-form guides and blog posts, and product/service comparisons.
Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) – This type of content targets visitors in the conversion stage as they are deciding whether to purchase from your business.
Common examples of BOFU content that can help lead to sales include discounts, free trials and demos, and dedicated sales pages.
For example, if someone visits one of your product category pages, you can configure your email marketing software to automatically send a follow-up message showing items from that category.
4. Choose your email marketing tools
As an email marketing expert, you need to know how to use a wide variety of email marketing software.
This includes email automation software, list-building platforms, A/B testing tools, and landing page builders.
For email marketing software, we recommend Mailchimp for creating campaigns and setting up email automation.
Here are some of Mailchimp’s key features:
- Comes with plenty of pre-built templates
- Easy integrations with platforms like WordPress, Shopify, and WooCommerce
- Affordable compared to other email marketing solutions
- Easy to use interface
- Pre-built workflows and automation
- In-depth reports and analytics
Mailchimp offers four tiers for plans: free, Essentials, Standard, and Premium.
The higher the tier, the more features that are available. Pricing is based on the number of contacts on your email list. Each type of plan has a limit to the total number of subscribers you can have on your list.
If you want access to all the essential marketing features, you’ll have to sign up for the Standard plan.
The standard plan costs $99 per month if you have 10,000 subscribers. If you have 30,000 subscribers, it costs $249 per month.
The right lead generation tool can help improve your opt-in rate, leading to a larger email list
We recommend OptinMonster for capturing leads for your list.
With OptinMonster you can:
- Easily integrate your favorite email marketing software
- Create various types of sign up forms
- Set your opt-in forms to only trigger in certain situations
- Build forms quickly with a visual editor
- Conduct A/B tests on different elements of your forms to see which performs best
The strength of OptinMonster lies in its ability to easily create attractive opt-in forms with detailed rules for targeting and triggering.
Some of the different form types you can create include:
- Lightbox popup
- Sidebar widget
- Fullscreen welcome mat
- Mobile optimized popups
You can set your forms to be “exit-intent”. This ensures that they only show when a visitor is about to leave the page. You also have the option to only have your forms show on certain pages.
5. Master the A/B testing process
A/B testing is the process of comparing multiple versions of a webpage, email, or other variables to see which one performs better.
Common things to A/B test in email marketing include:
- Subject lines
- Call to action copy
- Landing page design
- Email send times
- Sign up forms
- Email length
When you start an A/B test, you should establish goals for what you are trying to achieve with the experiment.
Knowing what you want to optimize will make it clear which elements are most important to test.
For example, if you wanted to increase email open rates, you could test different subject lines.
You would send one subject line to half of your subscribers and the other to the other half.
You then track the performance for each message to see which has the higher open rate.
Popular email marketing solutions make it easy to perform A/B tests on your campaigns.
For example with Mailchimp, you just choose a variable such as body text or subject line and what percentage of your subscribers are sent each version of the content.
As the different versions are sent to your subscribers, you simply view the campaign reports to see which is performing better.
If you’re testing different areas of marketing simultaneously (like your email messages and landing pages) you are probably using several different testing tools.
In this case, you need to know how to use a centralized tool like a spreadsheet to monitor the results of the different tests in a single place.
6. Build your copywriting skills
To become a great email marketing manager, you will need to build your copywriting skills.
The goal of copywriting is to write in a manner that encourages readers to take a specific action. In email marketing, it can lead directly to more opens, clicks, and conversions.
Here are some of the copywriting techniques you’ll need to master as an email marketing manager:
Punchy subject lines – Subject lines function as a headline to an article. They are meant to grab the reader’s attention and convince them to open the email. Email marketing specialists must master the ability to write engaging copy within a short space.
Personalization – Personalization is a big part of email copy. Part of the reason it is so common is that modern email marketing software makes it easy to personalize your email messages. Knowing how to use personalization in email copy can help email marketers build relationships with subscribers and increase conversions.
Making copy actionable – All email messages will include some call to action that you want the reader to complete. It could be to click a button to go to a blog post or to encourage someone to take advantage of a discount. Persuading people to take action requires a certain type of language. Email marketers should know how to use powerful words that are better at eliciting an emotional response. You should also have the ability to write effectively using the active voice.
Storytelling – Stories are a natural part of human communication. As an email marketing specialist, you should know how to use storytelling to generate interest and build a stronger connection with your audience.
7. Study email marketing case studies
A great way to learn how email marketing knowledge can lead to real-world results is to study email marketing case studies.
Case studies give you a direct insight into a company’s approach so that you can compare their tactics to the results they achieved.
Email marketing case studies often show how companies who first introduce email marketing campaigns can experience a substantial increase in revenue.
Case studies can also show how a company used A/B testing to optimize parts of its email marketing.
Here are two examples of case studies that provide great insight into how to make email marketing work and the benefits you can receive:
Dormify is an eCommerce home goods store focused on customers with smaller living spaces.
The company wanted to provide its audience with more relevant content but didn’t want to have to manually create many different promotions for each audience segment.
They decided to create three email campaigns that automatically target different parts of their audience:
Welcome series – This campaign sends an automated sequence of messages to new email subscribers. The first message contains promotion and several blocks of products.
The second email showcases the brand’s social media profiles.
Along with reiterating the discount, the third email contains a free design plan quiz for those looking for inspiration.
Abandoned cart series – The cart abandonment series sends a sequence of messages to users who leave the site with items in their cart. The first message shows the user the exact items they had in their cart with a reminder they haven’t completed their purchase.
The second email in the series contains a promotional offer and another reminder to complete the order.
Post-purchase series – The post-purchase series has two emails each focusing on different goals.
The first is to encourage repeat purchases by getting customers to come back and buy again.
The second email encourages customers to share their shopping experiences on social media.
A year after implementing these campaigns, the company had achieved the following results:
- 92% increase in revenue from email marketing
- Email traffic converted twice as much as the rest of website traffic
- Email visitors stayed for 42% longer on average
The company found that 22% of all email revenue was the result of the welcome series. Messages in that campaign had a 25% open rate and a 3.13% clickthrough rate.
Messages in the cart abandonment series had the highest open rate at 32%.
You can check out the full case study along with the creative samples here.
Campaign Monitor provides a great case study of how you can use A/B testing to improve the performance of your email marketing campaigns.
The company wanted to see whether using call-to-action (CTA) buttons or plain text links would lead to a better clickthrough rate.
They created different versions of a message, one with a button and one with just a text link. They then sent this message to their subscribers to see the results.
They found that using the CTA button led to 28% in click-throughs.
Email marketing remains one of the best forms of digital marketing. An effective email marketing strategy can lead to a very high ROI. It can also help grow a brand’s audience.
You can become a successful email marketing manager by following these steps:
Learn how email marketing works – You should understand the email marketing process all the way from gathering subscribers to analyzing the success of your campaigns.
Build your email marketing skills – Email marketing professionals require a wide range of skills. You should know how to create engaging messages, how to structure campaigns, how to use different software, and more.
Learn how digital sales funnels – Sales funnels help you to target members of your audience based on their unique position in the buying journey. Email marketing is an important part of sales funnels as it allows you to automate communication based on a prospect’s current funnel position.
Choose your email marketing tools – Email marketing requires heavy use of different technical solutions. We recommend learning your way around Mailchimp for email automation and OptinMonster for list building.
Master the A/B testing process – When you know how to perform A/B tests you can optimize every variable of your email campaigns.
Build your copywriting skills – Copy plays a big role in how successful email messages are. Email marketing managers need the ability to write concise, engaging copy that leads to more clicks and conversions.
Study email marketing case studies – Case studies can give you a real-world example of the results different email marketing tactics can bring.