Whether you’re manning the email marketing fort, training a team, or looking to hire a specialist, there are some concrete skills every email marketing specialist should have. We’re here to help you figure out what that list looks like, and how to get these skills.

#1 Knowing How to Survey the Scene

Survey The Scene

Email marketing doesn’t start with your email campaigns. It starts with understanding the conversation around you. It’s the job of every smart email marketing specialist to survey the scene and understand the conversation around them. That starts with listening.

Listening is actually one of the most important things you can be doing on social media. While many marketers think the point of social media is to engage, it’s just as important to keep your eyes and ears open for what people are talking about and how they’re talking about it. There are simple ways to do that including setting up lists and checking in with those lists on a daily basis to see where the conversation is going. But for more aggressive email marketing specialists, there are social media listening tools that range from free to paid structures.

# 2 Understanding What Your Audience Wants

A “Science of Email” study shows that 64% of email subscribers prefer rich text emails. Once you figure out if your demographic – and which part of your demographic – falls into that category, the next step is seeing what they consider rich. While rich to me might be a thousand words, rich for most people might just mean a good 400 words with a link to a landing page if they want to read on or find out more.

Then there’s the question of knowing that not everyone wants words. This goes back to your demographic. Some readers might only be interested in visual content or a certain type of content like quarterly updates or weekly check-ins. Others might like in-depth material. To understand what your audience wants, you need to ask them. The best time to do that is to get them to check off their preferences when they opt-in to your email list.

#3 Automation Makes Your Life Easier


Emails that reward people for signing up do something else: they bring people into the world of your brand. The first email you send once someone has signed up is the most important one. It’s the one that statistically as a 41% chance of being opened up over any other email you’ll ever send again, and it has a 14% click-through rate, which is pretty high considering you’re looking at 14% of 41%.

Being an email marketing specialist is a misunderstood position. Unless you’ve done it and understand what needs to be done to be successful (see above), people are going to think you’re sitting there stuffing and licking envelopes – the real-time equivalent to what they think email marketing is about. We know better. We know you have a lot of fine tuning to know what the message should be, how to craft it, and how to repackage it for each segmented audience. That’s why you need to use automation as much as you can, especially the follow-up emails thanking people for signing up.

Being an email marketing specialist is about being smart and using all the tools at your disposal to run a full-time, well-oiled machine. You’re the proverbial wizard behind the curtain, pulling levers and pushing buttons – and somehow it all seems to work on the other end. But you and I know there is a lot that goes on (and needs to go on) behind the scenes.

What are some other things that you think email marketers should know? Share your ideas in the comments!


by Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Benchmark Email's Online Marketing Specialist and Small Business Advocate. An Orange County based writer, Shireen specializes in online marketing and public relations. She has written for over 75 publications and has launched nine successful new media campaigns to date. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Denver Post, the Oklahoman and Green Air Radio, among others.