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30+ Skills Email Marketing Managers Should Have And Hiring Mistakes To Avoid

For over a decade, email has been the marketing channel that yields the most ROI and is a primary driver of customer acquisition and retention.

81% of SMBs report that email is their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% believe it increases customer retention.


Despite these statistics, the duty of email marketing is often dumped on unqualified employees: interns, salespeople, anyone with “marketing” in their job title, or simply the most tech-savvy employee in the room!

Great email marketing requires more than writing skills and a little marketing knowledge. It takes technical expertise to oversee email strategy, design, deliverability, automation, and much more.

And, given that,

ROI from email marketing now stands at just over $55 for every $1 spent,

DMA. 2019

the person at the helm of email marketing strategies should be qualified and dedicated to the task.

So, in this article, I’ll offer various insights into the email marketing manager role:

  • The differences between email marketing managers and email marketing coordinators.
  • An overview of each role.
  • A comprehensive list of over 30 important skills for email marketing managers.
  • Mistakes to avoid when filling the position.
  • Mistakes to avoid when accepting the position.

Whether you are hiring or applying for an email marketing position, these insights will help you make the right decisions.

What’s The Difference Between an Email Marketing Manager and An Email Marketing Coordinator?

An email marketing manager focuses on email marketing strategy, while an email marketing coordinator supports the day-to-day execution of individual campaigns.

You could say the email marketing manager is the “brain” of the operations and the email marketing coordinator is the “brawn.”

What Does An Email Marketing Manager Do?

An email marketing manager (or specialist) creates email marketing strategies that align with business goals. They oversee the planning, development, and implementation of email campaigns that support the organization’s omni-channel marketing strategy, while taking content strategy, the user experience, and the buyer’s journey all into account.

The email marketing manager is held accountable for the overall performance of the email channel:

What Does An Email Marketing Coordinator Do?

An email marketing coordinator is responsible for the day to day implementation of email campaigns  and all associated tasks:

  • Creating the email calendar
  • Creating email assets (e.g. graphics and images)
  • Building email templates
  • Creating and editing landing pages
  • A/B testing
  • Copywriting
  • Managing related marketing automations

Email marketing coordinators also monitor and report campaign KPIs (e.g. open rates, click rates, click through rates) and make ad-hoc adjustments to improve campaign performance. They are fundamentally responsible for following best email practices, ensuring deliverability, and troubleshooting emails as needed.

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When Do You Need To Hire An Email Marketing Manager?

If you are looking for someone to take ownership of email strategies and drive conversions that support business goals, then you need an email marketing manager.

Now that you have a better understanding of the role, I’ll give you an overview of the email marketing manager position and a list of important skills that can be used as a template for a job listing.

Overview/General Description of the Email Marketing Manager Position

An email marketing manager is responsible for leading the email marketing strategy for the company and aligning it with evolving business goals. This includes the meticulous management of the company’s ongoing email marketing campaigns and all associated tasks.

This position supports sales, marketing, and customer service efforts to ensure that customers receive high-quality and error-free communications that will inform, entertain, and guide their journey with the brand.

Skills and Responsibilities

The following is a complete list of skills and responsibilities that would be included in the job description for an email marketing manager.

Core Responsibilities

  • Leading the strategy, planning, and implementation of email marketing campaigns
  • Implementing a lead nurturing strategy that will support conversions and ultimately drive revenue
  • Taking ownership of the creation, scheduling, and execution of promotional email campaigns


Responsible for the completion and/or delegation of all tasks associated with creating email campaigns:

  • Copywriting and content creation (e.g. graphics) for email campaigns
  • Managing, editing, and customizing email templates
  • Creating and editing landing pages associated with email campaigns
  • Managing automations for email campaigns in the ESP/CRM
  • Audience segmentation
  • Email list management
  • Audience and competitive research to identify strategic opportunities

Quality Assurance

  • Ensuring that all emails are personalized with available data and proofread for accuracy
  • Ensuring that data is collected and updated for accurate reporting
  • Adhering to best email sender practices for deliverability

Performance and Reporting

  • Ensuring email campaigns meet KPI benchmarks and goals
  • Implementing A/B and multivariate testing to optimize email performance
  • Reporting email campaign performance to leadership

Skills and Technical Experience

  • HTML/CSS and responsive email design
  • Content management systems
  • Email service providers (ESPs)
  • Marketing automation
  • Copywriting and SEO copywriting*
  • Graphic Design
  • Project management

*What is SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting a form of copywriting that leverages keyword research, user intent, and audience research to create content that is recognizable by search engine algorithms, performs competitively in organic search, and contributes to page authority. It is commonly used by marketers to achieve top rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Clinton Byrd – Growth Marketing Expert

Soft Skills and Abilities

  • Leadership skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Time management skills
  • A firm understanding of content strategy
  • A firm understanding of buyer journeys and marketing funnels
  • A firm understanding of how to communicate value propositions to resonate with target audiences

Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid When Hiring an Email Marketing Manager

It was hard work getting those contacts, so don’t burn them with poor staffing decisions. To help prevent this, next we’ll discuss some common mistakes that businesses should avoid when filling an email marketing position.

Avoid Assigning Unqualified Employees

Employers often get around hiring an email marketing expert by lumping email marketing tasks in as “additional duties.” If you went to a doctor, would you be OK with being treated by the receptionist instead? The same goes for giving an unqualified employee ownership over one of your most important marketing channels.

In these situations, an employee will look at these tasks as just, “another thing on a long list of other things to do.” This also distracts from that employee’s primary duties. In the end, you won’t get the level of quality, strategy, or attention, that email marketing requires, which is a recipe for a marketing disaster.

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Benchmark Error

If you don’t have a dedicated email marketing team, then you shouldn’t benchmark your campaign results against competitors who do. You can’t measure yourself against “industry standard open rates” when you don’t have an industry-standard team. This leads to benchmark error and is not fair to the employee who is being held to those standards.

Great email campaigns are the products of great email marketing strategies:

  • Lead nurturing techniques
  • Audience segmentation
  • Lead qualification
  • Content strategy
  • Behavioral Data
  • Revenue Attribution

and more. It aligns them all.

Without an expert guiding email marketing strategies with all of that in focus, then your best bet is to identify competitors with a similar infrastructure to benchmark against. Otherwise, you can look in your historical email performance data to find your best-performing campaigns and use them to set your benchmarks.

Pro Tip: Smaller companies can potentially pivot strategies and react to trends faster than larger companies. So don’t you dare think that you can’t outperform the big boys just because they have bigger teams!

Mistakes To Avoid When Accepting An Email Marketing Manager Role

If you are inexperienced in email marketing but have accepted the responsibility, all hope is not lost. After all, you have a big opportunity to shine and become the voice of the company to all subscribers! Nevertheless, these are a few mistakes that you should take care to avoid.

Generic Messaging

If effective email marketing is though goal, then the idea of making emails just to “get something out there” won’t do. Effective emails require an understanding of the business’ value proposition, it requires the skill to communicate it effectively to different audiences in different stages of their buyer’s journey. Generic messages won’t get those great responses that businesses always want.

To achieve those desired results, you will need to be immersed in the company’s brand, value propositions, and content. You should train yourself in the art of quick pitches. Because you have about 3-5 seconds, to convince a reader, with your subject lines and pre-headers, to take any action. Then, you need to be able to quickly build value for your content to inspire engagements.

ESP Platform Learning Curves

If you are thrust into an email marketing role, then you are likely not familiar with email service providers. So, there will be a learning curve. Before you take on this responsibility to manage them, you’ll to be proficient in the most prevalent email marketing platforms, including:

Some of these tools make audience segmentation recommendations and email template creation easier than others. So, I recommend for you familiarize yourself with some of the most commonly used platforms and use free online training and resources that are available.

While an ESP like Mailchimp is very beginner-friendly, if you are facing an advanced platform like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you may want to bow out so that you have time to train up.

Note: If you dive into Salesforce, you should have a firm understanding of relational databases and some SQL, since they also use data extensions rather than just lists.

If you’re an employer, then hopefully this helped you to determine the ideal candidate and convinced you of the value of getting “the right person for the job!”

And if you are looking to join the exciting world of email marketing, now you know what you should learn to be a great one.

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