30+ Skills Email Marketing Specialists Should Have – Managers vs Coordinators

For over a decade, email has been the marketing channel that yields the most ROI and continues to be 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 facts like these, email marketing duties are often dumped on unqualified employees: interns, salespeople, anyone with “marketing” in their job title, or simply the most tech-savvy employee!

With the ROI from email marketing as high as $55 for every $1 spent (DMA. 2019), the person at the helm of the email channel should be qualified and dedicated to the task.

So, in this article, I’ll explain many facets of email marketing roles:

  • The differences between email marketing managers and coordinators
  • A comprehensive list of over 30 important email marketing skills
  • Common mistakes to avoid

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 implementation and execution of email marketing 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 omnichannel 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 marketing 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 calendarCreating marketing assets (e.g. graphics and images)
  • Building email templates
  • Creating and editing landing pages
  • A/B testing
  • Copywriting
  • Managing related marketing automation

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

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.

Sample Job Overview For An 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.

Important Email Marketing Skills and Responsibilities

The following is a complete list of skills and responsibilities that would be included in a job description, or used as a template for a job listing, 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
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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 automation 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 (ESP’s) for email delivery
  • Marketing automation platforms
  • Copywriting and SEO copywriting*
  • Graphic Design
  • Project management

*What is SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting is 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 search 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 and project 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 To Avoid When Hiring an Email Marketing Manager

Poor email marketing leads to unsubscribes. Don’t burn those contacts that you worked so for with poor staffing decisions.

While hiring, I’ve seen prospects go farther into the interview process than they were qualified to. So, to prevent this, we’ll discuss some common mistakes that hiring managers and recruiters 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 on as “additional duties.”

If you went to a doctor, would accept being treated by the receptionist instead? The same logic goes for giving unqualified employees ownership over one of your most important marketing channels.

Avoid making email marketing another thing to do on a long list of tasks. This only serves to distract your employee from their primary responsibilities and likely diminish their overall performance.

In the end, you won’t get the level of quality, strategy, or attention to your email marketing that you are likely required. Which is a recipe for a marketing disaster.

Benchmark Error

If you don’t have a dedicated email marketing team, then you shouldn’t benchmark your campaign results against competitors who do.

How can you measure yourself against “industry-standard click rates” when you don’t have an “industry standard” team? This can quickly lead to benchmark error and is not fair to the employee(s) 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 team, your next best option is to identify competitors with similar internal 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 internal benchmarks.

Pro Tip: Smaller companies can potentially pivot strategies and react to trends faster than larger companies. So don’t 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, hope is not lost. You have the unique opportunity to become the voice of the company to all of its subscribers!

But, there are a few common mistakes that you should avoid.

Generic Messaging

If effective email marketing is your goal, don’t let anyone pressure you into just “getting some emails out there.”

With only about 3-5 seconds to convince a reader with a subject line to even open your email, you’ll need to find unique ways to communicate your companies value to different audiences at different stages of their buyer’s journey.

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Immersing yourself in the company’s brand and content will help you achieve this, and to avoid sounding like a clone of every other promotional email or a bad late-night infomercial.

Discover your brand’s personality, and use it to fine-tune the delivery of your message for your audiences.

Email Marketing Automation Platform Learning Curves

If you are thrust into an email marketing role, then you are likely not familiar with an email marketing automation platform. So, you may face a steep learning curve.

Before you take on this responsibility, train to be proficient in at least one of the most prevalent email marketing platforms:

While they have many similarities, some of these tools make common tasks, like audience segmentation and email template creation, easier than others. So, familiarize yourself with them and take advantage of any free online training resources you can find.

And note that while a platform like Mailchimp is easy to learn, an enterprise-level marketing platform like Salesforce Marketing Cloud requires technical skills, like knowledge of relational databases, SQL, and data extensions (rather than lists alone) – so, take care not to get in over your head.

If you’ve made it this far, then you should know more than enough information to determine a good job candidate.

And if you are entering the exciting world of email marketing, then you should know the skills you’ll need to learn to be a great one.


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About Author
C. "Nez" Byrd

An expert club promoter, innovative marketing executive, and entrepreneur from NYC. The founder of Always The VIP LLC, a top nightlife trend website, and creative mind leading growth marketing strategies for SaaS, B2B, and B2C companies. He is a sought after blogger, having written authoritative articles on email marketing, SEO Due Diligence, and the nightlife industry who finds deep joy in creating memorable experiences to connect people of all colors together.

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