How to become an email marketing specialist (with tips)

Updated 24 August 2023

If you have ever received a promotional or branded email, it's likely as a result of the work of an email marketing specialist. Their role is to create personalised, informative and engaging emails that bring in customers and encourage them to purchase products or services. If you're wondering how to become an email marketing specialist, there are a variety of things you can do to begin a career in this role. In this article, we discuss the role of an email marketing specialist, the steps you can take to become one and the responsibilities that the role entails.

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How to become an email marketing specialist and what the role entails

If you're wondering how to become an email marketing specialist, it's important that you first grasp an understanding of the role. An email marketing specialist is a digital marketing professional who specifically focuses on creating and designing emails, generating leads through email lists and using impressive writing techniques to generate sales. In an age where social media and digital marketing are becoming the most important ways of generating new leads, the role of an email marketing specialist is one that is high in demand, where businesses wish to modernise their outdated marketing processes.

There are also a number of ways you can work in this field. For example, you can choose to work for a standalone business, for a digital or email marketing agency or on a freelance basis. By doing this, you can gain a greater understanding of the industry and make yourself more employable. Outside of university, there are a number of different ways you can learn about these essential skills. Here are some steps to consider taking if you want to become an email marketing specialist:

1. Complete a marketing bachelor's degree

Although a bachelor's degree is not always necessary in this field, it's a great way to boost your employability while similarly gaining a deep understanding of marketing techniques. Many universities in the U.K. offer marketing degrees and many are now also offering digital marketing degrees. This is a great chance to gain a specialist understanding of digital marketing skills and improve your knowledge of those skills.

Related: What Is email marketing? (Tips on how to launch a campaign)

2. Learn digital marketing essentials

Once you complete your degree or decide to pursue a different path, you can gain experience and skills by learning about the digital marketing essentials. There are many different skills that can be typical in digital marketing, which can include content marketing, social media marketing and website marketing. Many different companies offer professional development courses where you can learn everything there is to know about digital marketing. To succeed in a role as an email marketing specialist, it is important to have a deep understanding of all of these marketing channels.

Related: Digital marketing skills: definition and examples

3. Understand SEO

One of the most important skills you can gain to work as an email marketer is to have a deep understanding of SEO, or search engine optimisation. This is the process of optimising all content, including emails and online content using keywords and other tools to ensure that it ranks highly in search engines. By ensuring that all of the content you produce ranks highly and is visible on the first page of results for the search term you want, you can gain more leads to the company that you work for and order from its website.

4. Gain experience

Once you gain a deep understanding of digital marketing and its practices, the next step is to gain experience in the field of digital marketing. Although some companies and agencies may hire you as an email marketing specialist without any experience, some bigger firms may want you to have a track record. Therefore, to boost your CV and your employability, consider taking the time to gain experience in a similar digital marketing role, such as content marketing, social media direction or writing. You may also be able to learn from other more experienced marketers how to be more creative.

Related: 10 positions in marketing (with duties and salary info)

5. Learn how to use subscription and analysis tools

One of the most complicated aspects of a role in email marketing is understanding how to use subscription and analytic tools to boost your engagement and to, in turn, generate leads. Many companies expect you to have some knowledge of how to use analytical tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Ads reporting and Google data studio. These tools can be tricky to learn by yourself. If you want a career as an email marketing specialist, you may want to consider taking a course in these subjects or learn about them in free tutorials online.

6. Stay up to date on marketing trends

Technology changes quickly and, sometimes directly as a result, so do marketing trends. For example, Google makes lots of updates per year to the way their search engine system operates, which changes how their algorithms work and how Google presents the webpages during Google searches. This, in turn, changes the way SEO works, meaning that specialists regularly take the time to familiarise themselves with the latest SEO and digital marketing trends so that you can stay up to date and continue to create email marketing campaigns that are on-trend for the market.

Related: What does an email marketing manager do? (Including duties)

Responsibilities of an email marketing specialist

If you choose an email marketing specialist position, your role can vary. Here are some of the main responsibilities that an email marketing specialist might complete on a daily basis:

  • creating a wide variety of different email marketing campaigns

  • monitoring all campaigns

  • designing emails to optimise to be website and mobile-friendly

  • creating and compiling email lists

  • securing email databases for future lists

  • creating digital ads

  • tracking and analysing each campaign

  • following up on emails

Businesses may expect email marketing specialists to work on one campaign every day or to work on a wide variety of campaigns for different companies every week. What they work on depends on the size of the company and the particular role that the email marketer has.

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What types of email marketing are there?

If you are thinking about becoming an email marketing specialist, it is important to understand the different types of email marketing. This is so that you can utilise each type throughout your marketing campaigns. Here are some of the most common types of email that a marketer might send:

  • Welcome email: When a new user becomes a customer or they sign up to your emailing list, most companies send out a welcome email to give them more detail about the company. This is a useful email as it can remind the client about your services and set the time between them and the brand.

  • Customer story emails: If you want to increase the engagement of your email marketing, customer story emails can highlight how successful your brand is and how it can help clients. Ideally, this content comes straight from customers and to do this, make sure you spend time gaining customer information and encouraging them to speak more positively about the company.

  • Order confirmation emails: As soon as a client makes a purchase on the website, make sure that you send an order confirmation email. Although these may seem like boring emails, they have the opportunity to be engaging. For example, attaching a discount coupon to this email can encourage more repeat business.

  • Promotional emails: Everybody loves a discount coupon and promotional emails have a proven track record of encouraging clients to purchase. By sending these promotional emails to new customers or those who may be most responsive to promotions, you can generate more sales for the company you are working for with ease.

  • Cart abandonment emails: While some people decide not to purchase, others simply forget to purchase altogether. Cart abandonment emails are an easy way to remind customers about their cart, which can lead to more sales and can cut the rate of cart abandonments drastically.

  • Re-engagement emails: Although email marketers do everything they can to ensure that their customers engage with their emails, some just aren't receptive to emails. Decide on a case-by-case basis whether to send re-engagement emails to increase customer engagement.


  • 15 best email marketing software to boost your business

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