The digital marketing environment has never been more active and diverse. New tools and strategies are pioneered on a constant basis, powered by a marketing landscape with some 4,000 marketing technology solutions and counting. Yet despite all new innovations, one classic channel—email—continues to thrive as a core component of nearly any mature digital marketing strategy.
After more than two decades of popularity, email marketing continues to be one of the most sought-after skillsets in the entire field. And for good reason; email is an ROI factory with low barrier to entry and high potential value for any business.
The email marketing of today is considerably different from that of even just a few years ago, however. Job opportunities remain strong for professionals with email marketing expertise; as long as that expertise modern and on the cutting edge. Here are the most commonly requested secondary skills our clients ask us to find in the email marketers they’re looking to hire.
Automation isn’t a brand new aspect of email marketing. But today’s sophisticated email campaigns are more than the simple automated replies of yesterday. They have sensitive customer triggers, elaborately designed workflows, and analytically-driven segmentation for optimal relevance and response. The ability to strategize, design and build such systems, either through an existing platform like Hubspot or Salesforce or a custom-coded solution, is highly sought after.
Today’s most effective email marketing systems work hand-in-hand with other business functions: social, ecommerce, advertising, sales, customer service and more. But email marketers too often operate in a silo from the rest of the marketing operation, either in an insulated team within the department or at an agency that’s entirely separate from the heart of the business’s marketing.
The challenge of bringing the instant one-on-one communication power of email to other organizational pillars is both a technical and a leadership one.
You’ll need the practical know-how to make separate (often uncooperative) systems to work together. But more importantly, higher-level email marketers need the emotional intelligence and leadership ability to get the necessary buy-in from others in order to implement change and progress.
Because we tend to do most of our work on desktops, many marketers fall into the pitfall of designing email layouts and strategies based on what they see on their own screen. Big mistake—and one that will quickly antiquate your career.
56% of email opens are now on mobile devices, and that trend isn’t going to reverse at any point. Don’t think mobile just means smartphones and tablet screens, either. Digital marketers increasingly need to consider email marketing experiences on wearables, text-to-speech email conversion, and more in a rapidly-growing Internet of Things (and shaping their messaging and coding skills accordingly).
Analytics and Testing
Today’s email marketers are absolutely expected to be able to report on the results they’re driving and the steps they’re taking to improve. That means being able to precisely measure key KPIs: open rate, click rate, conversions, etc.
Thanks to modern technology, that part is usually relatively easy. The hard part is reading into those results, finding the meaningful information, detecting trends, and making decisions accordingly. Basic A/B and multivariate email testing that enables finding the right data and optimizing over time is surprisingly uncommon even among veteran email marketing talent.
Planning for the Future
As with most other aspects of digital marketing, the future of email is somewhat uncertain. The good news is; it’s probably here to stay. 70% of consumers think email will still be around in 10 years.
Image source: Litmus
The future will certainly look different from what we understand it to be today. What major trends are you preparing for in email in the coming years? I’d love to hear your expectations, and what you’re doing to keep your skills sharp, in the comments below!