Want to know how many people are really involved in creating an effective email marketing department for eCommerce brands? In this article, we’ll explain exactly how our organisation is structured and how you can build your own email department too.
Many D2C brands are under the impression that in order to execute an effective email marketing strategy, you simply need to hire a rockstar email strategist.
I know this as I’m an email strategist myself.
In fact, I’m also a trained copywriter (a pretty damn good one, too) but this still isn’t sufficient.
What brands often underestimate is the complexity of email as a channel and the small intricacies that go into building and scheduling emails.
In order to execute a killer email marketing strategy, you’ll need much more than a competent email strategist. You’ll need the following individuals at your disposal:
- Email strategist
- Project manager
- Graphic designer
- Email engineer
- Q.A tester
Every single client that works with Magnet Monster has a dedicated individual that fulfils these roles inside our organisation working on their account. Let’s discuss in-depth what each role entails.
1: Email Strategist
This is where the fundamentals of an effective email marketing strategy starts. The email strategist should be a high-level conceptual thinker, familiar with the eCommerce ecosystem beyond email as a channel and well versed in the need to take an omnichannel approach to marketing.
The strategist should be able to structure harmonious workflows between paid social to email and collaborate cross-department with other areas of the business to maximise results.
The email strategist should provide a roadmap for what both the email automation infrastructure should look like (abandoned cart flow, welcome flow, etc) as well as being responsible for the ongoing planning and management of email campaigns (newsletters, Black Friday, sales promotions, etc) on an ongoing basis.
Additionally, the email strategist needs to be the leader of their team and the other individuals involved in the planning process and accountable to the end results. This means having a finger on the pulse of the outcomes and objectives of every email, along with providing contextual reports on analytics on an ongoing basis to the stakeholders/client.
Each email strategist needs to have a detailed understanding of what is going on inside the account they manage at any time and be responsible for setting and owning the KPIs pertinent to the client's business.
Inside our agency, every client we work with has a dedicated email strategist that shapes the direction of the account they’re working with and is responsible for their ongoing success.
2: Project Manager
Once the strategy is finalised, the email strategist disseminates this down to the project manager. The project manager is responsible for managing deliverables and ensuring deadlines are met in a timely manner by the design team.
The project manager is responsible for managing the daily debrief, weekly workflow and utilising the appropriate planning tools at their disposal to ensure the project runs smoothly (Trello, Dropbox, Slack, etc).
The project manager will liaise with the client on deliverables to ensure approval (or the brand’s creative director, if it’s managed in-house) and the standards of the brand guidelines and email strategy are upheld.
The project manager is the glue that brings all the team together. At one stage, we debated whether to remove project managers and just let email strategists manage fewer accounts and be more responsible for deliverables. We reversed this decision and couldn’t be happier - our email strategists can now focus exclusively on performance and optimisation, and leave the moving parts on deliverables to somebody exclusively focused on organisation.
Every email team needs a strong copywriter. In our organisation, the copywriter goes first, and the design comes second and is fused around the copy.
The copywriter will take the conceptual overview on each individual email concept distributed down from the email strategist/project manager, and then submit back to the PM for review.
Copywriter’s are also responsible for headline creation inside our agency.
4: Graphic Designer
Once the copy is approved, the PM will then send this across to our email designer to begin working their magic.
Taking into account each individual client's unique brand guidelines and having a deep conceptual understanding of design theory is essential here. Anybody can splice images together in an email, but it takes robust design knowledge to assimilate brand guidelines and create a vision for each email, and this is the standard we strive for inhouse and our clients expect of us.
5: Email Engineer
Assuming that the client signs off on the designs, the email is now ready to build. This is where it passes into the trusted hands of our email engineering team.
The email engineers should have a strong background and understanding of HTML and email design limitations. If required, certain emails are coded to meet design specifications. It depends on the clients needs and varies from email-to-email.
Our email engineers not only have a strong understanding of the complexities of building emails but also what can improve inbox placement, what is potentially harmful to deliverability, as well as a deep understanding of Klaviyo (our chosen email service provider/ESP) software.
6: Q.A Tester
Before anything is scheduled, we require an extra set of eyes on every single email from a Q.A tester. This individual is responsible for upholding standards across the board, and will also play a role in not just technical deliverables but also design work across our agency, being involved at each step of the process.
Q.A managers are imperative for having a high-level overview on the overall maintenance of the accounts we work with as well. They are regularly expected to go into flows (along with the email strategist) and ensure effective setup and optimisation to prevent any issues before they arise.
Before a brand decides to proceed with an in-house email team VS an agency, they need to consider the accrued costs from having all of the aforementioned positions in-house.
An email marketing agency often possesses deep specialism in their subject matter and is available at a fraction of the cost necessary to hire a fully-fledged inhouse team.
Is it always the right choice? No. But for most brands doing sub-$50million per year, I’d argue it’s hard to match the deep level of expertise and skill set an agency like ours can offer given the resource allocation we provide to each account.