What Is an Effective Email Marketing Team Structure And How to Build It

What Is an Effective Email Marketing Team Structure And How to Build It
28 March, 2024 • ... • 192 views
Anastasia Ushakova
by Anastasia Ushakova

Email marketing teams develop, execute, and fine-tune email campaigns to drive engagement, nurture leads, and contribute to the company’s marketing goals.

In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of email marketing teams: what they do, the necessary roles, and ways to optimize their functions.

Why you need an email marketing team

An email marketing campaign involves sending a pre-planned series of emails with clear objectives, such as promoting products, driving sales, or nurturing leads. It’s also about creating relevant content and design, determining timing and frequency, optimization, tracking performance metrics for continual improvement, and more. Plus, it often entails using professional email marketing services for automation, tests, and other processes.   

All of the above can be too much to handle for a single individual, especially in larger companies. The email marketing team would have professionals in each field, which would increase the effectiveness of the department and ensure better results.

Specialists necessary for an ideal email marketing team

An effective team structure includes several key roles to ensure all aspects of email marketing are fully covered. The specific structure may differ depending on the size and specifics of a given business, while certain roles may be merged or outsourced. In any case, all specialists in a team should have a clear understanding of what marketing is and how it works, and be aware of different marketing strategies. Keep these factors in mind when building your team. 

In this section, we’ll describe the key professionals most marketing teams need and break down what they do. 

Email marketing strategist

Every successful email campaign begins with a carefully planned strategy. An email marketing strategist develops and executes strategies to maximize the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns and meet specific campaign goals. Their responsibilities include:

  • Strategy development. This involves researching the target audience, defining campaign objectives, and determining the most effective approaches to reach and engage subscribers.
  • Campaign planning. They plan and outline individual email campaigns, including content ideas, messaging strategies, frequency, and timing. 
  • Audience segmentation. Strategists can also segment the subscriber list based on various criteria such as demographics, past behavior, and engagement level.

Project manager

Once a campaign strategy is ready, it requires somebody to execute it. An email marketing project manager oversees and coordinates the execution of email marketing campaigns from conception to completion. A project manager role involves:

  • Campaign scheduling. The PM plans the timeline for each campaign, including content creation, design, review, and deployment, ensuring that all deadlines are met.
  • Team coordination. They collaborate with cross-functional teams such as content writers, designers, developers, and data analysts.
  • Resource management. The project manager allocates resources, including human resources and budget, to ensure a campaign is executed within set parameters.

Writer

An email writer aka copywriter is in charge of creating text content aimed at engaging recipients and driving desired actions, such as clicks or conversions. The copywriter’s responsibilities include:

  • Text content production. The writer develops compelling content for marketing emails, including subject lines, body, headlines and calls-to-action (CTAs). 
  • Audience targeting. This step involves tailoring content to specific target audiences, considering factors such as demographics, interests, and purchasing behavior to ensure relevance.
  • Brand voice. The email writer maintains consistency with the brand’s tone, voice, and messaging guidelines to reinforce brand identity.

Here’s an example of a text written by a copywriter. The style is consistent throughout, and the message is clear and concise.

An email copy by The Tree Center
Source: Really Good Emails

Email designer

An email designer handles creating appealing and engaging digital design elements for marketing emails. Their tasks include:

  • Design creation. Email designers make professional designs for marketing emails, including layouts, fonts, graphics, images, and typography. They ensure that the design aligns with the visual identity of the brand and resonates with the target audience. 
  • Working with images. Designers also find and edit images that match the tone and purpose of the message. This typically involves cropping, resizing, retouching, and applying visual effects. 

Here is a professional email featuring several images, fonts and colors. The design is consistent throughout the email, and the colors picked by the designer represent the product well.

An email by Vacation with professional design
Source: Really Good Emails

Developer

An email developer brings the other team members’ work to life. They are responsible for coding and building email templates and campaigns, as well as the following:

  • HTML/CSS coding. Coding skills are necessary to make sure that the content renders correctly across different email clients and platforms. 
  • Template development. Email developers create reusable email templates that may be customized for different campaigns while maintaining consistency with the brand’s visual identity and guidelines.
  • Responsive design. They also optimize emails for responsiveness, ensuring that emails display properly and are easy to read on different devices and platforms. 

Analyst

As the name suggests, an email marketing analyst is in charge of analyzing data and tracking the success of particular emails and the overall campaign. They are in charge of the following:

  • Data analysis. Analysts examine various data metrics related to email campaigns, including open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates. 
  • Performance tracking. They also track the performance of email marketing campaigns over time, identifying trends and anomalies in metrics. 
  • A/B testing. Analysts design and execute A/B tests to compare different versions of certain elements within an email, such as subject lines, content elements, CTAs, and send times, to determine which variations work best.

Here is an example of an A/B test result from the Selzy dashboard:

An A/B test results screenshot from Selzy dashboard
A/B testing, or split testing, is a common practice in email marketing. To run these tests, email marketers use professional ESPs (email service providers) such as Selzy

Marketing manager

An email marketing manager is the supervisor of the whole email marketing team. They oversee all aspects of a company’s email marketing strategy and execution. It’s the manager’s duty to guarantee that every campaign is in line with business goals and maintains a favorable brand reputation. For that, they handle:

  • Teamwork. A marketing manager answers for effective collaboration between all team members.
  • Communication. They also provide regular progress reports to other team members, as well as to the company’s management and, in some cases, to other stakeholders.
  • Integration with other channels. The marketing manager may be in charge of integration with social media, content marketing, and other channels. 

Overall supervision. The manager ensures the result of each campaign and all email marketing efforts are up to the company’s standards.

Important

While the roles described above typically  cover most of the tasks within the email marketing department, there are more crucial factors to take care of to ensure your email campaigns run smoothly. These include:

  • Compliance. Email marketing campaigns have to follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the CAN-SPAM Act. Failing to do so may result in huge fines. Legal consultants can be necessary to ensure that your email campaigns comply with all relevant laws and regulations. However, it is not common to have legal consultants in email marketing teams, so this task is often delegated to a legal specialist from another department within a company. 
  • Use of ESP. An email service provider (ESP) is a software platform that allows users to send emails in bulk, automate email email campaigns, get detailed analytics reports, and more. All this is crucial to large-scale email marketing campaigns. So, at least one member of the team should be familiar with using an ESP. Here’s a helpful guide to some of the best email marketing services available right now, including yours truly.

What parts of the email marketing team structure can be automated?

Depending on the resources and time constraints of your email marketing campaign, some roles or functions may be automated. Here are the most common ones to automate.

1. Developer

Some developer’s functions may be automated with an email marketing service like Selzy. They allow users to easily create digital templates via drag-and-drop builders without technical knowledge such as HTML coding.

For example, this is what Selzy’s template library and block editor look like:

Selzy template library for e-commerce screenshot
Selzy’s email template library features plenty of block and HTML templates for different industries, including e-commerce. You can choose the ones that fit your campaigns and edit them using your images and copy
Selzy block editor for emails screenshot
Selzy’s easy-to-use block editor allows you to build emails from scratch in a matter of minutes using your own content or content from Selzy’s library

2. Writer

Artificial intelligence is ubiquitous in 2024, and email marketing is no exception. Consider using an AI email generator to assist the writer with creating email copy. 

Selzy AI assistant for email creation
Selzy has an in-built AI assistant that can help you with creating subject lines and preheaders, writing, proofreading, and more

3. Manager/strategist

Some of the managers’ and strategists’ functions may also be automated. This includes segmentation and some elements of campaign planning, such as scheduling and sending of automated emails in drip campaigns.

How to build an effective structure for an email marketing team

1. Determine your budget

Your budget is crucial in deciding between in-house hiring and outsourcing to agencies or freelancers. Hiring an individual for every role may be quite expensive, especially depending on your location. Even though these new hires can bring significant value to your organization, your budget constraints might force you to merge some roles or outsource certain tasks to agencies or freelancers.

2. Decide if certain roles can be combined

As mentioned earlier, sometimes some roles may be combined. 

  • Writer/designer. If your copywriter knows how to utilize standard templates in email automation tools, they may be able to put emails together without a designer. 
  • Strategist/manager. If your email marketing strategist has strong project management skills, these roles may also be combined.
  • Analyst/developer. The roles of an analyst and a developer are both tech-heavy, so it’s not surprising that sometimes they’re performed by the same individual.
  • Borrowing a techie. You can use developers and data analysts from other departments within your organization now and then.

If your company is small and does not have the resources for a team dedicated solely to email marketing, the email marketing manager could take on most of the roles themselves.

3. Determine your reporting structure

When trying to determine your reporting structure, there are two avenues you could take: a functional structure and a hybrid one.

A functional structure entails every member of the team reporting to the strategist. This arrangement applies whether your team is entirely in-house or includes a mix of in-house resources and external contractors like freelancers, agencies, or consultants.

Advantages of a functional structure include:

  • Specialization and expertise. Functional structures allow employees to specialize in their respective areas, developing expertise and efficiency in their roles.
  • Hierarchy and efficiency. The reporting structure is typically clear. This also contributes to the team being more efficient.
  • Efficient resource allocation. Resources can be allocated efficiently within each functional area, maximizing productivity.

But there are also some disadvantages to this structure, including:

  • Slow decision-making. Decision-making processes may be slow as decisions often need approval from multiple functional heads.
  • Lack of flexibility. A functional structure might lack adaptability to changes in the external environment since it’s designed around a specific function.
  • Communication barriers. Communication between different functional areas may be challenging, especially if there are conflicting priorities between departments.

In a hybrid structure, you have the flexibility to use resources from other departments, with the exception of the email strategist. For instance, you can source your copywriter and designer from a different marketing team. 

However, the pros and cons of these two structures are often reversed. That is, the biggest con of employing a hybrid structure is conflicting priorities for shared resources. For example, a developer may have to juggle tasks from both the marketing manager and their line manager. Pros include speed and flexibility — the features a functional structure often lacks.

4. Identify gaps and explore outsourcing options

To identify skills gaps, note necessary skills for each role and compare them with your team’s abilities. 

Should any team member lack specific skills, consider enrolling them in courses and certification programs — there are many resources available on how to become an email marketer.

Alternatively, if necessary, you can outsource any of the roles or hire contractors to evaluate your strategy, design and copywriting.  For example, developers are often hired as freelancers, as the necessary tech skills aren’t always present in in-house teams. In addition, their functions are typically necessary only during the development of new strategies or campaigns, rather than for every email sent.

Conclusion

To summarize,

  • An email marketing team is usually necessary for effective email marketing that yields the best results and improves the company’s bottom line.
  • The typical team structure should cover the following roles: strategist, project manager, writer, designer, writer, developer, analyst, marketing manager.
  • If your campaign lacks resources, consider combining, outsourcing, or automating some of the functions above.
  • You could also outsource some of the roles, or additionally have your team enroll in relevant courses to learn new skills.
28 March, 2024
Article by
Anastasia Ushakova
Mathematics major, former breaking news editor, digital content creator, freelance English teacher, bilingual writer. Novice contributor at Selzy. Keen on learning everything about the world and on sharing it with everyone. Hobbies include art, travel, thrifting, photography, playing the Sims, fashion, eating Marmite and generally having a good time.
Visit Anastasia's
Selzy
Selzy
Selzy
Selzy
Selzy

Latest Articles

Selzy Selzy Selzy Selzy