Our company sends 3 million emails per month and does email design work for some of the world’s top eCommerce companies.

A formal college degree is not a prerequisite for becoming a successful email marketer.

However, great email marketers do possess a broad range of skills that span across a number of academic disciplines. Going deep and getting a formal degree in one of those functional disciplines would be a good foundation, but it’s not a requirement.

Why? 2 Reasons:

  1. The skills required to be an email marketer can be self taught and acquired online for a fraction of the cost of a college degree.
  2. Email marketing is a team sport. It is unlikely that you will ever be required to perform every aspect of executing an email marketing campaign by yourself.

A well-rounded DIY email marketing study would include the following areas:

  • Developing strong visual design skills, or at least an eye for good design. Email marketers must understand the constraints involved in designing for varying screen sizes, choosing appropriate typography, and creating user experiences that enable receivers to achieve their goals.
  • Understanding human psychology, what motivates people to take action and why they buy. Email marketers must have empathy for the people who will consume their work.
  • Learning to write great copy. Email marketers have a tightly constrained palette to work with and they must be able to write succinctly and persuasively.
  • Developing a foundational set of front-end development skills to be able to code/debug their designs in HTML & CSS. They should also become aware of the technical constraints presented by each email client and how to employ workarounds for their work to render properly. They should understand the basics of deliverability and how email authentication protocols work.
  • Building a strong web analytics foundation to report on the success of their campaigns on the dimensions that matter to their constituents. Having a skill-set in analytics will also enable an email marketer to improve how recipients consume their work in the future.
  • Adhering to strong ethical principles and never abusing the privilege of being able to connect with people in their inboxes.

As Steve Davies pointed out, the best way to hone all of these skills is to get out there, build an engaged audience, and start emailing.

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Mike Arsenault
Mike Arsenault is the Founder & CEO of Rejoiner. He works with 350+ online retail & eCommerce companies like Hydroflask, Footjoy, GUESS, and Big Chill to help them grow faster using lifecycle email. He also once lived aboard a 36' sailboat in Boston.