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Interview Questions to Ask an Email Marketing Manager

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

Email marketing is a key part of a good digital marketing mix, but the person in charge of this direct channel is often overlooked.

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  • Hiring a good email marketing manager is vital to maintaining steady growth and meeting important goals for your marketing campaigns.
  • A good email marketing manager will possess a good balance of experience, critical thinking skills and specified knowledge of communications and marketing techniques.
  • Asking certain questions will shed light on a candidate's skills and understanding of key concepts.

Email marketing is a key part of a good digital marketing mix, but the person in charge of this direct channel is often overlooked. When companies finally do decide to invest in a position that oversees the strategy and execution of email marketing and CRM, it's tough to identify the skills this person needs to help your company succeed.

An email or CRM marketer needs to be data-driven, but not so buried in technical execution that he or she forgets the bigger strategic picture. Even though this position usually lives in the marketing department, your email marketer will find himself or herself with a foot in marketing and a foot in tech/engineering.

Email is now a large enough part of your integrated marketing strategy, and you need to hire someone to manage this channel, but what do you ask them? With the constantly changing digital landscape, various email software providers and new laws, you need to know what to ask, and the types of answers you get will show you that this person is your new email marketer.

Use the infographic below, highlighting 10 interview questions, as a guide during the hiring process for this position.

Email marketing interview questions:

1. How do you stay up to date on the latest software updates, technologies and best practices?

This will show you the level of commitment and passion candidates have for the industry and their careers. It will also give you some insight into their workflow and professional habits which can help with hiring decisions.

2. What companies do email well: campaigns, designs, mobile-friendly, frequency, etc.?

Credible candidates will be able to site other companies and organizations as examples. Great candidates will reveal their attention to detail and an ability to recognize innovation by citing examples that may not be immediately obvious.

3. Tell me about a time when you had to break down complex, technical issues for a stakeholder.

Good digital marketers know their software and technical requirements well, but great digital marketers can explain processes and roadblocks in laymen's terms for smooth collaboration. The ability to explain complex ideas in a simple way is the mark of an effective problem solver, and this question will test this ability.

4. How do you prevent being treated as spam, and what's your deliverability success?

Applicants should be able to technically speak to deliverability codes and methods they have taken to improve deliverability to the inbox. This is a critical issue for email marketers, and you’ll want to find a candidate who has a well-thought-out strategy to avoid being perceived negatively.

5. What's your email marketing philosophy?

While open-ended and seemingly extraneous, this question helps you get a great grasp of the applicant's comfort in the field. They should have one or two personal truths that they have either found through experience or learned along the way that have helped shape them as a marketer.

6. What metrics and actions do you use to measure the success of a campaign?

Some of the obvious answers are open rate, click rate, CTR and conversions. Experienced candidates will be able to speak to which metrics are preferred for different situations and goals. This will give you a glimpse into their thought process and allow you to decide if their methodology is right for what you’re trying to achieve.

7. Email marketing has many components – campaign strategy, project management, design, analytics/database management, coding – which one is your strongest area, and which is your weakest?

Especially when you are hiring onto an existing team, you want to make sure the candidate fills your skills gap and isn't missing anything critical to your team's success. A great candidate should be competent in each area, and can identify and solve the problems that occur in each sector, even if it's not their strong suit.

8. What types of emails do you use to move prospective customers down the funnel?

This question gives the candidate an opportunity to demonstrate marketing knowledge and application of the email channel. The applicant should name a few types of emails and how they will be used to move customers down the funnel. It will also give you the ability to vet their critical thinking abilities and decide whether they're following formulas or seeking to innovate.

9. How would you scale email, knowing that we have a limited budget and resources?

Look for answers that include using templates or leveraging similar designs for multiple projects. It's also nice if the person has a network and agencies as a starting point. This question can also be used to gauge how the candidate prioritizes company goals.

10. How would you improve the emails we already have in place?

Prepared candidates will know what kinds of emails you send currently and should be able to speak to improvements and filling the holes in your existing program. This will separate applicants who are invested in your mission from those who are just looking for a job.

11. What are the most important factors of a successful email marketing campaign?

This question will give you two insights. It will show you which aspects of the sales funnel they value most, and it will show you what they define as successful. Qualified candidates will be able to identify specific attributes that generate conversions, and will have a clear definition of their goals and objectives.

12. What is the most common misconception about email marketing?

This will give you a chance to test their critical thinking skills. It will reveal how their thinking differs from the mainstream dogma of the industry and whether their outlook is refreshing or off base.

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