A few years ago, it might have seemed almost impossible that the humble email would become the killer application that would revolutionize direct marketing. But email marketing has exploded from a handful of tiny lists to an industry that Jupiter research predicts will top $2 billion in 2012. And email marketing has created its own little stimulus package of job opportunities.
Constant Contact, a Waltham-based provider of email marketing and survey tools, has grown from serving just 10 customers to 250,000 in eight years. Eric Groves, who heads up the global marketing team, is just as likely to face off at the lunchtime basketball hoops with a customer specialist or senior financial analyst as with a software engineer or information technology administrator. All are digital media support positions revolving around the delivery of targeted email messages, a form of one-on-one marketing used by numerous small businesses and organizations.
Email marketing has its own lingo, from “opt-out rates” (unsubscribe from the e-mail list) to “spoofing” (falsifying e-mail sources). Groves, who has a background in search-engine optimization, admits that it can take time to grasp know-how behind turning clicks into customers. But even for non-techies, a career in email marketing offers lots of possibilities, even as email 2.0 evolves.
Q: How do companies use email marketing to reach out to their clients?
A: There are many ways to use email marketing. Spas send out special promotional coupons; dioceses stay connected with parishes; a fly-fishing company sends out tackle tips; a theater announces pre-sale event tickets. The beauty of email marketing is that, unlike traditional direct mail or advertising, you can track who opens and reads your newsletters, invitations, surveys, or promotions.
Q: How can an email newbie get started with email marketing, either to build their career or help a small business grow?
A: Our company, Constant Contact, has a learning center full of on-line tools, whether it’s a live Webinar, product tutorial, or user community. Other resources include taking new media courses at your local community college, or talking to SCORE, the small business association. Your chamber of commerce can also provide connections and ideas.
Q: Could a small email marketing campaign help someone job hunt?
A: Sure, why not? You can stay in touch with people who know you, and send out “pings” to your networking list, even “tales from the job search.” Start short and sweet and build up your contacts.
Q: Small businesses, including organizations and non-profits, use email because of its low-cost and outreach potential. This has created new job opportunities. Who are the various individuals in companies who could be responsible for email marketing?
A: People can look for jobs as marketing managers or consultants; public relations; outreach coordinator; email newsletter writers and editors; client development; communications managers, and more.
Q: So, what is spam?
A: Spam is more than meat in a can. It’s any kind of email that you’re not interested in receiving.
Q: You’re involved with all this technology. Are you a computer geek?
A: I have multiple computers at home, an iPhone, and other gadgets, so if that makes me a geek, yes, I guess I am. But I’m not quite on Twitter yet, so I guess I’m not a complete twit.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at Winter, Wyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at Winter, Wyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.