Recently I joined a group of women from around the country to attend a Women of Email (WoE) meet-up here in St. Louis. I’ve always struggled to precisely explain what an email marketer does or how I became one. It was a relief to know I’m not the only one! One of the attendees said they were thankful to have this group because others finally understood what she did — why email, and why those that work with it every day call ourselves #emailgeeks. The exciting part is that I’ve always found myself to be about 50% left brain and 50% right brain. It was exhilarating to talk to a group of women about everything email — the creative, the technology, the content, the testing, the analytics, the feedback and everything in between.

I am an email marketing strategist.

I conceive, build and dissect email marketing programs for our clients to evaluate their health, including our own at RootedElm. Being able to work with a client intimately, look at the resources and data they have available, set a vision and goals, and then turn those goals into a successful reality is motivating and rewarding at the same time. For some of our clients, it’s getting started and finding the appropriate email service provider and for others, it’s moving into advanced customer segments, journeys, integrations and robust email campaigns. For all, it’s educating them on how to facilitate the 1:1 relationship they have built with their subscriber.

Email marketing is not a one-size-fits-all blasting medium. It’s personal, and respect must be shown to build trust and keep that relationship intact.

It takes a team.

When it comes to the specifics on how to design or how to code that email to render correctly, my team member Jason Meeker steps in to provide expertise. One of my favorite parts of a project is when Christina Noll, content developer, and I brainstorm and construct the content together for a customer journey. We all take the information we’ve collected — guidelines and insight from the client, email reports, Litmus analytics, survey results, and a visual dashboard we’ve built to take command of our data and formulate the content. We begin to tell a story.

So much behind the scenes goes into creating a dynamic email program that is unknown or often misunderstood by others that have not experienced the entire process.


As an email marketing strategist it is my job to guide our clients to understand the significant role they play, and that it’s not just sending an email, but the message they send must offer value. Often as email marketers, we are placed in a predicament as the expectations of the client is much different than what is best for the subscriber.

Everyone has expectations — especially the subscribers we are tasked to reach actively. They expect the emails they signed up for will be of benefit and not displeasure.

Email marketing is a practice — much like yoga.

I’m an avid practitioner of yoga. When I started yoga years ago, I could barely touch my toes. It took time to become familiar with the poses, how to move my body correctly, strengthen my core and settle my mind. Yoga is the practice of breath. Everyone can breathe, but not everyone can do a headstand (neither can I, but someday)!

It takes practice, knowledge, experience and time to advance to the next level. We evolve.

The same for email marketing. As the data matures our subscribers tell us more and more through the insight we capture. Our customer journey begins to extend down new paths. We admire the work of our peers and learn from their case studies, presentations, books, and blogs then return the favor by sharing our own. As email marketers, we interpret the need to send the right email — at the right time— to the right person. Blasting an email without all the behind the scenes legwork is like falling on top of your head while you’re trying a headstand without building a strong core first!

Anyone can create and send an email marketing campaign but is it the right email to send? Email marketing strategist look beyond that single campaign, we look beyond that single journey. We take into account the entire lifecycle for your audience. We help you find the forest for the trees.


Lisa Wester is the founder of RootedElm and Chief Engagement Officer that works with our client relationships but most importantly, Lisa has been an email marketing strategist since 2007 and a marketer for a very long time! You can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.