Email Marketing Certification: What You Need to Know

Did you know that email is considered to be the digital self-serve platform of choice among most industries? Well, it is. And it’s not because people feel that they have to limit their email marketing to just one platform. In fact, you’ll often find a mix of software, hardware, and services when you search for “email marketing.” That’s because while everyone has an email address, not everyone owns a phone, tablet, or computer.

As a marketer, you know that email is a critical piece of your marketing mix. You send out newsletters, alerting your subscribers to new products, special offers, and much more.

So, it’s time to establish personal and professional connections with your audience. And while you might rely on social media to do this, email is a perfect vehicle. Not only does it reach people who aren’t yet on your side, but it also allows you to maintain a relationship even after the one-time interaction of a tweet or a like.

Why Should You Get Certified?

First of all, if you’re already doing email marketing, you know that it can be tricky to navigate the email marketing landscape. There are so many tools and platforms that it can become difficult to keep track of them all.

And while there are many benefits to using a software provider to handle your email campaigns for you, there is still a need for you to be manually involved. Sometimes, you need to jump back and forth between platforms. But, that’s not always the case. If you want to go above and beyond what most software can offer, you’ll need someone who is expert in email marketing to help you.

The good news is that there is a Certified Email Marketing Specialist — or CEMS for short — certification. And what’s more, getting this certification doesn’t require you to already be an expert in email marketing. In fact, anyone can qualify to take the CEMS exam, which covers a range of essential topics from email platform selection, through designing effective email campaigns, and evaluating performance.

What Will You Learn?

When you take the CEMS exam, you’ll be able to demonstrate your knowledge of essential topics in email marketing. Among the topics that you’ll cover are:

  • Email Platform Selection
  • Email Campaign Design
  • Content Strategy
  • List Building
  • Segmentation

These are all areas that you’ll need to know in order to design and create effective email campaigns. In addition, you’ll also need to know how to analyze the results of these campaigns. You’ll also need to know how to set up automated emails, so that you can take advantage of software that is designed to help with this particular task.

How Much Does It Cost?

Getting the CEMS certification does not require you to purchase expensive software or other expensive products. The cost of getting the certificate is $1,500, which you can pay over the course of a year. But if you can afford it, you can save a significant amount of money and avoid costly product trial and error by getting professional assistance.

In addition to avoiding the costs of trial and error, getting expert help also provides you with an opportunity to learn from someone who has already walked the path you’re about to take. Not only that, but you can also connect with hundreds of other professionals who are available to help you through the digital marketing and email automation jungle.

When Do You Need To Be Certified?

The good news is that you can begin the application process for the CEMS certification as soon as you’ve decided that you want to get involved in email marketing. In fact, the application process can be a little tricky to navigate, especially since many software providers and email marketing service providers require you to already be a customer in order to complete the application.

Even though you don’t have to be a customer of the company in order to apply, you typically have to be somewhat established in your business in order to be considered for the position. Once you’re established, the application process can be a little easier to navigate, as there will be more experience to draw from.

Do You Need To Be A Marketing Expert To Be Certified?

No, you don’t need to be a marketing expert in order to be certified as an email marketer. As noted above, anyone can qualify to take the CEMS exam, which covers a range of essential topics in email marketing. In addition, you don’t need to have any experience in marketing either.

Getting the CEMS certification does require you to have a working knowledge of email marketing, as you’ll need to know how to navigate various email platforms, design effective email campaigns, and set up automated emails. In other words, you’ll need to know the theory behind what you’re doing. But, you don’t need to specialize in marketing in order to be considered for the job.

Is The CEMS Certification Worth It?

That’s a tough one. On one hand, the CEMS certification does require you to pay for the exam, which is a one-time fee of $1,500. If you can afford it, you can save a significant amount of money and avoid costly product trial and error by getting professional assistance. On the other hand, if you want to go above and beyond what most software can offer, you’ll need someone who is expert in email marketing to help you. So, it’s a tough call. Overall, if you want to design and create effective email campaigns, it’s well worth it.

At the end of the day, not everyone will be able to spend $1,500 on a certification, particularly since many businesses struggle to survive these days. In addition, if you’re already doing some things manually, you don’t necessarily need to be paid to have someone handle your email marketing for you. Instead, you could outsource email marketing to somebody who is more experienced and has a proven track record, while continuing to manage your other marketing efforts.

What About The Updates?

Every year, a new version of the CEMS exam is released. As the name would suggest, these exams are revised and updated by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) to reflect the ever-changing nature of email marketing.

While it’s important to understand what the exam covers, it’s also important to understand what changes have been made to the exam since the last version was released. If you don’t, you could be in for a major letdown, when you discover that a lot has changed, and you’ll need to learn the new information all over again.

How Do I Prepare For The Exam?

If you’re already doing email marketing and are considering taking the CEMS exam, you’ll need to prepare for the exam by reviewing the following information:

  • The objectives of the exam
  • The Email Marketing Specialist (CEMS) credential
  • The history of email marketing
  • The elements of a successful email campaign
  • Segmentation
  • List building
  • Designing a winning email template
  • Content strategy
  • Monitoring and analyzing campaigns
  • Reporting and analyzing performance
  • Email Platform Selection
  • Setting up automated campaigns
  • Creating email newsletters
  • Developing email marketing software
  • Creating campaigns in multiple platforms
  • Creating a customer experience that is unmatched

There are many online resources, such as forums and blogs that you can consult for free, as well as books that you can read from cover-to-cover, in lieu of renting or buying a physical copy. In addition to preparing for the exam, you can also use your preparation to get introduced to new technologies and methods that can expedite your email marketing efforts.

How Do I Pass The Exam?

Once you’ve prepared for the exam by studying the information listed above, it’s time to put all that knowledge to the test and see how well you can perform on the actual exam. To pass, you’ll need to score at least 80% on the exam. But, before you begin to fill out the application, you’ll need to log-in and take the CEMS Practice Exam, as this will help determine your actual exam score.

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