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Email Marketing and Marketing Automation: What’s The Difference?

Have you heard the rumors that email is dead? Don’t start ignoring your email marketing just yet. This rumor has been floating around the marketing industry for years, but it has yet to be proven true.

Email is still the number one digital channel for return on investment. In fact, the Data & Marketing Association reports that 54% of marketers say that increasing email engagement is their highest priority. If you’re focusing on email marketing but need help navigating the options available, you’ve come to the right place.

Many business owners and marketers struggle to understand marketing automation. How does it differ from email marketing? How do the two tactics relate?

Read on for answers to these questions and more. We’ll explore email marketing and its limitations. We’ll also explain how marketing automation may be better suited to reaching your goals.

Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation

Before we get into the detailed differences between these two marketing tools, let’s cover the basics. No business is too small to engage in email marketing. Countless platforms allow companies to send scheduled emails to their audiences and track metrics like:

  • Open rates
  • Click rates
  • Bounce rates
  • Unsubscribes

Marketing automation is robust. With automation software, marketers can send emails, display customized content on the web, and get deep engagement metrics. Automated marketing requires a heavy lift up front and continuous monitoring and optimization.

Most companies start off with simple email marketing strategies. Some move on to marketing automation as their business grows, while others may find that email marketing is all they need.

The Benefits of Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most popular marketing tactics used by businesses worldwide. It’s affordable, and the ROI is impressive. The Data and Marketing Association has found that email marketing yields an estimated ROI of 4,300 percent.

Marketing through emails allows you to take your advertising to a more personal level. You can send newsletters, thank you emails, introductory information, and offers directly to your current and potential customers. You may use your customer database software to help segment your audiences to send specific information to certain groups.

Many email platforms also allow you to run some basic A/B tests. You can experiment with different subject lines or send times and see what produces the best engagement rates.

While setting up and executing basic email marketing doesn’t require a heavy lift, you may find that you’re looking for something more.

Where Email Marketing Falls Short

With basic email marketing, there is little space for personalization. You can only group your audiences based on data you can easily pull from your database. This limits how detailed you can be in your messaging and how well you can tailor the message to the individual.

Plus, all the segmentation you can do must be done manually. Segmenting lists can be time-consuming and requires great attention to detail. You’ll need to refresh your lists as your database evolves.

It can also be difficult or impossible to track revenue to your email efforts. Once someone opens your email or clicks a link in it, you cannot monitor what they do next. The metrics you collect through email marketing are static.

Without deep metrics and analytics, it can be hard to identify quality leads accurately. Your sales team won’t know which leads to contact. This where you lose time and money as you must work harder to achieve your goals.

Marketing Automation Fills the Gaps

As mentioned earlier, automation is much more robust than email marketing. Automated marketing not only fills in email marketing’s gaps but expands marketing and tracking capabilities beyond just email. The ideal tool can manage and track engagement from email, your website, paid marketing efforts, and more.

Marketing automation allows you to track activity and gather data, so you can effectively nurture your leads through automated, customized paths. Your basic system may include:

  • Landing page design and development
  • Unique website visitor tracking
  • Lead scoring
  • CRM integration capability
  • A centralized database
  • Data reporting and analysis

If you decide to invest in a more comprehensive software, you may have access to even more tools. Experiment with dynamic content generation, mobile and responsive design, and multichannel campaign management. Ultimately, your marketing automation system should help create the best possible customer experience.

Are You Ready for Marketing Automation?

Automated CRM marketing can help you engage your prospect appropriate to where they are in the buying process. You can guide them through a customized path to the next stage and continue to nurture them to success. The right tool can track engagement along the way and provide valuable reporting data throughout the process.

Your company should be well-prepared if you want to experience all the benefits automation can offer. First, consider the pricing. A small business may pay as much as $800 a month, while a larger enterprise can pay up to $3,000 month.

Marketing software should be an investment in your company. Make sure your website, email tactics, and other essential marketing platforms are in optimal shape. You want a strong foundation before you invest in a sophisticated and powerful tool.

Also, consider the capabilities of your marketing team members. Ensure you have a knowledgeable, motivated team to manage a robust automation system. Many companies perfect their email marketing, then start with a light version of automated marketing before moving on to their ultimate tool.

Make the Right Decision for Your Company Right Now

There is no clear distinction of which system is better for marketing. It all depends on your company’s needs. You must identify whether basic email marketing or an automated system can best help you meet your goals.

You may be content with email marketing for now. You can plan to invest in an automated system once your business hits a certain growth point. As your needs evolve, you can invest in additional tools to help your business thrive.

If you’re looking to create an ecosystem of marketing and sales tools for your business, we can help. Sign up for a demo of our software for more information. You can also browse our blog to learn more about the benefits of marketing automation, how to improve workflows, and more.

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