Email marketing might be the most lucrative, and indeed, the most effective marketing tool that exists at the marketer’s disposal today.
Statistics show that email marketing ranked the first out of all marketing activities impacting revenue.
In short, email marketing is something that no one can do without in their business.
However, when we talk about email marketing vs marketing automation, it is important not to get mixed up with the 2 things, and how easy it is to assume that they are similar products when it could not be further from the truth.
In today’s post, I shall go in depth to discuss the difference between email marketing and marketing automation, and also talk about why you need marketing automation to bring your marketing activities to the next level.
In short, email marketing as standalone will just not quite cut it in today’s world.
What is Email Marketing?
Firstly, it is important to define what the 2 terms actually are.
Email marking is defined as:
“directly sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email.”
Fun fact; this means that every single email you send to your customer or any group of people representing your company is actually consider email marketing.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation, on the other hand, is defined as:
“the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.”
What’s the difference between Email Marketing and Marketing Automation?
Immediately, the differences between the 2 are obvious.
But, if I were to define it once again, Email Marketing is about sending emails with the hope of persuading your target audience to convert, but Marketing Automation sets up and primes your target audience for success, with Email Marketing as a part of the tools used in the process.
If you take a look at the table by Marketo, you will immediately see the differences between the 2, with Marketing Automation having a ton of features that Email Marketing doesn’t perform.
These differences include, primarily:
- Landing Pages: The ability to create top quality landing pages (which is the staple for many marketers today) – can’t be done with the standard email marketing software
- Web Forms: Customers cannot interact with the email and fill in their particulars for a survey, sign up form, order form etc.
- Multi-step Campaigns: Email marketing is merely a one step campaign, where the user is redirected to a link or page by clicking on a button; whereas marketing automation allows you to engage your audience with interactive steps to take; for e.g. taking a quiz, then filling up email address to obtain results
- Integration: Although email marketing software allows you to add in your social buttons and link to your social profiles, it does not fully manage the APIs and information flow processes between your database and the social networks
- Data Analysis: Admittedly, email marketing tools like Mailchimp and Aweber are fast catching up to this, but for the most part, most email marketing software give you limited information, like open rate and sent successfully rate, about your audience and the campaign at best: which are not always the best indicators of marketing investment returns
- Lead Scoring: Email marketing tools do not really give you a lead score; an indication of the number of touchpoints you have with your audience, and have only limited assistance to value your lead other than observing whether he/she has opened the email.
- Retargeting and Nurturing Leads: Not everyone will notice you on your first marketing campaign. That’s why Lead retargeting is such an important part of marketing. Email marketing software fails to handle this, and at best allow you to filter different groups of contacts.
- Ensuring Qualified Leads go to sales: This is my favourite. Software like Sendlane allows us to set a predetermined condition as to when a lead is considered ready to be sold to; a feature that Email Marketing Software is far behind. Selling to cold prospects is anyone’s worst nightmare!
- Measures Return on Marketing Investment: As i’ve mentioned earlier, return on marketing investment is the highest for email marketing, but sadly, email marketing software is still not yet at this level, and only marketing automation tools like Sendlane and Hubspot are able to effectively measure ROMI.
- Provides the IP Addresses and Company Names Associated with Anonymous Website Traffic: Information is king these days to marketers. Without the right information, data from our campaigns cannot be accurately leveraged on, and this naturally reduces the effectiveness of our marketing dollar. Marketing automation software like Sendlane can best email marketing software here by providing top notch prospect information to help marketers make better decisions for their campaigns.
With these differences pointed out, let’s go into detail about how email marketing, without automation, is like a dead duck in the water.
1. The customer today demands personalisation. Not just name wise.
Today’s customer wants attention.
And I’m not talking about their selfies. Customers of today crave companies who give them the personalisation they are seeking (addressing them as first name, knowing their preferences etc), and paying attention to their needs around the clock.
Obviously, this level of personalisation is not something that email marketing software can give; but email marketing is still the best way to engage one’s customer.
In fact, studies found that e-mails that were personalised had much more effectiveness than those that were not.
However, sending out personalised emails is simply not enough to keep the customer, if there isn’t behaviour tracking within marketing campaigns.
With software like Sendlane, you can set down specific trigger points that automatically places your leads on different action paths based on their behaviour, and their interaction with the emails that you send out.
This in turn is what I refer to as personalisation; instead of people asking to unsubscribe, you let them choose how they want to be sold.
2. Marketing Automation keeps your sales and Marketing aligned to your Email Campaigns
In traditional Email marketing campaigns, you would usually send out emails and wait for your users to do 2 types of behaviours:
- Go to the page that you have identified
- Unsubscribe from your mailing list
Traditionally, sales and marketing will just gravitate towards the first group of people, to try and do more surveys with them to understand what piqued their interest.
But this usually translate into more work that is messy, unorganised, and lowers efficiency.
This can be solved again, by marketing automation. Software like Sendlane helps you to plan out your customer’s journey map with data touchpoints, using email marketing as part of the equation, to automate every function of this fact finding.
This means that your sales and marketing team simply has to refer to one software that organises all the data in one position, and is able to understand your customer intimately with the touch of a button.
3. It’s time to learn about your customer socially
We live in a day and age where the term “social” has ruled our world for the last decade.
Amidst this rise in our connectivity, we must also get to understand our customers in a social manner.
To this extent, you can’t do that with simply email marketing. As i’ve mentioned earlier, email marketing software allows you to put links into your emails, but that does little help to your marketing returns, except maybe for a few likes on your Facebook page.
In contrast, software like Sendlane is able to create landing pages and forms for your audience to sign up – with their social logins like Facebook – which then allow you to better understand your audience demographics immediately.
This is social integration for a social generation.
With the information collected from your social campaigns, Sendlane is able to collect the data and assign a lead score based on your prospect’s social information, which is pretty neat stuff.
This information is not only valuable to you as a marketer, but also allows your organisation to build brand loyalty – by understanding your prospect’s behaviour on an intimate level you know how to appeal best to their needs and aspirations.
Again, email marketing can be part of the marketing automation process, enhancing the whole effectiveness of your campaign from a ROMI perspective.
4. Be unintrusive in an intrusive world
With email marketing software, the traditional approach would have been to send them a series of emails with the intention of calling after they have opened the email.
But the problem with that method is that consumers are getting smarter, and their doors are getting tighter.
While they are more connected than ever, they are also becoming bombarded by advertorials that have already been personalised to their inbox every day.
In short, having just an email marketing campaign isn’t quite going to cut it since you will just be perceived as junk to most of your prospects.
Instead, the marketing automation philosophy takes a more subtle approach.
By mapping out your customer’s behaviour, and understanding what makes them tick, we are able to trigger the prospect at the perfect time and enhance our chances of success.
For example, marketing automation software like Eloqua can allow you to set a few behaviour and action points that are triggered everything your customer takes an action.
Let’s assume your customer clicks on the redirect link to a landing page on your site after receiving the email.
He/she fills up a form, then is sent a link to download an ebook or guide. 2 days later, he/she receives another guide with an interesting topic.
Then, one week after, he/she is sent to a video to learn more about marketing automation.
Through soft selling and upsetting concurrently, you are not only standing out from your competition, but also showing the customer the basic thing that they desire: respect. Who do you think will get better returns on investment?
5. Don’t Spam. Not cool.
It used to be that your sales and marketing force will just go to the web, Yellow pages and the likes, to dig up a ton of emails and just send them a ton of emails their way, and get appointments through replies.
It didn’t matter to them back then, because people were buying it! The internet was new at the time, and thus people were still open to the idea that getting emails was…cool.
Don’t even think about doing it in today’s world.
Not only does it give your prospect a bad impression, word travels fast these days, and you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the bargain.
Just look at the number of reviews on Google!
Not only does spamming get you into trouble with the CAN SPAM act, it makes people talk. Badly. About your brand.
With Marketing Automation, you are effectively building YOUR brand. Not putting it on the line.
By adapting to what your customers want and customising their experiences individually, you are in effect building a solid relationship with your prospects, and ultimately, your customers.
This is something that Email Marketing software will not be able to handle.
With the differences between email marketing and marketing automation, it is quite obvious that businesses that continue using email marketing software without marketing automation run the risk of being run over by the ones that do.
The question then, is, which side of the fence are you on?
He holds a black belt in the art of content weaving, and has helped thousands of people express themselves with clarity on print, and on the Web. His words have translated into hundreds of thousands of dollars for his clients. Some call him a “talented content creator”, known for his ability to bridge the gap between thought and paper.
You can catch John on Twitter @Contentrific, read more about him here, or listen to his content ramblings on his site Contentrific, where he teaches entrepreneurs, professionals and small teams to grow their audience the right way with persuasive content.
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