• Ssemujju Lewis E

Email Marketing vs Marketing Automation: Key Differences

Updated: May 9

There are marketing automation tools in the modern marketing world with an army of services from email management to analytics, SMS marketing, and joint inbox. However, many businesses still struggle to understand what tools they need to use and how to use them to their advantage fully. One thing is for sure; businesses are embracing automation.


What is email marketing?

Email marketing is one of the marketing forms that entrepreneurs use to get more return on investment from marketing and sales. Research reveals that for every $1 spent on email marketing, you get $38 in return. In addition, the current statistics show that over 1.5 billion people are active email users, which could be potential customers.


Email marketing, quite simply put, is sending commercial messages, typically to a group of people using Email. In other words, every email sent to a potential or current customer can be considered email marketing.


It involves email sending adverts, requesting business, or soliciting sales or donations. Email marketing commonly seeks to achieve one or more objectives, i.e., building loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. The term usually means sending Email messages to enhance the merchant’s relationship with current or previous customers encouraging customer loyalty and repeat business.


Research shows that email marketing campaigns achieve an engagement rate of 22.86% compared to a 0.6% social media engagement rate. This makes email marketing one of the most important marketing strategies and forms that entrepreneurs should consider to get to the target audience.



Research backs up what most marketers already know: Customers love personalization, as provided by MailChimp.

  • 90% of consumers find personalized content very or somewhat appealing.

  • 91% of consumers are more likely to patronize businesses that provide individualized recommendations and offers.

  • A recent experiment revealed that when shoppers knew an ad was based on their activity on the site, their click-through rates increased by 11% and revenue from the product grew by 38%.

  • In 2019, 72% of customers only responded to marketing messages that targeted their interests.

  • The leading type of personalization experience that marketers use is email.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation uses software to automate monotonous marketing work. Tasks like SMS marketing, email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns are automated by marketers to improve efficiency.


With marketing automation, everything is done by software or a set of tools. This goes in tandem with quick replies, quick actions, quick responses to customers’ queries, quick updates to customers in case of any changes in the services or products offered, and any other essential communication regarding the company itself.


Related: Everything You Need To Know About Sales Automation


Marketing automation simplifies and shortens the marketing process seamlessly. As a result, communication and conversions happen a lot quicker.


Marketing automation helps simplify and makes your work easier, reduces wastage of time, and delivers in time. Marketing automation is a set of tools to bring marketing activities down to their most accessible simplicity. Marketing automation makes work easy because messages, ad campaigns, emails, and posts are sent automatically without independently sending each item.


More so, it helps you find out who your correct audience is, sorts out the right content that your customers will appreciate, and also motivates customers to act; this could be through supporting the business by buying and purchasing goods and services, thus having more revenue flow into the business.


Comparison of features

Below are the differences between marketing automation applications and email marketing, as provided by Marketo.


At best, email marketing is an extension of marketing automation.


Where marketing automation helps:

  • Lead nurturing and lead scoring, analyzing leads and determining the best strategies to categorize and nurture them. Marketing teams nurture leads and hand them over to the sales teams. A high conversion rate is an indicator that the nurturing process is working.

  • Social media marketing. You can automate tasks such as posting to multiple sites on a schedule. Social media marketing involves posting relevant content like live videos, texts, prerecorded videos, images, GIFs, and animations on all your social media engagement platforms, talking to your audience, giving an ear to their complaints, and addressing their concerns.

  • Tracking and analytics for website visitors, email campaigns and online promotions.

  • Email automation. This often overlaps with lead nurturing. Email automation is a process where you send targeted email campaigns to your customers through a pre-built and self-operating system. First, it saves time as it allows you to schedule campaigns that go out when you intend them to go out. It also helps with prospecting.

Grow your email marketing with automation

Direct email marketing is not enough. Email automation is a process where you send targeted email campaigns to your customers through a pre-built and self-operating system.


Benefits Of Email Automation


Saves time - Automation allows you to schedule campaigns that go out when you intend them to go out. Automation handles your database and aligns all the information to use at your convenience. In addition, the process frees up time for you to carry out other relevant tasks.


Prospecting - While every company starts small, the goal is to achieve scale and grow as a company and brand. But unfortunately, circumstances are going to force you to scale. Email Automation software provides analyses, growth reports and forecasts, which can help you prospect and be proofed against any troubles in the future.


Email Marketing can't work alone.

  1. You are only tracking your prospects' open and click-through rates with direct email marketing. These leads are not ready enough for the sales team to pursue and lead into a conversion.

  2. Additionally, with email marketing alone, you can't ably tell in what buying stage your buyers are. So in the end, you will be sending out blast emails to all prospects without consideration of their stage in the cycle.

  3. Relying on essential email marketing is not scalable if you are a growing company. The more leads you have in your database or campaigns you want to run, the more time-consuming it becomes to create mass blasts.

In the above scenarios, you need to merge marketing automation with email marketing for premium results in your marketing efforts. Generic marketing is not directed to anyone, and hence it might not get you conversions. There are so many things to focus on when communicating with your customers. The more relevant the message is to the customer's needs, the more the reader's attention is drawn closer, and they are likely to keep open your mails consistently. This encourages a higher conversion rate. Sending relevant emails improves open and clickthrough rates.


Related: Start Writing Emails That Convert Today


The marketing team is tasked with formulating goals for their marketing automation campaigns, and these should be in line with what the organization is looking to achieve. These goals can include signing up for a newsletter, filling out a form, and purchasing a product/service.


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