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October 13, 2022 Business Technologies

Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation: What Does Your Business Truly Need?

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By Brian Anderson

Whether you’re a C-level executive or head of marketing, sales, RevOps, or another revenue-generating team, you’re always looking for ways to reach more customers and grow your company.

You may have heard of email marketing and marketing automation tools, but you’re not sure which is right for your business.

You’re not alone. We speak with many companies faced with the same conundrum. Let’s take a closer look at email marketing and marketing automation to see which one is a better fit for your needs.

What is Email Marketing, and How Does it Work?

An email marketing tool lets you send bulk emails to customers or prospects. Email marketing can build customer relationships, promote a company’s products or services, or generate sales leads.

Email marketing works by sending out email campaigns to a target list. Each email campaign contains a message, offer, or call to action and a link to your website or landing page.

When a recipient clicks on the email link and takes action on your website, they can be considered a lead. From there, depending on your qualification process, you can transfer the lead to sales to continue the buying journey, with the end goal being a new customer!

Email marketing is an effective way to reach out to customers and prospects because it’s a direct form of communication. It’s also relatively inexpensive and easy to set up.

The Benefits of Email Marketing

There are many benefits of email marketing, including the following:

  • The ability to reach a large audience with a single email campaign
  • The ability to track lead behavior within an email and measure results
  • The ability to segment your list and send targeted email campaigns
  • The ability to personalize your email messages at scale
  • The ability to schedule and automate your email marketing campaigns

The Limitations of Email Marketing

While email marketing can be a great tactic in helping engage prospects and customers, there are limitations to only using an email marketing tool:

  • An email marketing tool only tracks the recipient’s action of a particular email.
  • Email marketing is an outbound strategy – so you are missing an inbound component.
  • Email marketing is only one piece of a multi-prong marketing strategy.

What is Marketing Automation, and How Does it Work?

Marketing automation technology is a collection of tools within one platform that helps you market and track a buyer’s journey across multiple channels.

You can use it to manage email campaigns, social media behavior, website visitors, and other marketing tactics that help qualify a lead in the sales process. Additionally, it is a great tool to help evolve relationships and stay in front of existing customers.

Marketing automation platforms typically include tools to help with email list management, email template creation, contact segmentation, lead scoring at the contact and account level (great for account-based marketing), campaign attribution, and lead nurturing.

The Benefits of Marketing Automation

There are several benefits of using marketing automation for businesses:

  • It can monitor and track every digital interaction of a lead, not just an email interaction.
  • It can help you build digital buying journeys for your prospects, removing roadblocks and helping them solve their problems faster.
  • It can accommodate a combination of inbound and outbound strategies to engage with prospects and customers the way they like.
  • It can offer behavior-based workflows; if a customer interacts with the link in an email (for example), they automatically get added to a particular campaign.
  • It can help improve customer engagement by allowing you to send more targeted and personalized communications.
  • It can help you measure your marketing results and ROI better.
  • It can free up your staff to focus on other tasks since multiple tactics within a campaign can be automated and scheduled in advance

The Limitations of Marketing Automation

While the opportunities are nearly endless with marketing automation platforms, there are still some cons to implementing these types of solutions:

  • It would be best if you had streamlined business processes to make the most of your marketing automation platform investment. Installing the software will not solve your go-to-market inefficiencies.
  • Automating your marketing messaging is a double-edged sword. It is tempting to fall into the dreaded “spray and pray” methods and send emails that lack personalization and relevance.
  • Onboarding a new platform can take as long as 90 days and requires ongoing learning as new updates are released.
  • Marketing automation platforms are not a “plug-and-play” type of purchase. If you invest in a marketing automation platform, you need a comprehensive game plan of who will use the platform, how they will use it, and how it will connect with other software in your tech stack.

How to Choose the Right Tool for Your Business

When deciding whether email marketing or marketing automation is right for your business, it’s essential to consider your needs and objectives.

Email marketing is an excellent choice for businesses that want to build relationships with their customers or generate sales leads. It’s also a good choice for companies with a limited budget since it’s relatively inexpensive to set up and manage. However, these platforms are designed for more straightforward sales cycles with one or two “touches.”

Marketing automation is a good choice for businesses that want to automate their marketing and sales processes. These platforms are necessary for companies looking to nurture, score, and qualify leads based on engagement with their brand beyond an email channel. It’s also a good choice for businesses that want to track their marketing results and ROI.

Want an Unbiased Opinion?

Email marketing and marketing automation are beneficial in building a pipeline for your sales team. However, deciding which tool is right for your business can be difficult. In this article, we’ve provided some high-level benefits of email marketing and marketing automation, but you may still have questions.

We can help the answer become more evident to you. Chat with an expert to determine if an email marketing tool or a marketing automation platform is right for your business.

This webinar with HubSpot and BrainSell occurred on May 20th, 2021

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