Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation

Many businesses already use email marketing to build and maintain relationships with prospective and current customers. However, many of the world’s largest companies are moving towards marketing automation. No matter the size of your business, you may be wondering what the difference is between email marketing and marketing automation. How can you figure out which option is best for the marketing needs of your company? Here’s a closer look at both options, as well as some helpful information on how to choose the option that works best for your needs.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing allows you to use email service providers to send out mass emails while tracking the open rates and click-throughs of those emails. Unfortunately, most email service providers have limited functionality, which means you need to invest resources in ensuring that emails get to the right targets at the right time. While email marketing offers many benefits, it is a manual process to groom and grow your list and it doesn’t deliver leads, so it can be challenging to scale basic email marketing campaigns alone as your company’s marketing needs expand.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation uses technology to help you nurture leads via automated campaigns. It has the ability to take a company’s marketing to the next level while conserving company resources. Marketing automation has the ability to build upon current email marketing strategies, offering even better results. This tool makes it possible to figure out which stage of the purchasing process customers are in, giving you the information needed to guide them through the next stages until they finally make a purchase.

Which Option is Right for Your Company?

How do you decide which option is right for your company? Start by thinking about your company’s goals. Instead of thinking about what each option can do, start thinking about your company’s marketing requirements. If you’re running a company that has a longer buying cycle or need for consultative selling, then nurturing leads is essential to bringing in sales. In this case, marketing automation offers many benefits. However, if you have an offering with a shorter path-to-purchase and don’t have a dedicated sales team, then email marketing may be the better option for quick, one-time purchases.

Of course, it’s important to note that marketing automation solutions do require a much larger investment than email marketing software. Since marketing automation is more complex, it also takes more time to implement these solutions. This option also requires that you have more quality content that is targeted to prospects at different places in the sales cycle. While email marketing is more affordable and significantly easier to implement at the beginning, it is time consuming to manage. Regardless of your industry, sales life cycle or marketing budget, all companies should begin planning to incorporate marketing automation in the near future because if you don’t, your competitors will.  Don’t look at it as a more expensive marketing tactic, view marketing automation as an investment in increasing your bottom line.

Are you still trying to figure out if it’s time to consider marketing automation? If so, here are a few signs that marketing automation may be a good fit for you:

  • Email marketing alone isn’t driving sales
  • You have a customer buying process that lasts longer than seven days
  • You sell multiple services and products to different target markets
  • You want to figure out which marketing campaigns provide the best results
  • Your company’s sales team doesn’t have the time to complete all required sales tasks with current resources

If these signs fit your company, it’s time to start learning more about marketing automation and how it can take your company’s marketing to the next level.