If you’re confused about the difference between “email marketing” and “marketing automation”, you’re not alone. Even seasoned marketers may struggle to sift through the marketing speak to find the tool that provides real value. This jargon can make it seem like the lines between marketing automation and email marketing are blurred, when in reality, the distinction can be fairly simple.
Entire books have been written on the subject, so we’re going to stay high-level. Read on to learn three key lessons:
- The simple way to tell the difference between marketing automation and email marketing
- Why you might want to choose marketing automation instead of email marketing
- Four ways you can better engage your audience with a marketing automation strategy
The Simple Way to Tell the Difference Between Marketing Automation and Email Marketing
Let’s start with the definitions:
- Email marketing is a tool that helps send mass email, track replies and report on them.
- Marketing automation is a solution that allows you to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.
So email marketing is a part of marketing automation. Email marketing is a tool, while marketing automation is a comprehensive strategy. With email marketing, you only control email sending. With marketing automation, you can automate the process of interacting with prospects and customers through all channels, including email.
Why Choose Marketing Automation Over Email Marketing?
So why is it better to use a comprehensive strategy like marketing automation instead of just straightforward email marketing? For many people, using only email marketing is like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle with only a few of the pieces.
- Find your salespeople complaining about the quality of leads your marketing team is delivering?
- Sell different products (or services) to different demographics?
- Need an easier way to create and send targeted, multi-touch email campaigns?
- Want to automate and customize communications based on customer behavior and titles?
- Want to know which of your marketing campaigns are the most effective AND justify additional resources?
If you answered yes to any of those, email marketing alone won’t cut it for you. Let’s dive into a few key features that help justify marketing automation.
Four ways you can better engage your audience with a marketing automation strategy
For businesses with multiple products or services, it’s a reasonable assumption that not all buyers need or want the same thing. A software provider for small businesses selling separate solutions for both accounting and human resources has different product lines to consider. Now, imagine that entire equation again with the understanding that multiple audiences might be interested in the this range of services.
These accounting or HR tools could be suitable for anything from law firms to restaurants, and while the functionality of the product might not change much, the messaging to each group would be quite distinct. With more products and more audiences in play, marketers need to differentiate these groups to determine first who they’re engaging with to help inform decisions around how to engage with them.
With a better understanding of who prospects are and what matters to them, with the right automation tools, marketers can set up campaigns that recommend additional content they’re likely to care about to create a personalized experience for each client and prospect.
While email is one avenue through which this content could be delivered, one also has the option of better personalizing the on-page experience with visual or textual calls to action for each user. If a blog on a particular topic appeals to a reader, then perhaps they’d be interested in a downloadable e-book exploring
the topic in greater depth that would serve as a lead-capture device.
In order to display content to where our prospects were in the buying cycle, we used Pardot’s dynamic content builder on the CollegePlus website. For example, the message and call to action in our bottom welcome bar changed based on what stage the prospect was in. It was easy to set up in Pardot and our marketing team saw an increase in conversion rates after implementation.
Allie Cappitelli | CollegePlus
List Creation & Workflow Management
As you gather more data on your prospects, you’ll likely use the information captured to create lists around these personas and better market to them individually.
These lists can be used for all sorts of highly targeted activity, ranging from identifying which customers have engaged in a past campaign on a particular topic, to targeting users by geographic area for local events. Once in a list, Pardot will allow you to create workflows, sequences, and drips to hyper-specific sections of your audience, ensuring they won’t be drowned in information and can focus on what’s most relevant to them.
With countless users engaging with the site in myriad ways, the potential for automation isn’t limited to creating unique promotions and laser-focused messaging, but helps bridge the gap between marketing and sales by helping folks tell you when they’re ready to buy.
In the hands of a savvy sales team, imagine the power of knowing the second a user who has been an avid reader of your blog and whitepapers decides to review the pricing page. Lead scoring systems assign points to a contact based on how they’ve engaged with you. As they continue to open emails, and visit pages of varying depth you can monitor their decision-making process and know it’s time to strike when they reach a particular threshold, rather than bombard them too soon or miss them too late.
This approach helped Pardot customer, Mediacurrent, increase their qualified leads by 129% YOY.
While marketing automation has a lot more value, it may seem daunting. The good news is that, at Pardot, our Customer Success Group is there for you at every corner. Even if you fully implement only one of the additional features that marketing automation offers, you’ll see a return on both time saved and new, high-quality leads. And isn’t that what every marketer wants?