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Email Marketing versus Email Automation: The Difference Between the Two and How Marketers can Leverage it.

Email marketing and email automation work as the wheels of your email marketing strategy. Learn how to use them right...

The number of email users globally has reached a count of 3.8 billion. In fact, by the year 2023, it will reach a whopping 4.4 billion users. These figures are enough to show how email as a marketing channel can work wonders for you as a marketer if you leverage it well. However, what can add up to an email marketing strategy is email automation. This is the reason 27% of email marketers are already leveraging email automation. In fact 49% of marketers are already looking for ways to improve their automated email campaigns.

So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that email marketing and email automation go hand in hand. To put it in other words, you must incorporate both these strategies simultaneously to have the edge over competitors and be successful in the long run of business. While email marketing can help you reach a large customer base, email automation can enhance the relevancy of that reach.

However, before you go ahead with these two, you must have a deep insight into them. Are these strategies similar or is there any difference? The answer lies in the fact that email marketing can track only those actions that have happened through emails. On the other hand, email marketing automation keeps track of every action that your customer or lead has with your business. So, yes, both these strategies are quite different in their work approach. Here’s a detailed look at the critical differences between the two, with some email marketing tips.

1. Scoring of leads

With email marketing, the information about your leads is limited. The tools of email marketing can only extract the information that you provide to it. To put it in other words, email marketing cannot give you deep insights about your leads. However, the case is different when it comes to email automation. It collects extensive data based on the customer’s behavioral patterns. It doesn’t only help you easily identify the leads with the highest probability to convert but, also assists you in customizing your campaign following the needs and preferences of the customers. All in all, if you have an expanded sales cycle, leading scoring along with email marketing automation is worth the efforts you put in.

2. Behavioral and analytical tracking

While the platform for data collection in email marketing is limited just to the email campaign, email automation has a wide variety of data collection. For instance, an email marketing campaign can let you know about the open rate of your email. Also, you can get an insight into the links a customer opened along with the frequency of opening it. In short, it can help you get hold of the percentage of customers that got involved/not involved with your email campaign. On the other hand, email marketing automation goes a step further and help you track a customer’s data through every platform that they interact with. It lets you have a clear insight into a prospect’s journey throughout the sales funnel. This, in turn, plays a great role in designing a more targeted email marketing strategy.

3. Investment of time

Planning a top-notch email campaign requires a lot of time and effort. Right from creating emails and segmentation to keeping track of post analytics, there are a lot of aspects to take care of. Further, after a campaign is built, emails are sent out to every customer on the list. Though segmentation makes the content dynamic and relevant for customers, it lacks the capability of being accurately relevant like email automation. Not that email marketing automation doesn’t require any time or effort, but it is worth putting all the hard work and effort. Sure you will have to do everything that you did during your email marketing campaign, i.e. planning the campaign and segmenting the list. However, the difference lies in the fact that automated email programs give you a lot more choices and options to give your best. From drip campaigns that let you schedule emails which are sent automatically to customers to nurture campaigns that send follow up emails based on the customer’s interaction with your messages, an automated email campaign does it all.

4. Revenue calculations

With email marketing, you can’t calculate your revenues. You can only make assumptions about it. For example – when you send an email to a particular customer, you can track if the customer opened the email or clicked on the link provided within the email. However, even if the customer opens an email and makes a purchase, email marketing can’t tell if the purchase was made solely because of the mail. There are chances of them going through other touch points of your website that might have triggered their purchasing urge. To put it in other words, it is difficult calculating ROI through email marketing. But, that’s not the case with email automation. Since it allows you to take a look at the full journey of the customer, it gives you the ability to determine the exact way a customer purchased. This, in turn, works wonders in knowing which strategy drove the conversion and which didn’t.

Final thoughts

The points mentioned above are the basic differences between email marketing and email automation. However, both have their share of advantages and can serve as a great way of creating connections and making conversation. So, the choice is solely yours. Choose the one that best suits your business’s vision and goal. In short, if you have a limited sales cycle where the leads do not require much attention, an email marketing campaign can be apt for you. It will help you send newsletters and promotional emails once in a while and serve your purpose without costing too much. But, if you are looking forward to expanding and are willing to nurture and score your leads according to their brand engagement, email marketing automation is the only strategy that you need. It is worth all the investment you put in it.

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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