Act! Blog

What’s the difference between email marketing and marketing automation?

Email marketing is pretty much limited to email, which can’t give you a broader insight into customer preferences and behavior. Marketing automation, on the other hand, captures and tracks every user’s digital interaction with your business so you can turn all of those data points into actionable marketing intelligence across any email, website, app, or social media platform.

Why is email marketing important? 

In the age of social media, you might think that email marketing is dead. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the global email market is expected to grow to $17.9 billion by 2027, up from just $7.5 billion in 2020.  

That means email marketing won’t be going away any time soon. It also means you’ll likely devote more of your digital marketing efforts to email campaigns — from the overall marketing strategy down to the words and images in every email you send.

See for yourself how important email marketing is:

Is there a way to make email marketing easier?

Have you ever figured out how much time you spend on email blasts? According to one email marketing report, 53% of survey respondents say it usually takes them more than two weeks to create an email campaign. 

As a small business owner, you probably don’t have a few more hours — let alone days and weeks — to spend on email marketing. Getting the full benefits of email requires dedicated resources, which many small businesses simply don’t have. 

That’s where marketing automation comes in.

Marketing automation takes email marketing to the next level

When combined with a marketing automation platform, email marketing can deliver the right message, about the right products and services, at the right time, to the right audience. 

Marketing automation helps you attract more customers, usher them through the customer journey, and build more brand awareness and market share through successful lead nurturing.

But what about when an email marketing campaign is executed poorly? 

You increase the risk of clients hitting the unsubscribe button. Maybe they simply lose interest because they’ve received too many offers and notifications that aren’t relevant to their interests. Or perhaps your customer relationship management (CRM) database is full of incorrect contact information, such as wrong email addresses, incorrect spelling, and other errors that make it impossible to deliver email.

You can eliminate these fundamental errors using marketing automation to amplify email marketing automation. 

How exactly does marketing automation simplify email marketing?

Businesses need to reach, engage, and influence their buyers through a range of touchpoints, including email, social media marketing, mobile apps, and more. 

Among all of these marketing channels, email can consume the most time. Here are four ways marketing automation helps to simplify and optimize email marketing:

  • Saves time: Marketing automation is all about using software to streamline the repetitive, time-consuming, and often error-prone tasks associated with content delivery, social media posting, ad campaigns, and email marketing campaign workflows. This makes it much easier to launch, manage, refine, and update campaigns across all of these channels. In fact, marketing automation tools have been found to improve productivity by approximately 20%.

  • Helps you better understand customers: Marketing automation software helps marketing teams gather valuable data about buyers from their interactions with landing pages, web forms, social media, mobile apps, physical and online ads, phone calls, SMS messages, and personalized emails. That enables them to simplify and shorten the buyers’ journey and convert prospects faster through the sales funnel.
  • Provides email marketing automation tools: Email services simply don’t have the power to “slice and dice” your target audiences. You can’t track user behavior or preferences, view past purchases or interactions or even follow how they’ve engaged on your website or social media pages. At most, you can track email open rates, but even those metrics don’t tell you the whole story. Marketing automation helps you create highly targeted and automated email campaigns by generating email lists based on specific and highly granular criteria that you define. This is why companies are increasingly using marketing automation to improve email automation, profile and target, and personalize dynamic email content).

Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation

A quick comparison of their various features shows the breadth of marketing automation against the much more limited capabilities of email marketing:

How do you know if you need marketing automation?

Almost any size business can benefit from marketing automation. Perhaps if your product or service is extremely specialized and limited to an exceptionally small market, you may be able to stick with email marketing only.

However, this is not the case for the majority of businesses.

Many small businesses want to explore the benefits of marketing automation, but they are hindered by the pricing of some platforms, or they worry about getting up to speed on advanced functionality that they may or may not need.

Like most business owners, you probably use several productivity apps, such as Zoom, DocuSign, QuickBooks, Calendly, and suites such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace. It’s important to know if a marketing automation platform supports integrations with the software you use to run your business.

What’s more, small businesses generally look for software providers who offer comprehensive support services to minimize downtime. After all, sales teams depend on CRM and marketing software to ensure timely and relevant communication and follow-up, whether through phone calls or a series of emails.

Get started with Act!

Act! is the leading provider of all-in-one CRM and marketing automation solutions that empower small and midsize businesses to market better, sell more, and create customers for life. 

Our mission is to provide small businesses with access to tools that amplify their relationships and transform how they do business, from finding customers to strengthening existing relationships. Act! delivers powerfully simple relationship management tools and know-how, from the first impression to repeat business and referrals. 

Whether you simply want essential features and integrations you can start using right away, or you need a feature-rich platform you can fully customize to support your unique business operations, we have a plan and product that’s right for you.

Learn more by trying Act! free for 14 days!

And learn more about marketing automation and email marketing with these additional resources:

Is email marketing dead?

What is drip marketing and when should you use it?

What is marketing automation?

What are the benefits of marketing automation?

How do you choose the best marketing automation software?