Automation has become nearly second nature to many businesses and brands. Yet, the question remains whether or not it is the more intelligent choice when choosing marketing automation over email service providers.
To best understand why marketing automation is the better choice, it is essential to know what the two are and what they can do for your business. Let us give the two platforms a more in-depth look at their strengths and weaknesses to get to the bottom of which would be the better fit for your business.
What are Email Service Providers (ESP)?
Email Service Providers (ESP) are programs that help create lists of email addresses. ESPs are meant to be simplistic and not too complex so that they are easy to access for users with any level of technological awareness. Most ESPs tools, like Constant Contact allow a user to start by uploading contacts, which they can then design emails for and schedule out email blasts. The process can be effortlessly repeated, and more connections can easily be entered into the recipients’ list.
Due to the simplistic nature of ESPs, businesses tend to want more. Email campaigns can quickly be taken a step further with straightforward automation.
What is Marketing Automation?
Automation applies to any software or system that lets users perform tasks more efficiently. Some examples of how Marketing Automation can be used to help a business be more efficient are:
- Social media marketing, including automating tasks such as posting to multiple sites on a schedule
- Email marketing can overlap with areas including lead nurturing and paid advertising
- Tracking and analytics for email campaigns, online promotions, and website visitors
Marketing automation tools like SharpSpring by Constant Contact, allow users to send emails and track audience engagement, build landing pages, and schedule social media posts. In such a way, marketing automation can give a business actionable insights into their customers’ behavior. Using real-world data, these insights can help a brand optimize its marketing efforts to reach its targeted audience better.
What Benefits do Marketing Automation provide over Email Service Providers?
While both ESPs and marketing automation will allow the user to send emails, marketing automation enables users to do much more in multiple categories:
- Generating Leads: both ESPs and marketing automation can import lists of contacts, but only marketing automation can create dynamic form fields for building complete contact profiles, can deal with third-party integration, can create simple CSS adoption to make your forms blend in, can automatically connect on social media, can schedule an email to a single contact for future delivery, as well as qualify leads based on the position in the sales cycle
- Driving Sales: both ESPs and marketing automation can do CRM integrations and have an easy-to-use email designer, but marketing automation can also send notifications to the sales team of leads when it comes to online activity, can automatically segment your leads based on their behavior, can send targeted messages for one-on-one communication, create an illustrated timeline of all emails each contact received and can increase engagement with segmented messages
- Proving ROI: both ESPs and marketing automation can open rate and click-through rate tracking, but marketing automation can also create website behavior reports, identify the contact’s position in the sales process, take to online and offline monitoring of leads activity, and also create an automatic return on investment calculations
Why not Automate Everything?
There are many ways that businesses can use marketing automation to customize their buying cycle, even beyond merely setting up emails and email lists. Some examples include (but are not limited to):
- If an website user looks at a specific page on a business’ website (such as one for a product or service), automation can be created to add them to a list that receives a follow-up email communication about the product or service found on the page
- Set up a system where customers interact with a business’ marketing in a way that indicates they are ready to buy, passes the customer to sales, then an automatic notification will be given to the sales team
- Send reminder emails and follow up emails if a customer hasn’t interacted with a business’ content in a extended period of time (such as six months or more)
- Personalize what customers see when they view a business’ website. An example would be if someone who works in finance visits the website, the content could display information about the same industry and how the business can aid such an industry’s employees
- Easy customization of landing pages and forms
How to know whether to use ESPs or Marketing Automation
When it all comes down to it, each business is unique, requiring different focuses in different areas. There might be problems that could be easily solved with marketing automation. For some, a simple ESP might be all that is needed to help with marketing. If your business needs more targeted messaging, your company has a smaller team and therefore requires a simple way to do many marketing tasks.
Your business would benefit from insight into how your current marketing campaigns are doing and how they could be improved. Your business would do well to have an easy way to distribute content. Your sales team could use some help identifying leads, or your business seems to have ongoing problems regarding sales and marketing, then marketing automation is the best choice.
Are you interested in learning more about either ESPs or marketing automation? We at A Gratton’s Edge Inc can help. Call us at (855) 424-3462, email us at email@example.com, or visit our website and fill out our online form to get started.