Newsletters, email marketing automation and marketing automation are all important tools. Here’s a look at the differences between them.
There are a lot of tools that an average online business needs to utilize in order to stay afloat in the age of growing digitalization, rising competition, and general intensification of marketing. No online business can rely on a single medium or platform for getting their message out. Instead, they have to cultivate the proper mix and balance between several different but complementary tools.
Ten years ago there was no banner blindness, no influencer marketing, no affiliate deals, and you could stuff your website with hidden keywords to earn extra visibility. When everyone went digital, eCommerce started to pave its way towards becoming the marketplace of choice that accounts for more than 18% of retail sales worldwide, and online laws, regulations, and restrictions followed right away.
Nowadays, having an online store is standard. Who isn’t online? The same is true for online advertising – who doesn’t advertise online? But what do you do in the era of privacy-first GDPR regulations, ad blockers, and an incredible level of competition and online noise?
Given the incredible growth of eCommerce post-pandemic, the competition will only continue to grow as well. That’s why it’s paramount for online businesses to maintain several active touch points with their customers at all times. That’s why the job market is blooming for the positions of paid advertising specialists, content managers, email marketing wizards, etc. In order to stay afloat, you need to try and incorporate as many successful strategies as you possibly can.
There are many to choose from but what separates one from the other?
The best marketing strategies for eCommerce
Newsletters, email marketing, and marketing automation are all the crucial elements of a successful marketing funnel that can boost your ROI, but they differ in important ways that suit their different roles.
It’s important to understand these differences because when you have your marketing strategy scattered in every possible direction it’s pretty easy to get lost. At the same time, you need to remember that the key to a successful marketing implementation is consistent analysis. You want to know how many customers landed on your shop through Facebook and how many found it through a newsletter and how many through a banner ad. This way you can adjust your strategies for the different channels accordingly.
Thanks to understanding the clear difference between newsletters, email automation, and marketing automation, you’ll be able to properly measure the effectiveness of each for your eCommerce marketing channels and, consequently, adapt to the ever-changing market faster.
With that out of the way, let’s dig into the definitions!
Newsletters for eCommerce
This one is pretty self explanatory.
A newsletter by itself is just a periodic outreach with the fresh news about your company, product updates, industry changes, special offers, etc. You may use newsletters to inform your current clients or promising leads about a special deal, generate leads, or even power up the sales funnel. It’s a very powerful form of content marketing for both B2B and B2C companies.
You can think of it as a way to keep conversations going and stay on customer radars.
The beauty of a good newsletter is that it can be effective at any stage of the buyer’s journey and appeal to a wide range of customers. With newsletters, your eCommerce can easily educate, promote, delight, or establish itself as an opinion leader. You can set up as many of them as necessary and watch your content strategy bloom. Just make sure you don’t go overboard — bombarding subscribers with too many newsletters too often will quickly result in fewer subscribers.
Here are some other general rules for keeping your newsletter campaign successful:
- Make sure each newsletter is packed with useful information
- Segment your contacts in a convenient and logical way
- Personalize your newsletters’ content for each segment
- Stick to the original purpose you’ve selected for a specific campaign
- Automate the process as much as possible (set up a series of mails to be delivered in a certain sequence, autoresponders for users who open the newsletter or click on a link)
That last point takes us to the next point.
Newsletters vs Email marketing
Newsletters are just the tip of the email marketing iceberg you should be building your eCommerce around. Email marketing includes your newsletters but it can go further to cover every promotional outreach that uses email to contact customers.
Email marketing is a pretty broad term that encompasses newsletters, as well sales emails, special deals, changes to company regulations, and literally any other email you have ever sent to a customer. You need a personal consent to include a client to a marketing contact list, so it also involves a little bit of platform integrations, form creation, and knowledge regarding GDPR compliance.
Moreover, email marketing is tightly connected with other elements of your marketing strategy (this differentiation is important). In eCommerce, email marketing helps tighten all your communication together and deliver a truly personalized experience to each customer. While you can track every shopper and reach out to them manually, the best results are achieved through automation here.
How does email marketing automation work for eCommerce?
Email marketing automation (EMA) is about creating chains or funnels of emails dedicated to a certain objective. Similarly to newsletters, your goals may vary depending on the contact’s lifecycle or buyer’s journey stage, yet – unlike in newsletter – selling is usually prioritized here.
EMA allows you to create a sense of personalization and individuality while communicating with customers on a larger scale. Instead of sending emails manually, you set up special triggers connected to various elements of your page (e.g. forms and CTAs), of your emails (e.g. clicks and opens), or your checkout (e.g. abandoned carts).
Email marketing automation is not just about creating engaging email copy – it’s about segmenting your contacts, defining the right triggers, and making sure that nobody gets left out in the process. Due to its seeming complexity, many businesses use third-party solutions and CMSs dedicated specifically to EMA.
Now let’s keep the “automation” part but move it to another medium.
Marketing automation vs email marketing automation
Marketing automation is similar to EMA but is applied to the entire marketing toolbox – so it no longer ties the channels together, it establishes them. Similarly to EMA, marketing automation also heavily relies on segmentation, targeting, and third-party software, however here, once the trigger is activated, more options are available to the marketers.
At its core, marketing automation comes down to using customer-generated data in order to personalize their experience with your brand. It uses tracking codes like cookies to remind lost customers about the items they’ve abandoned, promote similar goods when they go elsewhere online, offer personalized discounts and generally follow up on what they started.
Email campaigns can be a component of marketing automation, but so is advertising, retargeting or product recommendations. Marketing automation happens across multiple channels, such as social media, dedicated landing pages, your eCommerce website, or even search engines, like Google.
Newsletters, email marketing, and marketing automation come together
If you look at the three, you’ll notice that one builds up on another and there is overlap in places. From general strategies like automation of core marketing processes to a very specific type of newsletter, together they create an effective marketing funnel with multiple touch points that can fuel your eCommerce even in these times of uncertainty and growing competition.
The great thing about the combination of these three essential marketing elements is the variety of approaches that it makes possible. Between your newsletter, email marketing automation and marketing automation, you can cover every base and create just about any kind of customer journey you can think of.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with automation while you try to deliver your eCommerce site’s visitors with the best buyer experience! After all, you never know which strategy will work out best for your audience, in your niche.
edrone is an AI-fueled SaaS platform providing Instant ROI and Customer Experience solutions for eCommerce. Over 1000 Brands use our technology in 25 countries around the globe.