What is the difference between email marketing and lead nurturing?
Email marketing is a type of direct marketing intended to send a commercial message through email. It involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. Email marketing can be done to either cold lists or a current customer database. 
Lead nurturing is a term for building relationships with potential clients even if they are not currently looking to buy a product or service. Lead nurturing is intended to increase brand awareness, thus making it more likely that the client will go with the company’s product or service when it is time to buy. 
Companies and especially marketers were used to sending direct messages through direct mail and flyers. After the Internet revolution, the tool changed but the methodoly hasn’t. Email marketing (in practice) means sending out monthly, one-size-fits-all emails to an entire database of prospects with different lead generating offers each month. Different offers are sent through emails to all clients who optimistically have opted in to the list.
However, this approach caused many to opt out from email lists in early 2011. I remember when the effectiveness of email campaigns was less than one percent and about 67% of subscribers (on average) had decided to unsubscribe.
So the use of email marketing has started to change and it’s being given different names such as lead nurturing, email nurturing, or email workflow. (I use the name of lead nurturing for the same concept).
Lead nurturing is so much more than just automating “drip emails”. Lead nurturing is about relationships. And relationships are about people, not emails. A company’s brand voice should be about helping people solve problems, often with information, not necessarily on the quick sale. Relationships are about sharing and trust. Relationships are about conversations. Relationships are about social media. 
What you should know about email marketing
One of the most interesting questions that my prospects (always) ask is: how many emails did you send through email marketing to your clients? What is the largest number?
Before going deeply to answer of this question, let me describe the process of email marketing for you:
Email Marketing Process
- Create an Account: Creating an account on one of the email blast service providers. An email blast service provider is a company / website that helps you send the same email from one to millions of recipients. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail are email providers. Most of the time they do not let you send email blasts. And they do not offer many other tracking and analytical data options about your recipients. So, create an account to Mailchimp, ConstantContact, Awber, and iContact.
Tip: Creating a Mailchimp account is Free and you are able to have up to 2000 recipients and send up to 12000 emails per month. If you’re in need of more sending power, perhaps you should consider upgrading to a paid account.
- Import your recipients’ lists to your account: It is as simple as copy/pasting the list from an Excel spreadsheet.
- 3. Create an email campaign: What’s your offer? Who’s your audience?
- 4. Choose a predesigned template for your email.
- 5. Write your email copy content.
- 6. Send it.
The email blast provider will send the email to all of your recipients. Then you will have a REPORT of how many people got your email and how many of them actually opened it. The report can even show you how many times a person opened the email, and whether they clicked on a link you may have placed inside the email and so on.
If you are using ANY of these email blast providers, the number of recipients is not important. Well, it is important cause you’ll be charged more for a larger list, but the process is the same for sending emails to ONE recipient or millions of recipients. The benchmarks of many industries are available to analyze and you can compare the success of your campaign with others. 
OK, let’s back to the question. How many emails did you send through email marketing to your clients? What is the biggest size?
The first time I was asked this, I answered: 10000 recipients. She hung up the phone but not before saying: “No thanks! I prefer to work with a larger company.” So we lost that opportunity.
OMG! Even If I had a list of 10 million recipients, I would never send an email to all of them using only one campaign.
- Even if the message is basically the same, WE should segment and classify those 10 million clients into different PERSONAE and send a different email copy / campaign for each specific persona.
- If you have 10 million recipients, you should run an A/B test to each of your email campaigns in order to find out the best approach and message.
- Never ever send the same message to all of your recipients because they are not at the same stage, buying cycle status or same accepting mind.
- We are human and we are prone to mistakes. But imagine something bad happening in your campaign that you wouldn’t want to send. Do you want to reach all the 10 million customers with that mistake?
Indeed, the next time you need to hire an email marketing company, ask the scale of their biggest email campaign but ALSO ask how many email campaigns they have done. A more experienced marketing firm is better than a high-risk-taking one.
What is lead nurturing?
As we mentioned, lead nurturing is using email marketing campaigns to create a long-term relationship with recipients.
Let me explain the concept with one example: If you want to download our Free DIY Inbound Marketing eBook, you need to leave your email address. During one month, you will get about 10 sequential emails from me about the eBook, some more information that I did not place on the eBook and some free offers. In this way, I will create a longer relationship with a visitor to our website.
Many of our recipients decided to purchase our premium package, which brings in many new clients. Why? Because we didn’t hide anything and we teach what we do.
We are using email in basic email campaigns to generate leads and clients, and not simply sending email blasts.
Every lead nurturing campaign has to be designed based on insight into the personae of its recipients. Otherwise, it will (and probably should) go to the junk mail folder.
What other email blast service provider do you recommend and why?