Email Marketing vs Lead Nurturing Campaigns—Fight!


You may be wondering what is the difference between email marketing and lead nurturing campaigns. Well, essentially, email marketing is using email to shoot ads directly into your audience’s inbox. While, a lead nurturing campaign is the process of developing relationships with your buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. This is accomplished by knowing your leads and using your content to garner their trust in order to ultimately buy from you.

Yet, sometimes email marketing is disguised as tired outbound practices—blasting their audience regularly with emails hoping they would be interested in purchasing their products or services.

So how can you tell which one you are unconsciously implementing?

Don’t worry. Here’s a list of the traditional practices of email marketing versus the inbound practices of lead nurturing campaigns and see which one is the most beneficial strategy based on the following criteria: Who, What, and When.

The Who

"The who" is your focus every time you interact with your leads. For email marketing, "the who" may not actually be their leads but their business goals instead. This is not to say that wanting to reach your goals is bad. However, that should not be your primary focus.

By focusing on your leads through using lead nurturing campaigns, you are getting to know your leads and where they are in the buyer's journey in order to give them the content that will satisfy their needs. And as stated by Juniper Research, relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.

Marketing is all about the balance between what your company wants and what your customers need. By getting to know your leads on a personal level, you are converting them into trusting, delighted customers—all because you took the time to focus on their needs.

The What

After establishing your focus, it’s time to plan "your what" or your content. Through email marketing, some companies’ content seems to revolve around their products and services—blasting their audience with emails every time their company has a new product launch or sale.  

However, lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts. So why take a chance on annoying your audience with irrelevant content versus strategically sending out emails based on their needs.

For example, if a lead downloads a 10 step guide to understanding inbound marketing, why then would you send an email blast about a sale on your website design services. Your lead may not understand how their website factors into inbound marketing best practices. But by sending them these services way before educating them on why your services matter, this email blast may just cause you to lose this lead.

Make your products and services matter by educating your leads from their perspective. Build your content around their stage in the buyer’s journey in order to strategically educate and nurture them into understanding how your company can provide for their needs.

The When

Finally "the when" is the amount of time you should contact your leads. With email marketing, "the when" is centered around product launches or other company advertisements.

However, "the when" for lead nurturing is not centered around one specific amount of time. MarketingSherpa provided these stats in order to show how often B2B companies contact their leads:

  • 34% of B2B organizations touch leads with lead nurturing on a monthly basis.
  • 22% of B2B organizations touch leads with lead nurturing on a weekly basis.
  • 15% of B2B organizations touch leads with lead nurturing on a quarterly basis.
  • 9% of B2B organizations touch leads with lead nurturing on a daily basis.
  • 2% of B2B organizations touch leads with lead nurturing on an annual basis.

Ultimately, the time spent with your leads all depends on wherever they are in the buyer’s journey and in the sales funnel. If you don’t know when you should check in with a specific lead either on a month-to-month or a quarter-to-quarter basis, see what works best for your lead by testing it out.

Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. Therefore, it should be a no brainer who won this fight. Make sure you are implementing these lead nurturing practices into your next strategy and start nurturing your leads towards your sale conversion goals.  

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Topics: Inbound Marketing