7 min read

What is the difference between CRM, Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

Written by Andriy Boychuk
7 min read
Table of Contents

    There are many friends, potential clients, and industry peers who ask me the same question over and over again about CRM, Email Marketing, and Marketing Automation.

    In this video, I did my best to explain the difference between all those terms and which one is the highest priority.

    At Flowium, we use ActiveCampaign for Marketing Automation and Klaviyo for Email Marketing. Read these articles if you want to learn more about Klaviyo pricing or ActiveCampaign pricing. 

    ***Some links in this article are affiliated

    – Hi, in this video, I will explain what is the difference between CRM, email marketing, and marketing automations. If you are a new business owner or you already have business for a while, but you don’t have anything, like you don’t have CRM, you don’t have email marketing, and you didn’t have marketing automation, I will explain where you should start, and what is the differentiation between all of that. So let’s start and I will draw it on my board because it would be easier for me to explain how it work. First, let’s start from the definitions. So CRM. So CRM it’s acronym for customer relationship management. But in the industry, CRM it stands for like when somebody say like do you have CRM? They mean what kind of tool you use. There’s a bunch of tools you can use for CRM like Pipedrive, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Smartsheet and again just type in CRM software and there will be a lot. Zoho the big one as well. So basically CRM it’s a tool where you in most cases manually enter contact information let’s say my name is Andrew, so let’s say Andrew is like my information. You add to CRM my information, my phone number, my email, any other information you have for me and you are able to create some kind of activities to follow up with me. And there will be some kind of fields where you can put notes like, oh I met Andrew, I saw him on this YouTube channel and then we met in the conference, and we spoke, and he said he might be interested in my service or he wants to invest with me let’s say if you like some kind of investors and you need other investors to invest with you. So CRM it’s just database of contact. So the next one is email marketing. And by the way, if you’re a marketer or you know all of this and you might be laughing like why does he compare CRM with email marketing and marketing automation. Because I received a lot of questions from my friends as well as on internet like, hey can you help me with marketing automation? But they really mean CRM. Or when they say CRM, they need something different. So that’s why I’m recording this video to explain the difference and what each thing means. So email marketing it’s just general term. It’s a marketing channel. It’s not a software. It’s just a term. And email marketing means sending emails, marketing emails, to your customers or to your subscribers, to your email subscribers somebody who opted in. So somebody visited your website, left their email and gave you permission to market to them and that channel calls email marketing. There’s two types of emails in marketing automation. The first one is campaigns, and another one is automations. What does it mean? Campaigns are also known as a blast newsletter, promo emails, and so forth. So basically you have a list of email subscribers or your customers and you send them emails like hey happy birthday. Or we have a promo or some other information that you want to send once to your clients. Automation on the other hand, it’s an automatic process. For example when they subscribe first time to your email’s newsletter, you can send them like drip campaign. Meaning let’s say they visited your website, correct? And there are some pop-ups or sign up at the bottom like, so leave your email and the click button submit. So they click here submit and it will trigger sequence or automation or flow, depends which software you use, and you will send them email number one known as a welcome email. So in this email like you can say to them, hey thank you for subscribing, this is history of our company, this is why I created, the submission, and so forth. So basically your elevator page in this first email. And also you can tell them like what to expect. And then depends how many emails you want to send later. Maybe, I don’t know, email number two, and number two social proof. Email number three, like social proof meaning testimonials or maybe you were covered in some press then number three like follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and so forth. Email number for this is like services. Like services I provide and so forth. So this is email marketing. This is called email marketing. But for you to be able to do email marketing, you need to have a website and people have to opt-in, subscribe to your newsletter or like leave their contact information and click submit. You cannot just purchase list and send the emails. I mean, technically you can but it’s called spamming. It’s illegal and you should not do that. I do not recommend to do it if you want to grow and develop your business the nice way. So yeah, so this is email marketing. So we spoke about CRM, we covered CRM, we covered, oh by the way and which tools to use for email marketing. There’s many. If you have less than 2,000 subscriber, email subscriber, you can start on MailChimp, it’s free. There’s other versions, there is like ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, MailerLite, Drip, ConvertKit and so forth it’s like all software are different for different purposes but there’s many. So like do your research and find which is best suits for you but I mean later I’ll recommend which one I personally recommend but it’s up to you which one to use. Last thing is so what is marketing automation. Marketing automation is not a channel. It’s just definition for different kind of channels, marketing channels which you can automate. It can be SMS, text messages, it can be email marketing which we described here. It can be direct mail which trigger or automatically. So basically marketing automation again it’s a term by marketing automation anything that you can automate in the marketing. If you ask somebody how can I do marketing automation, it’s almost impossible. Because, I mean it depends. It depends what do you need. Are you talking about like do you want to automate your SMS, are you talking you want to automate your email marketing, do you want to automate your direct mail, or do you want to automate your Facebook audience, building your audience? So this thing just for you to remember it encompass a lot of things. Don’t be fooled by like marketers who throw those terms like, oh we can provide you marketing automation like ask them follow up question, what does it mean? What does it include? Because it’s very generic term. It’s like saying like hey, I will provide you marketing. What kind of marketing? What exactly you will provide what will you do for me. So now the question is, where should you start? Either you’re new business owner or you have your own business for a while but you don’t have any of those and by the way I record a lot of videos about e-commerce about e-commerce online retailers but this dedicated video I recorded not for e-commerce. Because e-commerce is totally a different universe which will be not covered in this video. So CRM, email marketing, marketing automation where you should start. Doesn’t matter if you have a business or you’re starting out business. So the answer is CRM. You have to have a CRM, like I don’t care what you do how you do it, CRM you have to. If you want to have more sales, if you want to have more prospects, you have to have a CRM. Why? Because it’s impossible to keep everything in your head, impossible. Like you can be the smartest person in the world, remember everything but it’s impossible to keep everything. Right now in our CRM system we have approximately 3,000 companies and almost 5,000 contacts and out of those we have like close to 500 deals that we’re working on. And it will be impossible to do without CRM. So this is the thing you need to do like 100% you need CRM. My personal recommendation and what we currently use in our company and it’s after using at least I believe four different tools we use Pipedrive, I believe I have affiliation link so if I do I’ll include under this video, you don’t have to use it but if you use it there are some few dollars they will pay me. So we use Pipedrive, I highly recommend all things Pipedrive, I highly recommend to watch another YouTube channel, I always type in Paul Pipedrive, I always forget his last name but he’s the best guy and I hired him to consult us to set up our system better but Pipedrive it currently is the best tool we believe on the market. However, if you want to use free one, it’s a HubSpot and Zoho. We used to use them but there’s too many features and it’s like too complicated. Pipedrive is very simple, nice, and it’s amazing. Just amazing tool so it would be the best 12 or $13 you will spend monthly in your business and success of my business I dedicate to my CRM because sometimes it takes one year to close a deal for us. And it might take between seven to 20 follow-ups was a person to close the deal. So if I don’t have CRM tool, I would not be able to close a deal. Okay, on that note this is priority number one. If you have some some some extra time, get MailChimp. So do the so this is priority number one. Must have dedicated 99% to this and only 1% of this. Or no time at all to this and 100% to that. You can do email marketing so what you should do, you should put some opt-in forms on your website. You can add to footer, you can add contact us, you can have some kind of freebie and do some email marketing. You can get MailChimp, MailChimp. It’s a free tool, up to 2,000 subscribers. If you have more than 2,000 I will recommend another tool, but if you have less than 2,000 subscribers, get MailChimp it’s free. Like you don’t need to get any extra expenses to your business and it’s very easy to use as well. So just add their form to your website and start collecting those emails. What do you need to do here if you don’t have much time send monthly email. Some kind of updates about your company, maybe clients you close, maybe something mentioned somebody mentioned you in a press or anything else. So send monthly email. Again, this is priority this is secondary. If you have time for both, here you do it on daily basis, this thing you do once a month. But you collect emails all the time because you will install that form on your website and people just updating and you have to do nothing like there’s nothing you need to do after they opt in. So advance about email marketing a little bit advanced is and I’m not sure if it’s available on a MailChimp free account, but you can set up one automation, a welcome automation, so when somebody subscribe you can send them one email or a few emails it’s up to you. So what I showed you before at the beginning of this video you will do like a form so email their email, they submit and you will do email number one and it’s welcome. So welcome just say like hey thank you for subscribing, this is what we do, I’m the founder and so forth. So just this way when they subscribe they get something right away and they call engage subscriber because when they open this email they show some kind of activities. And then that’s it you’re done here and on monthly basis you send them newsletter. Newsletter, monthly newsletter is more important than this thing. Okay, so now let’s talk about marketing automation. After you master this thing, and you have something like this, you can do marketing automation meaning. All business owners are overwhelmed in their business and what’s very sexy and attractive is word automation. Meaning I can automate and I don’t have to do it like again. It’s my specialty this is what we specialize in and trust me it’s nice, nice to have but I started implementing this after four years in my business. Yeah, there were some small things that we automated but really we leveraged automation in the fourth year of my business. And it’s our specialty. Please don’t jump on a shiny object. Like forget this completely. This secondary, this is primary. Do the work, put in those contact, each contact everybody. Everybody you know, everybody you met, potential deal follow up with people. This like you need CRM. Everything else is secondary. So for marketing automation, what tool I would recommend I’m official reseller but I’m reseller for this tool it’s only because I believe in it we use in our business and it’s a great tool. It’s called so ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign has and it’s like one tool which have CRM, email marketing, and marketing automation capabilities. However, ActiveCampaign is terrible for CRM. ActiveCampaign is great for email marketing. ActiveCampaign is great for some marketing automation. So if you want to use ActiveCampaign for everything, I do not recommend. Do not use ActiveCampaign for CRM. Use Pipedrive for CRM if you need suggestion. If you want to use something free use HubSpot. Okay, but if you have more than 2,000 subscribers, still I would recommend to use ActiveCampaign. This thing forget about this. Like honestly like you can google, sorry you can check other videos and be advanced on this, but right now if you don’t have any of those yet, this thing you should do maybe a year or two years later. And how you should do it when you have your own processes, manual process in place and you know step by step how everything works then you can think, okay so what can I automate? So in our business we have a form on our website on the home page. If you want to check it go to flowium.com and check how it works in our website but we ask for a name, email, it’s like service request form. So we have name, email, other information and important one is revenue. We asking what is their annual revenue in the business. And when they click here it’s a drop down. And one, there’s few options, and one of the option is like less than 50,000 a year annually. So and then the other options are like 500 and above, then 1 million 10 million and so forth. So if somebody submits a form, submits on the website form and answer less than 500,000 instead of responding them manually via our CRM, or scheduling call with them, what we do we send automatic email and in this automation we say like hey Mr. Klein, we saw that you make less than $500,000 a year and based on our experience, and we say like our retainer projects starts at 3,000 and more. And based on our experience, it’s not enough revenue, you’re making not enough revenue to justify our cost. Do you still want to talk with us? And in 99.9% clients say like no I don’t want it. It’s too expensive for me. So this email saves us a lot of time. So this is just an example of one marketing automation or like automation you can use. But again, this thing it took us a year to figure out our manual process before we automate this. So that’s why marketing automation is not important. Don’t focus on this, don’t think about it at this moment. Put the full focus on your CRM. Then you can do email marketing and marketing automations do it in the year one, so year two, year three, year five, or never. It’s up to you but CRM is the most important because you have to make money. I hope it helps explain you. Please leave your questions below because maybe I did not explain something correctly, I want to clarify it. Because I want to share this video with people who are asking me those questions about CRM, marketing, or where should I start and so forth. Thank you, bye.

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