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Cold Emails vs Email Marketing: What’s The Difference?

Bruce Martinus | 1/1/2021 | 9 min read

Many people seem to think that “Cold Emails” and “Email Marketing” are the same thing or that they are interchangeable.

But in reality, cold emails and marketing emails differ quite a lot.

In short;

If your cold emails look like marketing emails, you won’t get any responses.

And if your marketing emails look like cold emails, you won’t build any relationships.

Cold emails go to people who have no knowledge of you yet, and it’s your first chance to get your foot in the door with some of your ideal prospects.

While marketing emails are sent to a group of people who have opted in to view your content over long periods of time and will buy from you at any stage of the journey. 

So, with that being said, let’s look at both cold emails and marketing emails individually.


What Are Cold Emails?

Cold emails are unsolicited messages that you send to a list of your ideal prospects that have zero knowledge of who you are and what you do. As I said before, cold emails are your first opportunity to form a new relationship.

Similar to cold calling, it’s a form of B2B outbound lead generation where you are reaching out directly to a potential customer.

The main aim of a cold email is to make a connection with a targeted prospect, find something you can relate to, and try to nurture them down your sales funnel. A few examples of the outcome you’re looking to achieve are;


  • To book an introductory call with you
  • To send your prospect to a landing page
  • To send a free report that provides value

Cold Email Benefits

Cold emails are an extremely efficient way to build your brand awareness, and you’re able to effectively build your network by sending emails that connect with your prospects on a personal level.

One of the main benefits of cold emails is the fact that you are looking for people to take action almost instantaneously. And as a result, your overall sales process can be spread across a number of weeks instead of a number of months.

The reason you send a cold email is to get a response or for your prospect to take some sort of action. You’re not just looking for people to read your content – you’re looking to convert people who have no knowledge of you into potential customers.


What Are Marketing Emails?

Emails marketing (or an email newsletter) is a marketing campaign that is sent to a list of people who have opted in to hear from you on regular basis. Or, in other words, these people are your subscribers.

When people opt into your email newsletter it means that they are interested in your product or service, your brand, and the content you provide to them. 

Unlike outbound emails, marketing emails are inbound emails (B2B and B2C), and your primary aim is to keep your readers fully engaged with your content so they continue to subscribe.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that marketing emails aren’t intended to sell anything to your customers, it just means that you’re not looking for people to take any action straight away. You’re looking to build relationships over long periods of time and to make sales at any stage of the customer journey.


Marketing Email Benefits

As you look to grow your business, you want to build a loyal customer base that consistently buys from you – and email marketing is a great way to nurture that.

When a person first joins your email list, they a considered to be a ‘warm lead’. This means that they have knowledge of you and they are interested in your company, but they may not be at the buying stage. 

Your job with email marketing is to convert potential customers into paying customers by providing valuable content.

The primary goal for marketing emails is to build trust and a connection between your brand and your customers by staying in contact with them consistently. 


A Quick Recap

  • Cold emails are part of the initial sales process, whereas marketing emails are part of the marketing process. While they are similar – you can’t grow your list with cold emails, and you can’t find new customers with marketing emails.

  • With cold emails, you are actively contacting people while providing them with a solution to their specific needs.

  • With marketing emails, you’re nurturing your relationships with potential customers who may be at different stages of the buying process. You don’t expect email subscribers to take any action straight away.

  • A cold email is your first opportunity to build a relationship. Marketing emails grow those relationships over time.


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