Cold Email vs Email Marketing: What’s the difference?

Cold Email vs Email Marketing: What’s the difference?

One of the most common questions we receive when discussing cold email with customers is:

What's the difference between cold email and email marketing? 

To ensure the differences are crystal clear, we’ll be outlining all the differences between cold email and email marketing in this article.

And before we begin, if you're looking for a quick guide on the difference between cold email and email marketing, we've listed the key differences to save you some time here.

Now, let's dive in!

What is a cold email?

Example of a cold email

Cold email is the act of sending an email to someone with whom you have no previous relationship. This is generally done by finding someone's email using an email finder like or LeadLoft, and then proceeding to send them an email out of the blue.

And if you'd like to learn more about cold email, here's a quick overview of cold email or you can check out our Cold Email Masterclass here.

What is the goal of cold email?

Cold email call to action

The outcome you generally want from a cold email is to book a meeting with a prospect. Cold email is primarily used for sales, so the focus is on building relationships through meetings or demos, not on maximizing the number of clicks or opens you receive. 

How do you send a cold email?

Cold email drip campaign

To send the gold email, all you have to do is follow these short steps:

  1. Log into your email like Gmail or Outlook 
  2. Compose an email
  3. Paste down the email of a prospect you'd like to contact
  4. Click send

This is an overly simplistic way of sending a cold email, but it's actually that simple. It's important to note that cold emails are almost always sent from an individual's email at a company. This is opposite to marketing emails, which are generally sent using Sendgrid or some other kind of email newsletter tool.

You will find, however, that most teams utilizing cold email will use an email automation tool like Mailshake or LeadLoft. This will automate the email sending on their behalf, saving thousands of hours by handling all the heavy lifting and personalization for them. If you'd like to learn how to send cold emails, we highly recommend checking out our guide here.

What are some popular cold email tools?

To ensure your journey into the world of cold email is as smooth as possible, here are some of our favorite tools for cold email. Some are designed for simplicity, while others are designed for full-funnel outreach.

1) website is a powerful sales engagement software designed to make Salesforce easier to use. It works by layering on top of Salesforce and acting as a more efficient and user-friendly tool. It's great for complex sales motions that require advanced reporting and have a team of sales managers capable of overseeing its implementation. If you're a large enterprise using Salesforce, is likely the perfect solution for your team. However, if you're a startup or an SMB, you're probably better off using a different tool that's designed to be easier to use and simpler to implement.


Comparisons: vs LeadLoft vs Mailshake

2) LeadLoft

LL Website

LeadLoft functions as an outbound sales solution, designed to find prospects' contact information, send cold emails, make cold calls, and ultimately track your sales pipeline. This tool is extremely useful for teams ranging from five to 200 salespeople, as it is specifically designed to drive more revenue. However, if you are seeking advanced reporting features for a more enterprise-focused approach, LeadLoft may not be the ideal choice for you.



LeadLoft vs

LeadLoft vs Mailshake

3) MailShake

Mailshake website

Milkshake is likely the simplest tool on this list. It is designed specifically for sending cold emails, and it does so by allowing you to create a cold email drip campaign and then enrolling prospects into that campaign. This can be a great tool for a one-man show; however, as your team's skills develop, expect to grow out of it, as you'll likely need more advanced features offered by more powerful solutions.



Mailshake vs

Mailshake vs LeadLoft

What is a marketing email?

Marketing email example.

Email marketing is the act of sending marketing emails to subscribers. This is often used in newsletters and other kinds of email drip campaigns. In most cases, email marketing is not used unless somebody specifically subscribes to the marketing list. If somebody has not subscribed to the list, you shouldn't be emailing them via your email marketing software.

What is the goal of email marketing?

Email marketing call to action.

The primary objective of email marketing is to cultivate and nurture leads. This can be achieved through a variety of strategies, such as sending cart abandonment reminder emails or distributing marketing materials designed to engage leads who have not yet scheduled a meeting or converted.

How do you send marketing emails?

Example of a newsletter or email marketing drip campaign

In order to send marketing emails, you first need a newsletter or marketing automation software. This will enable you to design customized emails, send them to a subscriber list, and track the results. In some cases, such as with Ortto, you can even A/B test your emails to optimize and evaluate the effectiveness of your campaigns. Within marketing automation tools, you can send single promotional emails to tens or even hundreds of thousands of contacts simultaneously.

It is important to note that marketing emails should never be sent from an individual's personal email address at a company. Instead, they should be sent from the software used to manage your newsletter and subscriber list. In fact, most newsletter and marketing automation tools do not permit you to email someone unless they are subscribed to your list.

What are popular email marketing tools?

Here is a short list of some of our favorite email marketing tools.

1) Ortto

Ortto Website

Ortto is a powerful marketing automation software that you can use to send newsletters, transactional emails, and any other kind of promotional email you can think of. 

Just so you're aware, Ortto is the tool that we use here at Lead Loft, and we strongly recommend it. We're a big fan of the team over there and their founder, Michael Sharkey. If you're looking for a great tool, we cannot recommend Ortto enough.

Ortto also has an extremely short development timeline, which allows them to roll out amazing new features quickly. Other tools in the market seem to have been offering the same exact feature set for years, which makes Ortto unique and our personal favorite.



Ortto vs Mailchimp

Ortto vs MailerLite

2) Mailchimp

Mailchimp website

MailChimp is the de facto newsletter software. It may not have an extensive set of features, but it gets the job done with a simple and easy-to-use interface. Don't expect tons of customizability either, just anticipate an interface that's easy to use and understand. 

It's also worth noting that in recent years, MailChimp has begun to compete with some of the newcomers, forcing them to create new features and adapt to the evolving market. This means that MailChimp now offers some more modern features than it used to, but even with these updates, it still lags behind tools like Ortto in terms of the number of features it offers. 

Ultimately, if you are new to marketing animation and newsletters, MailChimp is likely the right tool for you.



Mailchimp vs Ortto

Mailchimp vs MailerLite

3) MailerLite

Much like Mailchimp, MailerLite offers a very simple set of features such as book campaigns, drip campaigns, and pop-ups. This makes MailerLite easy to use and a strong contender to Mailchimp. Ultimately, if you're looking for an easy-to-use software, I strongly recommend checking out both MailerLite and MailChimp.



MailerLite vs Ortto

MailerLite vs Mailchimp

In short, what’s the difference between cold email and email marketing?

Overview of Cold Email vs Email Marketing

Use Case: 

  • Cold Email: Sales Outreach or 1:1 Outreach
  • Email Marketing: Newsletters & Promotional Emails


  • Cold Email: Booking Meetings
  • Email Marketing: Brand Marketing & Reminders

Target Audience:

  • Cold Email: Sales Prospects
  • Email marketing: Subscribers

Method used to send emails:

  • Cold Email: Individual Emails (e.g.
  • Email marketing: Email Marketing Services

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, the difference between cold email and email marketing is that cold email is designed for one-to-one outreach with the goal of booking meetings, while email marketing is designed for blasting large audiences to nurture them or to get them to convert. The one that you use ultimately depends on your use case. If you're in sales, you'll be using cold email, while if you're in marketing, you'll be using email marketing. It's really that simple.

However, if you do have additional questions on the difference between cold email and email marketing, feel free to reach out to our team. We're more than happy to help out and answer any questions you might have.

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