The big difference is that people will be giving you their contact information voluntarily. Also, you know these people value what you offer—especially if you pick a prize that is particularly desirable to your buyer persona. For example, if you own an HVAC installation business, give away a prize related to home improvement that will attract homeowners.
Most email marketers around the world are legally required to allow recipients to opt out of emails they no longer want to receive. Contacts must be able to do this directly in the email message. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European data privacy act that went into effect in May 2018, doubles down on the opt-in side of this relationship. And purchased email lists are simply not compliant.
The term originated in the early days of email marketing when sending a mass mailing (read: blasting) was a new idea that contrasted with the more familiar way of using email as two-way correspondence. At the time, the internet was a lawless wasteland didn’t have many regulations, so once the wrong person got ahold of your email address, they could and would spam you with whatever they pleased. It was completely free advertising!
I am loving this article. I specifically like points 1 and 7. As for number 1, I think a quality list is better than a gigantic list of just anyone like you say. I think this is also true for “followers” and “likes”. Are the people following you genuinely caring about your content or just subscribing just to apease you? As for #7, we have to KNOW if our efforts are working and not just go off of a gut feeling. Great points here Erik.
Particular groups of customers can be targeted or even individuals. Offering individual customers special deals on merchandise and/or services on the customer's birthday, for instance, is one example of email marketing personalization. (A restaurant might send an email to customers on their birthday offering 50% off an entree,) Email marketing helps a business develop and maintain a relationship with a customer over time that hopefully results in increased sales and increased customer loyalty. 
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