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Why email marketing does not nurture or qualify leads?

Email marketing is widely recognized and accepted today as a great way for
marketers to directly engage with their target audience. Most marketers use email campaign extensively to nurture and qualify their audience. Marketers score their audience’s response and then use this as a criteria for lead qualification.

Traditionally, email marketing drove more B2B conversions than any other marketing channel. In past, 58% of all revenue and 77% of ROI for marketing was attributed to segmented and targeted emails. Unfortunately, today, marketers are experiencing less than 3% click through rates for their emails. This low response rate makes it impossible to nurture and accurately qualify the lead into sales opportunity.

What am I doing wrong with email marketing?

Most marketers are proficient at email marketing practices:

  • Accurately segmenting and targeting the audience with right messages
  • Improving the quality of the creatives for better engagement
  • Experimenting with personalizing the messages
  • Investing in latest email marketing and marketing automation technology
  • Attempting to “orchestrate marketing” with Account-based marketing (ABM)

None of this is making much difference despite aggressive claims by  email marketing, marketing automation and ABM solution suppliers. Digital marketers who continue to blindly follow the email marketing practice are experiencing high turnover: average tenure has reduced to 12 to 18 months!

Email marketing is spoiling your reputation

Email marketing, a direct descendent of direct mail marketing, is a victim of its own success. The easy access to marketing automation has made it possible for everyone to send out unsolicited emails. A recent report shows that emails that could be termed as spam accounted for 56.87 percent of e-mail traffic worldwide.


Unsolicited email marketing gets marked as spam


Buying targeted mail lists makes the situation worse. The vendor sells the same email address to many marketers. The recipient gets bombarded and starts looking for defenses against unsolicited emails.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter even if you are observing proper opt-in etiquette. Your email gets filtered out into “Junk / Spam”, “Newsletter” or “Notifications” category.

Marketers take consolation in the fact that less than 1% of the recipients unsubscribe from their mailing list. They interpret this data as a consent from the recipients. What they do not realize is that 55% of the email recipient find it more convenient and expedient to tag your email as spam instead of looking for and then clicking on the “Unsubscribe” link that takes them away from their emails. You continue to send out emails and most of them start heading to spam folders. You never receive this information since your email marketing software was only looking for bounce backs, email opens, click throughs and unsubscribe.

The email servers are building databases of emails tagged as “spam”. This helps them filter out spam more intelligently. As your emails get repeatedly categorized as spam, it starts affecting your reputation.

Aligning with the new audience behavior

It has therefore become all the more critical to understand the target audience’s
circumstances and behaviors in order to achieve a happy level of communication
and a welcome relationship using email marketing. Here are some new behaviors of
the audience:

  1. With the widespread availability and use of email technology, the audience is
    already overwhelmed with a flood of emails. They have developed very short
    attention spans and get easily distracted. People spend an average of only 15-20
    seconds reading an email. You have a really small window of opportunity and
    attention to build your relationship with your audience.
  2. They love to rapidly binge on as much content available when they want to and where they want it. The quantity of information and need for information cannot be determined or controlled by marketers anymore. Your emails are not the only source of information that they are relying on to educate themselves. Use emails prudently.
  3. They insist on controlling their journey to explore and discover the solution to their problems. They are not waiting on marketers to enlighten them with solutions to their problems. Recognize that they may know exactly what they want and when they want it.

So become part of a customer’s journey instead of forcing them on your journey. This will yield lot better engagement, nurturing and lead qualification.