You already know that lead nurturing is a critical part of your marketing strategy, since it allows you to develop relationships with your leads, provide them with educational resources, and ultimately, get them to the point where they are prepared for that phone call from your sales team. Once you have your nurturing campaigns up and running, how do you know how effective they are? In order to improve their performance, you need to be engaged in continuous measurement. Tracking your progress will allow you to identify what’s working and what isn’t, and optimize your emails accordingly. Here are the three most important metrics to consider when evaluating your lead nurturing campaigns.
1. Click-Through Rate: The proportion of your lead nurturing email recipients who clicked on one or more links in your email message. You can calculate CTR either by dividing either unique clicks or total clicks by the number of emails delivered. Either method works -- just make sure you use the same one consistently.
Why you should measure it: By providing you with data about which links are getting more clicks and which are getting fewer, click-through rates can help you determine whether the content you’re offering in your lead nurturing emails is appropriately timed and targeted to your audience. If you’re sending more product-focused content and finding low CTRs, it’s possible that your recipients are not at the right stage of the buying cycle to be interested in learning about your product. With this information, you can try sending them more educational, top-of-the-funnel content, such as blog posts, ebooks, and webinars. The same applies for the reverse situation -- if your links to top-of-the-funnel content have low CTRs, your leads may be ready to move further down your sales funnel and begin learning more about your product. Essentially, measuring CTR will help you map your content more closely to your lead segments.
2. Conversion Rate: The percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in your email message and completed a desired action, such as filling out an offer form or purchasing a product.
Why you should measure it: Conversion rates go one step beyond click-through rates, since they measure the number of people who actually click on your link and take you up on your offer, thereby displaying a deeper interest level in consuming your information. Thus, conversion rates can help you determine even more closely the effectiveness of the particular offer you’re sending. If your conversion rates are soaring, it’s likely that you’re offering content that is well-aligned with your leads’ needs and stage of the buying cycle. If your conversion rates are suffering or not quite as high as you’d like them to be, you should adjust the types of offers you are sending at each stage of the nurturing process. It’s also important to measure how many of the people who converted on the action you promoted through your lead nurturing campaign turned into customers, which will give you a better idea of the overall effectiveness of your lead nurturing efforts.
3. Unsubscribe Rate: The percentage of recipients who click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the email.
Why you should measure it: Click-through rates and conversion rates are critical metrics for measuring engagement and interest, but it’s also important to look at the number of recipients who are unhappy with your emails. When this is the case, some people will unsubscribe from your mailing list, but often they will not even bother to unsubscribe and will simply ignore your emails -- or worse, mark them as spam. Checking your monthly unsubscribe rate, which should be less than 1% for a strong lead nurturing campaign, will help you calculate your overall list growth rate and watch for sudden spikes after a particular email send.
While you should be constantly tracking these key metrics, don’t forget that not all of the benefits of effective lead nurturing can be assigned a clear dollar value. For example, lead nurturing helps you engage with your leads, stay top of mind, and generate buzz around your brand, thus positively impacting your other marketing channels as well. Just remember to keep an eye on your analytics and continue optimizing accordingly, and you’ll find that your lead nurturing campaigns will be performing better than ever.