Lead nurturing, as we have previously discussed, is the specific marketing strategy through which companies engage prospects without promoting hard sale CTAs. In this approach, prospects are given reasons to build confidence in the company, discover its products and services, and advance at a leisurely pace towards the buying decision.
Traditionally, the main metric for every marketing strategy is the ROI (return on investment), calculated as the difference between the money invested in advertising and the money made as a result of purchases originating from the respective campaign.
However, things are a little more complicated when it comes to lead nurturing strategies. Their usual outcome is not a sale. Therefore, the main metrics for lead nurturing are usually related to actions taken in relation to the emails sent to the prospect. These are:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Marked as spam
Given these specific metrics, the calculation is also different. Here are a few ideas to help you get a good idea if your campaigns are yielding the expected results:
1. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate represents the number of emails which are permanently marked as spam by the prospect’s email client. This means that your emails are sent directly to the Junk folder by the spam filters, and your clients will not open it.
A high bounce rate is very bad news, because various email clients will red flag your IP address and your reputation will be seriously hurt. This is why you need to be very careful how you collect prospects’ email addresses, how frequently you email them, and how simple it is for prospects to unsubscribe from your emails.
2. Open Rate
The open rate is not a precise metric, because the special pixel which records an opened email will send the confirmation even if the email was only shown in the preview panel of the email client. There is no actual guarantee that the recipient has read the message.
However, it is still a valid metric, showing that your email was whitelisted and delivered to your subscriber’s inbox and that the subscriber noticed it. It is a good first step. To go a little deeper in detail, a good open rate is around 15-16%, while an excellent one is 20%.
3. Click-Through Rate
This specific metric measures how many people clicked at least one link included in your email message. It is the most relevant type of metric, because it shows that people opened your email, read it, and something caught their interest and they followed through with your call to action. For many lead nurturing campaigns, clicking a link to go to a specific piece of content posted on the website is the end purpose of a lead nurturing campaign. The average click-through rate for a good campaign is between 5% and 7%, with top performers peaking at 10%.
4. Unsubscribed Rate
In many ways, the unsubscribed rate is a bigger problem for your campaign than the bounce rate. Bounced emails can be misspelled by error, or there could be a server error affecting your email deliveries.
However, there is no error involved in unsubscribing to emails. This means that people read your messages, found them boring, uninteresting, or pushing too hard for a sale, and decided to stop receiving further communications from your company.
For small businesses, the average unsubscribe rate is around 0.11% – 0.22%. For top-level companies it is under 0.10%.
So, how do you measure and calculate these metrics? The best answer to this question is to use a specialised mailing service such as MailChimp, together with marketing automation tools (Marketo, Act-On), and look over the compiled data and detailed report which can be prepared according to your specifications within minutes.