Metrics that matter: evaluating lead nurture email campaigns

By Dodge Communications (not verified) on March 22nd, 2016

Email reports come standard with most of today’s marketing automation and email marketing tools, giving marketers access to a wealth of data to evaluate campaign performance. But remember that just because you can measure it, doesn’t always mean you should.

Each of the five metrics below can provide valuable insight into different components of nurture campaign performance. These metrics tell a much more complete and accurate story when considered together as a whole, rather than independently.

Delivery rate: Number of emails that were successfully delivered divided by the number of total emails sent.

Maintaining a delivery rate above 90% is critical to overall email health. Emailing outdated and stale lists results in bounces, which have a direct impact on your deliverability and can harm your IP address’ sending reputation. Having an established relationship with email recipients and keeping clean lists help to maintain healthy deliverability and build trust.

Unique open rate: Number of unique email opens divided by the number of emails delivered.

A majority of email clients only record opens when the message’s images are downloaded, so tracking for this metric will vary depending on the recipient’s email client and settings. While there are some limitations in the way this metric is reported, it can help you determine whether your emails are being read.

The email subject line and sender can have a significant impact on opens. If a recipient doesn’t recognize who the email is coming from, they are much less likely to open it. Using a targeted list of prospects who have opted in to receive your email communication will help drive open rates.

Make subject lines brief and compelling, and avoid using words like “free” or “limited time” which can trigger SPAM filters. Read our article on five elements of an engaging email for more email tips, including writing an effective subject line.

Unique click-through rate (UCTR): Number of unique email clicks divided by the number of emails delivered.

While email open metrics are tied to the quality of the subject line and relationship with the sender, unique click-through rates are an indication of the quality and relevance of the email’s content. Personalizing the message for your audience will have a significant impact on unique CTR. Customize offers and content based on what prospects have previously viewed, and personalize emails with data stored in prospects’ profiles, such as their first name or assigned sales rep.

Click-to-open rate (CTOR): Number of unique clicks divided by the number of unique opens.

The click-to-open rate is the percentage of prospects who clicked after opening the email. Use this along with the unique CTR to determine what content, email design and offers work best to drive action from prospects.

Since CTOR measures email engagement as a percentage of those who opened the email, it helps to minimize the influence that the subject line and sender may have had on click through rates.

Percentage of Sales Qualified Leads (SQL): Number of nurture prospects that were passed to sales, divided by the total number of nurture prospects.

While unique click-through rate, open rate and other engagement metrics can provide valuable insight into how your email content is performing, the percentage of SQLs is an effective way to measure your nurture program’s impact on the sales pipeline. The exact definition of an SQL will (and should) vary by company, but, in general, the term is used to describe qualified leads that are ready to be passed from marketing to sales.

Most marketing automation platforms can integrate with CRMs, giving marketers access to the sales data they need to report on ROI and metrics such as SQLs. Compare the percentage of SQLs for nurtured leads and non-nurtured leads to help determine the overall impact of your lead nurture programs. 

When it comes to evaluating nurture programs, choosing the right email metrics to measure and track can have a significant impact on performance over time. Most of today’s email marketing platforms provide dozens of email stats, making it difficult to hone in on the metrics that matter. If you’re new to email reporting, get started with the metrics highlighted above.

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