Your organization is spending boatloads on content marketing and lead nurturing, but is it really making an impact?

It takes, on average, 10 marketing-driven “touches” to progress a lead from the top of the funnel to the top line (i.e. revenue). Source: Aberdeen Group

Before kicking off any major initiative, think about how you want to measure success BEFORE you begin. At your quarterly meetings, use a few slides to help bring these numbers to life.

  • The Average Marketer: We sent out 500K emails last quarter with 2% click-through rate that generated 4,000 visitors.
  • The Advanced Marketer: Last quarter’s nurturing campaigns turned 4,000 visitors into 500 MQLs that influenced 200 deals and 75 customers resulting in $2 million revenue.

Read on for how you can improve your metrics by gaining insights on three different levels.

1) Executive High-Level: Nurturing Business Impact

What is the overall success rate of the nurture streams? This is the report you’d use with your CEO when he or she asks how nurturing is performing. Basically, if anyone clicks or has success with any nurture email, that success rolls up to this program.

These metrics assume organizations already have a process in place to measure funnel success. Some possible measurements:

  • Clicked
  • Engaged (Completed any conversion after clicking)
  • MQL
  • SQL
  • Won

Exposing Success to Management

Here is a template of a quarterly slide we use with our clients when trying to show the impact of nurturing on their business. The nurturing numbers tend to blow away everything else so the slide does a great job offsetting some not-so-great results you may need to cover in other slides.

What is Nurturing ROI?

2) Content Analysis: It’s Not About the Click


In this analysis, we don’t care about the click except to get a baseline. Rather, we care about how that click has impact on the business.

All content pieces and emails are tracked as individual programs to measure individual success. This should answer the question, “Which piece of content drove success?” These measurements are exactly the same as the executive level insights (#1), except we care about them on the individual email/content level.

  • Clicked
  • Engaged (Completed any conversion after clicking)
  • MQL
  • SQL
  • Won

For content marketing, it’s a long season. There are, and should be, many chances to fail — as long as we fail quickly, learn, and adapt to the new surroundings. Content Marketing Institute

Measuring Email Success

Here, we compare the impact of four different emails on the funnel. We see that not only are more people clicking on the Outlook Next Year email, we see that a higher percentage are converting to MQL. Obviously, this is a piece of content you’d want to highly promote in the future.

Which emails are driving MQLs?

3) In the Weeds: Email Analysis

This analysis revolves around the standard email metrics to gain insights on how are prospects interacting with the individual nurture emails. No matter which solution you are using, email analysis is the base level insight that every organization should use. Compare emails against one another and benchmark the performance against industry numbers.

  • Sent
  • Open
  • Clicked
  • Unsub
  • Etc.

Where does your email fall compared to industry statistics?

Email click-through rates average 1-6% depending on industry and company size. Mailchimp

ClickThroug Rate MailChimp

Source: MailChimp

Keep Your Data Current

Keep in mind that bad data can completely skew your results, which is why it’s important to keep your data fresh and clean. Don’t expect to match up against industry standards if your organization is mailing to old data.

If you are mailing to unresponsive leads created when Katy Perry’s Firework was topping the charts, it’s time to do some cleanup. In case you were wondering, that’s 2011.


Before your organization drops a ton of money on content marketing and lead nurturing, make sure you decide how you want to measure that success. Using one of the three levels of measurement listed in this post or any of your own tactics, make sure you choose at least one before you launch your lead nurturing campaign. And remember, always keep your data current.