Analyze, Measure, and Test

Marketing starts and ends with analytics. But you don’t want to spend this critical time-of-the-year buried client spreadsheets and charts waiting for a story to pop out. The key to getting analytics right is to know exactly what it is you need to measure to have an impact. Strip out the vanity metrics and focus just on measuring what advances your clients’ bottom line (and pick up a few points for your own marketing while you’re at it).

There are endless articles to read on using data to inform your marketing. We’ve gathered a selection to help you skip ahead in class and hopefully sneak out a day early.

A/B Testing

'A/B testing' may automatically evoke college day memories of sitting in stats class thinking, “I’m never going to need to know this.” But, as it turns out, statistics do have a purpose in the real world (won’t mom be proud?). ‘A/B Testing,’ aka ‘split testing,’ is testing with two variants where one is considered the ‘controlled’ element (A), and the other (B) is modified in some respect. By comparing the two variants, you can see changes, and be able to prove which choice works better.

You can have fun applying this to your marketing by testing items such as copy text, subject lines, layouts, images and colors and see how/why these choices affect the buying decision. And to keep your CFO happy, it’s always best to have tangible evidence that what you’re doing yields a return.

With A/B Testing, set one clear goal so you can pinpoint which specific element change (for example, just a title difference) yields the greater response. Too many modifications at once can result in an unclear solution. A/B tests aren’t limited to CTAs and emails. They’re useful for personalizing greetings, landing pages, and webpages.

What you test is up to you. Balance what your customers and prospects say with what they actually do.

Closed-Loop Analytics

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”John Wanamaker

An Introduction to Closed Loop Marketing

The only sure way to know where your money and time is being best spent is to use closed-loop analytics. Anything else is more or less guessing. Closing the loop means you can track exactly where a customer first came in contact with you. The best and easiest way to close the loop is to make your website the central hub for all marketing activity. Search engines, social media, email marketing, referral links, paid search, even offline campaigns should get filtered to your website. Once someone visits your website, you can cookie them and start tracking their activity.

Your website becomes the entry point of your closed-loop system. As the lead progresses through your sales and marketing funnel you’ll be able to attribute them back to the proper channel. If they came into your site through a link from a trade show, an email marketing campaign or a search term, for example, you’ll be able to trace them back to that original source.

Google analytics will allow you to track sources of traffic like search term or referring website, but you’ll need to go a step further than this in order to make sure that you’re accurately assigning your leads to the right marketing initiative.

Marketing software will be able to add tokens and track traffic by channel. By looking at this data you will be able to see trends and compare channels. You will know which channels are your most valuable and and also which are the least. Then you can work on fixing the problems of the latter.

If you have a good programmer in house they can create a tracking URL that google analytics can identify and associate with a particular campaign or initiative. This will enable you to more accurately track visitors who otherwise look like they are coming from direct search. Make sure you have tracking tokens in place and your data gets assigned to the right categories. By attaching a tracking token to your URL anyone who clicks that link is signaling to your analytics tool that they are coming from a specific place such as Twitter. The same type of tracking tokens apply to different channels, such as email, paid media and referral traffic.

As you attract traffic and identify where that traffic is coming from, you need to track the behavior of your visitors. Which pages are they coming into your site? Which pages are they viewing? What pages are they leaving from? Such intelligence will illustrate a path that can help you optimize for faster visitor-to-lead or even visitor-to-customer conversions. Google Analytics does a good job of this when it is set up properly.

But here is the kicker: to closed the loop you have to be able to connect a web visitor with their lead information once they convert on a form. Without this piece, you’ll have two separate databases, one with anonymous visitor history from Google and one with lead information from your form submittal. As a result, you won’t be able to connect those leads back to their respective marketing source.

In order to make this work for you, either do something very technical on the back end of your analytics platform or you start using some marketing software that does this for you. There are a few companies out there that have figured out how to do this and there is no point re-inventing the wheel.

Google Analytics let’s you know where your visitors are coming from. When they submit a form on your website you’ll know who they are because they are submitting their personal information. This is the start of a meaningful relationship. This step is crucial to closing the loop and being able to associate customers information back to their entry source.

The way to capture this information is to direct website visitors to a landing page with a submission form (or also known as a lead capture form). Once visitors fill out this from, you’ll have whatever contact information you asked them for: name, email, phone number, etc. As a best practice, you should be sending most of your traffic to landing pages and forms so that you can grow your leads database. Learn more about building awesome landing pages here.

Finally, you need to look at all of the leads that your sales team has closed and attribute them back to their original marketing initiative. This should be a relatively straightforward process. For most medium-sized business, the easiest way to achieve this is through your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. For smaller businesses, you might do this more manually using a spreadsheet.

Once you have the loop closed you can focus your efforts on the channels that bring in the best personas. If you haven’t created your personas yet you can do that here.

Landing Page Analytics

Call-to-action click-through rate = the percentage of visitors who visit your landing page from your call-to-action

Visitor-to-lead conversion rate = the percentage of visitors who become leads

Lead-to-customer conversion rate = the percentage of leads who become customers

Visitor-to-customer conversion rate = the percentage of visitors who become customers

Call-to-action click-through rate

Before you look at how well your landing page converts visitors to leads and customers, you should analyze whether the call-to-action that precedes it is actually driving visitors to click and stay on your landing page long enough to convert.

Begin by establishing a baseline metric of your CTA click-through rate; the landing pages with the lowest CTA click-through rate should be the first you set out to improve. Your CTA click-through rate to landing page requires you to look at both your call-to-action design and your landing page design. If you suffer a low click-through rate, it could be because:

  • The content on the landing page does not align with the content in the preceding call-to-action.
  • The content on the landing page does not appear to align with the content preceding the call-to-action.

Collecting calls-to-action insights

In order to optimize your calls-to-action, you need to monitor their performance and figure out what to improve. In addition to click-through rates, you should also be tracking views to submission, a metric that will give you a deeper knowledge of how your calls-to-action affect lead generation. You views-to-submission rate tells you how many of the people who saw your CTA actually filled out the form on your landing page. That is how you can start tackling the alignment between your calls-to-action and landing pages.

Some marketing software includes a tool that helps you not only create calls-to-action, but also collect insights on CTA performance. ensure alignment Check that the copy between your call-to-action and landing page is aligned. The language in the call-to-action that describes the offer and its subject matter should be present on your landing page, too.

Once you ensure the language is the same, make sure it is easily visible so your landing page passes a visitor’s blink test. The blink test refers to the commonly accepted three seconds you have to orient a visitor on your landing page once they are there.,/p>

If a visitor comes to your landing page and can’t figure out what to do on that page, they will click the back button immediately. To prevent that from happening you need to reinforce the language of the call-to-action by using it in the beginning of your landing page headline, within the copy on your landing page, on your form’s title, and in the form’s button. Remove Navigation One more way to prevent visitors from abandoning your landing page is removing the navigation and any other calls-to-action on the page. If you’ve included your site’s regular navigation at the top of your landing page or you give visitors another place to visit on your site with competing calls-to-action, you increase the likelihood of a visitor bouncing from your landing page. Removing your navigation menu and all other calls-to-action on your landing page is the quickest way to keep those visitors on your landing page long enough to fill out your form.

Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate

Now that you’ve got visitors staying on your landing page long enough to fill out your form, are there any improvements you can make based on your landing page conversion rate? Let’s break down what your landing page conversion rates — visitor to lead, lead to customer, and visitor to customer — tell you about your marketing efforts, and how you should adjust your marketing based on these metrics. Just as you must consider how your call-to-action and landing page work together to lower your bounce rate, so too must you consider call-to-action metrics alongside the conversion rate of your landing page. Identify opportunities to improve landing page conversions by comparing the click-through rate of your call-to-action with the visitor-to-lead conversion rate of your landing page.

Research shows that companies with 30 or more landing pages generate seven times more leads than those with fewer than 10. So if your goal is to expand the top of your sales and marketing funnel, focus on quantity of landing pages you release. HubSpot makes it easy to build sophisticated landing pages so you can create more pages, improve your conversion rates and generate more leads. Most analytic software gives you a detailed look into submissions, new leads and customers of selected offers. The ability to compare different landing pages with a click of the mouse is highly valuable for sophisticated marketing professionals who can use this intelligence for the creation of lead nurturing campaigns and other behavior-based communication.

Optimize Through Split Testing

If you have a high click-through on your call-to-action, but a low visitor-to-lead conversion rate, there is a problem with your landing page that you should set out to improve through A/B testing.

If your visitor-to-lead conversion rate is high but the number of new leads that page generates is low, your problem lies with the traffic the landing page is generating. Start by taking a look at your call-to-action’s conversion rate. If it is low, your problem lies in the call-to-action — begin A/B testing its design and copy to help drive more traffic to your landing page.

Conducting A/B Tests

When conducting A/B tests, set up your unaltered version as your landing page “control,” the page you would normally use. From there, build variations, or “treatments,” pages you’ll test against your control. For example, if you are wondering whether including a testimonial on a landing page would make a difference in conversions, set up your control page with no testimonials. Then create your variation(s).

  • Variation A: Control (the unaltered, original version)
  • Variation B: Treatment (the optimized version which you expect to perform better)

The screenshot below is an example of an advanced landing pages A/B testing tool. You can easily clone the control and modify it to create a treatment page.

Find Winning Content Offers

Analyzing your visitor-to-lead rate is also important for establishing what content assets drove visitors to convert into leads. Is there a particular content asset type that converts more leads?

For example, you may find that webinars convert more visitors into leads than ebooks. Or perhaps it’s a particular content topic that performs better. Do your content assets about unicorn hygiene have a higher visitor-to-lead conversion rate than your content assets about unicorn fashion? If you know the content asset types and topics that generate a higher visitor-to-lead rate, you can focus your content creation efforts around them to generate more leads.

Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate

But you can’t stop at just the topics and content asset types that convert visitors into leads at a higher rate. Analyze which leads actually turn into customers — your lead-to-customer rate and visitor-to-customer rate — using closed-loop analytics.

Which landing pages converted the most visitors and leads into customers? Which pages assisted the customer acquisition process?

Use that information to identify your most powerful offers, and silo your weakest. If you know the landing pages that generate the most customers, you can promote the offers associated with them more frequently to bring in more of the leads that convert into customers, and spend less time focusing on the content that perhaps brings in visitors and leads at a high rate, but ones that convert into customers at a low rate.

SEO Analytics

Analytic Terms for SEO

Keyword performance & rankings = how your web pages ranks in search engines for desired search terms

Organic search traffic = unique visitors who arrive at your site from search engines

Branded VS non-branded search traffic = organic search traffic includes brand-related keywords and generic keywords

Unique search terms driving traffic = list of search phrases that visitors use to find your site

Inbound links = the number of links back to your site from other sites on the web

Conversion rates from organic search = visitors who arrived at your site through organic search and became a lead

Establish Benchmarks

Most marketers are always looking to improve their SEO – it drives free traffic to their websites that can then be converted into leads and customers. The first step towards improvement is establishing baseline SEO metrics, which you can do by finding out:

  • What percentage of your website traffic comes from organic search?
  • The conversion rate of your organic traffic into leads & customers
  • Which non-branded keyword phrases drive the most organic traffic to your website
  • Your listing position in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for keyword phrases for which you want to rank
  • How many inbound links you have, and to what pages on your website they point

Keyword Performance & Rankings

Your closed-loop analytics will help you determine which search terms have driven the most qualified traffic to your website – in other words, traffic that converts into leads and customers. With this information, you can focus your SEO efforts on creating content and generating inbound links around search terms that drive real results for your business.

Unique Search Terms Driving Traffic

For example, you may find that the term ‘unicorn shoes’ – for which you rank in listing position nine in the SERPs — drove less traffic than the term ‘unicorn hats.’ But the traffic that came to your site on the search term ‘unicorn shoes’ actually generated five new customers for your business last month, while the traffic that came to your site for the term ‘unicorn hats’ has led to no customers.

With this information, you know you should spend more time creating content and building inbound links around the term ‘unicorn shoes’ to improve your listing position in the SERPs for the term, and thus increase the amount of qualified traffic that comes to your site for that term.

Because we realize the importance of tying keyword performance to dollar value and customer acquisition, marketing software does that for our customers. In the screenshot below, you will see that a Keyword tool shows marketing professionals not only the volume of searches for a certain keyword combination, but also visits and leads generated from the traffic this phrase drove.

Such intelligence can help you make SEO strategy comparisons based on actual numbers rather than guesswork and assumptions. Bet on the keywords that perform for your business and gain valuable insights into your target audience.

Embrace Long-tail Keywords

Generate new long-tail variations from your highest-performing keyword phrases and target them in your content creation and link building efforts.

For example, knowing that the term ‘unicorn shoes’ yields qualified traffic that generates customers, you may consider targeting a less competitive, but still traffic-generating long-tail variation of the keyword, such as ‘unicorn shoes for girls.’ Targeting this search term in your content creation and link building efforts is an easier win for your business because it is less competitive than its head term ‘unicorn shoes.’ Still, it helps you improve your rankings for that difficult head term!

When adding new keyword phrases to your arsenal, be sure to maintain a healthy balance of competitive and non-competitive terms. Your keyword strategy should include keyword phrases with high search volume and high competitiveness as well as terms that require less content and inbound links to rank for. This balance allows you to steadily increase the amount of traffic you generate from organic search month over month while you also put effort into ranking for more difficult search terms.

Identify Holes in Your Content Strategy

Just as you can identify opportunities for content creation by looking at your keyword performance in closed-loop analytics, you can identify holes in your content strategy, too.

If a search term is generating a lot of organic traffic to your website, for example, but none of that traffic converts into leads, it’s an indication that your marketing offer is insufficient (or nonexistent!) Remedy this by creating or updating your offer to better reflect that needs of that traffic that comes to your site around that keyword phrase.

For example, we at Fritz and Andre were able to identify such an opportunity using a Keyword tool that shows us 1,510 visits for the keyword phrase “google search tips” but no conversions. We might need to optimize our website with some google-related calls-to-action!

Monitor Your Position

Finally, it’s important to monitor your listing position for the terms that you’re currently driving traffic for – especially those with high search volume and high competitiveness — because you need to ensure you don’t suddenly slip in the SERPs to a competitor. Maintain a steady stream of content around the important keyword phrases for which you currently rank high in the SERPs, and if you notice your listing position begins to slip, amp up your content creation and link building efforts. It requires far less effort to stay in the top of the SERPs than it does to climb your way back up again.

Keyword tools are great at offering relevant recommendations when it comes to your SEO strategy. It takes into consideration the volume of searches, level of difficulty and your rank to point out realistic opportunities for improvement.

Blogging Analytics

Improving Blogging with Marketing Analytics

Individual post views = how many views each blog post receives

Blog traffic & referral sources = how much traffic you’re generating to your blog and where that traffic is coming from

Call-to-action performance = blog traffic & referral sources

Call-to-action performance = how effective your blog’s individual calls-to-action (CTAs) are at converting blog visitors into leads

Blog leads = leads generated that can be attributed to your blog

Visitor-to-lead conversion rate = the rate at which your blog is converting visitors into leads

Individual Post Views

The performance of your blog hinges on your content – so use your blog’s marketing analytics to improve your content creation efforts! Start by exporting your blog posts, grouping articles by topic, and analyzing the views for each individual blog post.

Are there certain topics that perform better than others? Topics that receive more post views should receive more emphasis in your content creation. Do certain posts receive more inbound links than others?

Finally, sort your spreadsheet based on number of post views—do you notice any trends in the post title structure in posts that receive the most views? For example, perhaps posts that start with the phrase “How to” dominate the top views. This is an indication that a certain title structure or blog post structure is more attractive to your readers, and you should create more content following that format or title structure.

Traffic and Referral Sources Analyzing where the traffic to your blog comes from is the easiest way to improve blog content promotion and distribution for more traffic.

After all, if you know where people are finding your blog (and where they aren’t), you know where to focus your efforts. If very little traffic to your blog comes from organic search, for example, you know you need to spend more time optimizing your blog content and getting inbound links. You may also find there are sites you hadn’t thought of that refer traffic to your blog. Have you drilled down to what social media sites drive traffic? You may assume your biggest traffic drives is Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, but perhaps it’s actually Pinterest – a site you haven’t put much effort into. Knowing this, however, you can focus more effort promoting content on Pinterest to increase blog traffic.

Closed-loop marketing directs your attention to the most powerful conversion events and channels. By looking at the sources and offers that traditionally brought in new customers for your organization, you will be able to identify the behavior you need to engage in to qualify leads and push them down the sales funnel.

For instance, by looking at HubSpot’s Sources we are able to compare the efficiency of different channels in respect to customer acquisition. In the screenshot below we are comparing the number of sales from social media marketing to the number of sales from email marketing. It becomes clear that email marketing has a higher lead-to-customer rate than social media. This insight can then help us take action: nurture the social media leads with targeted email messages.

Call-to-Action Performance

The performance of your blog’s lead generation is directly impacted by your call-to-action performance. To improve your blog’s call-to-action performance, analyze the CTA click-through rate. If you have a low click-through rate, there are three places you can make improvements:

  • Make a More Compelling Offer
    If what you offer not is not enticing enough to get clicks, then don’t expect to collect many landing page conversions.
  • Create an Offer that Better Aligns with Your Blog Post
    If your offer isn’t relevant to the topic of the blog, it probably isn’t enticing to the reader.
  • Split Test the CTA Copy & Design
    The copy may be confusing, too indirect, or not clearly conveying the value of the offer. Alternately, the design of your CTA may blend into the page too much. If the CTA doesn’t visually stand out, visitors may simply be glossing over the button.

Blog Leads

Now that your blog’s calls-to-action are optimized, see how many leads you generate from your blog every month compared to your other lead generation channels. Knowing how much of a direct role your blog plays in lead generation will help you prioritize marketing efforts.

Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate

You’ll want to analyze more than just number of new leads from your blog, though. Drill down into your blog’s visit-to-lead conversion rate to see how effective you are at converting blog traffic into leads. Do you have low traffic, but a high conversion rate? Then you know you should put more effort into generating traffic to your blog. Increase your content publishing frequency, target keywords that generate quality traffic (otherwise your conversion rate might slip!), and amp up your social promotion efforts.

Leads into Customers

Finally, use your closed-loop analytics to analyze how effectively your blog leads convert into customers. Just as the number of leads generated helps you prioritize your marketing channels, the rate at which blog leads turn into customers should help you prioritize, too.

For example, if your blog generates leads that convert into customers at a higher rate than, say, social media does, it’s more efficient to put more time into creating blog content, and use social media to promote your blog content.

Email Analytics

IMPROVE EMAIL WITH ANALYTICS

Bounce rate = the percentage of total emails sent that could not be delivered to the recipient’s inbox

Delivery rate = the percentage of emails that were actually delivered to recipients’ inboxes

List growth rate = a measurement of how fast your email list is growing

Click-through rate = the proportion of the audience who clicked on one or more links contained in an email message

Conversion rate = the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action

Revenue per email sent = measuring the email’s return on investment

Bounce & Delivery Rate

Of all your email marketing analytics, your bounce and delivery rate are two of the most crucial to measure. A high hard bounce rate or a low overall delivery rate is often a symptom of an unhealthy email marketing program. Your email deliverability rate could be impacted by:

  • Your email sending reputation
  • The health of your email list
  • The value of your content
  • How well segmented your email list is

A poor sender reputation — scored by many ISPs using the free service by Return Path called Sender Score — is crucial to email deliverability.

83% of the time an email is not delivered to an inbox, it is because of a poor sender reputation.

If you are experiencing a high hard bounce rate – the undelivered emails that are the result of a permanent problem with an email address, such as being invalid or non-existent – immediately remove all of these email addresses from your list to prevent gaining a reputation as an email spammer and harming your email deliverability.

Your email delivery rate should always stay at 95% or higher. If it is lower than this or you find one month it slips below 95%, use this opportunity to scrub your list of the following contacts to decrease your bounce rate and increase your deliverability rate:

  • Duplicate and invalid email addresses
  • Contacts who haven’t opted in
  • Alias email addresses
  • Email addresses that hard bounce
  • Completely disengaged email recipients

If you find just one particular campaign has a lower than average delivery rate, it doesn’t mean that entire list segment should be deleted. Instead, examine the content of the email to see if there was an accidental indication to SPAM filters or ISPs that your message should be blocked.

List Growth Rate

Now that your email marketing program is healthy again, you may notice the size of your list has seriously decreased. The average email marketing list depreciates at a rate of 25% a year — which is a good thing, as it keeps your email list healthy and deliverability rates high. Take a look at your list growth rate, though, to ensure you’re continuing to add new contacts to that list for nurturing. If your list growth rate is low, it could mean:

  • More top-of-the-funnel offers
    You need more compelling offers that drive visitors to fill out a form and opt-in to your email communications.
  • More traffic to existing offers
    You have compelling offers, you just need to drive more traffic to those pages through content creation, better calls-to-action, and social media marketing.
  • More optimized pages
    You need to improve the visitor-to-lead conversion rate on your landing pages to better capture the traffic you’re driving.

Click-Through Rate

You may notice open-rate hasn’t been included as a measurement for your email marketing effectiveness. Click-through rate is a far more accurate indication of how well your email content resonates with your audience, as open-rate is often misreported based on how each individual email client calculates an “open.” If you have a high click-through rate for a campaign, you know the offer was compelling, aligned with the content in the email, and matched the interests of that particular list segment.

Naturally, you should expect to see lower click-through rates on offers with a higher barrier to entry. For example, if the offer in your email prompts your recipient to purchase something, you’ll receive fewer clicks than if your offer is to download a free content asset. When analyzing whether your click-through rate for a campaign is good, compare it to the click-through rate of other email offers of that type.

Whether you’re suffering an inordinately low CTR on a campaign or you simply want to improve an already good click-through rate, there are three different ways you can do it:

  • List Segmentation
    The better segmented your email list, the more targeted your email offer. eConsultancy reports that marketers who segment their list have 24% more sales leads, 18% more transactions, and 15% greater customer acquisition.
  • Optimize the Email & Landing Page
    A/B test the layout and copy in your email offer. Email recipients scan emails, so your offer should be above the fold, visually bold, and written with action-oriented copy. You can also add a sense of urgency by adding a time frame during which the recipient must redeem the offer.
  • Email Sharing Options
    Including social sharing options in email enables you to increase the email sharing and forward rate. Emails with only one social sharing option have a 30% higher click-through rate than emails without any social sharing options. Those with three or more have a 55% higher click-through rate. This is a quick addition to your emails, and helps you grow your email list while improving click-through rates and engagement.

Conversion Rate

But having a high email click-through rate is only really helpful if you also have a high conversion rate on the landing page to which your email links. The conversion rate of your email campaign relies on having a well-optimized landing page, which can be difficult if you’re pointing email recipients to a generic landing page instead of one messaged according to each individual list segment.

For example, perhaps you have an offer and landing page for a webinar about unicorn grooming, and you send an email campaign promoting that offer. That email campaign might go to two different list segments – unicorns interested in learning new hair styles, and unicorn groomers interested in learning how to give their unicorns new hair styles. You’d message those emails differently, and you should message the landing page for the webinar differently, too. If you have a high email click-through rate but a low overall conversion rate for an email campaign, it could be due to this type of disjointed messaging between email and offer content and landing page content.

Revenue Per Email Sent

If you are using email marketing for direct sales, you should use closed-loop analytics to attribute revenue to email marketing campaigns.

To do this (and any other closed-loop marketing analysis, for that matter), you must integrate your ESP with your marketing analytics. You can do this by using a unique tracking URL in all of your email links so you can attribute clicks to a specific email campaign.

If you find that your email marketing isn’t actually driving revenue, perhaps email should utilized more frequently as a lead nurturing tool to drive reconversions, not a mechanism for direct sales.

Marketing software can automatically take your email marketing messages and place their performance in the right analytics bucket. So when you visit your reporting data, you will be able to see the number of customers brought in from email marketing and compare that number to other channels. Undoubtedly, this step is essential to any marketer who wants to prove the worth of their work to management, putting it in language that the entire organization understands-sales.

Lead Nurturing Analytics

Improving Lead Nurturing with Analytics

Click-Through Rates = the proportion of the audience who clicked on one or more links contained in a lead nurturing email message

Conversion Rates = the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action

Time to Customer Conversion = the length of time it takes for a lead to become a customer

Cost Per Customer = the marketing cost of acquiring a new customer

The effectiveness of your lead nurturing is dependent on how well you’ve segmented your leads. Dive into your analytics to identify any problems with your list segmentation. Start by looking at your unsubscribe rate, which should stay below 1% at all times. If it’s higher for any particular list segment, it’s an indication the content you are sending isn’t relevant to that list segment, and they are unsubscribing as a result. You can glean similar insights by examining the click-through rates of each list segment. Marketers who suffer a low click-through rate for a particular list segment haven’t aligned their offer well with the recipients on that list.

Fix Poor List Segmentation

Faulty list segmentation can be remedied by revisiting how you’ve mapped content to your list segments based on their stage in the sales cycle. Deliver email content to leads based on the pages they’ve visited on your site, the content they’ve downloaded, the blog posts they’ve commented on, and how far down the sales funnel they are.

Conversion Rates

You can optimize the offers you deliver by analyzing which CTAs have the highest click-through rate, and which landing pages have the highest visitor-to-customer conversion rate in your closed-loop analytics.

Time to Customer Conversion

You should always be looking for ways to make your lead nurturing more efficient. To improve your time to customer conversion, analyze how good you are at generating marketing qualified leads (MQLs) with your lead nurturing.

MQLs are the leads that are more likely to become a customer based on their pre-close activities. If you’ve implemented lead nurturing effectively, more leads should be moving to the MQL stage of the sales funnel. Analyze this for each lead nurturing campaign – you may find that some list segments move more slowly than others, indicating you have a bottleneck in your lead nurturing somewhere. Revisit the content and offers you’re using for that list segment. You may be sending less-than-compelling offers, or pointing leads to under-optimized landing pages.

You can also improve your time to customer conversion by looking at the number of sales-accepted leads in each lead nurturing campaign. Marketing automation should increase not just your number of MQLs, but the number of sales-accepted leads.

If this is not the case...

...meet with your sales organization to diagnose the problem. This is often a result of misaligned lead scoring criteria between Sales and Marketing. But by fixing it, you should see your time-to-customer conversion rate decrease as Sales reaches out to leads that have reconverted enough to provide the quality information needed to close sales.

Cost Per Customer

Effective lead nurturing converts leads into MQLS and sales-accepted leads, but it must follow through all the way to customer. Use closed-loop analytics to ensure the leads you’re nurturing actually turn into customers, and they do so at an efficient cost.

Over time, your cost per customer should decrease as more leads that typically bleed out of the top of the funnel are adequately nurtured down through the bottom of the funnel – until they are finally converted into a customer. Check this metric monthly to ensure your lead nurturing efforts stay cost-efficient.

Be sure you are allocating the most time and resources to the marketing channels with the most ROI.

You probably noticed none of the actionable improvements you can make by looking at your marketing analytics are possible without closed-loop analytics. The mistake many marketers make is thinking their end goal is generating leads. It’s not. Your end goal is generating customers. And you have no way of measuring whether you’re doing that, nor how efficient you are at it, without closed-loop analytics.

After analyzing all this data about your blogging, social media, lead nurturing, email marketing, landing pages, and calls-to-action, ask yourself—what marketing channels are the most helpful at generating leads that turn into customers? Be sure you are allocating the most time and resources to the marketing channels with the most ROI, and constantly monitoring these analytics to see if, over time, some channels start to become more effective for your business.