Given the importance and increasing growth of online channels in the real estate industry, I’m surprised that a lot of real estate brokers (and large firms) are still not tracking the performance of their website today. By performance, I’m not simply referring to basic website statistics (visitors, page views, time on site), but drilling deeper to understand the impact on the bottom-line results of the business.
Drew recently talked about conversion numbers and I wanted to follow up on his discussion to provide some more detail on how you can setup and start analyzing your leads in a few steps.
1. Setup your goals
Step one in understanding the performance of your website is to create tracking events for your contact forms. Whether you have contact forms placed on your contact page, property listings, or site-wide on all pages, it is critical to properly set this up on Google Analytics and correctly integrate tracking parameters with your forms.
This also means to include a goal value; a numerical dollar value for each online inquiry. For most real estate sites that have brokerage activity, you can simply use potential commissions. So if your average commission is approximately $10,000 and you convert 15 percent of online inquiries into clients, then the value of each inquiry from your contact forms would be $1,500 (15 percent of $10,00).
2. Dig into the results
Once your goal tracking is set up, you can now start analyzing results and have a closer look at visitors, conversions (number of inquiries), and conversion rates (inquiries divided by visitors) to get a better understanding of what is performing best. Conversion rates are a key KPI that can help you answer questions like:
- What are the top-performing channels?
- What are your top-performing keywords?
- What are your top-performing pages?
The flip side is to also understand what are the low-performers for each of the above questions. Something that can provide great insight into areas of improvement.
3. Dig deeper
Now that you have a better understanding of the performance of channels, keywords, and pages you can dissect further to understand the implications on business KPIs. Mainly, this includes looking at the revenues and costs associated with your channels (referral sites, search engines, direct traffic, newsletters, etc.) in the context of each online inquiry (potential lead).
To get revenue per lead, you can simply use the goal values from step 1 or look at the actual revenues you have generated from each of your channels. With Analytics, you can even take it one step further and apply the same concept to keywords to have an understanding of your top-producing keywords.
For cost per lead, you would need to know how much money you are spending for each of your channels, whether it’s online advertising, cost-per-click campaigns, agency fees, or PR. Once you segment your costs per channel, you can very easily track the cost per visitor and per inquiry to get a clear picture of your costs by channel. For example, if you spent $5000 on a SEO agency to help boost your keyword rankings, you can then divide this $5K by number of visitors and number of inquiries generated so you know the performance on a “per lead” basis. Same can be applied to keywords and your landing pages.
With revenue and cost per lead you will have a much stronger grip on your channels, keywords, and pages that are either performing well or under-performing so you can make better spending decisions.
4. Optimize and scale
Based on these results, you will now be in a better position to optimize and improve low-performers (channels, keywords, and pages) or stop activity that does not have any impact on your bottom line.
More importantly, this type of analysis will also give you insights on where to spend more money and scale the areas that provide you the most online leads and are moving the needle for your business.