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How well does your Website Impact your Bottom Line?

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.

website conversions

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.

About Bob Samii

Bob Samii is an online marketing strategist and founder of a real estate web development agency, inMotion Real Estate Media. You can find him on twitter: @cultureslurp

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  • Good stuff Bob,
    I have goal tracking set up through Google Analystics for my site. It helped me to quickly discover the different registration and verification rates of differet organic sources and different Adwords Campaigns.
    It is a little trickier attaching a revenue value to each goal conversion. The 15% value you gave is very high. Our site converts about 5% of new visitors to registrations and about .5% of those registrations to closed real estate transactions.
    There is a loose connection between real estate web conversions and closed sales, but the time from registration to eventual closed sales is long and filled with numerous other pitfalls that have no relation to the original source of the lead. This is even more the case in todays market with most sellers being short sales and buyers having to choose from less than 1.5 months of inventory while having to fight bidding wars when they do find something.
    Because of the lack of sales in relation to volume of conversion data and lead sources, it can be difficult to draw statistically significant conclusions
    While there may be tens of thousands of visitors to our site each month and hundreds of registrations, we may only get a half dozen or fewer sales from there..
    The price points of each sale, where they purchased and how they found the site can vary widely. It would be difficult to tie enough of the sales to one landing page, SEO tactic or even one PPC campaign to draw any solid conclusions.
    That being said, we try to keep our overhead so low that it doesn’t really matter. Our PPC ads are cheap and very targeted and our SEO is even cheaper.
    We are probably missing some opportunities on the margins, but running a lean operations has also helped us survive the past 5 years.

    • Bob Samii

      Hi Patrick, thanks for the comment. I know that 15% is high and not realistic =) …was just using as an example. However, even if all the online inquiries are not converting to actual sales, it still helps to put some kind of value on your leads. I know for low volume sites the conversion numbers might not provide enough data as you suggest but the idea here is to create some kind of framework that allows you to tie business metrics with your online marketing activity.

      • OK, That makes sense.
        You’re doing it to compare different advertising methods effectivness against eachother, rather than to estimate or forecast revenue.
        Good idea.

  • Karen Highland

    Thanks for this info. I, too have some things set up through Google Analytics, but I need to dig in deeper. Your posts are very informative and motivational, thanks.

  • Thek100

    This is great and impressive post really…i search this type of topic and really appreciate it.

  • Ben Koshkin Nurseryman

    Definitely success of a website means traffic can generate leads for your business, Great post and very knowledgeable, some should take care of these factors while measuring the performance of his website.

  • I love this topic. Writer has
    made some solid in his article. I will surely research to verify them.

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