Use analytics to grow your business

Data can reveal best strategies

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When Realtors hear the term analytics, many think of website metrics. But analytics "are everywhere, not just on the Web," says Adam Wiener, Redfin’s vice president of analytics and new business.

Utilizing analytics can help improve offline marketing efforts, for example.

"Think about just listed and just sold cards," Wiener says. "Imagine you sent out 100 of these for every listing and it cost you $200 and a bunch of your time. You want to know how many transactions and referrals called you from the postcard to see if it is worth doing. Just use a pen and paper and break down the stages, no fancy tools required."

Wiener was one of several fantastic analytics experts sharing their insights on a panel I had the pleasure of moderating at the Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco entitled, "Analyze This: Developing the Right Digital Analytics Strategy."

The panel also included Jim Marks, co-founder and CEO of Virtual Results; Hiten Shah, co-founder and CEO of KISSmetrics; and Stephanie Streeter of Active Website LLC.

There were many metrics and data strategies discussed on the panel. Utilizing data is critical to your business, and real estate professionals need to track analytics simply to make better business decisions.

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In terms of digital marketing, the Web is a wonderful medium for tracking analytics. However, there is a plethora of channels to track, including website traffic, e-business, email marketing campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. All of this data can be overwhelming to a Realtor. Creating a simple marketing funnel can help measure marketing efforts and supply analytics that can help your business invest in the appropriate channels.

Google Analytics is being used by millions of websites and is extremely popular in the real estate industry. The application has many new features and improvements. Streeter, ROI manager at Active Website LLC, discussed customer behavior and how consumers are interacting with websites on the panel.

"Look at Google Analytics process flow charts. See how customers are interacting from page to page. Use that data to make the most popular information more accessible and revise your websites site map."

"Google Analytics is a robust platform, and the application needs to be installed properly," Marks said. Marks recommends hiring a professional to set up and configure the software if you are unfamiliar with the platform.

Here are two great resources for additional Google Analytics information:

1: The official Google Analytics blog.

2: Analytics Talk – Untangling the world of Web analytics.

For the more advanced data geek, adding A/B Testing (split testing) can be a valuable tool. If you’re unfamiliar with A/B testing, it is the process of testing a control sample to other samples in order to improve conversion.

Which Test Won is an engaging website that enables users to take a test and vote on a particular campaign and see if their marketing instinct is correct. The website then shows the conversion metrics of the actual test. It’s a fascinating exercise. You can learn more here.

Quick note: When utilizing A/B Testing, be conscious of the sample size. A small test group can contaminate your results. "A/B testing requires scale; watch out for small samples," Wiener advises.

Whether you are tracking click-throughs from Facebook and Twitter or analyzing customer behavior in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, analytics is critical to your business. Developing the right strategy can help you determine which marketing and advertising channels are the best investments.

My advice to real estate professionals: Track everything.


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