Ask any community sales and marketing professional where their buyers are coming from and they will likely list several “traffic pockets” that seem to connect well with their community. Long Island, New York and Florida seem to be a good pairing, for example, and migration patterns also support large influxes of South Floridians northbound within the Sunshine State or even to the Carolinas.
But what happens when you find what appears to be interest in your community from a new traffic pocket you never expected?
One South Carolina community developer volunteered a strange case in which more than 300 visits to their homepage from New York City appeared suddenly in a monthly Google Analytics report about the location of website visitors.. The map overlay in this report is a handy tool for identifying more precise Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) than simply an entire state. The community checked with its marketing and public relations consultants to see if any major news about the community had appeared that might have caused the spike from Manhattan. Was there an ad scheduled or some sales event that would have generated all of this out-of-the-blue search traffic in just one month?
As it turned out, the community had issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for advertising services at the start of the month, and dozens of New York City agencies were scrambling to do their homework on the community to see if they could land the account. They were not buyers at all.
PrivateCommunities.com’s Whit Hazelton explains that Google Analytics can tell you plenty about who is reaching your website, but there are some caveats to keep in mind. He says that most often, it is not the scenario just described but something even more obvious that skews numbers in the reports.
“The most common and easily fixed problem we see is when communities have not turned on the filtering of visits from employees, webmasters, and community residents who can really drive up traffic numbers to artificial levels,” Hazelton explains. “You can prevent Google Analytics from reporting ‘internal’ traffic to your site by making sure that the IP addresses of your employees are added to the Filter Manager in the Admin area within Google Analytics.
Optimizing Reports Makes a Big Difference
Hazelton says that even though some communities will see good web traffic from their own local markets, many times these site visitors are not really contemplating a purchase at all and are skewing the traffic data.
“The free Location reports from Google Analytics are a very good tool for future marketing efforts and determining where you might allocate your marketing budget,” Hazelton notes.
If you have had Google Analytics installed for several years you can even look back at correlations between heavy site traffic and various marketing campaigns you thought went well in previous years.
ROI Can Be a Real-Time Metric
It was not that long ago, after all, that a 5% response rate from a single day’s display advertisement in The Wall Street Journal or a direct mail piece was seen as a respectable return on investment, but now with real time analytics data the window of “if it worked” can be much shorter. Google Analytics is a good place to determine short-term and long-term return on investment and make success much less of a waiting game than ever before.
PrivateCommunities.com enjoys excellent search engine visibility with consumers who are researching a master-planned community in a state or region where they have vacationed and are looking to grow new roots. Clients who list get monthly traffic and activity reports and can even request a Google Analytics report for their own community sites.
To schedule a demo about how the data collected by PrivateCommunities.com can inform your marketing budget process and help you generate higher quality leads, contact Sales Director Ben Keal at Ben@PrivateCommunities.com