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Get Better Real Estate Leads - Blog via Searchbug.com
Oct
15

How to Get Better Real Estate Leads

There’s a common theme in advice for getting real estate leads: use your network.

However, when you’re just starting out, your network may not include anyone who’s looking to buy or sell their house. Or maybe you don’t want to go around hitting up all your friends for business.

In this case, you may have to use some salesmanship to generate leads and get your first clients. This will form the basis of a larger, more productive network.

During this early stage, it’s likely that you’ll need to do some outbound marketing. A more common term for outbound marketing is “cold outreach.”

Cold outreach is the toughest type of salesmanship, no matter what communication channel you use. Cold calling, cold emailing, cold sales visits. All of them are hard.

Talking to complete strangers is nerve wracking.  

So the first step is working up the courage to do cold outreach at all.

Once the butterflies calm down, the next step is to increase your chances of success.

To do that, you’ll need to get warmer leads.

Corporate sales teams rarely get leads that are completely cold. Research teams gather tons of data about every lead before it gets passed to the sales team for outreach.

As a real estate agent, you’re usually in charge of both sales and research. One huge mistake people make is neglecting the research phase of the outbound sales process.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to get good information for cold outreach. Especially for real estate agents.

Here’s how to get the information that will warm up your leads and give your cold outreach the greatest chance of success.

Tools for Researching Your Real Estate Leads

Real estate agents need personal, address, and geoeconomic data to create quality leads.

Having a complete portfolio of information—including name, address, email address, phone number, employment, and so on—makes it much easier to evaluate a lead’s potential.

It also takes some of the dread out of starting that first conversation.

There’s a large suite of real estate tools designed to help real estate agents get economic information about neighborhoods and cities.

However, there are fewer tools for getting personal information so that you have an idea of who you’re contacting when you do cold outreach.

There are even fewer good information finding tools.

So what information can you get, and how do you use it to get better real estate leads?

Home Sales Stats

The best leads are the ones who stand to benefit the most from selling their house. So targeting the right areas is key.

The MLS database offers a lot of information about average and projected home values.

However, it also helps to know how often people in a certain area sell their homes. That can indicate a neighborhood with good equity to capitalize on.

The MLS database is rather inefficient for getting this sort of data. A good home sales statistics tool will gather the information you need much more efficiently, and save you a lot of time.

Real Estate Sales Stats

A good tool like this gathers information from the county recorder’s office. So the results are usually accurate.

You can also look at the sales trends for the last year to identify areas with potential that haven’t started selling yet.

Reverse Address Lookup

Getting addresses from the various real estate databases is fairly straightforward.

But it helps to know who’s living at the residence before you make a call or visit. That way you’ll at least have a name to start with.

Fortunately, there are tools designed specifically to get all the information associated with an address.

Doing a reverse address lookup for each address you want to target will give you the name, phone number, and email address connected to the physical address.

Use a free reverse address lookup tool if you haven't found anything on the web.

This opens up a lot of communication channels for cold outreach.

If you’re a trooper and have pulled a large list of addresses from your real estate software, you can use batch processing to speed things up.

Be aware that a reverse address lookup isn’t bulletproof. False positives are possible.

This is especially true for apartments or houses that have been divided into multiple units.

However, for single family residences, the success rate is much higher.

Reverse Phone Lookup

Reverse phone lookup tools are good to use in conjunction with in-person networking events.

Check free reverse phone lookup tools.

It can be uncomfortable to ask people for their address when you meet them, especially for realtors. People feel the sales pitch coming and run away.

It’s much easier to just gather phone numbers, then use a reverse phone lookup tool to complete the information so you can follow up with a mailed information package or email.

Here’s a tip: if you plan to send physical materials or marketing emails, be sure to give a follow up phone call before sending anything more substantial.

A package or email out of the blue can be a bit jarring. It’s less surprising if the prospect has had more than one conversation with you.

Phone Validator

These days, a lot of people will give you their cell phone number when you exchange information in person.

However, some people still give their landline. Maybe they don’t want to be bothered on their cell phone. Or maybe they don’t have a cell phone.

Additionally, if you get phone numbers using a reverse address lookup, you may not know whether it’s a cell phone or landline, depending on the reverse address lookup tool you use.

Either way, you can’t send text messages to a landline.

Why does this matter?

Text messaging is quickly becoming an acceptable mode of communication, even for business.

Some industries find that cold outreach texts actually get much higher response rates than cold phone calls. A text message is also an excellent follow-up to a face-to-face conversation.

This is especially true with young people.

Using a phone validator saves you a lot of time and spares you the inconvenience of sending text messages to landlines.

Phone Validator

Reverse Email Lookup

Email marketing is incredibly effective across all industries.

But gathering emails is its own beast.

Typically, people tend to be hesitant to give out their email on the internet. However, they tend to be looser with their email in person.

Whichever method you use to get email addresses, validating email addresses is the first step.

People often give fake email addresses or make mistakes when entering their email address online. Validating the email addresses on your list spares you the annoyance of bounced emails. It also preserves your domain and IP reputation.

Then, for realtors, there’s an additional step.

At minimum, you’ll want the address associated with the email. But more information is better.

The good news is that a reverse email lookup tool will give you most of the associated information.

Reverse Email Lookup

This information makes your life much easier if you use email for cold outreach or follow-up.

Just like the other tools, you can use batch processing to check large databases of emails.

For most leads, you most likely won’t need to use all of these tools. One, maybe two, will usually do the trick.

Having a complete profile for each person makes cold outreach a bit less nerve wracking and helps you craft a proposition that’s right for each person.

Tips for Contacting Warm Leads

Now that you’ve got a collection of leads with complete profiles, it’s time to start making connections.

But before you get after it, take a moment to realize that you have a lot more information about each person than they gave you.

It’s very easy to come off a little bit creepy if you sound like you know too much from the start.

Take these things into consideration before you start your cold outreach:

 

  • Use your complete profiles to evaluate how likely it is that the person is interested in selling their home or buying.

 

You can check for other homes in the area that are owned by the same person or if they’ve completed any sales recently.

Your outreach will be more relevant if you’re contacting someone who’s actually interested in doing real estate business.

 

  • Use the information you’ve gathered to personalize your messaging, but only let on that you know basic information like their first and last name.

 

People are used to marketing that’s personalized with their first name. Some mailings even mention their phone number.

But it’s best to avoid mentioning their employment or how long they’ve lived in their house unless they’ve told you.

Remember that some information is best used behind the scenes.

 

  • If you can, meet people in person first.

 

Even if they didn’t give you their email or phone number, they’ll be far less suspicious about a phone call or email if they’ve seen your face.

Chances are they’ll just assume they gave you their contact information when they talked to you.

Mention that you’re following up with the conversation you had before when you follow-up.

This helps them make the assumption that they gave you their contact information then. It’s also an easy ice breaker.

In the end, real estate has one thing in common with most other industries: it’s about building relationships.

Getting better leads helps you build relationships faster. It’ll also help you tame the cold outreach dragon and start building a network that will do work for you in the long run.

How do you prepare for cold outreach?

Check out these information gathering tools.

Then leave a comment and let us know how you get quality real estate leads!

 

How To Guide: How to Fix Slow Page Load Times via Searchbug.com
Oct
08

How to Fix Slow Page Load Times

Slow page load times are a bigger problem than many people realize.

Run a quick website speed test on your homepage. How’s it look?

Four seconds? Maybe five?

That might seem reasonable. But people hate waiting.

So it makes sense that longer page load times hurt your sales numbers.

Here’s why:

47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

40% of people abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

While a 4 second load time might not seem so bad, you could be missing sales because of it.

And it’s not just customers who give up on your site if it’s loading slowly.

Google and Facebook also dislike slow loading websites.

Here’s what’s going on: Facebook now displays links to slower loading websites lower on people’s news feeds.

Your website load time is also one of Google’s SEO considerations. Slower loading websites get pushed to the bottom of the search results page.

Unless your website is featured in the knowledge graph or you’ve got paid placement on Google, your site isn’t getting as much visibility as it could.

Accounting for all of these factors, a one second delay in page load time reduces conversions by as much as 7%. To put it in perspective, that would be 1.6 billion in sales for Amazon.

All in all, a slow loading webpage can cost you quite a bit of money.

So improving your website performance is a no-brainer. Here’s how to optimize your website for fast page load times:

How fast should my website be?

That’s a tricky question, since every website has a different set of necessary functions.

Additionally, each website has a different expected workload.

A WordPress site has different issues to contend with than a Shopify or Magento site.

Some sites can accomplish their mission without any exciting visuals, like a Google AMP page. At the other end of this spectrum are websites that need some visuals to get their message across.

Imagine the GoPro website without any visuals. Very disappointing.

So don’t strip down your website to the point that it’s too minimal to sell in the name of getting faster load times. People also leave websites because they aren’t adequate.

The goal here is two fold:

  • Build a website that gives users everything they need.
  • Get it to load in under 4 seconds.

This article is about website load times, so we’ll assume that your does everything people need it to.

These are the biggest offenders when it comes to website load times and how to fix each one:

Unoptimized Images

Images are hands down the biggest cause of slow page load times.

The first thing to do is only use images where you need to. Many websites use images to display text. This might save time in website development, but in terms of website efficiency, it could lead to high website abandonment rates.

Only use text to display text.

As far as images themselves, issues with images fall into two main categories:

 

  • Image size.
  • Image type.

 

Dealing with these problems isn’t too difficult. Just do two things.

Optimize your images.

There’s a lot of metadata hidden in your image files. The metadata is useful for developers, but it really slows down your website.

Fortunately, this is relatively easy to solve: Losslessly optimize your images, and use images of the appropriate size for your website.

Losslessly optimizing your images strips away any metadata that doesn’t improve the visual quality of the image.

This is mostly a matter of running them through optimization software. It’s pretty simple.

These two pieces of software will help you optimize the most common image types:

Look at how much smaller an optimized image is:

Optimized Image: 2MB to 497KB for faster page load times

Image Source

 

With the right tools, you can very quickly optimize the images from your website and replace the unoptimized images with their more space-efficient counterparts.

Use the Right Images for the Right Purpose

The second issue involves a bit more work. However, it’s just as simple.

Certain image types are better for different things. On websites, most images are either PNG files or JPEG files. Using the wrong image type for the wrong purpose will make your website much slower.

Here’s what each file type is best for:

PNG files: these are best for logos and icons.

The PNG format supports transparency. It’s a good format for a visual that you need to overlay on top of other elements. However, PNG files get data heavy very easily, so they’re not ideal for large images or photos.

JPEG files: these are best for photos and large images.

JPEG files don’t support transparency. They’re not ideal for layering. However, JPEG files are more data efficient than PNG files. Using JPEG images whenever you don’t need a PNG will save you a lot of data.

So, unless you want to keep trying to sell stuff with a sad panda, use the right image for the job.

Bad Code Slows Down Your Website

If you’re like me, you’re very bad at coding. If you’re not like me, you may be able to fix this yourself.

There are certain best practices in coding that are designed specifically to make the code do its job faster. Make sure that your web page code follows these best practices.

Here’s what your website needs to load as fast as possible:

  • Clean code. Your entire website is built from code. More complex websites need more code.

Facebook has 60 million lines of code. You probably don’t need that much.

A good web developer will use the least amount of code possible, while still creating a website that does what you need.

  • Minimal inline CSS. Using inline CSS makes your HTML less efficient. Many coders consider inline CSS to be lazy coding.
  • Build a CSS stylesheet. However, don’t build more stylesheets than you need. Most websites function well with a single CSS stylesheet.
  • Page caching. Without page caching, each time a user visits your site, the code is retrieved from the server. The website gets built from the ground up for each visitor.

With page caching, the server simply sends a pre-constructed snapshot of your page to each visitor, which can dramatically reduce load times. However, page caching cannot be used with websites that require authentication.

  • HTTP Compression. The less data you need to send for your website to load, the better. So, find out what’s compressible (like images). Then compress all that data into the smallest block possible.

Plugins Hurt Your Load Times

Plugins are rad. They’re great for adding dynamic content to your website. Some websites—like WordPress sites—rely on plugins more than others.

Unfortunately, plugins present a few challenges for page load times. Each plugin contributes a little bit more load time.

Check for these issues with your plugins:

  • Plugin bloat. The biggest issue is too many plugins. The obvious first step is to remove any plugins that you’re not using. Second, drop any plugins that aren’t netting you a meaningful return.
  • JavaScript issues. Most plugins are built with JavaScript, which is a great tool for adding cool content to your website. However, inefficient JavaScript will crush your load times. Multiple API calls to render JavaScript data causes significant loading delays.
  • Flash content. Flash content makes your website more interactive. It also makes your website load very slowly. Flash content is bulky, and not data efficient. The best way to resolve this issue is to replace Flash content with HTML5 content.

Without Domain Sharding, It’s Hard For Browsers to Download Your Page

Most browsers can support concurrent downloading from 2 to 4 different sources. Hosting your website on a single domain is like driving on a four lane highway, but only using a single lane.

Domain sharding is simply storing different pieces of your website on different servers. This way, when a user’s computer requests your website, it will download faster using the concurrent downloading capability of their browser.

Splitting up your website so that the different pieces can be simultaneously retrieved from different servers is an administrative hassle. To help with this, you can utilize DNS CNAME records to trick computers into thinking that your website is hosted on multiple domains, and use all four lanes on the freeway.

Having Too Many Ads Kills Load Times

Ads are an excellent way to monetize your website traffic. However, there are two good reasons to scrutinize which ads you include on your website.

First: if your page is overrun with ads, it can really hurt the user experience.

Isn’t it frustrating when you click on something in Facebook, only to find that you can’t see any of the content because there are ads in the way? A frustrating user experience drives customers away, regardless of how fast your website loads.

So make sure that your ads are well placed, and don’t get in the way of what the user wants to do.

Second: too many ads makes your website load slower.

The biggest takeaway here is that if ads aren’t your main revenue stream, you can probably do with less. Look at your lowest performing ads. Consider whether or not they’re worth the extra time it takes your website to load. That slowdown could cost you some sales.

Then, make sure that the ads you do include follow the rules of website optimization so they don’t increase your load times.

What to do if you can’t fix all this yourself:

Improving website load times is kind of a technical process. Unless you’ve got a lot of web development savvy, it’s best to have your website audited for performance issues.

There are a number of tools and services for identifying problems with your website, like this website performance scan. You might not be able to fix the issues yourself. But you’ll know where the biggest problems are, which will make it easier for a professional developer to fix them.

Remember, your website doesn’t need to be face meltingly fast. Load times of less than 4 seconds will do. But faster is better.

How’s your website doing? Leave a comment and let us know how fast your web page loads!

 

Oct
01

Website Optimization: Simpler Is Better

Website optimization is largely a matter of creating a website that meets the user’s needs in the simplest way possible.

Here’s a known truth of human behavior: when people have more options, they make fewer decisions.

Analysis paralysis and decision fatigue are real. A key aspect of website optimization is simplifying your checkout process.

Over three quarters of customers leave full shopping carts without making a purchase. That’s a devastatingly high cart abandonment rate.

Why do so many people leave their ecommerce carts?

Here’s another truth about humans: people want things to be easy.

People leave their shopping carts because there are too many decisions to make and the buying process is too hard.

It seems crazy, but people will drop out of making a purchase as soon as they have to make one too many choices or fill in one to many forms. People are fickle monsters.

A simple checkout process keeps more people in the buying pipeline until the sale is finished.

So how do you simplify your checkout process? How do you reduce the choices people need to make without being too restrictive?

Some of the answers will sound counterintuitive. But they work.

Here’s how to make your checkout process better by making it more minimal:

Only Give Shoppers As Many Options As They Need

This advice is primarily centered around the parts of the buying process where the customer really needs options:

  • Payment options.
  • Shipping options.
  • Product variations.

The paradox here is that you need to offer some flexibility in these areas in order to meet the needs of the greatest number of customers. We’ll address the one that’s furthest from the purchase first.

Product Variations

When it comes to product variations there are two ways to avoid offering too many options:

  • Limit the number of variations per page that a customer can view. Some products necessitate options. To avoid deterring a buying decision with too many options, limit your products per page to around four. This way customers can find what they want without getting overwhelmed an fleeing back to the safety of cat videos.

 

  • Reduce the number of variations you offer. This is especially true with products where the difference between models is minimal, like t-shirts. It might be tempting to offer every color imaginable. But then customers end up struggling with which color gray they like best, rather than just buying a shirt. Reduce the variations you offer by eliminating variants that are mostly the same.

 

Shipping options

If you wanted, you could offer ten or even twenty shipping options. FedEx, UPS, USPS, courier. The list goes on. But the best way to choose the shipping options you offer is to remember that shipping options boil down to two things:

  • Speed.
  • Cost.

Shipping is either fast or cheap. All customers want both. But they prefer one or the other, because they know they can’t have both.

So offer a fast option, a cheap option, and a middle of the road option. To help take the decision off the customer’s plate, autoselect the middle of the road option. Most people won’t bother to change it. They also won’t opt out of the buying process because they have to choose.

Payment options

This is the most nerve wracking aspect of website optimization.

The main worry is that reducing the number of payment options limits the number of people who can purchase from your store.

This is true.

However, you’ll lose more sales to cart abandonment than to a lack of payment options. The vast majority of people pay with just a couple payment options. Typically, if you accept credit cards and PayPal, you’ll have just about everybody covered.

Offering another option like Google Wallet or Apple Pay can help. But it’s 2018; the number of people who buy things using checks and money orders is so low that there’s very little return—if any—to offering these payment options.

Since most of the information collection for PayPal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and others takes place on those websites, credit cards represent most of the drama related to payment options.

The most efficient payment screen layout is to present the credit card form, with links to the third party payment options below or next to the credit card form.

The issue then becomes a matter of simplifying. The goal is to reduce the amount of information the customer must manually enter. There are a few fields that your site can autofill for the customer based on other information they submit:

 

  • Credit card type. Each type of credit card has a prefix that identifies the card type. Your website should autodetect the card type and select it for the customer once they enter the credit card number. It’s just one less step the customer needs to take to finish a purchase.

 

From a coding standpoint, this is fairly simple to implement. Some companies offer APIs to accomplish this.

 

  • Name. If the customer has filled out a form or signed up for your email list during their visit, your website can autofill this information in the personal information form.
  • Email address. This is especially easy if your sales funnel uses a lead magnet or a tripwire. It can even be achieved if they return days or even weeks later to make a purchase after entering their information into the lead magnet or tripwire form.

 

It also works for people who click through to your store from one of your marketing emails.

Again, this simply reduces how much work the customer has to do to complete the buying cycle.

Both of these are a bit more complex from a development standpoint, so you should work with your web developer or provider to get your form completion dialed.

Then, there are two things that you can simply remove from your website to make life easier for your customers.

First, combine your checkout process into the fewest possible pages. Ideally, the customer should be able to finish their purchase in two pages. However, the difference in overall conversion rates between two page checkout flows and three page checkout flows is pretty small. It could be a statistical anomaly.

But a four page checkout flow is a bad idea. At four pages, people start to drop off.

Second, never require your customer to create an account in order to purchase. Thinking about creating passwords and usernames and then having to remember them causes anxiety.

You should absolutely avoid causing anxiety during the checkout process. Requiring first-time customers to create an account to make a purchase chases a lot of people away.

I’m one of those people who refuses to make that first purchase if the site requires me to create an account. This is serious.

If you’d like to offer customers an opportunity to create an account for future purchases, include a link to your account creation page in the order confirmation email.

These are fairly simple changes that actually make things much simpler for the customer and will reduce your cart abandonment rates.

However, there are also ways that you can improve your website to make your own life easier.

Built in Data Validation

Incorrect information causes issues in the order fulfillment process. It’s a headache for both you and the customer.

While it’s nearly impossible to prevent customers from using addresses besides their primary residence—and you wouldn’t want to anyway—you want to avoid getting typos or blatantly false information in your checkout process.

If the customer enters an invalid address, email address, or phone number, your website should prompt them to correct the error. This minimizes the chances of orders being shipped to the wrong address and ensures that you have good information for contacting the customer during the fulfillment process if you need to.

Building data validation into your checkout flow is actually really simple. You can validate any data that’s entered during checkout with a prebuilt API.

An API can easily check to make sure that the customer enters a real address, email address, and phone number. The entire process is transparent to the customer.

If they enter good information, they’ll proceed as usual. Otherwise, your site will simply indicate which information needs to be corrected before they can proceed to the next step.

If customers can opt in to your email list during the checkout process, this also protects the integrity of your email list and improves email deliverability.

So, have a look at your checkout process and evaluate how easy it is for your customers to finish their purchases. It’ll get you more sales.

Then, make your own life easier with checkout data validation. It’ll improve your customer service.

 

The Most Important Key Performance Indicators via Searchbug.com
Sep
24

The Most Important Metrics and Key Performance Indicators for Ecommerce

If you’ve dug into measuring your business at all, you know that there are a ton of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). There are actually too many for anyone to track and make use of all at once. Certain metrics are more valuable for some businesses than for others.

The metrics that are most relevant to your business are largely determined by how your business sells things.

There’s a certain cluster of metrics that are best for retail businesses. There’s a different core of metrics that work best for ecommerce companies. Omnichannel businesses need to work with still a different set of metrics.

Sure, there’s overlap in the metrics that work for each type of business.

But we’ll focus on ecommerce here.

The thing that determines which metrics are valuable for ecommerce is the way that ecommerce is structured.

Ecommerce can actually be broken down into two very broad stages:

  1. Product development.
  2. Marketing.

Since ecommerce platforms are designed to simplify the fulfillment process, ecommerce business can focus mostly on building a product that solves a problem, then putting that product in front of people when they need it or want it.

Now, there are subsets of each of these stages, but these are the big picture.

With the rise of dropshipping and ecommerce platforms designed to simplify the ecommerce business model, KPIs related to supply chain and logistics are less important for many ecommerce businesses.

The majority of ecommerce KPIs are related to marketing. Once you’ve created your product and established your logistical relationships, it’s all about effective, efficient marketing.

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make with metrics is being too focused on KPIs themselves. KPIs aren’t all that useful without context. They’re the best indicators of how well you’re accomplishing your business goals.

So the focus should actually be on the objectives. Your goals determine which metrics you focus on. Avoid falling into the trap of letting your metrics steer your goals. This is the way to madness.

Before you can build your suite of metrics, you need to establish objectives.

There are a lot of ways to establish goals. Many of them work just fine. Here’s one that works for many companies and people:

S.M.A.R.T.

You may have heard it before. This is what a S.M.A.R.T. goal is:

Specific.

Measurable.

Achievable.

Relevant.

Time bound.

A S.M.A.R.T. goal looks like this:

Our goal is to add 100 new, active subscribers by the end of the year.

If you use these criteria for identifying your objectives, you’ll be able to easily choose the best metrics for measuring whether or not you’re achieving your goals. The objective itself will tell you what you need to measure.

So, how exactly do you use your metrics once you’ve deduced which ones are best for you?

How to Use Your Metrics

In a word: methodically.

There are so many metrics that it’s easy to let your attention fragment and get lost in a rabbit hole of the hundreds or thousands of things you can tweak and optimize.

The key to using your metrics effectively is focus.

Even if every single metric looks terrible, avoid trying to tackle everything at once. Choose one thing, identify the metrics associated with that aspect of your business, and make adjustments until the metrics are satisfactory.

Then move onto the next aspect. Once you’ve evaluated and optimized all the pieces, go back and check on the one you started with and see if you can make it even better.

The best way to optimize things in your business is with A/B testing. Some call it split testing.

Here’s how you do it:

Build two versions of whatever your trying to improve. For example, an email subject line.

Send both subject lines to the same number of subscribers.

Keep the version that gets more email opens.

Then design a new version and test it against the old winner.

You can do this endlessly. It’s a perpetual cycle of optimization.

You can run A/B tests on just about anything. You can optimize your entire sales funnel using A/B testing.

But, don’t get carried away. You’ll lose your mind if you try to run A/B tests on everything at once. Choose one or two things, test them, optimize them, then move on to the next thing or two.

It’s like using the scientific method to improve your business.

With that in mind, these are the most valuable metrics for ecommerce businesses to understand and track:

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value is how much revenue each customer brings your business over the course of their relationship with your company.

Revenue and quarterly profits are cool, but customer lifetime value is pretty much king of the ecommerce metrics.

Reason being: if you know your customer lifetime value, you can precisely calculate your marketing budget. This is huge, since your marketing budget could account for half of your expenses, maybe more.

But there’s a tricky thing with customer lifetime value: having the data to calculate it. If you’re just starting out, you might not have a lot of numbers to crunch.

If this is the case, you’ll have to make a few projections based on your profit margins and how many sales you anticipate once you launch. It’s best to be conservative when you make these predictions. It’s safest err on the side of caution right?

This is the first metric you should calculate. It’s useful for evaluating progress toward a whole slough of objectives. Your customer lifetime value helps you evaluate customer loyalty, repeat purchase rate, and a whole bunch of other metrics that give you a picture of how your customers are interacting with your brand.

Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer acquisition cost is how much it costs to get a prospect to make their first purchase from your business. It’s a measure of how your total marketing spend divides up among your first time buyers.

Since marketing is half of the ecommerce marketing equation, determining how much you’re paying to acquire each new customer will help you make strategic decisions and plan out how much it will cost to hit growth goals.

Comparing your customer acquisition cost to your customer lifetime value essentially tells you whether or not you’re going to make money in the long term.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate measures the percentage of the people who visit your page actually make a purchase.

This key performance indicator measures how well your marketing is working as a whole. One good way to use the conversion rate metric is to start from the conversion (the sale), and work backwards through your sales funnel.

Once you’ve got the conversion part dialed, you can endlessly tweak your marketing to get the most people to that final stage.

Here’s how this part works:

If you have consistent conversion rates, all you really have to do is get more people to the conversion page.

To do this, you need to have a large pool of people that you can ask to come see your site. These are the best tools for this:

  1. Data collection.
  2. Data management.

Essentially, you need to get contact information and you need to know that the contact information is correct. Content marketing, lead magnets, trip wires, these are all great tools for gathering prospect data.

On the other end, validating your data makes your data collection efforts effective. If you have bad data, you’re going to expend a lot of effort reaching out to inert contacts.

So validating your data on the front end, when prospects enter it into a form, and consistently cleansing your data is like removing unproductive keywords from your Google ads.

There are a lot more metrics. Over 65, according to some ecommerce experts. However, the other metrics are designed for evaluating very specific parts of your business.

There are metrics for improving your emails, metrics for improving your website, metrics for improving your checkout process. The measurement is getting more granular every day.

Using all these metrics is more engineering than art. Here’s a quick roundup of how to use some of these other metrics:

  • For email marketing, start with your conversion rate and work backwards. Adjust the body of your emails and calls to action until your conversion rates are decent. Then move back to adjusting your subject lines to increase open rates.
  • For website optimization, look at conversions first. Tailor your product pages and checkout flow to optimize conversion rates. Then work on your content marketing and paid advertising to increase the traffic to your site.
  • For social media, evaluate your conversion rate. Iterate your ads and calls to action until you’ve got acceptable conversion rates. Then start expanding your audiences and advertising channels to get more impressions.

Using the smaller metrics to fine tune things is smart.

However, the big three metrics give ecommerce businesses a good overall view of their business and can be used to evaluate how well they’re meeting most ecommerce goals.

As you work through each detail of your business and make changes to improve the individual aspects, keep an eye on how it’s affecting your customer lifetime value, customer acquisition cost, and conversion rates.

In theory, if you’re improving the individual parts of your business, your central KPIs will get better.

So pull up these key metrics, and hit us up on LinkedIn or Facebook to let us know how your business is doing!