You Can Only Manage What You Can Measure
When you commit to change, the key is that you cannot make any kind of conversion improvements or improve your process if you don’t know the variables. You can’t make a good meal if you don’t know the ingredients that go in. So, analytics and performance metrics simply quantify what is important to measure, and they give you tools to do it.
You need to have different tools for all your channels. It’s where the business comes from. Phone calls, online orders, word of mouth. The channel helps you understand where your traffic comes from and how you acquire clients. Your phone call business is different from your internet business. You need different tools to discover where your business originates and how to manage it.
Analytics For Inspectors
Analytics is a tool, it’s supplied by Google, but you can find other analytic tools. You measure the traffic coming to your website and all the other systems, like advertising.
You can use Google AdWords, Bing ads, Facebook ads, and others. Most importantly, you want to be consistent about getting your message out so that next time people recognize your business.
If you’re a small business, you may not have a time to do a lot of this so you’re going to use a couple of these key tools. Then learn how to look at the reports once a week to keep track of your business. You don’t have to do this on a daily basis search.
The metrics will help tell you exactly how much success you had with an ad. So, you can constantly fine tune your advertising. You may narrow down to local or you may want to talk to age groups. They want to talk to you.
Search Console is a tool from Google that lets you check out all the visits and all the traffic to your website, and their sources.
Steward your time so you develop a social media presence but not get overwhelmed because you do want to be out there working in your business.
There are important metrics in advertising Google ads and Facebook as well. They have tables of data that you can use to exactly classify your audience. You can specifically choose which type of audience you want to talk to.
Reputation and Reviews
There’s so much business to be found in referrals and word of mouth from social media.
You want to have a tool that gives you a measure but doing it in the background. Reputation review is an important part of businesses. Get reviews on Yelp, for example. Those reviews pay off. A future customer may discount what you say about your business but they’re happy to hear what another person thinks because they’ve had an experience with your business.
Review reputation has expanded importance in the past 10 years. Twenty years ago, you didn’t need to worry about it but now you have to pay attention because it’s accurate and very powerful. And it travels fast.
When you receive a negative review, it takes ten good reviews at least, to negate one negative one. Analytics helps you understand the numbers. You can’t back channel a problem review because everybody can see how you manage it.
Conversion measures how much business comes from your online presence. You should work to make sure your system is optimized as much as possible as quickly as possible, so that all the resources aren’t wasted. Set up your analytics to discover where your traffic originates for your business.
What Are The Metrics?
For your website, you want to know how many people come to your website sessions. You’ll learn what content appeals and how long they stay on the website. Did they stay for three seconds or three minutes? If they stay for three minutes, where do they go? Did they bounce away? How long do they stay at the top of the page?
Metrics will measure
- Sessions – how many pages are visited
- Time on page – how long a reader stays on a page
- Bounce rate – when they leave before reading
- Conversions – when you get a sale from the page
With time and familiarity with metrics, you can set customized parameters to measure how people use your site.
Advertising For Inspectors
Advertising on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Bing allow you to control the cost of each ad and compare the return on investment. In other words, you can compare the money you make from each ad to the money you spent.
The advertising platforms have variables so you can classify your audience. You can specifically choose which type of audience you want to reach. And, metrics will tell you how much success you had so you can constantly fine-tune your advertising. You may want to target local, or age groups, or gender.
For example with gender, when you go to an inspection, a woman may be silently there in the background in terms of the financials, but it’s important to recognize she is definitely part of the purchase decision. She will be home in the house, and needs to feel comfortable in her home. Understand you have a complete family to serve. It’s important to know.
Reputation and Reviews
Consistently check your reviews to monitor your reputation. Honestly, just don’t make mistakes. Make sure you faithfully serve your clients.
Google My Business is part of one of the biggest search engines. Leave reviews to act as a cheerleader for your community for the businesses you like. Make sure you’re on Google My Business. It’s a great tool to use for reputation management. You have to measure. For example, Google My Business directly links to Google Maps. Until you realize that people are typing in “home inspection” on Google Maps, you won’t realize they are discovering you.
You can also post directly on Google My Business with articles that back up your expertise signaled by the reviews. You can post special deals and links to your blog posts. And because Google My Business links to Google Maps, you put your business name in client’s eyes. And from there they will go to your website.
That is part of your business reputation. For example, on conversions, if you’re getting a 1% conversion rate on your Google My Business website visits and you’re getting 600 visits, you’re getting six inspections a month from Google My Business. Multiply that times your inspection rate. If you’re charging $250 inspection, that’s $1500 in revenue based on your online reputation.
Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have metrics to measure your visibility.
Social media is where you can multiply your know, like, and trust factor. People experience your business through individual posts and those posts build your online presence.
You can post cool projects you’ve worked on, some of the neat things you’ve seen, some things like what not to do. Social media acts as a tool that shows you’re out there in the community. It’s a great place to share photos and videos and advice. Social media keeps your business in real time and it’s time sensitive.
For example, on Instagram, inspectors can share images of different findings and advice. And following other inspectors, you may learn new things, as well. You get a good fun conversation going. And engagement builds your reputation on the social media platform.
Know Where You Failed – The Side Benefit
Failure a lot of times is success. Learning how to eliminate failures and eventually win, wins every time. You’ll always make mistakes. So what Ammon always preaches is that you want to maximize your conversions. Right away.
Be smart right away. Maximize your conversions right away. Keep failing early, otherwise you’ll burn resources and continue to burn them if you don’t check your metrics. Use failures, as touchstones to adjust your online presence on your website and in social media, as well as in your advertising campaigns.
And the second thing is you need to optimize. Improve your conversions…always…constantly. Always work towards making small tweaks and changes so that instead of three people liking what you present out of 100 it grows to four. You’ve just grown your business by 33%. And it turns out that adding one person or two people when you’re talking about 1-3% conversion rates, your business grows pretty quickly.
Jeff Bond of Inspect.net found business he wasn’t expecting. He built a website based on serving home for home inspection. People called his business asking about mobile homes. It grew to where a thousand people or more were calling from all over the state of California.
He used the opportunity to solidify his reputation as a mobile home expert. Before he had failed to address the large market. He discovered a potential business opportunity.
It’s a strong example of where he thought he was failing, and what type of clients challenge the business to signal a new market opportunity.
Data is Everywhere
Information is informed data. The computer age has brought us more and more information.
Numbers are Meaningless Without Context
But it is true that information, until you make sense out of it, synthesize it, until you take all of those numbers and translate them into something that is in context to your business, it’s just data. It’s important to be filtering out the non-essential stuff, allowing you to stay focused on the core information that provides key insight into the market you’re serving. You need an awareness to make sure that the metrics you see are the ones that are targeted towards building your business.
Know What You’re Looking For
You need to know what you are looking for, which means you need to know what your business is. Tie analyzing the metrics into your business actions. For example, tie looking at your metrics to your weekly business check deposits, associate it with the rewards of your work.
Learn How Data Impacts Your Business
It will take some time to look at your analytics and your data with the right interpretation. Try to synthesize the data, a little bit of information at a time. Figure out why you were doing well that week or not well that week. Use those two data points to correlate to get a better sense of how these metrics tie to your business.
You need to have an analytics account as soon as you have to have a website presence to measure things and have a social channel and have these destinations where people can come and engage with you.
Go over and get an analytics account with Google for free. Then start to add pages and destinations into your analytics. What happens is that, as traffic comes to those sites, data is gathered, collected, aggregated, collated, and sorted. You’ll start to read all the data and interpret it.
Case Study – One Person Inspection Business
Real numbers for Inspect.net after four years of implementing all these policies. This data is pulled from the inspection business. It’s important to share how metrics and analytics work.
The first column indicates the source of traffic. Business is coming direct: people come right to the website. You can see the number of sessions in the second column is 160 people. CPC is Google ads. Google organic is when someone searches on Google. Yelp is website traffic from Yelp directly to the website.
People spend an average a minute and 51 seconds visiting the website. 40% leave right away. 60% stay. In the next two columns are contacts & orders, that’s three and 17 for 20. That’s 20 inspections. That’s 20 conversions right there.
CPC got 145 website visits. They stayed the same, almost two minutes but you can see they don’t stick around as long. Someone who comes from an ad, they’re less likely to stick around.
The important thing is to look at the number of sessions. Realize if you have a lot of sessions. That’s where you want to focus your attention. It’s where your business is coming from. If you don’t have a lot of sessions from a source, you have to look and see what you can do there to increase visits.
Expend a majority of your resources and time to where you are getting conversions, engage with that market more. This report provides a good quick read on all the channels, and where your business is coming from, when they come up, if they stick, and how much they order.
It’s okay to look at it once a week or more at first, especially when you first set it up. It’s exciting. It helps you understand the pattern. And what eventually happens you become more familiar with what’s going on. Oh, that’s normal, or that’s not normal. But now you know and can make adjustments.
Website performance shows the monthly sessions and orders and people downloading reports. The black line is the current month and then the gray line is the prior month. It displays a quick graphical way to see how much business comes in and how that compared to the prior month. This is just a quick overview for a website in just a graphical form. I can look at this in 10 seconds and see how my business is doing.
You want to know where people are coming from, the top performing page is inspection/home inspection. That is a page we target using Google Ads and as a consequence, there’s a lot more overall traffic coming to that website page. 244 people visited that website page, and if there’s a 10% conversion that’s 24 inspections.
You can see that people are dwelling on a page for a minute and twenty three seconds.
You can check your content to see if there’s little of value, or that it’s not even important content. Get rid of unnecessary pages or consolidate two low performers into a new, targeted page.
You want to keep things simple and clean. You don’t want a lot of noise and distractions. The more you can have all your information tight and available, and get out of the user’s way, the better their experience.
Those are the things in marketing online you need to deal with. The desire is to tell them how good you are, how much you know, that you’re the best inspector in the world. That’s not what people need to hear.
They need to hear what your qualifications are. They need to hear information about your business for them to get into what’s important to them. They need to validate their decision. And so your whole communication shouldn’t be about talking about yourself but how your desire is to make sure that they understand they are the most important thing to you.
Site visitors need to know that what you do will answer their questions. Project what you do on your website and your social media, because it’s important.
Which Page Drives the Most Traffic
Information from the Search Console. 2,252 impressions for the website home page and 28 clicks. So if you look at the last column, that’s called the CTR, click through rate. It’s essentially the amount of times a person sees something that they’re going to click through on the website. Anywhere in the 1%- 2% range is normal.
Go down when you get to about the About page impressions. The CTR goes way up because at that point, people really want to know about the business. It’s like who is this guy? That’s really important in the purchase decision. When someone says I want a building inspector, what’s the first thing they’re going to do? Find an inspector who is qualified. So they find out about him. That’s directly reflected in the CTR.
Looking at other pages like earthquake retrofits, manufactured, and mobile home leaks, those are blog posts. That’s evergreen content. It’s on the website. People keep coming back and back to it. Once it’s up, you don’t have to make any investment in it other than keep it current if things substantially change. It just keeps generating new business for you. People call thank me for writing a blog post that was written over a year ago. They said, it’s immensely helped them. That’s a really wonderful phone call.
Top Search Queries
This is a measure of when people type into the search engine what their queries are that land them on your website. You have no idea how they are going to engage with you. For example, they may type home inspector Hayward, California or Hayward, California home inspection. You want to look at the top search queries because they give you keys to exactly what people type in to get to your site. Then you can turn it around and make your website content talk to those topics.
WoW Performance (Week Over Week)
Week over week performance helps you understand your business in short-time performance. You can see impressions, clicks, and CTR on a weekly basis. And you can see the average position for your business. It’s hard to get up high in home inspection rankings because Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and all the major companies and aggregators tend to be there. So for a small business, it’s just a way to gauge your business ranking over a long period of time, comparing it to prior weeks.
Top Performing Ad Group
Use these as good metrics targets. If you’re hitting these numbers, you’re doing a good job.
You want to add groups in Google Ads if you have multiple campaigns. You can see here on the ad group sometimes the ads address local markets or sometimes addressing concepts like the brand Inspect.net.
You can even see they address competitors. Home Guard is a competitor. What you’re trying to do is make sure that you’re getting your representation, no matter what. People are seeing your business and not pointing over to the competitor.
If you look at over in the fourth column, conversions, there’s one for the first five. That’s five home inspections. And if you compare the cost to advertise for those five, its about $125. That’s basically $2,000 in business for $125 in advertising. So, 6% advertising cost is fine. If you spend $6 and make $100, do it again.
It’s common industry words like home inspection and home inspector, and sometimes property inspection, property Inspector. Don’t try to guess what the person on the other end of the computer is going to type in to get to you. They may call you property inspector and you just keep on saying you are a home inspector. That’s not connecting. You’re stuck on a word.
Open up your view. It’s a key point. You have to step out of your world, recognize this is how the customers communicate with you. You have to get into their world. These are a chance to see cost per impressions and conversions. You can see that some have yielded pretty well over a period of time. You set these up, and then you throw a budget at it and they keep on working for you. It’s like the yellow pages but it’s dynamic.
Search Auction Insights
When you’re in Google Ads, you’re going to have auction words. The idea is if someone’s going to type in home inspection you’re going to bid how much you’re willing to pay to let your ad be presented to that person. So it’s an auction.
The second column, impression shares, shows how often people see your ad, for example home advisor gets almost half the ad impressions when people type in home inspection. They’re getting their impression shares so they’re doing a good job getting their name out there. Inspect.net is in second place. What’s nice is the red arrows point down for everyone except for the second line. That second line is Inspect.net. I had bumped up my spend by 25%. Inspect.net actually got more impression share.
Housemaster at the bottom, you can see how much they dropped. They’re capitulating. You can see from that number that they’re not continuing to fund their auction. and their impression share is going way down. With this tool, you can see what your competitors are doing.
This data is from a Data Studio report. You can click down in the country and down to the state and then to the city to see where your business comes from. You can also track new users, seen in the second and third columns. New people that have never been to the website before. And that helps understand how much you’re potentially bringing in new business.
Data Studio is another free tool from Google that lets you capture information from multiple platforms including analytics, Facebook, and Twitter.
Search Query Insights
Search Query Insights provides data about individual search terms. These are all variances of people trying to find a home inspector in the Bay Area. What you want is into their search pattern. The second column, the impression, shows, if someone typed in home inspection, 35 of those people actually saw the business. If you look at the CTR, you can see 11% came over. That is how many people see something presented and click through over to the website.
In the next column, at 82.9% the percentage is way up because people are coming on web searches. You can see Inspect.net literally has almost doubled the amount of traffic coming to the website because people are using search to find the services. A delta of 82.9% shows that people are really searching.
If you look at the delta for home inspection cost, minus 61%, it shows people don’t care what it costs. They want to get a good inspector. It’s like finding the cheapest doctor when you have a serious problem.
I know it sounds crazy but once you start looking at this and think about it for your own business it’s just like watching a child grow.
Sessions of 411 shows Inspect.net website traffic was down 30%. It’s like my website traffic has dropped 30%, which doesn’t sound fun. Monitor sessions because they’ll show a trend. One time down is not a big deal, but a series down indicates it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Contact rate is the number of people calling . At 1.2%, they’re not calling. This is starting to get like a little nervous from a small business perspective. They’re not coming to the website and not calling. What’s up? It’s time to review the current strategy.
If you look at the bounce rate, it’s down almost 20%. Whoever’s coming here, they’re serious. They’re sticking and they’re staying. So maybe some of the looky loos are gone, but the people that really need the service stick in here. Now they are really sticking on the website.
Here’s the answer: 8.5% of the people that come to the website order a home inspection. That’s a crazy number. In 100 visits Inspect.net gets eight and a half orders. So, if you’re doing 600 visits you’re getting 50 orders a month from an online presence system where you didn’t do a thing. You can see online orders are up 35%.
This online presence has become critically important with COVID. It doesn’t negate the fact that people need homes, they’re just really changing the way that they’re finding what they need.
Aim for Conversions
Metrics and analytics let you keep a measure on your online presence. It all works towards conversion, conversion, conversion, making your business more efficient. You do more with less.
Get in the habit of taking a look at your numbers. Set up a simple analytic system and start looking at your numbers and start seeing the patterns. You’ll start to understand them and then you’ll start to look at how they sync with your business and you’ll start to see the correlation. It’s a learning experience, a learning curve.
It’s like muscle memory. It takes a while to swing the hammer and get good at it. You’ve got to swing your analytics hammer for a while. But the knowledge will come so you can do much better with it.
Put that time in to work on your business instead of just in your business. If you want to grow your business, now is the time.
Getting a listing on Inspect.com is just one way we help inspectors with online presence. Take advantage immediately to build a website or start a targeted ad campaign at Inspect.com. Let’s talk. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second in a 10-part series of marketing with Ammon Johns dedicated to property inspectors in the United States. He has been variously described by others as a veteran, pioneer, and expert in the field of SEO and search marketing. He has spent over 20 years in all aspects of Internet marketing, working with several leading SEO agencies, helping to launch several of them to industry-leader status. Ammon is best known for innovation, pioneering many of the common strategies of today, and he continues to innovate strategies.