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Google Analytics for Phone Calls and Chat – How Deep Is Too Deep?

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By Peyman Aleagha

RISMEDIA, June 1, 2009-For those of you using Google Analytics, I’m sure that you find the information there to be in-depth and valuable to you in analyzing the sources for visitors to your site and the paths they take on the site once they’re there. But Google Analytics provides much more, including bounce rates, visitor loyalty, time on site, how many pages they visit, how long they stay on each, which pages they enter on, and from which pages they exit the site.

These statistics help us to formulate content for our sites, as well as to make changes for the better. With the ability to see which search phrases or keywords bring visitors, and the pages they arrive at when using them, we can see if those pages are effective at keeping visitors on the site and encouraging them to take a look at other information, pages or posts on a blog. If a certain page gets great incoming traffic from certain searches, but the visitor leaves from that page very soon after arrival, we know that we need to improve that page’s content, as well as placing internal links to relevant content to move them deeper into the site.

There are now some new abilities that can be added to Google Analytics, but we should always be aware of the costs and time trade-offs for these new tech tools. Are they going to return on our time and money investment with a value we can quantify and track? A great many real estate professionals should also look at their current technology adoption level, and be careful to adopt the tools that will bring the greatest rewards quickly. Let’s look at two new add-ons to Google Analytics for the number crunchers among us.

Tracking Phone Calls With Google Analytics - We’re not talking about online VOIP phone calls here. We’re going to track regular offline phone calls, using a service from Mongoose Metrics. Using this service, you get a toll free number, or several, to use for your marketing in any media you like. A Google Analytics tracking code is provided, and you create a hidden Web page on your site where you place that code.

When someone calls the number, the service places a visit to this special Web page so that Google can track it with the code you placed there. Each phone call becomes a unique visit that is tracked in your Google Analytics account. The cost for this service begins at a low of $35/month, and is based on service levels and how many numbers you need. Toll free and local numbers are available. An added service is phone call recording at no extra charge.

How might this service help you? Google Analytics has given us very deep and detailed tracking and reporting capabilities for our website or blog visits. Using this service, we can carry over this analytic power to regular phone calls. Tracking of where our calls originate, not only geographically, but also by which advertising media, helps us to improve our return on investment from marketing. If we also track conversions to clients who generate commissions, we get a clear picture of the value of different marketing campaigns, and we can make improvements or cancel those that aren’t effective.

Track Live Chats With Google Analytics – Live Person offers a service that allows the user to track live chats in their Google Analytics account. Once a prospect has been engaged in an online chat, this service allows you to:

-Track keywords and campaigns that generate the most live chats with your agents or staff.
-Report on the characteristics of the people who use online chat to reach your business, including their geographic location.

As with the phone call tracking, knowing how we got that visitor to the live chat, where they are physically located, and if these chats lead ultimately to transactions is valuable information. Technology is giving us a great deal more power at lower costs to plan and execute effective marketing in-house.

The question becomes whether and when these two tools are going to be a good return on investment for each individual real estate professional or brokerage. And, the answer could lie in what technology tools you already have in place. If you’re not already maintaining an effective lead generation Web presence that is converting to business, then get that in place first.

The very first online priority for the future success of the individual real estate professional, and for the brokerage, is a website, blog or both that have comprehensive and useful IDX search and lead generation tools in place. If you aren’t happy with the business being generated by your Web presence, look first to its improvement. Then move on to more sophisticated technology tools.

Peyman Aleagha is the founder and President of RealtySoft.com. RealtySoft provides real estate professionals with affordable Real Estate Website Design (http://www.realtysoft.com), Real Estate Print Marketing and Free IDX (http://www.realtysoft.com/freeidx.php) & MLS Search solutions.

For more information, visit www.realtysoft.com.

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