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Technology is Changing the Role of the Real Estate Agent

Technology is Changing the Role of the Real Estate Agent

103692870-GettyImages-486060175.1910x1000It may be hard to conceptualize, especially for first-time home buyers or those yet to embark on buying their first home, but 15 years ago, the real estate market was a different beast, information wise. When records used to be buried in file folders, it put buyers in a much different place than they are today, able to access detailed property records on their smartphones within minutes.

“Before, you spent a lot of time doing information gathering, and collecting, and response,” says Jeremy Wacksman, Chief Marketing Officer at Zillow. “The internet really opened the doors. Agents are freed up to help get the deals done. But now they have to be agent, negotiator, price setter, and a community resource.”

Wacksman sees technology shifting the role of real estate agent from an information arbiter to a local market expert and service provider (“It’s not about the data; everyone has the data now”), while brokers need to better leverage technology to help their team become responsive, active experts for their clients.

While there’s always been some frustration over the work of certain agents, demands have only become more pronounced when ever-present technology lets everyone do their own research. Many in the industry feel success is about reacting to evolving client expectations, and adapting as technology changes the buyer-agent relationship.

“Clients today are much more knowledgeable,” says Tamir Poleg, CEO and founder of Real, an app that allows agents to ditch the conventional brokerage model. “They do online research, know what they’re looking for, and know the neighborhood. I understand the frustration people have working with agents who can’t provide the services they expect, then collect a hefty check. They key is for agents to be more responsive, understand better what the client wants, and justify the money that they’re getting.”

download (1)The availability of data, an established market norm for years, requires agents to be on their best games, says Michael McGrew, treasurer at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and CEO/Chairman of McGrew Real Estate on Lawrence Kansas. Consumer’s ability to educate themselves is a net positive, he says, but there’s still an important role for agents, especially when it’s time for financing.

“It’s one thing to go online and get curious,” he says. “It’s another thing to look at financing options. People realize they can learn the alphabet and language, but they aren’t necessarily fluent.”

While technology is disrupting numerous industries the idea of making a massive, infrequent, and consequential purchase such as buying a home without the help of a trained agent still scares many buyers, according to Wacksman. If recent stats showing the dearth of for sale by owners transactions is any indication—according to NAR stats, 87% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001—it’ll be a long time before the human element is taken out of real estate. But that doesn’t mean tech isn’t changing how that relationship works.

McGrew feels technological automation and standardization aren’t necessarily right for the real estate industry, when every property is unique, but feels there’s a lot of room to integrate new technology into the buying and selling process (“all of us in this business have to be committed to making it work better.”) The National Association of Realtors is a big investor in Second Century Ventures, a company that funds startups in the real estate industry.

Wacksman believes new technologies, such as video and VR tours, as well as programs such as DotLoop (an e-signing service Zillow acquired for $105 million last year that takes much of the paperwork of real estate transactions online), will streamline the process even further. Technology-and-Real-EstatePoleg believes the as tech takes away barriers to information, the real issue is responsiveness and service. Technology will continue to provide more access to information, and agents and brokers need to continually be more responsive with clients. He envisions a time when bots become a tool to constantly respond to buyer request for updates and information.

“It you look at 2000 compared to today, the percentage of people using real estate agents is increasing,” says Poleg. “If someone said a robot could do your surgery, would you do it? Technology can replace a lot of things in a lot of industries, but real estate agent isn’t necessarily one of them.”

 

Sights and Bites: What to Eat While Touring Maui, Hawaii

Sights and Bites: What to Eat While Touring Maui, Hawaii

F3RK60 Mama’s Fish House Restaurant. Ho’okipa Beach Park. Maui. Famous Mamas Fish House with palms and beach in Maui Hawaii. Definitely

 Mama’s Fish House Restaurant. Ho’okipa Beach Park. Maui. Famous Mamas Fish House with palms and beach in Maui Hawaii.

Central Maui

Most trips to Maui start here, at the Kahului Airport, but visitors often rush through this area on the way to their oceanside accommodations. There are many things to discover in Central Maui, like the lush, green valley in Iao Valley State Park, shows and exhibits at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, historical tours at the Sugar Museum, or charming small-town shops in Wailuku.

Classic food option: The plate lunch is a Hawaiian staple meal, consisting of a portion of meat accompanied by sticky rice and macaroni salad. Da Kitchen in Kahului features plate lunches with huge portions of local favorites like loco moco, chicken katsu, and kalua pork. After browsing the shops of Wailuku, you can stop for lunch at Stillwell’s Bakery & Café. Enjoy some soup and a sandwich with the locals while being tempted by the desserts. Anything behind the display-case glass is good, but don’t leave without trying one of their famous cream horns.

Trendy food option: One of the best values on the island is lunch at the Leis Family Class Act restaurant. As part of the UH Maui College Maui Culinary Academy, the restaurant is run by students under the direction of chef instructors. On Wednesdays and Fridays, when school is in session, you can get a four-course meal on par with the finest restaurants on Maui for a fraction of the price. The menus have themes, like Asian, French, and Moroccan, that rotate throughout the year. Plus, it is BYOB, so you can bring a bottle of wine to round out the meal.

Unexpected food option: You might not expect to find the best shrimp on Maui at the side of the road, but locals and knowledgeable tourists line up at the Geste Shrimp Truck at the Kahului Harbor for their shrimp plates. The shrimp comes in a variety of preparations and is served with a generous helping of rice and crab-macaroni salad. If you like heat, the spicy pineapple shrimp plate is a perfect combination of zest and tropical goodness. You can sample all sorts of local fare every Saturday at the Maui Swap Meet at the University of Hawaii Maui College, where food vendors are joined by booth vendors selling all sorts of Maui crafts and gifts. Make a beeline for the Donut Dynamite stand before they run out of their Lilikoi Cream-Filled Malasadas. Be sure to taste some of the unique tropical varieties of Jeff’s Jams and Jellies before deciding which ones to take home. The swap meet is also the perfect place to pick up some of the freshest fruits and vegetables on the island.

South Maui

The South Maui coast, lined with picturesque beaches, is one of the sunnier and drier parts of the island. You will find some of the finest restaurants and resorts in Wailea, as well as some spectacular golf courses. Maalaea Harbor offers the chance for up close exploration of marine life at the Maui Ocean Center and is a starting point for whale-watching tours or snorkeling trips with crystal clear views at the Molokini crater. The winding ocean road to La Perouse Bay takes you to several great beaches and snorkeling sites and ends up at the edge of Maui’s last lava flow.

Classic food option: You will find “shave ice” in many locations on the island, but Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice in Kihei stands above the rest with its thinly shaven ice and mouthwatering flavors made with natural, local ingredients. You choose up to three flavors or try one of their favorite combos like Sunset Beach (guava, mango, and passion orange). You can even get your shave ice on top of ice cream or haupia (coconut pudding). If you are looking for a good breakfast, the Kihei Caffe near Kalama Park serves up some of the best on the island. This is a great spot to try the Hawaiian breakfast classic, loco moco, a beef patty on white rice, covered in gravy and topped with eggs. If your tastes lean toward the sweet, the French toast can be topped with island goodies and comes with a delicious coconut syrup.

Picture of pastries at Stillwell's in Maui, Hawaii
Stillwell’s dessert cabinet houses delectably sweet treats.

Photograph by Andrew Coleman

Trendy food option: Ka’ana Kitchen in the Andaz resort in Wailea features locally grown Maui ingredients in every dish. Enjoy the watermelon salad and the ahi tataki, then take a short stroll to the popular Ulua Beach. Monkeypod is up the hill from the ocean resorts of Wailea and offers a casual atmosphere and great food, along with an impressive wine list and 36 beers on tap. They have nightly specials of their wood-oven pizzas, but it is hard to resist the Bourgeois, with lobster and wild mushrooms and a white garlic sauce. Be sure to save room for their famous cream pies.

Unexpected food option: It would be easy to miss Coconut’s Fish Café if it weren’t for the crowds. Don’t let the line scare you—staff members at the order counter move fast, and the famous fish tacos with 17 different ingredients are well worth the wait. Despite being inauspiciously located in a strip mall next to a grocery store, Cuatro in Kihei offers an upscale dining experience in a cozy atmosphere. It’s BYOB, so you can grab a bottle of wine to enjoy with their award-winning spicy tuna nachos with truffle aioli and cilantro pesto.

West Maui

West Maui, with the historic town of Lahaina, was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Today, this area is bustling with resorts, shops, and restaurants, and it is the epicenter for a host of oceangoing activities. You can explore the rich history of the area along Front Street in Lahaina or head out on the water for whale-watching or a day trip to the island of Lanai. Kaanapali and Kapalua offer world-class resorts and golf courses, as well as scenic coastal views with great hiking options.

Classic food option: Merriman’s is the quintessential elegant Hawaiian restaurant set on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The views attract diners for pupus and drinks in the large seating area that extends to the ocean from the main restaurant. Happy hour runs from 3 p.mdownload. until 5 p.m., but you won’t want to leave before seeing the sunset. The focus of the menu is regional Hawaiian cuisine featuring local ingredients. On Wednesdays, catch an early meal here and then head to the nearby Napili Kai Beach Resort for a slack-key show from the masters of Hawaiian music. For a more casual meal, Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina offers authentic local food in an open-air setting at a reasonable price. You can find tasty dishes featuring elements of the many cultures of Hawaii accompanied by two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.

Trendy food option: Pacific’O in Lahaina was early to the farm-to-table movement and was the first restaurant on the island to establish its own farm: O’o Farm in Upcountry Maui. The beachside location is the perfect place to have a drink just before sunset. The Pacific Rim menu has local fish delivered daily accented by local ingredients (there are meat and vegetarian options as well). The beautifully presented coconut mahimahi and hapa tempura with ono (wahoo) and ahi (tuna) are as beautiful as they are delicious. Star Noodle, located at the edge of an industrial park, serves a variety of noodle dishes and shared plates, each with a gourmet twist on a local favorite. This is a great place to order several different plates and share. Make sure to stray beyond the noodles and try some of the other dishes like the steamed pork buns or Vietnamese crepes.

Unexpected food option: Poke, a staple of Hawaiian cuisine, consists of bite-size chunks of raw fish seasoned with everything, spicy and savory, and when you find good poke, you keep going back! For this reason, it is a delightful surprise that a grocery store in Lahaina offers some of the best poke on Maui. The poke at Foodland Farms in Lahaina is well known for its selection and taste. The friendly staff offers generous tastings so you can decide if you want to go with something traditional or try some of their more exotic flavors like the sweet chili jalapeño. Although Maui is best known for its seafood, there is a long history of cattle ranching on the island. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers at the Lahaina Gateway shopping center uses 100 percent ground chuck for its award-winning burgers. Everything is prepared to order, so sit back and enjoy the wait.

Haleakala and Upcountry

There would be no Maui without volcanoes, and Haleakala and the surrounding area offer a unique alternative to the sun-soaked beaches below. Most visitors to this part of the island head to the top of the volcano for views of the island and the otherworldly cinder-cone crater. The high elevations around Haleakala are the agricultural center of the island and offer plenty of other things for visitors to discover, including botanical gardens and visitor-friendly farms and ranches. Make sure to pack a few extra layers since the temperature is often cooler at the top!

Classic food option: The Ulupalakua Ranch Store is one of the best places for lunch in Upcountry. The farm has been in operation since the 19th century. Inside the store is a small deli where you can order grilled sandwiches with meat from the ranch. Popular menu items include the elk burger, the Maui Cattle Company beef burger, or the Kalua pig served on a torta roll. You won’t find anything fresher and all of the meats are free of hormones and artificial ingredients. If you are wondering where to stop for breakfast after watching the sun rise from atop Haleakala, the Kula Lodge has a menu that matches its terrific views. The macadamia nut pancakes with coconut and maple syrups are a perfect way to warm up after the sunrise visit.

Picture of tacos in Coconut's Tacos in Maui, Hawaii
A coveted plate at Coconut’s Tacos looks ready to be devoured.

Photograph by Andrew Coleman

Trendy food option: You will find the cheeses from the Surfing Goat Dairy in stores and on menus all over Maui, but a visit to the farm is the best way to understand what makes this cheese so special and delicious. Take a tour to learn all about the operation and feed and milk the goats. The highlight here, in addition to seeing the goats stand on a surfboard in their grazing area, is the ability to taste a variety of the award-winning cheeses. After finding your favorites, you can purchase some to go for a beach picnic later on. If spirits are more your speed, the nearby Ocean Organic Vodka runs tours and tastings at its farm and distillery. Make sure to look up from your drink to enjoy the sweeping views of the valley below.

Unexpected food option: Yes, Maui has a winery. MauiWine, formerly Tedeschi Vineyards, was established back in 1974. While waiting for their first grapes to grow, they experimented with pineapple and released a Maui Blanc pineapple wine a few years later. They now produce a variety of wines made from grapes, pineapples, passion fruit, and other fruits. You can sample the wines in the tasting room, housed in the former guest cottage of King David Kalakaua. Back down in Kula, stop at the Alii Kula Lavender Farm for their gourmet picnic lunch tour. After touring the farm and learning about the 45 different varieties of lavender and how they can be used in different products and foods, enjoy a delicious lunch including lavender-infused dessert. You can pick up other lavender delectables in the gift shop, including spices, teas, and even dark chocolate. Follow your lunch with a tour of the Kula Botanical Gardens to experience a tropical paradise on the slopes of the volcano.

The Road to Hana

The east coast of Maui is lined with lush rain forest, dramatic ocean vistas, and countless waterfalls. The Road to Hana is the scenic drive that winds its way through this wild part of the island. Its more than 600 hairpin turns and 50-plus one-lane bridges take you through some of the most beautiful parts of Maui. Hana itself is a small town rooted in Hawaiian traditions. Just beyond Hana, you’ll find the easternmost end of Haleakala National Park, including the Pools of Oheo and the Pipiwai Trail hike to Waimoku Falls.

Classic food option: You’ll pass Mama’s Fish House at the outset of the Road to Hana, and at some point you will want to stop in. Mama’s is not just a meal, it is an experience. The grounds, dotted with palm trees, overlook the North Shore. Although you can’t see the sun set from this side of the island, it is worth getting here before dark, as the sky becomes illuminated as the sun goes down and the view from Mama’s is the perfect backdrop for your Hawaiian vacation photos. If you get there early, start with one of their tropical drinks in the bar. The menu lists the names of the local fishermen who brought in the seafood that day. Everything on the menu is excellent, but some of the classics include the Tahitian ceviche with lime and coconut, the macadamia-nut-crusted mahimahi stuffed with crab and lobster, and the Polynesian black pearl dessert. Even the almond-scented towel at the end of the meal is a treat. For a more casual lunch or dinner, stop by the Paia Fish Market in Paia. Locals and tourists share the communal bench seating to enjoy the popular fish sandwich and other fresh offerings.

Trendy food option: Most visitors will do the Road to Hana as a day trip, and there are limited choices for food along the route. A good option is to stop in the town of Paia in the morning and pick up a picnic lunch for later in the day. Mana Foods is the best natural-food store on Maui and offers a great variety of picnic options. The Hana Bay Picnic Co. and Kuau Store are other options for stocking up on food and drinks before the long drive.

Unexpected food option: There isn’t much of a restaurant scene along the Road to Hana, but there are many markets selling fruits and baked goods. If you can, hold out for Aunty Sandy’s on the Keanae Peninsula. She has been running this stand for 30 years, and the banana bread is the best you will find along the route (and maybe anywhere).

The Positive Side of a Negative Review

The Positive Side of a Negative Review

Reviews play a key role in a buyer’s selection process. A total of 70% of Americans look at reviews before they make a purchase, according to an American Lifestyles report. Those customers are looking at all types of reviews─even the negative ones. (You probably do the same.)

In fact, buyers who seek out negative reviews are 67% more likely to convert to a purchase than the average consumer, according to a Revoo study. Those highly engaged buyers stay on pages longer and view nearly 4X as many products as the average visitor because they’re conducting extensive research.

Why Bad Reviews Can Be Good

The thought of getting negative reviews makes many businesses nervous. However, negative reviews can be a good thing.

Critical reviews generate interest in your company. For example, we know that G2 Crowd users click on the less-than-positive reviews two-and-a-half times more frequently than positive ones. (Full disclosure: I’m the CMO at G2 Crowd.)

You might think that’s not the kind of attention you want to share. However, 68% of people trust a company’s reviews more when they see bad ones mixed in with the good. That expresses the reality of most products─not every product is good for everyone. And it provides your company the opportunity to evaluate your perceived weaknesses and address them.

Critical reviews can provide valuable insight. When reviews are attributed and authentic, they help you build trust and engagement with your prospects. A recent Harris study found that 18% of people became loyal repeat customers after they received a brand’s response to their negative feedback.

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The perception is that brands that engage with customers after negative feedback are attempting to work with their customers and address the issue. A lot of the time those issues are actually a communication breakdown and are easily fixed.

A sincere response can win over more than just existing clients. People were 186% more likely to buy a product after they saw a brand respond to a customer who misused or misunderstood the product, according to Bazaarvoice. Those same new customers were 92% more likely to buy after seeing the company offer to refund, upgrade, or exchange the product.

The following tips can help you use negative reviews to create happy, engaged customers.

  • Respond. Read all reviews, even bad ones. Give yourself time to digest the information and investigate the issue or feedback. It’s ideal to reply within 48 hours. Be polite, and try your best to provide information to help resolve the issue.
  • Thank the customer. For every customer that complains, 26 don’t. Negative feedback is like a free consultation. Whether your customer is irritated about subpar customer service or a clunky software interface, his or her comment gives you an unbiased glimpse into what’s not working, and that’s worth a thank you.
  • Apologize. Even if you don’t think you or your team did anything wrong, tell all displeased customers you’re sorry that they’re unhappy. Avoid canned statements, and respond directly to details in customer posts.
  • Make it right. Offer to fix or replace a defective product, demonstrate how to use the product correctly, or give the customer a chance to connect an individual or team. If you’ve made changes because of an ongoing issue, such as fixing a bug in your software, give specifics.
  • Follow up. Check in with customers by phone or email to see how everything’s going and try to get ahead of any issues in the first place. Send satisfied customers a link to review their purchases. With your gentle encouragement, the customer most likely will engage with your sincere and appropriate efforts.

Bad reviews might be upsetting, but think of them as real insight into what is working and not working. And when an individual is engaging with your negative review, he or she is more likely to be a motivated buyer.

Remember that not all products are one size fits all. That’s what makes us all (and our products) unique. When you and your team respond thoughtfully and appropriately to critical feedback, your company ultimately wins the day.

Now that you understand how negative reviews influence the purchasing process, you may be more concerned that your product does not have a balance of good and bad reviews. The solution to that problem is simple… Begin encouraging your customers to review your product on third-party review sites. It’s the evolution of the purchasing process. Embrace transparency and reap the benefits.

How backlinks are important for Real Estate Sites

How backlinks are important for Real Estate Sites

Backlinks are one of the most effective tools used by SEO marketers to increase a webpage’s rank in search engine results. It helps your business’s blog or website to stand out from the rest when potential customers are searching for information and services which you can readily provide.

So what are backlinks?

realtor SEO google real esate

Realtors and SEO

Backlinks are inbound links (to pages from your company’s website) from a blog, webpage or a document other than your own. When users click on the link they are directed to your site.

Search engines like Google use backlinks to determine a webpage’s popularity and page rank. The more your site has, the higher your company’s name will appear in search results.

Why are backlinks important for realtors?

Unlike other sectors, realtors create relationships with clients based on trust and having valuable information. Working in real estate requires establishing your brand with good quality references. Backlinks are your references on the Internet.

Before search engines were used, backlinks were the primary mode of web navigation. And although we now have services like Google, Bing and Yahoo, people still tend to rely on other people and sites for information and references.

 

People who visit real estate websites are looking for quality information which they can trust. If your site has been referred to on other media, then potential clients will be more inclined to build a relationship with you.

When your company’s name and link appears on a other blog or website other than your name, that means your site has good, valuable content and is considered worthy by others. Popular posts which are shared and linked to on the web are also considered worthy by search engines like Google and help boost the webpage in search results. 

Google only increases the page rank of a business’s webpage it it is backlinked on quality sites. The search engine company favours sites which other people on the Internet are talking about and referencing to your. If your business and services are mentioned in a relevant context it is considered worthy. On the other hand if your business is linked in unauthoritative sites, it could hurt your page rank.

 

Over 20 Stats You Should Be Following

Over 20 Stats You Should Be Following

Is Your Content Marketing Profitable? Here Are 22 Metrics That Will Tell You

profit

It’s a mistake I see time and again…

Businesses invest in content marketing without having a clue whether it’s effective or not.

No matter what your goals are, you need some way of quantifying the results of your efforts.

Otherwise, you don’t know if you’re getting a positive or negative return on investment (ROI).

To determine how successful you’ve been, you need to track metrics (also called key performance indicators (KPIs)).

Metrics are numbers that are related to the goals you want to achieve.

For example, if your main goal is to lose fat, metrics you could track are body fat percentage and weight.

The key factor that indicates a metric is that you can measure it.

There’s no guesswork or statements like, “I feel this is going well…”

You have non-biased numbers to evaluate your progress.

That makes sense, right?

You track metrics to find out whether the numbers are headed in the right direction and make your decisions based on that data.

If your metrics tell you that content marketing is bringing you a better ROI than paid advertising, you’ll probably want to increase your content marketing budget.

Conversely, if your metrics don’t look so good, you’ll need to improve your system or try a different option.

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One small problem with metrics: Although metrics are important, they do have limitations.

It’s not always possible to find a metric that completely represents your goal.

Additionally, you might have multiple goals, and one metric will never tell you how you’re doing across all of them at once.

The simple solution is to track multiple metrics.

By combining several important KPIs, you can get an overall picture of your progress.

If you’re investing in content marketing, you’ll care not only about increasing page views but also making sure that those page views are resulting in engagement, growth, and profit.

Everyone has slightly different goals even if they’re similar.

Which is why I’m going to go through the 23 best content marketing metrics to track.

I’ll explain when you should and should not track each of them so that you can find a combination that works for you.

I’ve seen some successful businesses track as few as 3-4 metrics and others track more than 10.

There’s no wrong number. Just try to find a combination of metrics that takes all your goals into consideration.

Type #1 – Content consumption metrics

One of the main goals of content marketing is to produce value.

If you’re creating content that people love, not only are you making a difference in their lives, but you are building a name in your niche.

Oh yeah, it results in more leads and sales as well—I suppose that’s important too.

This is why it’s important to track metrics that tell you whether readers are discovering your content and whether they’re enjoying it.

Here are the best metrics to choose from for this purpose.

1. Page views: Let’s start with the basics—numbers that just about everyone should track.

Page views tell you how many times your content has been viewed. This includes both people who only saw a page once and those who have visited your page multiple times.

Within page views, there are a few different types of metrics that you might want to track.

First is the overall page views. You can see these by going into Google Analytics (GA), Audience Overview (the default screen):

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Underneath the graph, you will see a number under “Pageviews”, which tells you how many times all of your content has been viewed in the time period that you have selected (in the top right).

I’d recommend writing down this number once a month.

You want to see your traffic numbers going up over time, which indicates that your content marketing efforts are working.

Since many niches are seasonal, you determine this by looking at two things:

  • How each month compares to previous months
  • How each month compares to the same month a year ago

If you know that traffic always dips in September, it’s not fair to compare your September traffic to August traffic. Instead, compare it to September of last year.

The second type of page views you might want to track is page views by a piece of content.

You can see this by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages in GA.

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What you should do here is look at all your posts for the last year or so (exclude the newest few).

You want to see that posts are getting more traffic over time, which indicates that your audience is growing.

The reason why you exclude the newest few posts is because they haven’t had time to establish their search rankings, which will influence the number of views they get.

2. Unique visitors: Page views can be a bit deceptive at times. Depending on the content you produce, you may have the same visitors loading the same page 20-50 times per month.

This means that the increase in page views may be due to your existing readers visiting your site more rather than new ones finding it.

This isn’t a bad thing, but effective content marketing should grow your audience.

Unique visitors will tell you how many actual people visited your site. There will be some duplicates because people might visit on multiple devices, but it’s a pretty reliable metric.

To see these, go back to the main audience overview and look at your “Unique Visitor” number for the selected time period.

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This gives you a good way to quantify your audience growth. Ideally, you should aim for at least a 5-15% growth per month, but if you’re really pushing content marketing hard, it might be even higher.

3. Downloads: Many businesses, in addition to their free online content, offer content in the form of PDF files.

To track the number of people who actually downloaded those files (not everyone who visits the page does), you need to set up an event in Google Analytics.

To do this, you need to add some simple code to your links of your PDF downloads.

Instead of this:

<a href=”pdfs/my-file.pdf” target=”_blank”>Download my file</a>

Use this:

<a onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’,’Download’,’PDF’,this.href]);”href=”pdfs/my-file.pdf” target=”_blank”>Download my file</a>

Once you have some data, you can go to “Behavior > Events > Overview” in GA:

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There, you’ll see the number of events that took place (named ‘Download’ in the code above):

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If you want to make it even easier, install Google Analytics by Yoast, a WordPress plugin.

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In the advanced settings of the plugin, change “Track downloads as” to “Event,” and make sure PDFs are selected be tracked in the next field.

Then, when you go to GA events, your data will appear for all your PDF links automatically.

4. Emails opened: Those first three metrics measure content consumption from all your readers.

Arguably, content consumption from your best readers (your email subscribers) is the most important metric for long term growth.

If your subscribers are getting bored of your content, that shows you have a bigger issue with your content.

All major email marketing providers show you the number of opens for every email you send your subscribers.

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Open rate doesn’t typically go up over time unless you improve your emailing in a major way.

However, if your content is really valuable, it shouldn’t go down much either.

If you’re seeing that your open rate starts to rapidly drop off after the first few emails you send, you have a problem.

If the drop occurs after a specific email, figure out why that email would cause such a drop, and fix it.

5. Email links clicked: You can get emails opened if you use clever headlines.

But that’s as far as they get you. If subscribers immediately close the email after they open it, it’s kind of pointless.

Another good metric to track is the number of subscribers who click on the links in your emails.

Any good email marketing provider will also show you your link click performance right next to your email open rate:

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If your click rate is poor (say under 5%), or it’s dropping off over time, that tells you that your subscribers don’t find whatever they think is on the other end of the link to be valuable.

6. Pages per visit: Finally, another great content consumption metric is the number of pages a visitor looks at in a session (on average).

You can also see this in your audience overview in GA under the “Pages/Session” label:

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This tells you something a bit different.

Readers can love your content, but they may only visit one page per session.

This could happen for two different reasons:

  • your content is very long
  • your internal linking sucks

You know I’m a fan of long content. It’s not going to be possible for visitors of Quick Sprout to visit 10 pages every time they visit the website.

However, they still visit more than one.

The bigger potential issue is internal linking. If visitors can’t find other relevant to them and interesting content on your site, they can’t read more even if they want to.

And the fewer pages they visit, the less likely they are to engage with your content.

With this metric, your goal should be to improve it over time as much as possible.

Yes, you will hit a plateau, but put real effort into pushing it as high as possible.

Once you improve it, continue to track it. If you notice a sudden dip, examine why your latest content would cause this.

Type #2 – Conversion Metrics

While creating content of value is an important goal, so is getting a return from all that work.

No one can afford to keep creating and giving out great content if they’re not generating some sort of a revenue.

This second set of metrics contains different metrics that you might want to track—conversion metrics.

The ones that you’ll want to track will depend specifically on your sales funnel. For example, you might want to think about:

  • conversions into leads
  • conversions into customers
  • conversions into followers

7. Opt-in percentage: The most common goal of blog content is to convert a reader into an email subscriber.

It allows you to consistently send your subscribers new content as well as emails that will move them down your sales funnel.

If you create a landing page with a tool such as Leadpages, you’ll have built-in analytics that will tell you your subscription rate:

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In general, though, you’re better off setting up a goal in GA.

It’s very simple to do. Start by going to “Conversions > Goals > Overview”:

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Then, under “Template,” pick the “Newsletter sign up” option under the “Engagement” heading:

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Click Next step, and give your goal a descriptive name.

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In the final step, you’ll need to enter a destination page.

For an email list, you should redirect all new subscribers to a “thank you” page. Enter this URL in here. That way, when someone visits the page, GA knows that they are a new subscriber.

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If you know how much a subscriber is worth, add a value.

That’s it.

Now, when you go to “Conversions > Goals”, you’ll see a graph like this:

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You can look at other reports in GA to see your goal divided by other factors, like conversion rate based on a landing page:

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In general, a higher conversion rate is better than a lower one. Track your conversion rate, and try to improve it over time.

8. New subscribers: On top of the conversion rate, you’ll also want to measure the gross number of new subscribers you get on a daily basis.

You can do this using goals in GA, or you can just look at the reports supplied by your email marketing provider:

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Your email provider’s numbers will be more accurate, but the difference between the two won’t be significant.

9. Social media follower growth: Another valuable action that readers can take is to subscribe to your social media accounts.

While social media followers aren’t even close to being as valuable as email subscribers, they can still help you spread your content and grow your audience.

Also, some readers would rather follow you on social media first to get your content until they get a better sense of who you are.

The best way to track this is with a paid tool such as Buffer. Once you connect your accounts, you can see your total follower growth over time across all accounts:

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10. Revenue generated: Way down your sales funnel, you want to convert readers or subscribers into customers.

This is by far the most important metric to track.

One way to track it is to set up Ecommerce tracking in GA. When you go to “Acquisition > Channels” report, you can see which channels lead to the most revenue.

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Then, you can shift your content strategy to focus on the highest converting channels.

Additionally, if you know how well your email subscribers convert into customers, you can determine a value per email subscriber.

Then, you can assign this value to a goal for your new email sign-ups:

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When you go to any report, you can see your goal conversion rate and an estimate of the revenueeach item produced:

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Then, you can go back to “Behavior > Site Content > All Pages” to see how much revenue each piece of content is worth:

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This can be really informative in combination with other metrics that we’ll go over later in this post.

Type #3 – Retention Metrics

There are many different levels of success with content marketing.

You can produce content that readers think is cool and helpful but not necessarily life-changing or extremely valuable.

This is a big deal.

If you can create content that falls into that second category—life-changing or extremely valuable—readers will turn into customers at a much higher rate.

But it’s difficult to measure the value of content directly. Instead, you need to use retention metrics that indicate how hungry your readers are for more of your content.

11. Unsubscribe rate: One way to see if subscribers are losing enthusiasm over your content is to look at your unsubscribe rate.

Again, your email marketing provider should have a simple report that shows you unsubscribes over time:

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I’d caution you not to put too much stock into your unsubscribe rate unless it’s really high.

Everyone loses a couple of subscribers when they send out an email.

But if you get a spike, you need to investigate it.

If someone doesn’t want to be on your list, you shouldn’t want them to be there either.

12. Bounce rate: When someone visits a page on your website but doesn’t click anything at all, they will count as a “bounce.”

A high bounce rate can indicate a few things:

  • the visitors found what they were looking for and left immediately,
  • the visitors couldn’t find what they were looking for,
  • there was nothing for them to interact with.

The first one isn’t a problem—it’s actually a good thing. That’s why having a significant bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing.

The second point is a big issue. That means you have significant formatting problems ortechnical problems to fix.

The third one is also an issue because it suggests your formatting or internal linking is poor. You can also find ways to lower your bounce rate.

To check your overall bounce rate, go to your Audience Overview:

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Even more useful is to go to “Behavior > Site Content > All Pages” and look at the bounce rate by page.

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Use this to determine if any pages have an abnormally high bounce rate that needs to be fixed.

13. Return rate: It’s obviously a very good thing if readers keep coming back for more.

You can see who returns by going to “Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning”:

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The two important things here are the sheer number of returning visitors and the ratio of returning to new visitors.

Your goal should be to increase both of these metrics as much as possible.

In a perfect world, all your new visitors would come back again.

Type #4 – Engagement Metrics

In order to create highly effective content, you should always try to make your content as practical as possible.

Why?

Because you need your visitors to take action.

When they see that your advice actually produces a good result for them, they’ll become your loyal readers.

Those readers typically turn into customers because they know that if your free content is that useful, your paid products will be even better.

Again, you can’t measure directly how often people are taking action.

However, you can get a good idea of it by measuring how often they engage with your content in any way.

Here are some things you may want to track.

14. Social media shares or likes: When someone likes or shares content on social media, it reflects who they are to all of their friends and followers.

This means that most people don’t share low quality posts.

So, if you’re getting lots of shares, it means people really enjoy your content and are happy to recommend it to their networks.

You should monitor the number of social shares you get on each post.

Over time, you want those number of increase.

To measure your shares, Tweets, likes, etc., it’s typically easiest to use a tool like Buffer, which automatically tracks all this data:

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Alternatively, you can use a number of free social share checkers if you’re willing to do it one by one.

Or if you have some programming knowledge, you could create your own simple report generator using the APIs of the networks you’re interested in.

15. Number of comments: Getting people to comment in the age of social media is difficult. Most people who enjoy content would rather share it on social media rather than comment on the post itself.

But comments tell you that readers not only read your whole post but pay enough attention to say something about it.

Getting a few comments initially also encourages other readers to comment.

Certain topics will automatically get more comments, regardless of content quality. Look at the number of comments over a long time period to make sure they’re going up, and don’t worry about short term changes.

There’s no fancy way of tracking this. Just put the title of each post in a spreadsheet, and add a column for the number of comments.

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16. Page depth: This metric is similar to pages per session but can give you different insights.

This set of metrics in GA tells you what number of people viewed a certain number of pages during a session.

You can view it in “Audience > Behavior > Engagement > Page Depth”:

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It tells you how many sessions consisted of a visitor seeing only one page, two pages, three pages, and so on.

This really tells you if you’re getting those raving fans who want to check out every single post you’ve written.

This differs from pages per session, which could be skewed because it’s just an average. If all visitors see two pages, you’d have an average of 1.5 pages per session.

However, if they’re stopping at two, that means no one really loves your content.

17. Session duration: I’ve mentioned before that certain metrics such as bounce rate, and especially pages per session, can be messed up by the type of content you produce.

If you create really long content, visitors could stay on your site and read many pages at once. If they spend a lot of time on your site, it shows they are engaged.

To check this, go to “Behavior > Site Content”, and look at the far right column in the behavior section.

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When you go to the landing pages subsection, you’ll see the session duration for visitors who landed on that particular page.

You can use this metric to measure any changes you make and to see which page is the best starting point for visitors.

Type #5 – Promotional metrics

There are two major expenses associated with content marketing.

One of them is promotion.

You need people to see your content in order for it to produce any results.

It’s important to track metrics that tell you the cost of promotion so that you can determine if the results are worth it.

18. Emails sent: In modern content marketing, email outreach is almost a necessity.

You need to make connections and get your content in front of them.

Typically, the goal is to let someone know about your content and have them link to it or share it.

The first two metrics you want to track are the number of emails you sent and the time it took you to do it.

This is something you’ll need to track in a basic spreadsheet.

Secondly, you want to track the conversion rate of these emails. Divide the number of links or shares you get out of the emails (whatever your goal was) by the total number of emails.

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This allows you to test different email outreach techniques and templates, compare them, and choose the winner.

You can also calculate the time spent per link if you’re more concerned with efficiency.

19. Cost and return of ads: Not everyone does paid promotion for their content. It’s not required, but it can speed up results.

This is where tracking metrics are highly important because if you don’t know your results, you have no clue whether you’re losing money and should stop spending or you are making money and should spend more on these campaigns.

Any good ad network will provide you with your total spend and your cost per click (or, ideally, conversion).

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Compare the cost per conversion (calculate it yourself if you need to) with the revenue you get per conversion (a different metric).

If you’re making more than it costs to get a conversion, spend more.

If not, either drop that campaign or continue to split test and optimize it if it’s around a break-even point.

20. Cost per subscriber: Even if you’re not doing paid advertising, every promotional strategy has a cost.

Email outreach takes time. Giving samples to reviewers costs you product. And so on…

You need to quantify the cost of your time, employees’ time, or anything you spend on promotion.

Then, divide that cost by the number of new subscribers you’ve gotten from each piece of content.

You should do this for each piece of content you create.

You’ll end up with a simple table like this, and you’ll start to see that certain promotional techniques are more effective than others.

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It’s also a good idea to add the cost of creating the content (metric #21) in order to get an overall cost per subscriber.

Then, you can compare this to the revenue per subscriber and decide if that type of content is effective or not.

Type #6 – Internal content creation metrics

Finally, the other major expense of content marketing is actually creating the content.

You’ll see that certain types of content are more expensive than others.

It’s important to be able to see whether the results of each type of content are worth the money you are putting in to create it.

Track these metrics to get a clear picture of your content cost.

21. Cost to create content: If you’re paying a freelancer for your content, figuring out the cost is simple.

But even if you’re creating your own content, you still need to factor in your own time, just like you did when looking at the cost of promoting content:

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22. Content ready to be published: One of the biggest signs of a healthy content marketing process is whether or not you have content ready to be published.

This ensures that you are consistent, which is a big key to success.

This metric is just a simple count. How many pieces of content do you have ready to go?

Check it once a month, and write it down somewhere.

If it’s gone down, make sure you know why, and figure out how to get back on track.

Conclusion

If you want to be successful, you must track metrics.

You should always be looking at your metrics to see how you can improve them in the future.

This allows you to test new tactics and techniques to find those worth implementing.

The best businesses iterate their strategy over and over to improve it, using their metrics as feedback.

I’ve given you 23 metrics that cover six main types of content marketing metrics. Pick as many or as few as you’d like—as long as they accurately represent all your content marketing goals.

If there are any metrics that you particularly like or feel that I should have included, please share them in a comment below.

The Pacific Blue Marlin. The ‘gold medal’ catch of Hawaiian Fishing!

The Pacific Blue Marlin. The ‘gold medal’ catch of Hawaiian Fishing!

The very largest of the Marlins are the Blue Marlins and of all the possible trophy fish found anywhere in the world, this is the prize! Yes, they are found in large numbers throughout the islands of Hawaii but they, and related species, are found throughout the tropical and subtropical oceans of the world. They can be found from the U.S Northeast seaboard south to the Caribbean and down to the eastern shores of South America. They are found in regions of the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific from Mexico and the coast of California, down as far as Chile off the western coast of South America, and of course Hawaii.

Blue Marlin Fishing in HawaiiMost species of Blue Marlin are migratory and are capable of traveling many miles in short periods of time. Tagged Marlins off the coast of Hawaii have been found as far away as the Galapagos island (3000 miles) within a period of just 90 days. They can swim very deep but are often found within just 30 meters of the surface seemingly preferring the warmer waters found there.

As far as size, they can be enormous reaching in some cases as much as 2000 lbs. They are more likely to be in the 200 to 400 lb range however and it is the female of the species that is the largest of the two. Length of the big ones can be in the range of 14′ but the normal would be more in the range of 11′.

Perhaps these fish more than any others are known for the terrific fight they put up when hooked and this challenge in itself is part of the allure and mystique of the Blue Marlin. Hawaii is one of the best place in the world to catch them and these islands have some world class boats that set out to do just that.

FInd a Fishing Trip Go Fish Private Fishing Tour