The Secret to Understanding Local Web Traffic and Why It Is So Important

Few remodelers pay much attention to their web traffic statistics, and fewer still know how to use that data effectively. Ignoring your web traffic statistics is bad enough, but misinterpreting them could be even worse. One of the more potentially misleading statistics for remodelers is a website’s total traffic.

Looking at the total traffic without considering the local and non-local traffic separately gives a misleading and incomplete picture of a website’s performance, which could lead to costly mistakes and missed opportunities.

For most remodelers, local traffic contains potential clients while non-local web traffic almost never includes potential clients. A website visitor from California is not likely to use the services of a remodeler in Maine. Understanding the behavior of these two groups (local visitors and non-local visitors) individually is the best way to look at and understand your web traffic so you can make the right decisions.

Here is one of the methods we use:

Using Google Analytics’ Advanced Segments feature, we set up 3 “segments”. One segment shows only visitors from the Washington DC metro area (the local traffic for this example), the second segment shows only visitors from OUTSIDE that defined metro area (the non-local traffic). The third segment, “All Sessions”, is the combined total of local and non-local visitors. This total traffic segment is what most people look at. It is the default way Google Analytics and most web traffic programs display traffic.

Let’s break down the dashboard view

Sample Google Analytics Dashboard

Column 1 (landing page)

The first three rows show the site traffic to all pages on the site. The next three shows the traffic to only the “home” page as indicated by “/” in that column’s yellow box.

Column 2 (user sessions)

You can see that more of the traffic to this site for the period measured is “local”. More sessions being local may or may not be the case for you. For most remodelers, the behavior and number of local visitors are much more important than non-local.

Column 3 (new users)

This shows the number of individual new visitors and does not include repeat visits (which is why this will be less than total visits or sessions.)
Multiple visits show interest. Notice a greater difference between new visitors and visits for the local traffic than non-local. This is good.

Column 4 (bounce rate)

Bounce rate is important because it shows people that enter the site and leave without looking at any other page. Notice that in this illustration the bounce rate for the local traffic (those who can potentially buy from you) is lower than non-local and the total combined traffic numbers. If you don’t see a lower local bounce rate on your website than non-local, it likely indicates a problem with the website.

Columns 5 and 6 (pages per session and average duration)

These columns represent the average number of pages visited and time spent per visit. Again the local traffic should show more pages and more time than non-local.

Column 7 (goal conversion)

This dashboard shows the conversion of a goal. For this website, that goal is that a visitor submit the Contact Us form. As you can see the local traffic was more likely to go to this page.

As you can see, if you didn’t set up the analytics to look at local and non-local traffic individually, you would think your Contact Us page was converting 15.65% instead of 21.38%.


Here are three ways local/non-local segmentation helps you:

Is your conversion rate OK? If you have 1000 visitors a month to your website and 20 leads, you could logically conclude that the website is not doing a good job of converting visitors to leads. However, if you find that only 200 of the 1000 visitors a month are local, the website’s conversion ratio (20:200 and not 20:1000) looks MUCH better.

Is your marketing generating local or non-local traffic? By looking at the growth of local vs. non-local traffic to your website, you can see if your marketing efforts have been increasing local traffic or just non-local. If just non-local traffic, you likely have a problem. While the above site has a balanced amount of local/non-local traffic, some sites can have a 1:5 local to non-local ratio (or more or less).

Is your site of interest to important visitors? Generally speaking, non-local visitors are looking for general information about a subject while local visitors are looking for specific information about your business and services. So a very high local bounce rate and a very low non-local bounce rate, for example, might be a sign that there isn’t enough pertinent information for prospective clients.

Should You Market to a Generation?

Five Generations

I was on the panel during a Q&A session at the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop this January past. One of the questions thrown my way was, “Now that the boomers are moving out, how do we market to the other generations?”

Having just recently written the PowerTip article 4 Tips to Connecting with Millennials, it was pretty fresh in my mind. So I began rattling off some characteristics, “Millenials value engagement, transparency, philanthropy…” and so on.

After I was done announcing my less-then-inspired list of traits, a hand shot up, “Yeah, but what about Generation X?”

“Generation X?” I thought. “Oh right, what was the deal with them again?” I started thumbing through my mental Cardfile for descriptors for this group of people. “Let’s see, they were born between the Boomers and the Millenials, so they’re 60’s and 70’s kids. They grew up in turbulent economic times … blah, blah, blah.”

I just wasn’t feeling it. I ended up simply suggesting he “not worry about Gen X,” and we moved on.

As Judith Miller fielded the next question from the audience, I thought about my response to the followup question. It immediately occurred to me that I should have explained why he should not worry about Generation X.

You see, it’s not that I think Gen X-ers are not right for him. It’s that I don’t think he should be targeting the generations.

And so, today’s PowerTip was born.

Why use generational marketing?

According to Brandeo:

Generational marketing proponents believe that the generation in which people are born significantly influences who they are, what they believe, what their values are, life skills, and ultimately, what they buy. Members of a generation share the experiences of their formative years, including cultural, economic, global, political, and technological influences.”

Makes sense I suppose.

But here’s the thing; these “shared experiences” aren’t as clear as they may have been in 1950. From cable TV to 24-hour news channels to the internet to social media to smartphones, we’ve got shared experiences coming out of the wazoo.

The truth is; the world has been shrinking at an exponential rate over the past 40 years. I don’t think this type of market segmentation is relevant anymore. Certainly not at the level that you’re focusing on: local.

Let’s take a quick trip. I want you to think back to your high school years. Think about all the different cliques.

To borrow a line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Grace from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Oh, he’s very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, d**kheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.

You remember them from your school? Do you think your marketing message will resonate with them all? More importantly, do you even want it to?

And consider that this is a group of people that grew up within four years (maybe five for the wastoids) of each other. This is a much more focused demographic than the 18 to 25-year spans that The Generations cover, and still it’s doubtful that the broad characteristics will apply.

But what about life stages?

Whenever I ask remodelers to identify their target market, one of the most common responses I get is income level. After some prodding and poking I’ll get a life stage. Things like “Their last child is heading off to college,” or “they’re retiring in the next couple of years.”

That’s great! The problem is that “life stage” has been erroneously linked to The Generations. This simply isn’t the case.

I’ll give myself as an example. I have two friends; both named Mike. We are all the same age and fall in the Generation X bucket. Mike “A” has two kids one preparing for college and the other following right behind.

Meanwhile, Mike “B” is expecting his first child in 4 months.

And that’s the point.

We’re no longer on the same timeline. We’re not following “the rules” anymore.

Get married young? Have 2.3 kids right away? Work in the office Monday through Friday? Retire at 65?

That’s all gone.

So what’s the verdict?

Generational targeting is an outdated practice. Maybe if you’re a billion-dollar global enterprise it still has a place, but for remodelers? No.

Sure it can be an interesting read. And don’t get me wrong; it’s okay to have a sense of tendencies for a generation (i.e., my millennials post). But don’t base your marketing strategy on generational segmentation.

Drill down deep into YOUR target market and identify the buyer persona that you want to go after.

Is your target persona a recently remarried women who used to work but has decided to stay home and care for her newly blended family? No problem. You can find her!

Is your ideal client a married couple that never had children and instead call their two dogs “the kids” and take a tropical cruise every January?

Go for it.

We live in an amazing time where you can identify and reach your ideal clients down to the granular level (if you choose).

Don’t focus on messages that satisfy a generation. Focus on connecting with your target customer.

What about you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic! Are you using generational marketing techniques? If so, has it been successful? Do you think it’s a viable option for the years to come? I look forward to reading your comments in the section below.

6 Tips to Sales Success

How well are you doing at sales? Are you closing 50 percent of the leads you sit down with? 30 percent? Ten? Well, if you feel you’re not closing as many as you should be, then this episode of PowerTips TV is for you.

Watch this weeks short, four minute episode (not including the outtakes) for six quick tips to improve your sales results!

What about you?

If you have insights on how you’ve improved your sales results, we’d love to hear from you! Please share your stories in the comment box below!

How to Quickly Connect with People and Make a Tremendous Impression

I-forget-everyones-nameIt’s time for the first ever installment of Skills every remodeler should have, but don’t think it’s very important, so they don’t take the time to figure out how to do it.

(It’s a working title.)

Let’s kick off this series with the burning question, “How can I remember people’s names?” – something every remodeler should know how to do.


Well, besides avoiding the awkwardness of greeting people you’ve already met with, “Hey…m…man. How have you been,” saying someone’s name is a powerful persuasion tool. It puts people at ease and sets a friendly tone to the conversation.

Plus, people love to feel important, and there’s no easier way to oblige than by remembering their name. It tells them that they made an impression on you.

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. “] A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

These four methods are simple, and (more importantly) they work.

1. Pay attention during the introduction.

When you are first introduced to someone, pay attention to her name. Obvious, right?

Well amazingly, many people miss the name entirely. Usually, it’s because they’re busy thinking about what they themselves will say in response. This is especially true when meeting someone with whom you want to make a good first impression.

2. Repeat his name, repeat his name, repeat his name.

Use his name as often as possible during the conversation (without being a weirdo):

“Hi Bilbo. It’s nice to meet you.”

“So, Bilbo, what do you do for a living?”

“Well, Bilbo, it’s been a pleasure meeting you, take care.”

3. Association.

Look for an unusual feature or trait and try to associate it with the person’s name. There are endless possibilities here. Maybe the name rhymes with a particular feature or mannerism. For example:

“Heather talks about the weather,”

“Ryan looks like a Lion,”

“Britt is so full of … compliments,”

You get the gist, search for anything that connects the name to the person.

4. Write it down.

As soon as possible after the encounter, write down the name. It can be on napkin or scrap paper that you throw away. The purpose isn’t for having access to it later (though there’s nothing wrong with that). It’s to work the name through your brain. Writing it out requires other parts of your brain to get involved in processing the information and translating it into muscle-movements.

Knowing someone’s name shows people you appreciate them. It’s the difference between a stranger and a friend; between “the remodeler” and “Alan, an amazing guy who’s company remodeled our kitchen.”

What about you?

Do you struggle to remember people’s names? What tactics have you used to remember names? I look forward to your comments below.

Image courtesy of franky242 at