Maximizing Investments: Harnessing Data-driven Real Estate Strategies

If you’re a seasoned real estate investor, you’ve probably used data analytics your entire career. Calculating cap rates, cash-on-cash returns or even putting together a standard comparative market analysis (CMA) are all forms of basic data analysis. And data-driven real estate strategies are more important than ever.

But as data analysis becomes more advanced, smart investors look for more creative ways to use analytics to supercharge their investment strategy. Every big industry player is already doing it, from the leading real estate investment trusts (REITs) to the websites offering real-time home values. So what are some unconventional ways that you can use data analysis to make smarter real estate investments?

READ: How to Get More Renters — 13 Ways to Optimize Your Airbnb Listings 

Look at nontraditional analytics

According to a report on real estate analytics from consultant firm McKinsey, 60% of the predictive power of real estate analytics comes from nontraditional variables. 

So while traditional real estate data strategies like analyzing vacancy rates, market performance and property features have significant predictive power when it comes to real estate investing, they collectively make up less than half of the total predictive power. 

So what are some of these nontraditional variables? The McKinsey report touched on data points like proximity to points of interest, such as the distance to a four-star hotel, and distribution of points of interest, such as the number of coffee shops in a 1-mile radius. 

The report also highlights metrics involving the number of swimming pool permits recently issued in the neighborhood, Yelp reviews for local businesses, the number and type of grocery stores in a 2-mile radius and a lot more. Again, when combined, these nontraditional data-driven real estate strategies were more predictive of an investment’s performance than conventional variables. 

So if you’re competing against other investors for a certain property, and you’re using both traditional and nontraditional variables in your analysis, while they’re only using traditional ones, they’re only getting half the picture. You have a huge edge.

READ: Identifying Emerging Real Estate Markets — Key Indicators for Lucrative Investments

Trust the experts 

Using data-driven real estate strategies doesn’t mean you have to gather up the raw data yourself, build an algorithm to analyze it and put together a comprehensive investment spreadsheet. Smart people have been refining real estate data analytics for years — and smart investors are happy to piggyback on their expertise.

After all, every time you check a property’s value on Zillow or Trulia, you’re using their industry-best automated valuation models, and when you use an online commission calculator, you’re performing a kind of user-friendly data analysis.

To take things a step further, you could invest in real estate through a real estate investment trust or REIT.

REITs are modeled after mutual funds, except they invest in real estate instead of securities. Similar to mutual funds, their portfolio is heavily determined by the use of sophisticated data analytics. They own and operate income-producing properties, and are publicly traded just like stocks, so they’re an extremely liquid investment, unlike physical real estate.

Investing in a REIT is a way to tap into some high-quality market analysis, and get your money into the market — without all the hassle of actually buying and owning real estate.

READ: Promote Your Real Estate Business — 5 Best Digital Marketing Strategies

Don’t just look at upside

Most investors are optimists, but you should try to avoid tunnel vision when you delve into data-driven real estate strategies. Looking only for the upside can lead you to miss some important risk factors — an oversight that you might regret later. 

When you’re carrying out an analysis, dig beyond the headlines to find variables that might portend trouble. Are there unique local factors that can lead to unusual property declines? If the property’s value has been buoyed by local businesses, how are those businesses performing? If they’re not flourishing, your investment’s value might be a mirage. 

You might also want to reassess “safe” investments that are already in your portfolio. What does a comprehensive analysis say about those investments’ markets? You can save yourself a lot of money and stress by getting ahead of an expected decline.

READ: Unlocking Buying Potential — The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Real Estate Investing for Business Owners

Finally, don’t assume that more is better, or that trends are linear — especially when it comes to nontraditional variables. Remember when we said the proximity of specialty grocery stores like Trader Joe’s can be a great predictor of rapid appreciation? That same study noted that this effect was limited, and that properties that were close to a high number of these establishments actually saw price declines. 

That’s why smart investors use analytics to predict risk as well as success. The more time you invest in researching your potential properties, the more informed and effective your decisions will be. 

 

Screen Shot 2021 12 28 At 113128 AmLuke Babich is the Co-Founder of Clever Real Estate, a real estate education platform committed to helping home buyers, sellers and investors make smarter financial decisions. Luke is a licensed real estate agent in the State of Missouri and his research and insights have been featured on BiggerPockets, Inman, the LA Times and more.

Colorado Privacy Act (CPA): New Obligations for Businesses Processing Consumer Data

On July 1, Colorado will join four other states as its comprehensive privacy law, the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA), goes into full effect. The CPA imposes significant new obligations for businesses and nonprofit organizations that come under its umbrella, as well as the possibility of substantial fines for lack of compliance. All companies should assess whether they are subject to the Colorado Privacy Act and, if so, what they need to do to make sure their data program is compliant.

READ: The FTC Safeguards Rule — Why Your Business Needs to Improve Cyber Security in 2023

Who must comply

The Colorado Privacy Act is intended to target businesses that traffic in large amounts of personal data. The CPA applies to any business or nonprofit that (1) “processes” (defined as collecting, using, selling, storing, disclosing, analyzing, deleting, or modifying) data for 100,000 or more Colorado residents annually or (2) benefits from selling data and processes data for 25,000 or more Colorado residents. As a result, any business with a database containing the requisite number of Colorado residents will likely be subject to the CPA.  

What companies must do

The Colorado Privacy Act applies to the personal data (defined as data that is linked or reasonably linkable to an individual) of Colorado consumers. The CPA provides consumers with a host of new rights, including the right to access, correct and in some cases delete their data held by a company.

The Colorado Privacy Act also provides consumers with the right to obtain a copy of their data and the right to opt out of certain uses of their data, including the right to opt-out of the sale of their data or using their data for “profiling.” The CPA further requires companies to obtain consent from consumers before they begin processing certain types of data that are highly sensitive. The CPA requires that businesses create a system to respond to consumer requests within 45 days.  

The Colorado Privacy Act mandates that subject businesses limit their collection and use of personal data to that which is reasonably necessary and compatible with the purpose disclosed to consumers and obtain consent from the consumers before processing personal data for a purpose not originally disclosed. This means that most subject businesses will need to review their privacy policies to ensure they are sufficiently disclosing all data being collected and how that data is used. Further, to the extent a subject business transfers any personal data to a vendor or other third party, the CPA mandates the agreement obligates that vendor to also comply with the CPA.

Finally, the Colorado Privacy Act mandates that businesses maintain reasonable measures to keep personal data confidential. This mandate is accompanied by a requirement that entities conduct periodic data protection assessments to evaluate risks associated with certain processing activities and document the assessments.

READ: How to Minimize Cybersecurity Risks and Balance Customer Friction for your Online Business

Potential ramifications

The ramifications for violating the Colorado Privacy Act are significant, with each violation (measured per consumer and per transaction) punishable by civil penalties up to $20,000.

How to prepare

The Colorado Privacy Act goes into effect on July 1 but has a one-year lookback period, meaning that businesses that are subject need to implement a compliance program as soon as possible. Businesses should consider the following when preparing to comply:

Know what data you have and where it resides.

Understand what data you maintain on consumers and where that data is located.

READ: Unlocking the Power of Data for Small Businesses — How Data Implementation Drives Business Growth and Success

Assess the necessity of each category of data.

Assess whether each type of data collected is truly necessary to accomplish your organization’s goals and ditch any data that is extraneous or no longer useful.  

Assess and adjust the security measures in place.

Ensure that the appropriate security is in place for each type of data.

Document your efforts to assess your data.

Ensure your efforts to assess your data and security measures, as well as the reasoning behind any decisions, is well-documented.

Update your privacy policy.

Make sure your privacy policy is transparent as to how you are using the data and is easy to understand.

Update your vendor agreements.

Review your vendor agreements to ensure vendors are obligated to comply with the CPA and submit to audit.

Put in place a process for responding to consumer requests and obtaining consent.

Once consumers learn of their new rights, they will begin sending in requests to exercise them. Without a process in place, these requests will quickly become unmanageable.

Ensure that all relevant employees are trained on the privacy program.

Otherwise, the procedures are nothing more than words on paper.

The bottom line

Given the ever-evolving nature of privacy laws and regulations, companies that process consumer data need to make sure their privacy programs are up to date to ensure they do not find themselves in a stand-off with regulators.  One of the best ways to protect against compliance issues is to speak with counsel experienced in data privacy issues.

 

ArettjessicasquareJessica Arett practices in the litigation group in Sherman & Howard in Denver. She is one of the few Colorado lawyers who is certified as a privacy professional through the International Association of Privacy Professionals. She advises businesses and non-profit organizations on issues related to privacy and data security, including working closely with clients to ensure compliance with the most recent data security laws and regulations. She has experience handling data security issues in the education, health care, public utility, and financial space. 

Unlocking the Power of Data for Small Businesses: How Data Implementation Drives Business Growth and Success

Formerly an advantage, data is now a mandatory aspect of doing business at the highest level. For many small business owners, it’s a word that sounds expensive and maybe even a little intimidating. Both feelings are valid. Data implementation can be very complicated, and in certain cases, pricey. 

However, you don’t have to be on the Fortune 500 list to use it either. In this article, we take a look at how businesses of any size can use data to improve their operations and grow. 

READ: Battling the “Data Wheel of Death” in Business Development

Myth: Only big businesses can use data

Fact: Data implementation is more accessible now than it ever has been before. Say you own a coffee shop. 

Actually, I own a boutique—

Coffee shop. And you want to open up a second location in the town of Smallville. You’re excited, but also nervous. What if our opening doesn’t go so hot and we never take off? To make sure that doesn’t happen, you decide to take to social media. 

Your plan is to launch a month-long ad campaign that will generate awareness and get a little bit of a buzz going so that you have a full house on opening day. You aren’t a marketing professional, but you know your way around a tweet. This might work.

And for the first week, it does… some of the time. And other messages? Well, they don’t seem to get noticed at all. What’s going on here?

The answer to that question lies in the data. By looking at the numbers that almost every social media platform supplies either for free or at a low cost to business accounts, you can see when your users are active, and what type of content they gravitate to.

Knowing this, you can further hone your communications efforts so that all of your messages land. You’re using data, and it’s hardly costing you a dollar. 

READ: Don’t Get Left Behind — Top 8 Social Media Trends for 2023

Hiring a business analyst

A business consultant will take data implementation to the next level by using advanced business algorithms to help connect you with solutions that are specific to your goals. Small businesses often hire them at times of great change. Maybe you are expanding. Maybe something in your business model just isn’t clicking the way you expect it to. 

The business consultant will come in, take a look at the numbers, talk to your staff and help you come up with a bespoke solution that is specific to your needs. 

Really big companies might have a business analyst on staff. Most will just hire them on a freelance basis. This is definitely a financial step or two up from using the free analytic tools that come with most social media companies, but at the same time, it is more accessible than many people might first assume. 

And the best part is that like so many other data implementation practices, it will pay for itself in the long run. 

Data in accounting

Data is also used on the financial side of things to help make revenue more predictable. You are a subscription meal plan service. 

I thought I was a coff—

Sending your subscribers food. Your pricing model is such that you have a basic subscription cost, and then optional upgrades. The customer pays a little bit more, and they get premium ingredients or tools that are necessary for the meal or organic ingredients or — use your imagination. 

As a subscription business, your revenue should be easy enough to calculate. Except it isn’t. Because new people come in, but old people leave. Payments come in late, or not at all. Summer months seem to be slow for some reason and — and the bottom line is that you never know exactly how your finances are going to look at the end of a given month. 

READ: How To Deliver a Personalized Subscription Experience

An accountant can help you get to the bottom of things by taking a look at your data. Good, tech-driven analytic reporting will provide charts that help you understand where your money is coming from. They will also supply context. 

For example — each month you get X number of new customers. Y number of customers leave. Z number of customers sign up for premium products. 

Seeing this breakdown, you’re not only well-positioned to plan for the future, but you can also work on boosting the good numbers and reducing the bad ones. “Oh, man. The reason we couldn’t calculate revenue before was because our churn was super high. We need to work on retention.” Or…

“It turns out upper-middle-class women really don’t mind paying a little bit extra for premium mushroom sauce. Maybe we can find a way to expand our sales in that department.”

In business, information is power. Use everything available to you. 

 

Andrew Deen HeadshotAndrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in a number of industries from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up business.

From Clicks to Conversions — How to Craft an Effective Online Advertising Strategy

Online advertising has become a crucial part of digital marketing. According to a report by eMarketer, worldwide digital ad spending is projected to grow from $332.84 billion in 2021 to $517.51 billion in 2023. However, creating a successful advertising campaign is not as simple as creating an ad and selecting a platform. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide to help you create an effective online advertising strategy.

READ: Organic Search Vs. Paid Search — What’s the Difference?

Define Your Objectives for Your Online Advertising Strategy

Before creating ads, it’s important to define your advertising objectives. According to a report by HubSpot, companies with a documented content marketing strategy are 60% more likely to achieve their marketing goals. Defining your objectives will help you select the right platform and measure the success of your campaigns. It’s important to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives.

Know Your Audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial for creating effective ads. According to a report by MarketingSherpa, personalized and targeted emails have a 29% higher unique open rate and a 41% higher click-through rate than non-targeted emails. Conducting audience research and creating buyer personas can help you tailor your messaging and target your ads to the right people. Personalized and targeted ads can have a significant impact on the success of your campaigns.

READ: Determining Your Business’s Target Market – Why It’s Necessary and How To Do It

Choose the Right Platform

There are many different online advertising platforms available, including social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, search engines like Google and Bing, and display networks like Google AdSense. According to a report by Statista, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are the two most popular online advertising platforms worldwide, with 31.7% and 19.7% market share, respectively. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, and selecting the right platform for your advertising goals and target audience is essential. It’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each platform.

Craft Compelling Ads

Creating effective ad copy and visuals is essential for converting clicks into conversions. According to a report by WordStream, the average click-through rate for Google Ads on the search network is 3.17% for the top position and 0.46% for the bottom position. Your messaging should be clear and concise, and your visuals should be eye-catching and relevant to your target audience. You can use A/B testing to determine which ads perform best and optimize your ads accordingly. Examples of successful ads and ad campaigns can provide inspiration for your own campaigns.

Measure Your Results

Measuring your advertising results is crucial for optimizing your campaigns and achieving better results. You should track metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on investment. According to a report by Smart Insights, the average conversion rate for Google Ads on the search network is 3.75% for the top position and 0.77% for the bottom position. Analyzing your data can help you optimize your ads and improve your results over time. It’s important to use data to refine and improve your advertising strategy continually.

READ: Battling the “Data Wheel of Death” in Business Development

The Bottom Line

Creating an effective online advertising strategy requires careful planning, execution and analysis. By defining your objectives, understanding your audience, selecting the right platform, creating compelling ads and measuring your results, you can increase your chances of success. Remember that advertising is an ongoing process, and refining and improving your strategy continually is crucial for achieving better results over time.

 

Akshay TyagiAkshay Tyagi is an accomplished content writer for Netclubbed, a digital marketing agency that specializes in eCommerce and web development. Passionate about sharing innovative ideas and insights, he creates engaging content that connects with readers and keeps them up-to-date on the latest trends in digital marketing.

Battling the “Data Wheel of Death” in Business Development

In our modern corporate world, data is the most valuable asset a company can hold. Organizational leaders know just how much value there is in the metrics of everything from customer behavior to operational efficiency. From a strategic point of view, data can reduce waste and help businesses to grow more quickly — unless, of course, you fall victim to “the data wheel of death.”

Data can’t build a business on its own, and organizations have to be careful to prevent the most common pitfalls of using data as a development strategy. One of these potential issues, “the data wheel of death,” is something every business leader should be aware of.

But what is the data wheel of death, and how can you prevent it from occurring? Here’s what you need to know.

What is The Data Wheel of Death?

The “data wheel of death” is a term coined by growth expert Brian Balfour, back in 2017. It’s a cycle he identified that holds companies back from making the best use of data in business development.

Essentially, the data wheel of death is a vicious cycle that triggers at a certain point after a company starts using data for strategic benefits and ultimately fails to maintain those efforts. Although these initiatives might work initially, eventually the data becomes irrelevant or inaccurate. When this occurs, people start to trust it less and use it less. This is the data wheel of death — and it’s how lots of organizations end up giving up on using data.

For all the talk of how effective data is for strategic planning and business development, a surprising number of companies struggle with the data wheel of death. Battling this phenomenon is an ongoing project that’s essential for making good use of data in companies across industries.

Don’t Think of Data as Simply a Project

One of the best ways to prevent your company from falling into the data wheel of death is to change how you look at data. A common problem that causes organizations to slip into the data wheel of death is that they view data as a “project.”

Now that businesses of all sizes have access to affordable and powerful data analysis tools, even small businesses are using data to improve their processes and revenue. However, many businesses don’t really view the process of leveraging data as a long-term business activity. 

If you’re not hiring analysts to consistently keep up with data maintenance, you’ll eventually feel like using data in your business is a waste of time — and you’ll be right. Approaching data as a project means that ultimately, your data will become outdated and unhelpful. At that point, you’re likely to reduce how much you’re using data — and you’ll be right in the middle of the data wheel of death. 

Make Data A Core Concern 

To truly make the most of the data you collect, you need to be using it continually and turn it into a process instead of a project. One of the best ways to make sure data analysis stays top-of-mind is to make it part of your organizational values and goals. Be one of the smart companies that rely on data, rather than simple instincts and gut feelings.

Making data part of your organizational culture will also help prevent issues like one team taking “ownership” of the data. If everyone feels involved in the process of using data to improve the business, they will help prioritize it. Sometimes, this involves team training to help everyone understand the purpose of using data and to build a common language around data processing. 

Remembering Data’s Role

Finally, it’s also important to keep a balanced view of data’s role within an organization. Data analysis does not produce growth on its own. When used properly, data can provide a road map for actions that lead to business development. 

Data should be used in business development to get results, and nothing more. Some companies end up seeking insights for insights’ sake, instead of trying to solve specific problems or achieve certain outcomes. 

In battling the data wheel of death, it is possible to take things too far. Company leaders need to avoid getting dazzled by the idea of using data and remember that it is just one of many tools organizations can use to get ahead. 

 

Andrew Deen HeadshotAndrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in a number of industries from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up business.