Are You Ready for the January Effect?
The term “January Effect” is used to describe the tendency of the stock market to stage a rally in the month of January every year. The most common theory to explain this is that investors frequently sell stocks at the end of the calendar year for tax reasons and then start buying again in January thus creating increased demand. Did you know that there is a January Effect for certain website traffic as well? Why is there a January Effect for some websites and what can you do to be prepared so that you can benefit from it as much as possible?
The January Effect is very evident in Manufactured and Modular Housing website traffic. Analyzing the top factory-built housing websites in terms of traffic, we see an average increase in visitors per month of about 50% from December 2009 to January 2010. Why is this? It makes sense if you think about what people are focused on that time of year: the holidays. In contrast to websites that are focused on manufactured homes and modular homes, sites that attract gift buyers, like amazon.com, toysrus.com and target.com, saw an average decrease in their traffic of about 40% over the same time period. So our prospective buyers are pre-occupied with shopping for gifts, attending parties, visiting with friends and family and all of the things that make the holidays so wonderful, so they are not thinking about buying homes as much. Then the holidays pass and suddenly there is a lot of pent-up demand. At the same time the holidays remind us of change, the passage of time and the desire to improve our situations, hence the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. For a lot of people, even if it’s not their New Year’s Resolution, one thing that they desire to improve about their lives is their home. This might mean upgrading to a bigger home to accommodate a growing family or down-sizing into a simpler living situation for empty-nesters. All of this leads to a huge spike in traffic to websites relating to manufactured homes and modular homes in January.
Regardless of the cause, the January Effect is important to keep in mind as the New Year is approaching. What can manufactured home and modular home professionals do to capitalize on the January Effect? The first thing to keep in mind is that, regardless of the January Effect, if prospects can’t find you then they can’t become customers. As with the rest of the year, you need to make sure that prospects can find you on the Internet through your own website’s placement and, more importantly, through highly placed directory websites like ManufacturedHomeSource.com which likely receives many times more visitors than your own website. Are you already listed on highly trafficked industry-relevant websites? If not, now is the time to get listed so that all of the prospects who are going to begin their home-buying process in January have the opportunity to contact you. Secondly, you will want to make sure your website is up-to-date and ready to deliver prospects the information they want and to capture prospect’s contact information. Are the information, pictures, inventory, phone numbers, email addresses and specials listed on your website current? Is the design compelling, current and attractive? Your website is the face of your business to the modern world and if it is not appealing, prospects will be turned off. Finally, you need to make sure that your staff is prepared. If your staff suddenly finds themselves getting twice as many prospects contacting them as they are currently, will they be able to handle it? Do you have good prospect follow-up and tracking procedures in place? If not, now is the time to look into training them and implementing a CRM solution like Salesforce.com or Rainmaker.
The January Effect presents us with a great opportunity to increase our sales in the year ahead. Take some time to make sure that your business is well-positioned to take advantage of this opportunity!
Drew Peters is the founder and CEO of Manufactured Home Source, the factory-built housing industry’s leading internet marketing website. Formerly a Program Manager with Microsoft Corporation, he holds a BSE in Computer Science & Engineering and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at drew at manufacturedhomesource.com.