Multifamily Property Leads: How Your Website Can Top Mass-Listing Sites9 min read
Customers may find your name on mass-listing sites, but if you’re relying solely on leads from third-party companies, you’re not maximizing your potential. Using interactive tools from PERQ on your own website will produce better informed, higher quality multifamily property leads.
A quick Google search for the phrase “looking for apartments” returns a long, seemingly endless list of apartment listing websites like Apartments.com, Zillow or Craigslist. These websites all say they can fill your rentals quickly by advertising to tons of potential renters. It may be alluring, the idea of having someone else handle all the lead generation. But what percentage of those leads are turning into renters and how many of those renters are you losing to competitors advertising in the same space?
Making an investment in your own website is usually the best place to get quality multifamily property leads. Interactive tools that capture and engage buyers in all phases of the funnel can help improve your website to make sure you get quality information about a consumer shopping for apartments, which in turn helps your leasing agents close the deal.
Here’s some insight into how the leads generated from your multifamily property websites vs. a third-party site differ, and how to grow your success.
How Do Third-Party Apartment Sites Generate Leads?
When an apartment hunter starts searching for a new place to live, it’s not uncommon for them to land on a third-party apartment site to compare potential listings. These companies will offer to host your property information, and though some sites like Craigslist are free, many third-party apartment sites require a subscription fee in order to have your information advertised to their site visitors.
If you choose to advertise with a third-party site, you’ll be able to offer basic information like photos, floorplans and general pricing. Within these sites there may be some interactive features, although these generally come with an additional cost. These features, which your competitors may be using on third-party sites, too, usually aren’t as effective at engaging customers as interactive tools used directly on your own site.
Beth Roberts, Property Manager for Englert Management Corporation, notes that she has found modest success with ForRent.com, and points outs the community messenger tool that allows her to respond to inquiries directly through the site. Generally, though, customer engagement on these third-party sites is often limited to a simple “Contact Us” call to action, which doesn’t engage online visitors.
“These features, which your competitors may be using on third-party sites, too, usually aren’t as effective at engaging customers as interactive tools used directly on your own site.”
How Does Your Multifamily Property Website Generate First-Party Leads?
If you’ve partnered with PERQ for its range of interactive tools, you’re likely going to end up with multifamily property leads that are far more qualified and engaged. As opposed to scrolling through a few bland floorplans or being left to sift through low-resolution thumbnail photos, your potential customer can use the interactive tools on your site to learn what they want or need from a renting experience.
Consumers on your site can take quizzes to learn what type of floorplan best suits them or which community is best for them; they can use a cost calculator to determine the estimated total they will be spending each month; and they can even unlock special offers on discounted rent or application fees to encourage them to apply sooner.
The more time online visitors spend engaging with your website and using interactive tools, the more interested they’ll become in your apartment.
With interactive tools, you give online visitors more opportunities to provide not only basic contact information, but details about living preferences, pets, children, income, and any other relevant information that will help you move them into an apartment tour and hopefully a signed lease…
PERQ finds that multifamily property leasing agents using its apartment shopper web engagement tools see around 9 apartment tours booked per 1000 visitors, whether they arrived organically or were redirected from a third-party website. For each, the leasing manager has 5x the consumer data to go on when the prospective renter arrives.
Ecommerce sites have changed the way consumers shop online today, and that means the way they shop for apartments, too. You can give potential renters a way to engage with your website more deeply and remember their information without asking the same question twice, helping to make your website act like a leasing agent.
Should Apartments Use Third-Party Sites to Advertise?
The answer to this question is yes; third-party sites can still be used as a marketing tool for property management companies. Third-party sites may not offer the same engaging experience as your own website, but you can still use the listing pages to create a more modest version of your site and have your properties advertised to a larger audience.
“People really want interior pictures.”
Roberts says it’s vital to include not only the most up-to-date property information, but a variety of photographs and floor plan details. “People really want interior pictures,” she explains. “I always opt to have them professionally taken so that we can stand out a bit on their pages.”
It’s important to note, however, that some property management companies are spending a significant amount of money to advertise on these sites, and are still not receiving as many leads (or quality leads that turn into signed leases) as they could be.
Multifamily property managers must invest in digital marketing solutions for their own websites if they want to stand out in the crowd. Yes, it means taking chances, but other industries took chances years ago and are reaping the benefits. It’s all about reviewing your marketing budget to create a balance so you’re not neglecting your own site and improving your leads to get more renters.
For Derek Hoover, a Leasing Manager at TWG Management, LLC in Indianapolis, the value of third-party listing sites is less about interacting in their space and more the ability to attract new customers while still directing them to his own interactive website.
The multifamily property leads developed on his own website are higher quality not only because they’re offering more information, but because they’re simply more interested. Hoover explains that when someone fills out an information card on a third-party site, they’re likely doing the same for many other property management companies. For this reason, he typically chooses free services like Craigslist that allow him to direct traffic toward his own site.
“These free tools push people to our site.”
“Our site is a place where they can engage with us and have the ease of using our interactive PERQ tools,” Hoover says. “When they come to our site, they can learn more about themselves with quizzes that ask really specific, pointed questions like ‘Would you rather have more money for play or for work?’ and that gets us more information about them, too.”
As with any form of online marketing for multifamily property management companies, the key is consumer engagement and lead capture. The problem with using a third-party website to glean information like price range, number of tenants, layout preferences, and even contact information is that these are customers who are firmly in the discovery and research phases of the renting funnel. While they are the most engaged, they’re also the easiest to bounce or lose to another similar listing.
The best advice: Don’t lose potential multifamily property leads by simply not making your own website stand out enough. Make your property website the best it can be to capture quality leads, where interactive tools can help guide online visitors every step of the way.