Best Practices for Multifamily Websites
Do you know the best practices for multifamily websites? With over 70% of apartment shoppers researching apartments online, it’s crucial that you’re paying attention to your online prospects. An apartment property’s website should give potential renters all of the information they want to know about your community. It should also work to guide them through the apartment shopping process organically yet intentionally.
Even before the pandemic, many potential renters only visited multifamily properties in person for apartment tours. Prior to visiting, multifamily industry trends show that people gather the information they need by visiting apartment websites. Additionally, most are searching multifamily websites or apartment marketing sites to find their next apartment.
There are several key factors that potential renters consider when deciding whether or not to lease an apartment. A recent survey administered by national apartment management firm, Village Green, found that the top three criteria potential renters use to evaluate a property are:
- Rent price – 85%
- Location – 81%
- Community environment
The first two are rather obvious: the monthly rent price must be within budget, and the apartment should be close to work, family, or whatever the potential renter deems important. Community environment is a factor that’s often overlooked, but it’s actually extremely important to most potential renters. People want to know if the apartment community and surrounding area will have what is needed to fulfill their interests and hobbies.
Are these elements easy to find and clear on your website? Are they interactive and engaging instead of being static? Are you also able to track how rental prospects are engaging with your site? The best multifamily website offers all these things and more.
If you’re able to track engagement using something like multifamily software, you’ll be able to gain valuable insights. You can learn how potential renters or leads found your multifamily website, track every time they return to continue research, and see which engagements drive them to sign a lease. It all comes down to driving engagement. Proper apartment website design will direct people to the information they need, making it easy for them to make an informed decision.
Though web engagement may seem like an intangible buzzword, it can be both measured and defined. When an apartment seeker visits a property’s website for the first time, they are still in the research phase.
Though this can seem like the best time to give the shopper every piece of information about your property, you’ll need to first engage the visitor. It isn’t enough to simply measure a visitor’s clicks and the length of time on your multifamily website; it’s important to strategically invite them to share their information.
Katrina Greene, the Senior Property Manager of Sheehan Properties in Indianapolis; Columbus, Indiana; and Louisville, Kentucky; explained that at the end of the day, her site and online materials aim to capture information about the customer rather than just giving them something to look at.
“The main metric we use to gauge our website’s engagement is lead conversion,” she says. “It’s not enough for someone to just look through a gallery and maybe call to book a tour; we need to be more proactive about collecting their information.
That’s why on our site, many features require the shopper to give us some kind of information as a barrier to entry. But that also means we need to offer them something engaging enough that it’s worth sharing their email or phone number to get in return.”
Digital Strategy for Multifamily Properties
At its very core, online customer engagement starts with offering visitors a clean multifamily website design and quality interactions. These features must allow visitors to get a good sense of what life is like at your apartment building.
Traditionally, property managers seek to achieve this by sharing interior photos and floorplans on the site. For this reason, many websites now offer the same basic tools for apartment shoppers to use to research and explore. But, according to Greene, they don’t actually add up to better leads or more engaged renters.
“I think that what property managers are doing wrong is continuing to just sell the same product over and over again,” she explains. “It’s all the same thing. It’s selling four walls. Ultimately the finishes are different, and the colors and layouts vary, but they’re still basically the same. The pictures and floor plans are very cold details to focus on,” Greene says. “There needs to be a warmth and friendliness to the website that represents their new home.”
Lead conversion and online engagement within the multifamily industry can’t be improved with content alone. Engagement is something much deeper than providing customers with relevant information about an apartment or photos of the interior from every angle. Engagement means connecting with your apartment leads on an emotional level, too.
Finding a new home is stressful for apartment seekers, and if they don’t feel welcomed, why would they share their information? Rather than revamping your apartment website or blindly increasing your ad spend budget, improving online engagement means a radical rethinking of what the website experience should feel like.
In Greene’s mind, this means appealing to a prospective renter’s sensitive side and showing them what living with you really feels like. In addition to thinking about website engagement, property management companies need to think about a holistic digital strategy. Considering your digital strategy for your multifamily property and how to maximize its potential isn’t as simple as updating your Facebook page or publishing a new blog. Creating a strategy should be a diligent process that requires you to review your budget, competition, and available resources.
With a wide range of web tools and social media avenues, considering how to develop a digital strategy in the multifamily industry doesn’t just require a single-pronged approach. See the full Q&A with Katrina here, where she shares insights on how property managers can refine their digital strategies.
Interactive Multifamily Software
Before making a big decision like renting an apartment or townhome, consumers conduct research online. Give renters the information they seek online while delivering multifamily property managers detailed leads on each website visitor who interacts with the site.
For many multifamily property websites, a static “Contact Us” form is the only way a potential renter can request more information about available apartments, amenities, and pricing. These forms force online visitors to either pick up the phone to speak to a leasing specialist or submit their name and phone number and then wait for a leasing office to call them.
Visitors who fail to reach out through the contact form leave property managers with no way of knowing who visited their multifamily website. That prospect likely moved on to a competitor’s site to do more research.
Multifamily properties can gather more leads and higher quality lead information by implementing website technology that guides consumers through the apartment shopping process. With interactive tools like a personal expense calculator or floor plan assessments, properties can also capture valuable lead data from website visitors.
“Educating and engaging our consumers better on our website has streamlined our leasing process in ways I couldn’t have imagined,” says Casey Rusk, regional manager at Watermark Residential. “The renter has much more information at their fingertips, so the leasing process is faster.”
By capturing data from every online visitor, an apartment website can convert anonymous website traffic into high-quality leads. PERQ multifamily clients convert up to 200% more website traffic into known leads and see an average lead increase of 550%.
“We’ve seen an incredible increase in website leads since implementing PERQ in mid-December,” says Casey Rusk. In just over three months, Watermark Residential’s website leads jumped by more than 300%.
It’s no secret that today’s consumers are looking for more integrated, seamless digital experiences, and their shopping for an apartment home is no different.
It used to be enough that an apartment building had a website at all, but today, even small developments have something online. Multifamily website design can do a lot when it comes to capturing more of the local market. By using unique web tools that make your apartment website efficient and engaging, you’ll be able to easily promote the warmth, personality, and polish your multifamily property has to offer above the rest.