[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Keeping occupancy up at your multifamily communities means getting in front of potential renters where they’re searching for available apartments and spending the majority of their time: online.
Carefully studying the consumer journey and gathering prospect data along the way gives your property several advantages when it comes to attracting and retaining renters.
“The internet is still the No. 1 tool for properties, and it’s just a matter of where they find it or how they’re finding it,” says Corey Egan, LeasingKC Co-Founder and Director of Client Success. “They have to make sure their own property websites are up to pace with the competition. Make sure all of the information is there and up to date … you have video content, and a really solid SEO strategy.
“We’re forever trying to figure out where everybody’s spending their time every day,” he says. “It turns out a lot of people are spending most of their time on their phones and they’re on all of these social media platforms, so those are just other ways to get in front of a potential lead.”
Collecting data at those various touchpoints as prospects shop around helps you optimize your digital marketing to better target the right renters, tailor the leasing experience for prospects, and improve the lead nurturing process. All three lead to increased occupancy over time.
“Evaluate the data to drive your decision-making,” Egan says. “It’s very valuable for apartment communities to use that data to see who their renter is and where they fit, and then create a more focused marketing strategy to reach those people.”
1. Make Data-Driven Decisions to Improve Occupancy
For Caroline Gould, V.P. of Marketing & Branding at Fore Property, one of the country’s top 20 largest multifamily developers, the property website and data analytics rank as the most valuable tools to target and convert the perfect renters for a particular property.
Gould runs daily Google Analytics reports to keep tabs on each property’s performance and look for ways to improve digital marketing results. She checks which referral sites send the most traffic to the property websites, views bounce rates for digital ad campaigns and tracks how Fore Property ranks for certain keywords in each market to evaluate her team’s SEO efforts in increasing search engine rankings.
“The website, the digital presence just has such an enormous importance,” Gould says. “Historically in property management, a lot of things were assessed anecdotally. While I agree there’s no replacement for on-site observations via a property manager and leasing team — those insights are really valuable — but the data is available for us to get away from the anecdotal.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]
2. Improve Lead Nurture to Increase Leases
Set up your property website and lead nurturing process to give prospective renters everything they seek during their apartment search. With AI technology, you can transform your website into a digital leasing agent that leads prospects along the leasing journey with helpful guidance and personalizes the information they receive by collecting their data.
Live video tours offered on your website help to bring awareness to what your community offers without ever having the rental prospect step foot on your property, saving them valuable time. You can drive real-time conversations through FaceTime, Skype or your virtual tour partner, like Realync.
“The internet changed the leasing experience because people can go online and learn everything they pretty much need to know about the property before they even see it in person,” says Michael Norris, Chief Marketing Officer at Youtech, a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency. “And, they’re going to be researching your competitors in the meantime and comparing pricing, walkability, amenities and features — all of that.”
Give prospects valuable information on the property website by offering interactive experiences, such as a neighborhood tour that highlights places most important to them and a floorplan assessment to help them pick the best apartment layout for them. As they engage with your website, collect valuable lead data to make converting the lease a little easier for your on-site leasing team when following up.
“It’s just good to know what they’re looking for,” Egan says. “It potentially saves everyone a lot of time. The technology drives the information to those people, and that’s important because everybody feels more comfortable when they have an idea of the other person rather than just a complete cold call. It’s more of a meaningful conversation and builds a relationship.”
3. Focus Leasing Agents with Marketing Automation
Funnel all of that online consumer behavior data and digital profiles into a CRM system that can sort leads by how soon prospects plan to sign a lease and how good a fit they are for that property. Let your leasing agents focus on the highest-priority leads, and employ automated marketing to nurture the remaining prospects until they indicate they’re closer to making a decision on where to live.
Automated emails and texts backed by AI technology draw in important details from the CRM database to personalize and time the messages, giving prospects the VIP feeling and building brand trust, while also delivering incentives to return to the website to continue their research or schedule a tour using an automated scheduling tool.
“Getting all of that information into your CRM and then into an automation system is important because it’ll allow you to follow up in both a time-efficient way for you and an effective, personalized way for your potential customers,” Norris says.
Ultimately, in whatever form of technology it takes, your hope of increasing occupancy rests on your ability to collect data and turn it into actionable insights. Those consumer insights serve as the foundation of your digital marketing, precipitating positive growth in both new leases and resident retention rates.
“Whether you’re managing a stock or you’re managing a property, it’s essentially the same goal. You want to increase the value of that asset,” Egan says. “Ensuring you have a solid foundation and a solid message in your marketing is a good place to start. Marketing is what drives everything else.
“It’s going to drive the leasing process, and that is going to drive the prospects you’re attracting and the residents you’re renting to, and then the residents equal basically everything to the property,” he says. “Once they’re in there, you want to encourage them to stay, you want them to be pleased, and that’s up to you. If you have a mixed marketing message or you’re attracting the wrong people, they might not be a good fit for your community and that’s when all of the headaches start.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]
Additional Multifamily Resources:
[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]To optimize the success of PPC advertising at each multifamily property in the Fore Property portfolio, Caroline Gould, V.P. of Marketing & Branding, starts with the data.
Gould logs into Google Analytics daily to run reports, so she can closely monitor the performance of active PPC ad campaigns and the overall health of the national company’s online presence. She studies online traffic sources by market, evaluates how Fore Property’s communities rank for certain keywords, and checks bounce rates for all of the different paid ad campaigns, digital platforms and referral websites where they’ve invested marketing money.
“It’s just so fundamental to me in terms of determining marketing success and appropriate marketing to try next,” Gould says. “We’re really understanding how those PPC campaigns are performing, especially within the mix of other digital platforms. We can see our referral sources and where we’re getting the best traffic.”
By routinely checking PPC performance, Gould gains valuable insight into online leads and can easily gauge the effectiveness of digital ad spends.
“Most things are measurable, so we can really hone in on what is successful and make changes from there. What’s great with PPC is we can look at the various campaigns over a span of time,” Gould says. “We’re always assessing and always adjusting.”
Digital advertising delivers multifamily properties a plethora of data within Google Analytics that can be utilized to optimize PPC ads and maximize ROI. Here’s how to make the most of your multifamily property PPC advertising, and some common pitfalls to avoid as you decipher the data.
Link PPC Advertising Campaigns in Google Analytics
Trackable data is by far the biggest advantage of digital advertising over traditional marketing methods. But, it takes more than just logging into Google Analytics and glancing at the dashboard to make a real difference with the data.
The first mistake multifamily properties often make is failing to link PPC ads to the Google Analytics account to get campaign-specific data. It’s easy to do and provides a valuable source of information, yet many don’t take full advantage of the readily available analytics and go beyond the basics. That’s where third-party digital marketing experts can assist properties that don’t have an analytics person on staff.
“Connecting your PPC ad accounts to Google Analytics is one thing, but knowing how to interpret the data is another,” says Ali Mesick, Digital Advertising Manager at Brawn Media, which partners with PERQ to help companies achieve success through digital marketing. “Platforms like Google Analytics allow you to see so much granular info about your audiences, how they’re responding to your ads, and how they’re interacting with your website. Taking this ad data and incorporating it into your SEO and website strategy is what can really set your business apart.”
Target the Right Audience with PPC Ads
The second biggest mistake multifamily properties commonly make with PPC advertising? Casting a wide net to try to attract as many people as possible with their PPC ads, or “targeting the wrong audience,” Mesick says.
“While many properties think capturing a large audience is the most beneficial advertising tactic, it often comes with a lot of wasted ad spend,” says Catie Cambridge, Advertising Solutions Manager at PERQ. “By narrowing your audience to specific ‘in-market’ shoppers, you’re eliminating an entire audience of irrelevant shoppers.”
Using the data to define a target audience and the best PPC approach to get their attention, properties can target renters actively searching for an apartment in a specific market with the various reporting filters available in Google Analytics. They’ve displayed a search history that aligns with your ideal audience profile, and are therefore most likely to turn into conversions.
“That means not only will you be spending your budget more wisely, but your ROI will be higher,” Cambridge says.
Mesick also advises looking at the Google Analytics data to reign in PPC spending. She suggests refining the target audience by looking at what else your ideal prospects are “in-market” for, be it a nearby school district they’re researching or pet-friendly parks in the area.
“Layering this on top of your keyword and demographic targeting means you’re more likely to hit your best possible lease candidate,” Mesick says. “Plus, using this data might open up opportunities to target markets you otherwise wouldn’t have considered. The proof is in the data, and using this can propel your campaigns ahead of the competition.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]
Account for Multi-Touch Attribution When Analyzing Referral Sources
While it’s important to track which digital marketing platforms convert leads into leases, conversion isn’t the only goal to keep in mind. Each kind of advertising plays a different role in a full-fledged marketing strategy, and not all lead sources should be measured with the same weight.
Traditional TV spots and display ads may work to target a wider audience to build brand awareness, and can be combined with PPC ads, retargeting and lead generation geared toward capturing lower funnel leads.
“If you’re only keeping track of the last touch before conversion, you’re missing 90% of the story,” Mesick says. “In order to understand the sales funnel and how someone goes from first hearing about the property to signing a lease, you need to know how each piece of your marketing puzzle leads people down the pipeline. This will help you make decisions about who to target, where to spend your marketing dollars, and what your message should be at each step.”
Your property needs to have a solid grip on which digital platforms convert at the highest rate, because PPC leads don’t always deliver the most relevant leads, particularly if not precisely targeted. Just because a PPC ad campaign garners a lot of clicks, that success doesn’t necessarily translate into more leases and profit.
“When looking at all of our traffic, if the majority of our traffic is coming from PPC, well that’s kind of a problem,” Gould says. “Because, that PPC traffic converts lower and just tends to not be as high quality, not as organic.”
Use Data to Study Multifamily Market Trends, Consumer Insights
With the right reporting set up, property management can better understand which digital channels perform better than others and which campaigns are underperforming. They can glean what changes to PPC ads they should make going forward and know what to expect during certain times of the year, as well as track conversions and configure ROI for each campaign.
Over time, the data also helps property managers and their marketing cohorts spot local or seasonal trends, study online browsing behaviors and nail down their target audiences. It’s a never-ending game of analyzing and adjusting, Gould says.
“What is the right radius to be in? Is it five miles or eight miles? Well, that depends on the market,” Gould explains. “It could be two miles if you’re in a really saturated, more urban market. With the right data, you can find the answer to any question you want to ask and create targeted ads that work.”
Helpful Google Resources to Get You Started
Google’s Help Center offers some great resources to help you optimize your PPC advertising, see your reports and more. Use these articles to get started:
Linking PPC Ads to Google Analytics
Google Ads Reports
Creating and Editing Audiences
In-Market Audience Targeting
Attribution Modeling[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]
Additional Multifamily Resources
[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Every website automatically generates online data reporting in Google Analytics, whether you’re a paid Google advertiser or your multifamily property allocates $0 in its marketing budget for the search engine behemoth. It’s a free data analytics tool that, in our experience, is commonly underutilized or never used at all — particularly in the multifamily property management industry.
It’s actually the top source of digital data available. Many businesses miss out because they don’t fully understand how to navigate the information or aren’t aware any domain owner can access the online analytics tool at no cost.
“I look at Google Analytics every single day, at least for one property or another,” says Caroline Gould, Vice President of Marketing and Branding at Fore Property based in Washington, D.C. “I think it’s square one. If we look at the very, very top of the funnel, that is how people are coming to our property. The website presence just has such an enormous importance. It’s no question that digital and web traffic is absolutely 100% how people search for properties, so it’s such an essential cornerstone understanding.”
Gould relies on Google Analytics to assess the success of a property’s digital marketing and what marketing to try next. She evaluates referral sources to see which platforms and digital ads get the best traffic, where they rank for certain keywords, and check bounce rates for different campaigns.
We work closely with our multifamily property clients to help maximize the valuable consumer behavior and online data available in their Google Analytics reports, or even set up automated reporting — all readily accessible with a few keyboard clicks or taps on a tablet. In addition to training and support, we also offer multifamily properties access to proprietary PERQ reporting within the Google Analytics platform.
Every kind of business can benefit from knowing the basics in Google Analytics. I’ll walk through some of the most important aspects and highlight certain keystone reports your multifamily property management company should regularly review. By measuring the performance of your digital marketing more precisely you’re sure to spot patterns and get ideas on how to improve the results after a few months.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_column_text]
Watch this Video to Get a Better Understanding of Navigating Google Analytics for your Multifamily Property
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Google Analytics Provides Real-Time Reporting at No Cost
Easy to access through a Gmail login, Google Analytics delivers online user statistics and reports in real time, which provides companies with invaluable insights into who’s visiting the property website, what they’re looking at, how long they stay and how they landed on the site. Separate accounts can be set up for third-party marketing agencies or other vendors who need access to your analytics.
Google Analytics offers reports filtered by a multitude of factors, such as audience, consumer behavior and conversions. Property managers can then zoom in to see what floorplan pages or content are driving the most engagement on their property website. For our multifamily clients, the most popular report by far is Acquisitions, which shows all traffic sources and website data at a glance, then allows users to drill down into each specific channel.
Did the prospect do an organic search looking for “luxury apartments in Dallas” or a branded search on Google that specifically mentioned your company or property by name? Did they click on a paid search ad, and if so, which keyword phrase or incentive led them down the sales funnel? Are your company’s social media posts and promoted content driving prospects to check out your property online or schedule a tour?[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]
Helping Multifamily Property Management Teams Master Google Analytics
As part of our onboarding process and onsite team training, we walk multifamily property managers through their Google Analytics account and the PERQ reporting available. Our goal is to make navigating and using the data as easy as possible.
If a client hasn’t ever logged in to Google Analytics before, or only scanned the dashboard but not actively engaged with the tool, we begin by explaining their dashboard. We spotlight insights we think deliver the most value and demonstrate what each type of report the pull-down menu on the left side delivers, along with explaining how that meaningful data can help them score more leads and more leases.
For those with a rudimentary understanding of Google Analytics, we still help optimize and maintain the analytics account so the best data surfaces first. We then dive into the PERQ-specific reporting that ties together the website data with all other digital platforms and tracks a user across platforms, delivering in-depth insights unavailable in the basic setup.
Properties that already utilize Google Analytics often miss the crucial step of linking all online paid advertisements to that Google Analytics account. By linking digital ad data to website analytics, properties can see precisely which combination of digital marketing efforts drive the most profit and ROI, giving a multi-touch attribution view that’s invaluable when adjusting budgets based on performance and making investments in new technology.
Gould uses PERQ’s custom reporting filters to overlay insights and gain a deeper perspective on the data. “They have done a really great job there, and helping us to track specifics,” Gould says of the PERQ team who helped her set up the filters. “The one thing I really like about PERQ is we see that it’s not only great for converting web traffic, it’s also good for our SEO and I think that’s another place where Google Analytics is important. We see, because people are engaging with the website, a long time on site, a lower bounce rate, which overall improves the health of our website and helps us rank better organically.”
Smart Software Adds More Visibility and Highly Accurate Data
While Google Analytics is by far the best free analytics tool available, it does leave out critical pieces of the picture that marketers work so hard to bring into focus. Visitors to each online platform remain anonymous, meaning online leads get counted as a new visitor every time they log on and return to the website or switch from their smartphone to a desktop or tablet.
Our smart tracking software takes the Google Analytics insights a step further by assigning a unique PERQ ID number to each online consumer who engages with our technology. We can then identify that same person upon return to the website, track them across multiple devices and follow their journey to a lease offline by matching tours back to their online origination.
We’re also able to organize traffic and conversion sources into specific channels. Instead of getting multiple, separate reports for each Facebook or Zillow campaign and being forced to manually tabulate the overall results, our clients can view them in one report that analyzes them alongside one another for a clearer perspective per channel. We also break down generic lead groupings like “Social” into the specific networking platforms the company utilizes.
That level of detailed data allows properties to see which website leads turn into tenants and calculate the true ROI for each digital marketing campaign, taking into account multi-touch attribution versus looking at everything in silos. It also gives multifamily property management actionable insights to help increase leads and overall profit.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]
Additional Multifamily Resources
[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Data collected through Google Analytics provide insight into the traffic on your company’s website, but are you using the data to its fullest advantage? Do you know who those website visitors really are, or only that they spent time looking for a brown leather sofa or a midnight blue Honda CRV?
With PERQ’s recent upgrade to its Google Analytics Reporting, clients we serve in the multifamily, home furnishings and auto industries can easily connect personally identifiable information on every customer, as they journey from a website lead to an actual sale.
“That’s really powerful, because if you can come in and see the type of behavior that actually is attributed to only the people who are buying, it helps you understand the type of behavior that is creating the most value, the highest propensity to buy,” says PERQ Product Marketing Manager Russ Chandler.
While understanding how to effectively use Google Analytics may seem daunting, the PERQ upgrade makes it simple for companies to leverage website data for the most benefit. Here’s how it works:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/286223595″ align=”center”][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]
Simple PERQ Google Analytics Integration
PERQ works with your website’s existing Google Analytics account. The only thing your company needs to do is give PERQ access to your GA account with edit permissions to set up the PERQ dashboard.
Your company’s unique consumer data is kept private, and PERQ uses the reporting for monthly and quarterly business reviews and to analyze performance and ROI.
Benefits of PERQ Google Analytics Reporting
Instead of waiting for a meeting with PERQ to show you how your company’s website is doing each month, you can see in real time how the interactive website technology is performing. You can run a report showing Google Analytics Conversions for All Leads vs. PERQ leads, or track information on the number of unique website visitors, total CTA clicks, total unique leads and average session duration.
By capturing detailed lead data on each person who engages with the PERQ Website Conversion solution, whether they’re shopping for a new sofa, car or an apartment, companies can finally connect the dots between their website visitors and sales data to know which traffic sources are working.
Using Google Analytics to Improve Business
Ed Massood, owner of Home Inspirations Thomasville, says his company converts close to 20% of its website leads with the detailed lead data captured on his home furnishings website. “The insights we’re gathering online are invaluable,” Massood says, from spotting customer buying trends to knowing when a website lead buys in-store.
Tracking leads to sales and understanding customers’ buying patterns gives companies the power to target their sales approach and give consumers what they want. Take the blind spot out of your marketing strategy with clear insights from PERQ’s dashboard in Google Analytics.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]By collecting data on website visitors, a company can map consumer behavior to spot trends and close deals. “If you’re paying attention, consumer profiles read like a book,” says Joey Gunn, Vice President of Knight Furniture, a home furnishings retailer in Texas. “Follow that consumer journey and see what led them to where they are now.”
To highlight the common steps online shoppers take before making a big buying decision, we recently examined a half dozen consumer profiles pulled from client website data and followed their online shopping journey. Here’s what their story told us.
Multiple Visits Correlates with Lead Conversions
Our data shows the likelihood of an online lead converting into a sale or lease directly correlates with the number of experiences a person interacts with on a company’s website, as well as the overall time spent browsing on the website. When online visitors return to a website on multiple occasions to re-engage with a website’s interactive features, they almost always end up a paying customer.
“It demonstrates a high level of intent,” says Dave Weiss, marketing manager at Sherman’s home furnishings stores in Illinois. “We know the more time spent on the site, the more engaged the guest is and the more likely they are to convert.”
Tracking Online Visitors Across Digital Platforms
Consumers we tracked often logged in from multiple devices, which many analytics programs count as unique users. Working in conjunction with Google Analytics, our software ties those leads back to the same person so clients get the full picture of customers’ shopping behaviors. We can also trace a lead back to GA data to identify an online shopper who made a purchase or signed a lease after interacting with the website.
“If they’ve engaged with us online, we have the storybook on them, and they won’t have to start all over if they set up an appointment or walk into the store,” Gunn says.
Companies gain a competitive edge by gathering a wealth of pertinent information on leads through the various online experiences. “Having all of the responses dramatically improves our salesperson’s chance of finding suitable solutions to meet their needs,” Weiss says. “It allows us to start from a place of being helpful as opposed to questioning and selling.”
Every consumer journey we followed for this analysis converted into a sale after interacting with a client’s website. Don’t you just love a tale with a happy ending?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]