We know that the majority of prospects start their apartment search journey on an ILS (Internet Listing Service) such as Apartments.com or Zillow. It can be really hard to make your ILS listing all that much different from the others on there. You can have high quality photos and a really informative description, but that’s kind of it.
From an ILS, the next step prospects take is to go to the apartment website. This is one of the only few opportunities you have to show what is different and unique about your multifamily property. Daniel Paulino, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Bozzuto, says that the website is your chance to tell the prospects the story of who you are.
“Consumers have an obsession these days with floor plans,” Paulino says from his experience with his own property management group’s websites. He saw that websites with the best floor plan experience capture the prospects attention and they stay longer than the websites that didn’t. It doesn’t mean that you have to get a 3D floor plan of each unit, but showing how many available units per floor, having high quality images and detailed information about each floor plan is crucial.
When you’ve got the prospect on your site, it’s important to keep them on there as long as possible and to be effectively gathering data on what floor plan they are looking at, pricing, move-in timeline, etc. When it comes to what tools you invest in your tech stack to help keep the prospect on your site and to gather data, Paulino says, “Bottom line, there’s two main driving points that are extremely important; what does the prospect need, what is important to them, and what is your business actually trying to address this in the prospects journey.”
When it comes to figuring out what tools in your tech stack that live on your website are worth keeping and which ones need to be cut, Paulino emphasized the importance of A/B testing. A/B testing is when there are two versions of your page with two different variants. While this test runs, online users will see one or the other at random and continue on the page as normal. It’s the clearest way to show what the tool is actually doing when it comes to driving traffic to certain buttons, converting leads to tours, and what journey the prospect ends up taking on your site.
Paulino also points out that you can’t just test one metric to see if a tool has value. Leads to lease conversion is an important metric and should always be looked at since that is the bottom line of what your efforts are trying to do. That doesn’t mean you should ignore other metrics like keyword rankings, cost per lead, bounce rate, etc.
There are lots of tools out there to help boost our apartment website performance, but not all of them are worth it. The tools you invest in need to help the leasing team work more efficiently by collecting better data and make your apartment website stand out from competitors. It can be hard to tell if a tool will help you, but with Paulino’s advice you can know whether or not your investment was worth it.