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Google Ads Now Tracks Community Visits

Google Store VisitsApartment marketers have been longing for the day that they can attribute their ad spend to onsite community traffic. Google is making this dream a reality for more communities as they roll out store visit conversions in Google Ads. Up until this point, apartment marketers have been able to attribute ad campaign success in Google Ads through website traffic, website events, and phone calls. While these metrics do a great job of measuring the intent of searchers to visit a location, store visits allow communities to see how this online intent actually translates to foot traffic. In this blog post, I'll explain how Google tracks store visits, how apartment marketers can use this information to generate more foot traffic, and the criterion communities need to meet to be able to take advantage of this new metric. Who can take advantage of Google’s store visits?  Communities that have a Google My Business account set up for each location and 90% of their location links verified Communities using location extensions in Google Ads Communities that received thousands of ad clicks and impressions Communities that have enough foot traffic and pass user privacy thresholds How does Google track store visits?  Google uses a variety of signals to arrive at the store visits data they report in your Google ads account. Google maps data, store locations, wi-fi signal strength in stores, GPS location signals, Google queries, visit behavior, and a sample of 1 million users who opted into allowing Google to track their location history are all used to de......
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This will stop you in your tracking.

Whether you are just starting to track lead sources or are stuck with an OAPS report, the first step is to get your web source tracking set up correctly for your property. We have identified two key places along a prospect’s apartment search where you are misattributing the source to property website and how to solve it.     Prospect visits your website Prospect fills out a form   Don't panic. We can solve both of these problems. This blog will focus on solving the first case of inaccurate reporting leads to ill-informed conclusions about how to spend your marketing budget.       Luckily, the solution is simple. You need to make sure every source has a tracking tag. Once these are added, you can see your lead sources directly in your CRM. Yep, you read that right. No more doubts about where your leads are coming from. Adios, unknown campaign success. Au revoir checking Google Analytics to track your sources. Your sources listed in your CRM will be correct. A.K.A. more data-driven marketing decisions and fact-based proposals! Let’s get tracking!   What is a tracking tag? The first step to tracking web sources is to make sure every source has a tracking tag. A tracking tag is a code added to the end of a URL. These codes don’t alter the URL webpage. They allow you to identify how a lead found your webpage.       At first glance, it looks like gibberish. After reading this article, you see t......
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Elements of a Rock Star Review Response

Responding well to an online review is more involved than you might think at first glance. There’s a lot of customer service and public relations theory working in the background that has to be incorporated into a few short sentences. And it’s happening while you’re trying to hold back the emotion from being skewered online. If you can find a way to tame the angry beast inside and remember the following five elements, you can become a response rock star. Authenticity This isn’t a statement to the media or a legal letter. It’s a response to an upset resident with hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective renters watching. If your response reads like you outsourced it to your legal team, it’s not going to sound natural and prospects are going to know it isn’t genuine. Be natural, be authentic and prospects will believe you truly care about your residents. Honesty The worst thing you can do is lie. Saying your service manager was at the community at 9 a.m., when they didn’t show up until 3 p.m. might seem like a good idea because prospects will believe you arrived on time. But the truth always comes out and it’s more believable when it comes from a resident. The resident will call you out on a follow-up post and other residents might post their own negative reviews about late service just out of principle. Always tell the truth, even when responding to a review. Friendly It’s hard to be friendly to someone who just que......
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Creating Community: Appealing to Gen-Z in a Mobile World

  Meet Generation Z: the first generation of tech-savvy individuals that grew up with technology and instant convenience in arm’s reach. This group started entering adulthood in 2014, and with this transition came businesses trying to figure out how to best tap into this brand new market. Unlike previous generations like Baby Boomers and Millennials, attracting the business and loyalty of Gen Z presents unprecedented challenges that are only just now being understood and adequately attended to. The Gen Z tribe will likely become part of your residential community, either now or in the very near future. If you want to appeal to this up-and-coming age group, you’ll need to do more than offer them a place to lay their heads. This tech-savvy group is all about convenience and modern amenities, and here’s how you can meet their expectations: Mobile is King! Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is the calm, cool, and connected generation of our time. They grew up around many of the modern conveniences we have today, including the increasingly mobile lifestyle. One study found that 95% of Gen Z members have a smartphone, with a whopping 25% of those admitting they got their first cell phone before age 10. In other words, constant connectivity and mobility are their norm.  For them, it’s not just a new-and-improved solution for modern problems, but rather the way of life as they know it. The majority of Gen Z-ers are on their phones for five hours or more every day. That’s significantly higher compared to the av......
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[Google My Business Tip] Add These Categories for More Traffic

[Google My Business Tip] Add These Categories for More Traffic

In today's marketing tip, I'm going to share one easy hack for generating more traffic with your Google My Business (GMB) listing. 

Here it is: Add more business categories to your listing.

When you set up your GMB listing, you chose a primary category that tells Google what your business is about.

This primary category is very important as it has an impact on local search rankings plus it's the only category that's publicly displayed. 

In most cases, the primary category you chose would be:

Apartment Building or Apartment Complex

Now, it's time to take this a step further by listing additional categories underneath your primary. Here are the categories I recommend adding.

Primary Category:

Apartment Building

Additional Categories:

  • Apartment Complex 
  • Apartment Rental Agency
  • Furnished Apartment Building (if you offer furnished units)
  •  Real Estate Rental Agency
  • Student Housing Center (for student housing properties)

 Here's what it looks like in a GMB dashboard:

Note: If you used Apartment Complex as your primary category, that's totally fine. Just put Apartment Building in your additional category list.

Wrapping Up

If you pay attention to your GMB listing and fully execute on the new features Google releases, you will be rewarded with increased traffic.  

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What Are You Handing Out to Hot Prospects?

What Are You Handing Out to Hot Prospects?

When was the last time you took a good look at what you were giving out to prospects that just toured your community?

Is it just an application? A community folder with the application inside? A brochure?

Why not switch to a custom branded box that wows your prospect. Then fill the box with your necessary information plus a few extra goodies.

You could call it your “New Lease Toolkit.” What would you put inside? Here are a few ideas:

•    Floor Plan Sheets, Brochures, Application

•    Local Area Discounts, Movie Tickets

•    Tape Measure, Candles

•    Scratch Off Lottery Tickets

•    Candy

Here's a recent box we created using Packlane.com.

Packlane lets you customize every square inch of the box - inside and out. The cost is minimal and you can order as many or as few as you need.

Don't forget -  Your  overall goal is to give your hot prospects a leave-behind that holds their attention. If your box is good enough, you may even benefit from a prospect opening the box on video and then sharing it on social media.

Consider this - on Instagram you’ll find over 475,000 posts tagged #unboxing. And since 2010, YouTube videos with “unboxing” in their title have increased 871%.

What would you rather have - a fun box full of goodies or a community folder with information?

 

 

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6 Reasons Your Lead Tracking is Failing

Budget season. Don’t you shudder a little just reading it? We get it, especially after reading this Forbes article which stated, “74% of marketers can’t measure or report how their efforts impact their business.” Creating a new budget when you can’t prove what is working and what isn’t is not an easy task. However, if you are using lead source attribution to create your marketing reports, it’s not that bad. We created an easy-to-follow guide to help multifamily marketers get the most out of lead source attribution. The first step is to correctly track your sources. We pay careful attention to the four areas along the prospect’s journey where lead tracking often fails.        1. Web sources are not properly tagged    2. Phone sources do not have unique numbers    3. Phone sources do not have Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI    4. Web sources do not have Dynamic Source Insertion (DSI)    5. Sources are changed when reported in Lead-to-Lease   Once you are confident your sources are being tracked correctly, you can start analyzing the data. We will discuss how to convert your data into useful insights. Additionally, we will address the main issue most multifamily marketers face when analyzing their data.          6. Multifamily companies struggle to consolidate their data. By taking the leases per source data from your CRM and combining it with your cost per source data from your budget, you can perform a cost analysis (calculate the cost per lease) for your source......
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Positive Review Peril: 5 Steps to an Authentic Online Story

Positive Review Peril: 5 Steps to an Authentic Online Story
Imagine you are planning to make a major purchase, let’s say a car for example.  You decide to check out a local dealership’s website and find nothing but 5-star ratings, hundreds of glowing reviews describing excellent service, and testimonials of loyalty from customers who are over-the-moon happy with their experiences.  At this point you’re feeling pretty confident that buying from this dealership would be a smart decision.  Or are you?  Human nature tells us a little skepticism is bound to seep in when something seems too good to be true. We’ve all been burned before; it would not be far-fetched to say in hindsight the situation at the beginning was in fact, too good to be true.  “I should have known better”…sound familiar?  Renters have also been burned before; some have spent an entire year or longer dealing with bad neighbors, inconsistent service, unresponsive management and more - none of which was depicted in the community’s marketing message.  In a previous post, I wrote people now value the written word over the actual score.  Scores, while still a prominent factor for management companies and communities, have become secondary to those seeking information.  Star ratings are following this trend as well.  According to Brightlocal’s Consumer Review Survey, 68% of respondents said they’d be willing to do business with a company that had at least a 3.5 out of 5 star rating.  Communities intent on projecting an all-positive image could be in peril.  Renters are not looking for perfection – they’re looking for authenticity.  If......
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Email Marketing Best Practices for New Construction Lease Ups

Email Marketing Best Practices for New Construction Lease Ups
If you have a new construction project, email marketing needs to be part of your overall lease up plan.  Before I get into our email marketing best practices, there are two things you need to have ready first:  #1 - You want construction banners posted around the development directing people to a website.  #2 - The actual website that you'll setup needs to be a landing page (just one page) with the goal of building an interest list. On this interest list website, prospective residents can enter their contact information to stay in the loop as your new apartment community is developed. This will help you build a solid list of good prospects. The best way to stay top of mind with hot prospects is through email marketing. Here are 5 best practices: #1 - How often should I email?  Send one to two emails monthly. When prospects opt-in for more information on your website, they should receive a welcome email immediately. This first email is probably the most important, as it is your first contact with your prospects and sets the tone for their entire experience with your community. Confirm you received their information, thank them, welcome them, and let them know what to expect next.  Spend extra time making sure you're creating the right experience with your words. Then set this email up as an autoresponder, so they automatically receive it a few minutes after leaving their information. #2 - What should I say in my emails?  Include updates on construction, making prospects feel......
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Quick SEO Tip to Help Your Website Get More Clicks

Quick SEO Tip to Help Your Website Get More Clicks
One of the top SEO problems I see when reviewing apartment websites is that no one takes the time to properly write a meta description for the homepage of their website.  What is a Meta Description Anyway?   The meta description is the paragraph of text that appears below the headline in your Google search result. The meta description is essentially a short statement about the website. See below: In most cases, the meta description is left blank. When that happens, Google will just pull random text from your website and display that as your meta description. That’s not a good idea, because the description for your website will show as a bunch of broken phrases that don't represent your community from a professional standpoint. For example: Instead of leaving it up to Google to pull random text from your website, write your own meta description and treat it as a mini sales message that further compels your prospect to take action.   Why Write Your Meta Description as a Mini Sales Message The person searching Google will be enticed to take action and click on your website.  Your website will stand out among the other Google-generated meta descriptions. Your site will get more traffic, which will move your listing higher in organic rankings. How to Write Your Meta Description in 5 Simple Steps   Search engines will typically cut your meta description off after 158 characters. So, keep your text less than that. It should be roughly two short sentences. Include your two main keywords in y......
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