Great point, Brent! That's also where AFPOE can be helpful. Responses which come off like "because...
Wendy Dorchester
Hire for culture, train for skill! Love this. Jared, you have always emulated great culture in every...
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Apartment Search

- Blog posts tagged in Apartment Search

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
The most recent Android 4.4 update includes caller ID by Google, which searches Google Places and Google+ to identify each incoming call with its source. So no more call screening necessary. If your local mechanic is calling to notify you that your car repair is finished, their name will populate with the number (assuming they have their business listed completed) as you receive the incoming call. It also improves the search function within the phone’s dialer platform. Instead of doing a separate Google search to retrieve the number for your favorite local Chinese delivery, you can conduct the search within your phone’s dialer. How awesome is that!? It saves you that extra step, and you're that much closer to delicious Kung Pao chicken at your doorstep. For the multifamily housing industry, this is yet another reason to focus on optimizing your Google Places and Plus pages. You'll improve your reach by improving your visibility—When potential residents get a call from your leasing office, for instance, they'll know it's you and not just some unknown stranger. Does added the transparency improve occupancy? It can’t hurt. And for anyone concerned about having their personal phone number listed on what is now the world's largest caller ID directory, rest assured you're not forced to participate. You can simply opt-out of Google's caller ID indexing by going to Uncheck the box and it will remain "unknown", at least to Google caller ID. As a consumer, I'm excited for the update and looking forward to an improved experience with identifying my incoming calls, with minimal effort on my part. It's going to cut-down the...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Do you place more importance on your website's keyword search ranking than actual organic traffic count? When determining the success of your SEO efforts, placing too much dependence on where your apartment website ranks in Google for the keywords you monitor provides an incomplete picture of apartment seekers' search activity. I completed a small case study spanning 9 multifamily websites and found that, on average, 66% of organic traffic comes from long tail keywords where the property's site ranked somewhere below the third spot in Google. Generally, desktops only show about 3 organic listings without scrolling, or above the fold, which means the majority of traffic is coming from search listings below the fold. If you've had any sort of casual awareness of SEO, you know that goes against all we've been told since before Google became world-wide overlord. To provide some factual context, some recent data points that seem to affirm the trends I've witnessed: Only 17% of Google searches drive traffic to click the top-ranked organic listings.¹ But 48% of Google searches result in a page one organic click (for any of the listings ranging 1-10).¹ From this we can pretty well deduce that a majority of users are clicking somewhere other than the top-ranked organic listings. So isn't it time we shift our focus for SEO reporting/analytics? The emphasis on Google rank is an outdated success metric for both apartment SEO and the broader SEO community. Search has changed. It's time to catch up with major algorithm changes introduced by Google over the last few years:...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Couch surfing at your friends’ places when you move to a new town probably isn’t the best idea in the world once you’ve hit month three. But, until recently, I had had such a lack of motivation when it came to finding my own place. Sure, currently I’m in a spare room with my very own army cot, but it’s not quite the same as being able to call a place my own and putting down roots. It wasn’t until the other day that this thought crept into my mind: I’m an adult (twenty-something)! I have a college degree (truth)! I have a job (internship)! I’m too good to keep sleeping on an army cot (probably a lie)! With those thoughts cluttering my mind the search began. Kind of.  I’m going to be completely honest here. As a dreaded millennial (dreaded because it can feel like a four letter word), I fully expected apartment searching to be mundo easy. So easy that it was like somebody else would be doing the work for me… and that’s where my friends came in. I first talked to my college roommate from Senior year and, lo and behold, one of his roomies was trying to sell his contract. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! The rent was cheap, I’d be housing with a friend and the entire thing took so little effort it was laughable! It was too good to be true. Because I was buying a contract, it’s not like we could make a clean online exchange....

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Believe it or not, a lot of the marketing happening within the multifamily industry isn’t completely connected with what’s happening in the leasing office.  “We are in an industry where customers self-identify as prospects and spend a considerable amount of time finding us through search,” explains D2 Demand Solutions president Donald Davidoff. “The flipside is that those prospects are coming to us at a point where they know as much or more about our product and our competitor’s product—including pricing and reviews—as we do,” As a result, the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) concept popularized by Google and trending across the multifamily marketing landscape is having a much more indelible impact, Davidoff says. ZMOT holds that consumer purchasing patterns and use of technology has empowered a new era of online leasing, targeted marketing and demand creation, and the ability to begin creating brand ambassadors at first (or zero) point of contact. According to data from a multifamily ZMOT survey conducted this fall, only 64% of apartment searchers claimed to have used an online search engine to find their apartment, while 84% indicated they primarily sought out the opinions, advice, and recommendations from friends and family. The survey, which included 288 renter responses from 124 cities in 25 states, also found a strong connection between so-called “web appeal” and community curb appeal among the top five ZMOT influencers cited by respondents: 62% of prospects use their mobile phone during an onsite visit to compare apartments and prices elsewhere. 64% of apartment searchers...

Posted by on in Property Management

As a long-time renter, I have been through many apartment showings in various countries throughout my life. Despite the fact that I have never been a leasing agent, I have a good feel for what works and what doesn't. For the most part, a rental unit will sell itself. The renter usually has an idea of what they like and what they don't. The goal of the leasing agent should be to determine a potential client's requirements and then provide options that meet or exceed those expectations. Personally, I don't like a heavy sales pitch, and from my experience, good leasing agents avoid the hard sell tactics.

Over the years, I have encountered a fair number of agents that really push a property to the point of appearing almost desperate. It made me wonder what might be wrong with the unit or the complex as a whole. To be fair, some properties are just easier to sell than others. Buildings in great locations and newly constructed apartments with quality amenities can attract renters by word-of-mouth, or, by curb appeal alone. For older, less maintained buildings and complexes that are in less-desirable neighborhoods, it can be a more difficult process to get the units leased.

Posted by on in Property Management
Where are your leads coming from?Listen in on the conversations of today’s multifamily housing industry marketers and you’re bound to be blitzed by buzz words such as “lead generation,” “social engagement,” “mobile marketing,” “website conversion” and “protecting my brand.” Multifamily housing marketing is at the forefront of the technological revolution happening in the world today because it is relies heavily on all forms of communication—the more people reached the better. Today’s fragmentation and proliferation of communication channels is mind-boggling at times.  There is a virtual explosion of options to reach your target audience that allow you to engage socially, generate leads and convert those leads to leases while building your community brand.   So how do we keep pace with this marketing revolution and not fall behind? How do we make sure we are not wasting money on tactics that don’t work? And most importantly, how do we measure the effectiveness of our marketing strategies?   A vital element to answering these questions is the process of tracking marketing sources. Simple tracking efforts are a quick and easy way to continuously gauge marketing effectiveness through snapshot measurements. The encouraging news is that there are a host of unbiased resources available that make this important effort manageable. This includes assigning a unique tracking phone number to all your marketing sources, which allows you to review, without bias, the volume of marketing leads generated by each source.  You can also contact a third-party company that will manage this process for you.  If you are not quite ready to...

Posted by on in Property Management
Call them what you will—Millennials, Gen Y, Generation Next or Echo Boomers—they are all descriptors for the next generation of renters hitting the multifamily housing industry. A key characteristic of this demographic (who were born between 1982 and 1995 and are either the children or grandchildren of Baby Boomers) is that they are the most informed prospects that you have likely ever encountered. These potential renters are approximately 80 million strong, range in age from 16-29 and are highly educated as well as technologically savvy. Before stepping foot on your actual property, they will already have a good idea of what it looks like from photos and videos online—some of which have been posted by prior or current renters, some of them possibly posted by your company. Members of this next generation know the amenities your community offers, how much rent will cost them each month and they have unprecedented access to communication with your past and present residents via various social media avenues like Facebook and Twitter. They will most likely find out about your property through the Internet by using a laptop, iPad or Android, Web-enabled mobile device like an iPhone, and even more likely, a combination of all of the above. When they come to visit, they will have specific questions based on all of the information they have gathered, and they will want amenities and features that are quite a departure from your current, standard apartment fare like Wi-Fi, cathedral ceilings, limited floor plan options and possibly...

Posted by on in Property Management
Digital Touchpoints By R. Aaron Warnock, Chief Scientist, G5 Some think 2012 is the year of destruction, but maybe the Mayans only meant that the old way of doing business would be over. In this new era, the Age of the Customer, businesses must master customer engagement in an ever more digital world. Local businesses continue to grapple with the challenges of the continuously connected consumer. The shift to online channels has accelerated, driven by the adoption of mobile computing and the rise of social media. To remain competitive, businesses must move well beyond online advertising and recognize how to deliver exceptional experience with digital touchpoints throughout the lifecycle. Successful companies will be those that place Digital Experience Management (DXM) at the center of their strategic plans. Customers Are Talking About You The Age of the Customer is forcing companies to revise their approaches to marketing andservice, and the impact to the marketplace is profound. Exceptional customer experience, which has traditionally been credited for driving loyalty and client retention, has become the hottest factor in marketing strategy. Why? Because connected customers drive brand awareness through online advocacy. These previously innocuous whispers have taken on new power: profiles for local businesses are increasingly associated with customer reviews and ratings, and these citations are critically important for effective digital presence. So if you’re thinking about strategies for out-competing, maybe it’s time to comprehensively reexamine how your business connects with new prospects and services existing customers.  Are you communicating where, how, and when they need to find you? Are you...

Posted by on in Property Management
5 Multifamily Marketing/Tech Models in TroubleLast week Blackberry/RIM and Best Buy were two businesses that went on a list of dying companies.  It's often hard to predict what the future holds, and we have a tendency to get tunnel vision when it comes to our own businesses.  It's unfortunate these companies have found themselves to be in dire straights, but for me I look at situations like this as an opportunity to reflect on my own business and industry. What may look like a solid model today, may not be tomorrow.  With that, I'd like to share my list of five multifamily marketing/tech models that may be in trouble. 1. The ILS - I've actually been known to say that the ILS is an absurd marketing idea.  While I may have been trying to generate some controversy with that statement nearly 3 years ago, it's interesting to think today I actually believe the ILS model is in trouble a bit.  At least the way the big players look today.  If you look at,,,,, etc., you'll find their models really haven't changed much since they started.  However, the way people search online is changing.  We may see a few fall off over the next 5 years if they don't evolve in an aggressive way. 2. Pay Per Lease Marketing Model - As tracking becomes more sophisticated we're finding (and concluding) renters are using more than one source to find an apartment.  Is it fair to give all the credit to a single source and pay them a...

Posted by on in Property Management
When’s the last time you Googled your property? What did you see? Harmful reviews that you didn’t know existed? Outdated property photos? Incorrect information? Oftentimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day operations and running our apartment business that we fail to put ourselves in the perspective of the consumer (or apartment prospect), the true reason we exist and ultimately the factor that will contribute to our successes or demise. I want to offer a suggestion—er, or rather a challenge—to all on-site professional property managers and staff: Google your property. What do you see? What might be more fascinating is what you don’t see. Generally, when a potential renter finds us from a traditional ILS (i.e.,, etc.) and expresses interest, he or she will most likely Google that property, look for reviews and other insightful information that will guide their decision. On the flipside, prospects already aware of a community’s name might bypass an ILS, and Google a property’s name to gain knowledge. This is where savvy on-site staff can truly shine by utilizing all outlets available to flood a search engine with pictures, amenities, and language that can sway a prospect to rent. So, what will you find when you do a Google search? The other day I Googled my own property for the first time and I was introduced to a plethora of advertising outlets that I didn’t even know existed. And the best part, they were all free! Here’s a few that will likely pop...