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Are you phoning it in on phone lead attribution?

Introduction Last week, we closed the tab on web source tracking. Today, we are going to address how you can track those pesky phone leads. I know what you are thinking, “I have tracking numbers for each source. I’m good.”  Unfortunately, the Overly Attributed Property Website Situation (OAPS) can affect your phone leads too. Would you schedule a tour without checking out the property website first? Probably not. If your lead visits your property website before picking up the phone, there’s a good chance they will end up calling the property website tracking number, instead of their true source.       See what we mean? All of the time and money you put into setting up your source tracking is moot once the lead reaches the property website.   How can you fix your phone tracking?     Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) was created to solve this very issue. It uses tracking tags, unique tracking phone numbers, and DNI scripts to resolve the OAPS issue for phone leads. With DNI, the number shown on your website changes based on the source. I’m with you, but how exactly do these fit together? DNI used tracking tags to identify the lead’s source. The DSI script dynamically inserts the unique tracking phone number associated with the lead’s source on the property website. Hence the name Dynamic Number Insertion. Phone leads from an online source should always use the tracking phone number assigned to each source. Whether a lead calls the number listed on Zillow or if they ca......
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Small Talk, Dirt, and Seagulls: A CRM Story

As level-headed mature adults (or so we hope), we’ve all been well versed on what conversations are all-around “safe” topics. Pets, traffic, food, the weather—all generally pretty dependable for drama-free, low-risk chitter chatter. They’re your guideposts when there’s a need to look socially competent, without requiring a terrible amount of creativity or concentration. In fact, a person who chooses to display any form of strong emotion during an episode of small talk is generally despised.

Within the vast sphere conventional corporate America, customer relationship management (CRM) is another topic that is highly prevalent, granted little consequence, and in many circumstances, can be painfully dull. But the thing is, we’ve got to know this stuff. Effectively managing client interactions can make or break your company—just ask Zappos.

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Are You Measuring Up in Marketing?

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......
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3.6% of Social Media Comments are Apartment Leads

For two months, we’ve been categorizing every social media comment and mention for clients that use our content moderation services. During that time, we categorized over 3500 users comments and have calculated our preliminary findings.


While our numbers confirm that social media is not a material source of leads, 3.6% of all comments and mentions are in fact leads. However, our data also revealed that residents are actively using social media pages as customer service portals: 9% of all comments tracked were maintenance requests and 38% were general customer service requests.


Interestingly, only 13.6% of all social media mentions were positive or negative comments or reviews (7.6% positive, 6% negative). The numbers suggest that at least in the multifamily space, social media engagement is transactional, not positive and negative comments and reviews.


After evaluating the market offerings for reputation management tools, we were not satisfied that the sentiment scores provided would be as meaningful and accurate as our customers would expect from us. As a result, we devised a method of hand scoring all comments and mention for our clients whose service level includes moderation which gives them access to much better data about social media engagement.


Let us know if you have any questions, we will try to keep everyone up to date on what we find. 


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The Price of Engagement

And I'm not talking the married kind of engagement. (although that can be pretty pricey too)

I'm talking the price of engagement in regards to social media. I was not a bandwagon social media user. I wanted to understand how to engage and converse with our residents and potential residents before I jumped on the social media train. I also wanted to understand how to measure engagement and then translate that to value for our clients. 

For me, the  issue with social media is not the time it takes to post, blog or tweet, the issue is engagement. Are you maximizing on opportunities of engagement? Are you talking at your residents and prospects are talking with them? Having thousands of fans or followers are great but what are you doing with them?

What gives you the best engagement bang for you buck? I have included my top three.


Posting and tweeting are a marathon, not a race. If you clog up their news feed, they are sure to unfollow or unsubscribe. Studies show a post every 3-4 hours is the sweet spot.


Are you looking at your insights page? Your insights page has a wealth of information and demographics. Use that to your advantage when posting. 


Look at your most successful post (in terms of likes, comments, impressions, re-tweets, etc) and figure out your feedback score. For the posts with the highest feedback percentage, do you see a pattern of posts people engage with most... sports, fashion, decorating ideas? 

I benchmark everything. As a Director of Marketing, making sure my marketing team's time is well spent requires just that, benchmarking everything. Have we figured out the secret formula to social media, engagement and ROI.. not yet but I'm working on it. :-)

Happy posting!


Sparkle Hammond, M.Ed.  First Communities | Director of Marketing
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.century-apartments.com | www.facebook.com/centuryapartmenthomes

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Get over your vanity metrics. Social Media channels are Marketing and Leasing channels

So, you've read through countless fun blogs from within and outside the industry and yes, you've smiled to yourself as you've had to thumb through silly posts about the author's dogs or sunglasses and/or other gimmicky things to keep you reading. And yes, you've gone a step above and read through more authoritative beats like Mashable or TechCrunch or HBR to yes, still find yourself having to smile and get through gimmicky articles on social media.  And in that time frame of lost minutes  (and yes, hours), you were trained over and over to think that social media was about #fans #followers #tweets #comments #posts and other "measurements". Well, guess what they were wrong and you were wrong to believe it. These vanity metrics simply don't add up to leases or renewals. At the very stretch, they are ONLY good for brand lift, which you likely will ONLY consider once you can DEMONSTRATE you have a handle on building true marketing and leasing ROI. Otherwise, I give it to your boss to tell you to eat it and find something else better to do with your time. And the reason is simple, we as an industry need to spend the very little time we do have to market (how many of you truly have a full-time dedicated marketing manager on site???) on getting a return from it.  So, here is how to do it.  Break your social media into two sections Customer Service and Employee/community recognition (which leads to brand lift......
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Setting the Record Straight on Pay Per Lease Advertising

It seems like the debate continues on and on regarding which ILS model is the best.  At the recent NMHC Tech Conference people were tweeting about it.  At a recent Apartment Guide conference people were tweeting about it.  It seems that at every conference people are tweeting and talking about it in recent years, let alone all the blog posts and discussions online about the topic.  So, I’d like to set the record straight by saying: We’re all a bunch of suckers when it comes to buying leasing traffic. Yes, you read that correctly.  We’re buying gimmicks, and I’m guilty myself.  It sounds so great on the surface.  ”Pay only for what you get” is the promise.  I have to ask though, what exactly do we get? 1. Some kind of listing. 2. Some kind of marketing that drives people to these sites. 3. A trackable phone number. 4. A form that prospects can fill out to contact us. 5. And if we’re lucky some links to our websites. From my perspective, none of these things are concrete enough to justify a pay per lease fee.  Why?  Because there are dozens of other sites and resources that offer a slight variation of the same exact information.  What makes a site so unique that it deserves a “Pay Per” model?  I say nothing.  Is it even realistic to think that prospects just used one site and it should be given all the credit?  I say no. All said, I’m guessing that you’re......
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How did your residents find you? Tips on properly attributing your leads

Do you know where your residents are coming from? Knowing the source of your leads – especially the ones that convert to leases – is critical in terms of determining where to spend your advertising dollars. Here are five friendly suggestions on how to keep track of your various lead sources: 1) Just ask – It may seem obvious, but providing a quick and simple survey as part of your leasing process will go a long way in determining where your residents are coming from. Keep your survey short, but specific. For example, knowing that someone found your property online isn’t quite as helpful as knowing if they found you on and ILS like Apartments.com or Craigslist. Keep in mind after visiting several apartment search websites, your residents could be confused about which ones they used. Try giving them a visual representation of websites that you advertise on to help jog their memory. 2) Stay organized – If you use multiple Internet Listing Services, be sure you are keeping track of how many leads you receive from each one. Note the date, prospect’s name, lead source and if you have followed up. This will make it easy to cross reference information to make sure it’s accurate. 3) Be thorough – Prospective renters may tell you that they found your property by just driving by, but, these days, there’s a good chance that they also researched your property online. Whether it’s a TV, a car or a new apartment, many purchases that......
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Prostituting the Product - A 6 Month Review

About six months ago, I wrote about the changes I was seeing in marketing,  concessions, and targeted prospects in my specific comp market... It was suggested to me that I complete a follow up to Prostituting the Product.   So away we go... In the merry adventures of market comp re-shopping, I was astounded to see that very little has changed locally.  Unfortunately, my market suffers due to influx of new multifamily builds and increasing home purchases, which has reduced traffic across the board and continued to train prospects to expect the very best in concessions. Seemingly, product quality is not at the forefront of the shopper's mind; "concession, concession, concession" continues to blink about as a strobe-light of expectation... Of my market comp's, Rental History continues to fail the mark.  Gone are the days of taking serious rental verification... instead what I heard was:  "Well.... if the writ wasn't processed..." or even better yet was, "We're giving away clean slates, here at...". I continue to be dumbfounded.  If a prospect can't pay previous property management, how can you expect to be any different (Note:  Reference the definition of "insanity").  Trust me, I get the concept of hard times.  I even get the concept of the resident that is consistently late but always comes through.  But what I fail to get is the turning of the blind eye to what seems to be an obvious mistake in decision making. Credit has also taken a direct hit in terms of importance.  My......
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The Apartment Agent Leasing Kit - Be Prepared (Part 1)

The Apartment Leasing Kit - Be Prepared!

Throughout the years, I have created a Leasing Kit for each Property I have managed.  I have found this Kit to be extremely helpful and the most vital tool for the Leasing Team.  I hope this helps your Team as much as it has mine!

The leasing kit is your map to a successful and thorough presentation.  Although the leasing kit is designed as a sales tool, it must also be attractive.  Use a high quality binder and keep it organized at all times.  Papers should not be sticking out of the edges, and you should always be prepared with enough documents for your clients.  Do not run out!

The contents of the leasing kit may vary depending on the needs of each Property, but make sure to include the following:

  • Floor Plans – Include room dimensions such as wall lengths, window sizes, linear feet of closets, storage capacity, etc.  Include the special and unique features found in each floor plan and location throughout the Community.  You can never have too much detail for your prospective residents!   Example:  All A2’s on the 2nd floor have vaulted ceilings.
  • Site/Property Map – Indicate the exact location(s) of where you have available apartments. 
  • City and Neighborhood Maps – Include public transportation locations and routes, shopping and business districts, schools, grocery stores, etc. 
  • Reference Page – Names and addresses of schools, medical facilities, areas of special interests, etc. 
  • Leasing Collateral – Brochures and business cards are vital.
  • Tape Measure – Assist your prospective resident with furniture placement and other special needs.
  • Calculator – You never know when your prospective resident will inquire about a "pro-rated rent" or what the average utilities and rent add up to monthly.  Be prepared!
  • Community Newsletter – Share while on your tour and discuss upcoming Community Events.
  • Rental Applications/Rental Criteria – While on the tour, offer a rental application once you you’re your prospective resident is ready to lease.  This is a great closing technique.
  • Apartment Availability Report – Never leave the Office without your Availability.  You never know if your prospective resident will inquire about other apartments and their availability. 
  • Notepad/Guest Card – Document any questions that require follow up by the Property Manager or Maintenance Manager.
  • Important Information Sheet - A list of all the important, daily contacts (vendors, repair technicians, etc.) the Property utilizes. 

Your leasing kit should contain a clip to hold the guest card.  This will help insure that you do not forget your client’s name!  Use the Guest Card to write comments and to continue gathering qualifying information.  This is a great place to write down pet’s names, amenity preferences, etc.  The more information you write down, the more your client will feel secure and comfortable knowing they have someone working with them that cares about their interests and not just a commission.  Remember to HUMANIZE yourself!  No Used Car Salepersons!

Having the client’s guest card with you will eliminate the need to “interrogate” them again for their information as well as showing that you are organized and very thorough with your tours.

Thank you!

Chris Hyzy

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