How qualified is the traffic to your apartment website?

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Are you looking for ways to make your apartment community more efficient and effective? This is Part 10 of our Apartment Vacancy Analysis series, which will help you find and fix the gaps across the marketing and leasing chain, and offers practical strategies and tools to help take your apartment community to the next level! Access the full table of contents available below.

🤕 Problems & symptoms of low-quality website traffic

When vacancies rise, you can't quickly increase traffic to your website.

Everyone in the multifamily industry understands intuitively that occupancy and demand change frequently. However, many apartment marketing strategies aren't designed to account for those changes. 

Case in point: When vacancies increase in your apartment community, you must immediately drive up demand to rectify the problem. 

But if your marketing strategy is static—meaning you're paying the same amount each month—you don't have the means to adjust a marketing channel or its budget to increase web traffic immediately.

Nobody in your organization is monitoring organic traffic or SEO performance.

Organic traffic, or website visitors who came to your website from an unpaid marketing source, are a leading indicator of your apartment community's demand. 

Without someone actively monitoring your organic traffic numbers to your apartment's website, you're operating blind and unnecessarily overcorrecting your marketing or pricing at the wrong time.

The more organic traffic to your website, the more in demand your community is. Inversely, when organic traffic is low, demand is also low. This is commonly referred to as your seasonality.

Without someone actively monitoring your organic traffic numbers to your apartment's website, you're operating blind and unnecessarily overcorrecting your marketing or pricing at the wrong time.

SEO (search engine optimization) performance is also critical to this discussion, as a leading indicator of your ability to consistently generate organic traffic to your community website is your apartment's visibility in search engines. 

If your website isn't the top listing for search queries containing branded keywords (your apartment community's name and location) or even keywords relevant to your community, that is a severe problem. The prospective residents seeking your apartments online will have difficulty finding your website, ultimately creating a negative perception.

It's why you cannot let SEO performance go unnoticed, either.

You only have 1 or 2 legitimate options for lead generation.

In apartment marketing, it's critical to acknowledge that every renter—regardless of the length of time it takes to conduct their search—goes through three distinct stages before choosing which apartment to live in:

  • Awareness: They've determined that they need to rent an apartment and begin to look for communities that fit their unique needs.
  • Consideration: They've narrowed their selections to a few apartment communities; thus, they will do a deeper analysis to get the best comparison between the finalists.
  • Decision: One apartment community has emerged as the best fit and initiate the leasing process there.

For your apartments to consistently emerge as a top contender when prospective residents seek communities like yours, your marketing strategy must align with these three stages—meaning you can't get by with only one or two legitimate lead-generating sources. 

It would help if you had a mix of lead-generating marketing sources present at each stage of a typical search that also helps renters move closer to choosing your community. 

📍Put a pin here...because there's something important we need to consider before going further into some common mistakes at this stage of the resident lifecycle that contribute to vacancy.

It's important to set a framework for just how many marketing sources you may need to deploy to generate more qualified traffic successfully and leads for your community.

The best method is to optimize your marketing mix alongside the Leasing Funnel.

Leasing funnel for apartment marketing | RentVision

The alignment of the Leasing Funnel helps you determine which marketing sources you'll need and when they're most impactful during a prospect's search. 

It also clarifies the need for more than just a couple of sources. For example, paid advertising is effective at the funnel's top, middle, and bottom. But ILSs are only most effective at the top. 

Suppose your marketing strategy only utilizes a few ILS listings and a website. Are you doing enough to give your communities a competitive advantage throughout the critical stages of the apartment search?

Okay, let's continue...

🤦🏼‍♂️ Common mistakes that apartment marketers make that lead to poor website traffic

You're stuck with too many long-term, non-dynamic lead sources.

This is the setback of static apartment marketing. If you maintain a set-it-and-forget-it approach, you'll be caught paying for more leads when your apartments are full while only getting a certain number of leads when you need more demand.

ILSs, in particular, are notorious for locking you into long-term package deals where you'll pay the same amount monthly—regardless of your seasonality—to be listed alongside all your nearest competitors. This doesn't bode well when you need to drive more web traffic immediately.

Your marketing strategy over-relies on ILSs to generate leads.

We're not suggesting that ILSs are ineffective lead channels. They're essential to helping prospective residents discover your communities early in their apartment search. If ILSs work for you, great!

That being said, if you're utilizing and paying for multiple ILS listings, you're investing a lot of money into the top of your leasing funnel, which means that most leads generated from those sources are naturally going to be less qualified than leads that are generated from your bottom-of-funnel sources. 

Thus, getting leases at the volume or velocity necessary to stay ahead of vacancies consistently will be more challenging if most of your strategy relies on ILSs.

You're not investing enough effort into your local SEO or organic search presence.

On closer inspection of the Leasing Funnel, one can see that local SEO and organic channels like Google Business Profile and listings on other navigational applications have a massive impact on your ability to generate leads and leases. 

We could cover much ground here but know these channels are essential to any successful apartment marketing strategy. Nearly every prospective resident will actively seek out your Google Business Profile, for example, to verify your community's location and study reviews because what others say online about their experience with your apartments is almost as influential as any of your marketing messaging.

Failure to invest in ensuring your local SEO and organic search presence are in good order causes many prospects to lose trust in your apartment community.

You're deploying digital advertising, but it's not correlating to leasing success.

The most effective lead-generating source for apartment marketers is digital advertising because it is impactful at every stage of the typical apartment search and, more importantly, allows you to dynamically change spending to help you get leads when vacancies rise and save money when occupancy is strong.

There's a danger in running digital ad campaigns on Google or Facebook to say, 'Hey, we're running digital ads, too!' That could be an expensive mistake because the reality is that not all paid traffic is created equal. 

That said, there's a danger in running digital ad campaigns on Google or Facebook to say, 'Hey, we're running digital ads, too!' That could be an expensive mistake because the reality is that not all paid traffic is created equal. 

Without a well-established digital ad strategy targeting renters most interested in your apartment communities, the higher traffic volume to your website will produce little leasing success.

🙌🏼 Best practices for increasing the quality of traffic coming to your apartment's website

Adopt more dynamic marketing sources that let you change spending according to your community's needs.

Adopting a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) digital advertising strategy on highly visible online platforms like Google and Facebook will help transfer your apartment's marketing from static to dynamic. 

With dynamic marketing sources, you're more equipped to react to vacancies, often before they become problematic. 

You can increase spending and generate more qualified traffic when you need more demand. When it's the slower leasing season and your apartments have higher occupancy, you can lower ad spending and save money.

But, in total transparency, Google Ads and Facebook Ads are time-consuming and difficult to master. As stated before, it's not the best idea to start dumping your marketing budget toward digital ads without ensuring you have an effective strategy for apartment advertising. You may need help from a PPC vendor to adopt this dynamic marketing tactic.

Tackle easy local SEO tactics.

Take the time and effort to optimize your Google Business Profile and Apple Business Connect account. Follow these steps to verify and set up your Google listing, and follow these to stand out on Apple.

Again, these two local SEO channels significantly impact your ability to generate leads. And, not to mention, they're totally free marketing sources that enable you to present essential community details and engaging media content to prospects. Talk about an easy way to instantly boost your search presence!

Evaluate the quality of your paid traffic.

Pay close attention to your website traffic data to ensure a return on your marketing investment, specifically within your digital advertising campaigns or other paid sources.

Suppose the traffic generated from your paid sources isn't staying or engaging highly on your website. In that case, you need to inspect and change your ad campaigns or further evaluate the website and see if any performance or content issues causing visitors to leave it quickly.

🛠 Tools to help you consistently get high-quality apartment website traffic

Set up a free Google Analytics account.

Set up a Google Analytics account for your apartment community's website (if you haven't done so already). There, you can assess critical metrics, like engagement rate or time on site of users. Typically, the longer someone stays and engages with the content on your website, the more qualified that individual is to eventually become a lead.

See what your website visitors search for in Google Search Console.

You can also use Google Search Console to see the search terms that lead visitors to your community website. If they're primarily keywords that exactly match or are relevant to your community's identity, then that's a great indicator you're getting qualified traffic. Search terms irrelevant to your community indicate that your website visitors are less qualified.

Get the best PPC advertising solution for multifamily.

RentVision's predictive digital advertising solution drives traffic to your website when needed by automatically adjusting campaigns to highlight floorplans with the most upcoming vacancies. Plus, you get the most out of your budget with automatic daily budget allocation across your advertising platforms to ensure you always get the highest-quality website visitors.

➡️ Next page: What about pricing?! How rents affect your apartment's performance

Complete Apartment Vacancy Analysis Series
Introduction: What's causing your apartment's vacancy? Here's how to find & fix it
Part 2: Is your apartment's renewals strategy causing more vacancy?
Part 3: Are your residents satisfied with their experience at your apartments?
Part 4: Are you accruing excess vacancy loss after units lease?
Part 5: Are you properly vetting your apartment's lease applications?
Part 6: Is your apartment's application process to blame for vacancies?
Part 7: Are your apartment tours helping overcome vacancy?
Part 8: Do you have enough 'good' leads to improve apartment leasing?
Part 9: Is your apartment website converting leads to leases?
Part 10: How qualified is the traffic to your apartment website?
Part 11: What about pricing?! How rents affect your apartment's performance

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