Every apartment marketer's objective is to get their community in front of the right group of prospective residents—the ones who are actually interested in living in one of their apartments. The more often they're able to do so, the more likely they are to have a steady stream of qualified leads who are ready to sign a lease.
This is why all apartment marketers must possess the ability to accurately assess the performance of their marketing sources, as the data from each can paint a picture as to why, or why not, their communities are successfully generating the right number of highly qualified leads at the right time.
There are various ways to evaluate the types of leads each source generates, specifically with digital ads or website traffic insights in Google Analytics, but we've discovered that the clearest results come by tracking lead-to-lease conversions. Tracing every lease back to its original marketing source is an objective way of showing which sources are best for generating qualified leads, and which ones aren't—a huge benefit for both apartment marketers and their respective communities! (More on that later.)
In this blog, we'll show how you can begin to track lead-to-lease conversions and why doing so will positively impact your overall marketing strategy and revenue.
3 Steps Of Tracking Lead-To-Lease Conversions
1. Implement call and email tracking software.
To gain a precise method of pinpointing each lead's original marketing source, you need to implement phone call and, if necessary, email tracking software for your apartment community. There are a number of different companies you can pay for their tracking software, but note that both phone and email lead tracking are prominent features available to RentVision's clients within our predictive apartment marketing system.
With call tracking, specifically, a unique phone number is assigned to each of your preferred marketing sources. When a prospective resident dials that number, the call gets redirected to your leasing office's direct line. Thus, the tracking software records the marketing source from which that phone call originated by matching it to the unique number assigned.
The workflow of phone call tracking software looks like this:
Phone Number Purchased From Tracking Software Company → Tracking Phone Number
Assigned To Marketing Source → Apartment Community's Direct Office Line
We'd recommend that you assign a unique phone number for at least these three primary marketing sources:
- Your apartment community's website
- Google My Business page
- Digital advertisements
Prospective residents won't realize that they're calling a number that's assigned to a marketing source instead of the apartment community's direct line, because their call will be automatically redirected to the leasing office where one of the leasing agents will answer.
However, when you're purchasing unique phone numbers from the call tracking software company, be sure to pick numbers associated with your direct location.
For example, it wouldn't make sense for an apartment community in Lincoln, Nebraska to purchase a phone number outside of the 402 area code. That may confuse residents when they call a number that seems to be to a different location than the one your community is actually in.
2. Count leases, not leads.
Once you've implemented tracking software, the next step is to begin collecting phone call and/or email counts from each source for a period of time. It may be helpful to record this data through a change in seasonality (winter to summer months) so that you're able to get a full view of how some sources performed versus others.
In assessing this data, it's vital that you review all of the leases signed during that period of time and trace each back to its original marketing source. While it's easy to simply look at how many total phone call or email leads each source generated, the reality is that not all leads are considered equal.
Internet Listing Services are a good example of this. If you've assigned any system of tracking to an ILS, you will see that they do a great job of delivering a significant number of leads to your apartment community. But by weighing leases more than leads, you will also see that many of the prospects that originated from an ILS weren't highly qualified, or ready to rent from your apartment community.
Which brings us to our third step…
3. Prioritize marketing sources that result in the highest amount of phone calls versus emails.
In tracking lead-to-lease conversions, we've observed something quite obvious over time: leads who call your leasing office directly convert more than those who email.
Essentially, you should consider a phone call as the highest qualified lead you can attain. That's because most prospective residents don't 'cold call' a leasing office. They only take that giant step within the leasing process after they've gathered all the information they needed from your website or other marketing source to confidently reach out to you and either schedule or tour or begin the application process.
Meanwhile, prospective residents who email leasing agents aren't quite as ready to take a tour or sign. They're generally just trying to seek more information about a community.
That is why marketing sources that result in phone calls should be prioritized over ones that generate a high amount of emails, as those sources are achieving what you desire: to get your apartments in front of the individuals who are actually interested in them.
The Benefits Of Tracking Lead-To-Lease Conversions
Why take the time to track lead-to-lease conversions? Doing so enables apartment marketers to achieve these three things:
Condense the marketing budget to only fund sources that generate the most qualified leads.
Cut underperforming marketing sources.
Confidently dial digital advertising spend up or down because they have greater control of generating the right amount traffic and demand, when necessary, to maintain stable occupancy year round.
All that sounds pretty good, right? Having a foolproof method for tracing each lead and lease back to its original marketing source matters. Without it, apartment marketers are more or less guessing whether or not they're reaching their desired audience of prospective residents, or end up relying on less informative tactics for measuring performance. That is how marketing budgets become expensive, even during times of the year when occupancy is in good position and it's not necessary to pay for excessive lead generation.
Tracking lead-to-lease conversions is just one of the steps we recommend for communities to simultaneously increase revenue and decrease expenses in our latest ebook, How To Manage Your Apartments When Occupancy Is Strong. To find out more, download and read it for free by filling out the form below.