One of the most challenging parts of launching a website for an apartment community is gathering all of the information that will be displayed on the community website—rental rates, amenities, contact information, and so on. That sounds simple, but often it is surprisingly difficult to accomplish efficiently. Forms get misplaced, an email gets deleted, and soon the website launch process has stretched out far beyond the expected scope and timeline.
There are many reasons that RentVision is able to launch community websites quickly. We built a custom information survey that we use with every new client during the onboarding process. To explain more about how this survey helps us serve our clients better, we interviewed RentVision’s Launch Advisor, Sara Muhs, to talk about our information survey survey and how she helps clients build their online marketing platform.
Sara, to start, can you talk a bit about how the launch process worked before we had the information survey?
Prior to having the information survey, we used a third-party service to send out a survey to all clients. This allowed the client to input information into the survey, and then our team was notified once completed. Since this was a third-party product, our Operations Team then had to manually enter all the information from the survey, into our system to begin building the websites. The questions were also not as specific as what they are on our current information survey. Because of that, our Operations Team also had to do additional follow-up with clients once the survey was completed. The additional time it took to manually input the survey’s information, and necessary follow-up due to the lack of specificity, caused the launch process to last longer than we as a company would’ve preferred.
So, what kind of questions do you ask in the information survey?
We ask a variety of community-specific questions, such as amenity offerings, location details, pet policy, community hours, etc. We also ask floorplan-specific questions about each configuration offered, finishings, and of course deposit, lease length, and rental price information.
Why do you need all of this data?
The community-specific information is necessary so our team can build out the SEO text that is placed on each website. Both the community and floorplan-specific information is important to provide so prospects can learn as much about the property as possible, to help determine if they’re a good fit for the community, and if the community is a good fit for them.
How long does the survey usually take for the point of contact at the community to complete?
The information survey is set up to be an easy process for the person who knows the property the best. It takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. If a community has a very high volume of floorplans, the survey could take a bit longer, as we do ask for each configuration offered, but as long as they know the property well and have the necessary information handy, it shouldn’t take too long.
How long does it take you to launch a site once the information survey is returned? How long did it take you before utilizing the information survey?
The launch timeline varied prior to the information survey, but it took roughly about 6 weeks to build and launch a website. Now, we turn sites around within 3-4 weeks once we have all of the information from the client, with the possibility of having them completed even sooner.
Is there anything else we should know about the information survey?
If you’re a new client, you’ll hear this a few times, the information survey is the most important piece in the launch process. The survey has to be completed, in order for our team to start building the website, and once we receive it, our team reviews each answer and will send out clarifying questions, if there are any. The Launch and Operations Team is a team full of very detail-oriented people, so the more specific and thorough you can be on the survey, the quicker we can get started building your new website!