5 Things you can do right NOW to drive more leads

Over the past few months here at Maryland Management we have successfully rolled out RentSentinel, LevelOne, Online Payment Portal (Custom made), and our online applications (custom made). One thing that can be said about AIM is that it sure has ramped up my motivational level. But I digress. That isn’t why you’re here. Here are 5 things you can do right NOW to get yourself some more phone calls and emails.

1) Craigslist, Craigslist, Craigslist

If you aren’t using craigslist or don’t have a gameplan in place, then you are missing out. Craigslist is our number one source for leads. I am not sure I can explain its allure (I mean seriously…it’s very ugly) but it works. Period. As I said above we use RentSentinel to drive our ads. You don’t have to do that (although it’s recommended; the analytics are excellent), you can just simply post. But post … and post often. Postlets, and SmileBox are two good sites which provide templates and are free. Here on the east coast we have found that a barebones, template-less ad works best. It’s up to you to figure out what is best where you are.

2) Clean up those ILS’s

The assumption is that you’re on them … all of them. Rent.com, ForRent.com, Apartmentguide.com are just to name a few. If you’re not on them.. GET ON THEM! $350 for example is not a bad cost per lease. I am sure most of you would agree. Assuming you’re on them, log in and update those rents, change your pics, add some specials, change your text. Are you showing off the best product you can up there? ILS’s aren’t “Set it and forget it”. Get in there and update them. Daily, weekly. Do it.

google

3) Google Organic Yourself

A good way to figure out where you stand when people type in “Apartments Baltimore MD” or “Townhomes Jacksonville FL” is to see what comes up when you enter it. Choose a troubled Property location, and enter it into Google. Go ahead.. try it now.. I can wait…………. Did you pay close attention to what is showing up organically? If it’s that troubled property than move on to #4. (GOOD JOB!) If not… MAKE SURE YOU’RE RELEVANT PROPERTIES ARE LISTED THERE. There might be some websites that you’ve never heard of. (I ran into that with a Jacksonville property) Not all of them are free but it’s worth a look. On a side note we tried Google AdWords. I am not saying it didn’t work at all but the cost per lease didn’t make it cost effective. Curious to hear the success rate from other people using it.

4) Resident Referrals … ‘here’s your sign’?

We know that resident referrals can drive good leads. Why? Cash. There’s no powerful motivator like the almighty dollar. I’m sure those properties that offer it have signage in the office. But do you have them around your property? Maybe some Burma Shave style signs at your exit? ”Don’t” “Forget to” “Refer Your” “Resident Today” Corny? Sure… but I hope it gets you thinkin’. Do you have resident email addresses? Are you allowed to send them correspondence? If so … an email blast wouldn’t hurt either.

5) Live website Chat.

It’s cheap and it works. Internally we have someone handle our FIRST responder emails. This individual also chats with people sitting on our website. As much as we love shopping on the internet, sometimes we have a question that can’t be answered by a FAQ or a forum. We want answers from someone real. Need some ideas of companies that do this? I know of two but I am sure there are more out there. ActivSalesAgent is one and LivePerson (currently we use this one) is another. You’ll be amazed at how many people are actually ON your website, how many people want nothing to do with you (lots but don’t be discouraged), and also how many will use the service and eventually move in.

Hope you enjoyed my Top 5. What would you add or take away from this list? Would love to hear your comments…

Happy renting everyone.

About the author

bsitko
  • Kaitlyn Gunn

    Bill- You are well rounded in your approach. However, while I agree ILS’s are useful, I do not think they should all be used, nor should they be relied on as a primary lead source. Sure, $350 for a lease isn’t bad (assuming the ILS is charging per lease and not per lead or per month.)

    Using ILS’s can be a catch-22 in that you are getting leads, but, by using ILS’s you jeopardize leads that might have come to your property site “organically.” Type in a “branded search” (the property name and location) for a property you use an ILS for… go ahead… do it.

    Now see if links to the ILS’s rank higher than your property site. If so, you are potentially paying for leads/ leases that would otherwise come to you “organically” … much cheaper than $350/ lease or a monthly fee. Further more, traffic directed to ILS’s sees not only YOUR listing , but listings for immediate COMPETITION. Competition the prospect may not have otherwise considered.

    • I completely agree with you Kaitlyn. I wrote this post back in September. If I was to rewrite it now it would be different. The emphasis then was more on ILS’s which I don’t think is the right strategy to take. Getting your website to show up organically is the holy grail of Apartment rentals. It means you can push your brand and your values through your website rather then a generic one on an aggregated listing service.

Copyright © 2015. Created by Bill Szczytko.

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