As a property manager, you’re busy. You have tried-and-true methods for marketing vacant units within your properties and they always worked well. So why waste time and reinvent the wheel, right?

But what if that site you always loved to use for marketing—the one that seemed to get the most leads—wasn’t really the top performer when you analyzed historical data? And what if there is another site that could actually bring  in better results for less money?

We’ve all seen those “Top X” lists of the best places to advertise a property. But exactly how much should you spend advertising on Craiglist.com or Apartments.com? Without analyzing the data, you’re really just making an educated guess.

Instead, you can use data to support your property marketing efforts. With the right metrics, you can actually drive better, more qualified traffic to your properties and get more of what you need: signed leases.

For a deeper dive into this topic and more tips you can apply right away, watch this on-demand webinar on the ROI of property marketing.

The Property Marketing Funnel

The first step to better understanding property marketing ROI is organizing your marketing efforts into a funnel. You’re probably already operating a marketing funnel, even if you’re not intimately familiar with the terminology. So what exactly is it? Visualized, a marketing funnel is exactly how you would imagine it: an inverse cone-shaped object that’s larger at the top and smaller at the bottom.

 

Within the funnel, each step represents the marketing you’ve done to attract renters and bring traffic through the door. The top of the funnel represents the first interactions a potential renter has with your property. This is most likely ads — both online and elsewhere — that entice renters to see the unit. However, there are a lot of top-of-the-funnel marketing activities, including paid and organic search engine marketing, referral marketing, content marketing, email marketing and so on.

A large number of people will see your marketing activities, but only a few will engage with them. Taking that next step is considered a “conversion” and moves the renter onto the next step down the funnel. For example, only a few people will click on an ad and request to see the unit in person. Then, another, smaller number of people will apply to lease the unit, a smaller number will be accepted, and a few will move in.

Your strategic marketing tactics at each stage in the funnel is designed to guide potential renters down towards the bottom of the funnel. Your goal for your property marketing is to push the right renter to the final conversion — a signed lease.

The Power of the Funnel

Conversions within the marketing funnel are not just interesting information, but can be a critical part of your property marketing strategy. Using business intelligence software to access the right data, you can measure the exact conversion percentages at each point in the funnel — from ads to applications to move-ins.

This data allows you to understand exactly how effective your marketing is at each stage in the funnel. With this information in hand, you can pinpoint weaknesses in your marketing process and make changes to improve results over time. For example, the data could show:

  • You get a ton of traffic from one source, but not a lot of shows. This means you may be advertising on the wrong sites.
  • You get a lot of shows, but very few applications are filled out. There may be an issue with the quality of the unit itself or you may not be targeting the right renters.

Using key conversion data, you can optimize your marketing to get better results. In this report, you can see that Zillow.com is getting hardly any traffic, and almost zero applications submitted. With this data, you may quickly decide to stop placing any ads on the site. By paying attention to the marketing funnel, you can actually spend less money to bring in better traffic that is more likely to submit an application.

Beyond the Funnel

Marketing data isn’t just restricted to the funnel. You can slice and dice key marketing data in a number of ways to drive even greater ROI for your marketing efforts. Having access to marketing data through business intelligence not only helps you understand how marketing activities in the funnel are performing, but also allows you to understand:

  • Average days to apply by marketing channel: Understand which ad websites led to quickly signed leases.
  • Average days to move in by marketing channel: Find out the average days to move in by the marketing activity tenants found you through.
  • Cancel and denial ratio by marketing channel: Discover which marketing efforts lead to applicants that have the highest instance of lease cancels or denials.
  • Applications and conversions by leasing agent: Learn which agent is most effective at marketing properties.
  • Conversions by month: Understand which months are better for lease volume.
  • Conversions by property: Identify which properties have a greater need to fill vacant leases and examine the marketing efforts around them.

It’s an exciting time when the challenge we’re facing is not the lack of data, but what data best suits our needs. So next time you’re thinking about which marketing channels to invest in, consider what you would do if the data could tell you exactly where to go.

Watch the RentPath and Rentlytics on-demand webinar to learn how to maximize your property marketing ROI.


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