Last winter, we learned just how convenient it can be to use entertainment apps, online shopping experiences and various other digital solutions that are at our fingertips. In fact, 40% of Americans have used technology “in ways that were new or different to them” since the pandemic began, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.
While some people may return to their pre-pandemic behaviors, many are choosing the more tech-enabled, convenient route when it comes to purchases. Therefore, I believe it is important not only for retailers, restaurants and hospitality groups but also for multifamily communities and real estate professionals to tailor their online presence to consumers’ preferences.
To do so, start by revisiting your data from winter 2020 and 2021 to see which tools performed at a higher rate. What did prospective residents engage with the most on your website? What worked to convert prospects the quickest and at the highest conversion rates? If your teams are already equipped and doing well on this front, you can continue fine-tuning and iterating on that success. If there are areas for improvement, however, now is a prime time to assess how you can better serve prospects who wish to search for apartments online. In this article, I’ll give three-pointers on how to analyze your website data to better inform your digital marketing and leasing decisions.
Enrich Your Data
The end goal with data collection is to make your business run more efficiently and profitably while streamlining your team’s day-to-day operations. As a result, you need to dedicate the time and attention to properly strategizing what data to collect, as well as what narratives or insights you hope to glean from that data in order to inform your plan of attack. You need relevant context associated with your reports in order to inform actions. In other words, what story is your data trying to tell you?
Think of data as a story where there’s a conflict and resolution. If the numbers seem lower than average (conflict), you’re most likely searching for strategies, tools or advice to bring those numbers up (resolution). So, when it comes to your property’s website, let’s discuss some of those conflicts you can look for when analyzing your data.
1. Is there a decrease in website engagement? If your answer is yes, first determine whether all the content on your website is up to date (i.e., any hyperlinks, branding materials, email addresses, phone numbers, resident testimonials, etc.). Next, optimize your landing pages with less copy, more visuals and eye-catching calls to action. I’ve found personalized CTAs convert more visitors into leads than untargeted CTAs. For example, if you have a CTA on your website that says, “Book a tour,” consider changing it to “Book your tour, your way.” This small change speaks directly to a prospect and subtly offers touring options.
I also recommend assessing where site visitors are spending their time or getting hung up on your website. This can help you see which areas could use more of your focused attention to increase engagement and average time on site.
2. Is there a drop in organic traffic? If you’ve observed a decline in organic traffic, look at whether your site is mobile-friendly. Take out your phone right now and check. Why is this important? One report, published in 2016, found that 63% of millennials shop on their phones every day. In addition, determine if prospects are bombarded with too much copy once they enter your website. Similar to what I said before, use more visuals. Instead of copy, you can level up the experience by offering video tours of the property. (Full disclosure: My company provides video touring solutions, as do others.) When done right, your video may help increase overall website stickiness and engagement and drive organic visitors to your website.
3. Is there a decrease in lead-to-lease conversion rates? The right tools can help streamline your leasing teams’ day-to-day operations. If conversion rates seem low, you can consider creating a more engaging experience with influential tools such as chatbots and artificial intelligence, for example, that put the information a prospect is looking for in the palm of their hands. In addition, 55% of millennials view convenience as their “top online shopping benefit.” Lead-to-lease conversion is all about finding the right prospects and showing them what they want to see on time.
You can use your community’s current data to enhance your prospects’ experience on your website while providing comfortable options this winter. By paying attention to the right data points, you can create more efficient processes, provide personalized experiences and identify target areas to focus on in this coming year.
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