Does your community rely on internet listing sites as your primary source of marketing? Communities are often fed the line that they can’t compete against ILSs for apartment seeker’s attention so they shouldn’t bother trying to go after their own first-party leads.
While it is true that ILSs provide communities with a chance to get discovered by apartment seekers, there are drawbacks to exclusively using ILSs for lead generation.
Here are a few of the reasons why communities are better off investing in their own lead-generation strategy.
Listing Sites Market Your Competition
At the end of the day, listing sites are focused on getting more communities onto their platform. They capture local traffic that could have otherwise landed on your website and instead present them with all of the communities in your surrounding area. This increases the amount of time apartment seekers spend on their platform and limits the amount of time a prospect will spend on your specific community. As these listing sites grow, they leverage their position to get communities to pay more to compete against each other for preferential positioning on their platform.
Less Control Over the Prospect Journey
Many listing sites limit the engagements that prospects can take outside of their platform so that the traffic has to go through their lead flow process in order to engage with the community. This isn’t beneficial for you and often isn’t the best for prospects interested in connecting with your community. Many prospects want to go to your website, gather more information about you, ask questions through live chat and self-schedule appointments through tour scheduling tools. Creating your own customer journey on your website gives you the power to add your own lead generation tools and keep the prospect engaged with you and not your competitors.
Since these listing sites often keep prospects interested in your community on their site instead of yours, they take away your ability to remarket to your prospects and leads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Display networks. This forces you to go through the listing site to market to these prospects and prevents you from using your own marketing team or vendor to execute these campaigns.
Flat Rate Fees
Many listing sites charge you on a pay per lease basis, which means you pay the same amount for the lead, even if the listing site didn’t do the heavy lifting in convincing your prospects to convert. This is another scenario where the listing site retains control over a vital aspect of your community’s marketing capabilities. By locking you into flat rates, these sites are able to keep increasing their prices and take away the ability for you to work on optimization strategies that can help you reduce your customer acquisition cost.
So what do I do?
While internet listing sites can be a useful part of any community’s budget, there are powerful advantages to creating your own lead generation strategies outside of internet listing sites.
Sending prospects to your website brings the focus on you instead of your competitors. Also, customizing the experience on your website increases the chance that prospects will convert into leads using tour schedulers, live chat, promotional offers, and leasing portals. Plus, communities can retarget to prospects on their site and gain more control over their customer acquisition costs.
Don’t outsource all of your traffic. Partner with someone you trust to gain more control over your lead flow from start to finish and improve your leasing velocity in the process.