Marketing Apartments on the Internet
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Marketing Apartments on the Internet



Jeremy Schneider's talk on Marketing Apartments on the Internet given at the 2010 Conference on Affordable Housing

Jeremy Schneider's talk on Marketing Apartments on the Internet given at the 2010 Conference on Affordable Housing



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Marketing Apartments on the Internet Marketing Apartments on the Internet Presentation Transcript

  • Marketing on the Internet
    Jeremy Schneider
    Founder, RentLinx
    Lead Developer, MSHDA’s
    Michigan Conference on Affordable Housing
    April 28, 2010
  • Why Market? Sales Funnel/Pipeline
    Starts with a lead:
    Phone calls, emails, walk-ins
    Onsite Tour
    Signed Lease!
  • What’s a lead worth?
    Who cares if you miss a few? They’ll find me!
    100 unit building, 95% occupancy
    Average rent $800
    10% lead to lease conversion ratio
    Marketing generates 20 leads/month
    2 new leases signed/month
    $1600 new rent / 20 leads = $80/lead!
    View slide
  • *
    Brought to you by MSHDA
    Free to list! Free to search!
    Affordable and Accessible housing options
    24x7 Access, Unlimited updates
    Easy to use
    Part of the RentLinx network
    View slide
  • MHL Success (Through April 2010)
    Went live December, 2006
    3.5 Million Property Views in last 12 months!
    72,000+ leads in last 12 months!
    27,600+ properties representing 348,000+ Michigan rental housing units listed – and more are added every day
    All of these numbers increased 20%-50%over 1 year ago!
  • Radio ads in
    6 markets
  • Michigan Housing Locator
    New in ‘10!
  • MHL:Search Results
    New in ‘10!
    • Sorted by Modification Date
    • Users can mark favorites
  • TIP
    Keep your property information current! *
    Jump to the top of the list! Properties are sorted by modification date
    Click “Mark as Current” to update modification date
  • MHL:Favorites
    New in ‘10!
    • Save, view and send your favorites!
    • E-mail a list of potentials to a client or to yourself to save!
  • MHL:
    • Hone in on exact location
    • Change search radius
    • Drag and drop starting point
  • MHL:View results on a map
  • TIP
    Add photos!
    Take photos on sunny days!*
    More photos = More traffic!
    *Statistics as tracked by RentLinx on the RentLinx network of sites
  • Where Would You Rather Live?
  • MHL:Property Details
    • Attachments & Links
    • Labels by MSHDA
    • Photo Gallery
    • Print Brochure
    • Mark as favorite
    • Utilities
  • TIP
    Use the description!
    Potential residents crave the details
    A great place to list everything that won’t fit elsewhere
    Generate more qualified leads!*
    More opportunities to match keyword searches
    Search engines thrive on this content!
  • The Long Tail – Search Keywords
    * keyword stats from Google Analytics
  • What are renters searching for?
    “Top” Keywords
    #1. “ann arbor apartments”
    #2. “kalamazoo apartments”
    #3. “east lansing apartments”
    Some other “down the list” searches
    #941. “houses for rent in manistee michigan”
    #3,139. “senior subsidized living in garden city michigan”
    #13,052. “all bills paid apartments flint, mi”
    #22,361. “for rent gas light district of grand rapids, mi”
    #35,477. “show me all the apartments by the #3 bus route”
    * keyword stats from Google Analytics
  • Do longer descriptions help?
    0: Blank!
    1-200: One or two sentences
    201-500: One long paragraph
    501-1000: Two long paragraphs
    1000+: Getting kind of wordy!
  • MHL:Unit Details
    • Interior Photos
    • Map
    • Modification Date
  • TIP
    Add interior photos and floor plans!
    Renters love it
    Some sign leases sight-unseen!
  • MHL: Satellite View
    Taking credit for Google’s hard work.
  • TIP
    List the rent or rent range!
    Renters prefer to see places they know they can afford instead of calling to be disappointed
    If your rent is based on income, use the description to describe general qualifications
    Provide a link to your income qualifications
  • MHLSchool Districts
  • MHL:School Districts
    • Automatically decided based on latitude and longitude
    • View boundaries on map
  • MHL:School Districts
    • Easy to change, if necessary!
  • TIP
    Add links & attachments!
    Links provide helpful info to renters and improve the search engine rank of your website
    Attachments give your future residents access to important documents before they walk in the door
  • TIP
    Upload your attachments in PDF format
    Everyone can view on any type of computer
    Will always be viewed and printed as you expect
    “But Jeremy,” you may be asking yourself, “don’t you need expensive software to create PDF documents?”
    No! Visit for a free converter!
    OR: Send your documents as an attachment to It’s like magic!
    Any file that you can print, you can convert to PDF
  • MHLRent Reasonableness/ Comparables Report!
    NEW FOR ‘10
  • MHLRent Reasonableness/ Comparables Report!View similar units sorted by similarity. Choose 3 units of your choice!
    NEW FOR ‘10
  • MHLRent Reasonableness/ Comparables Report!Generate and customize a report to print or download!
    NEW FOR ‘10
  • But wait, there’s more!
    Many More!
  • How to Get Listed?
    • Visit
    • Click “List your Properties”
  • Review LeadsReview all incoming e-mails and phone calls (plus only)
    NEW FOR ‘10
  • Receiving The Leads
    Most leads come in via phone or e-mail
    Make sure they enter your sales funnel, not spill over!
    Signed Lease!
  • When Are Renters E-Mailing?
  • When Are Renters E-Mailing?
  • When Are Renters Looking? Moral.
    Only 40.9% of MHL web leads came in during 9-5, M-F business hours
    Many renters may not bother calling after hours
    Make sure your e-mail works!
    Reply (preferably call) as promptly as possible!
  • Phone Call Study!
    Phone call tracking implemented in Sept. ‘09
    RentLinx Plus! Properties track their phone leads via special toll free numbers
    Michigan calls by the numbers:
    7,000+: Calls tracked and recorded
    600+: Distinct properties receiving calls
    150+: Distinct management companies
  • When Are Renters Calling?
  • When Are Renters Calling?
    • 76.1% of calls came in between 9-5, M-F
    • 12.1% came in between 9-5, Sat and Sun
  • How Are The Calls Answered?
    • Only 44% of renters could talk to a human during business hours
    • 62% of renters hung up when answered by machine
    • *55% of renters who hung up never called back or e-mailed
  • Does Answering Help?
    Free classified site
    Posts sorted by date
    City specific sub-sites
    • Free!
    • High traffic in Detroit and Ann Arbor
    • Some swear by it
    • Can attract spam or fraud
    • Necessary to repost often
    • May get less attention from affordable/senior housing seekers
  • Watch out for scams!
    Bad guys pose as renters to try to extort money
    Here’s how a common scam works:
    Interested renter contacts you, excited to pay
    Rarely in person, they choose unit, send first month plus security deposit
    Check is for too much, they ask for extra to be returned or forwarded to a 3rd party (furniture, moving company, etc)
    Original check bounces, you’re out the difference
  • ExampleFraud Attempt
    • Leads from the MHL will include the country at the top
    • Nigeria is a hotbed of fraudulent activity
    • RentLinx blocks fraudulent users, and contacts any managers who heard from one
  • Warning Signs – Protect Yourself
    Warning signs:
    Out of the country
    Poor grammar
    Strange questions, as if he didn’t read the ad
    Overly willing to send money
    Check is for too much
    Asks for money from your account
    Wants to use WesternUnion, MoneyGrams, or similar
    Protect yourself!
    Stay aware of potential for fraud
    Use common sense
    Never send money away from your account!
  • Social Media
    Includes: Blogs, micro-blogging, social networking, event coordinating, etc.
    Not a silver bullet
    Great way to stay top of mind, increase referrals
  • Invite residents to events
    Tag residents in photos*
    Residents can “become a fan”
    Status updates: “Free cookies in the office!”
    Follow the site rules, or risk alienating users
    Example: facebook
  • Benefits:
    • Appear in news feeds
    • Residents get reminders about events
    • Your name will appear when browsing photos
    • Your property will appear on all your “fans” profile pages
  • Your Website!
    Best Marketing?
    Renters trust as the most accurate source
    Can be very inexpensive
    A little can go a long way
    Cheap domain names:*
  • Market Your Website!
    Business Cards
    E-mail Signatures
    Print and Internet Ads
    Links from Partner websites! *
    Add a link to your RentLinx listing!
  • Your Listings on Your Site!
    Your Website!
    Visit and click on “WebLinx” for more details
  • RentLinx .
    Track and record your phone leads
    Advertise on additional pay-to-list sites
    Generate custom average rent reports
    Free to upgrade, pay only $10/lead Plus! lead
    MHL Leads always 100% free
    Set your own monthly budget
    No contracts no commitments
  • Average Rent Report
    • Compare prices, amenities, property types and sizes
    • Customize to match your chosen area based on specific location, zip code, city or county.
    • Included free when any property is upgraded to Plus!
  • Why Market? Sales Funnel/Pipeline
    Phone calls, emails, walk-ins
    Onsite Tour
    Signed Lease!
  • Why Market? Sales Funnel/Pipeline
    Answer phone
    Your site
    RentLinx Plus!
    Prompt reply
    RentLinx network
    Phone calls, emails, walk-ins
    Onsite Tour
    Lots of Signed Leases!!!
  • Why not market on the Internet?
    Survey responses to “Don’t advertise online? Why?”
    Lack of Budget - 25%
    Confusion. Don’t know how or where to begin - 20%
    The internet is not relevant to our business - 18%
    Lack of time or personnel to do it - 15%
    Have all the business we need - 12%
    Skeptical that it is effective - 10%
    No more excuses! 
    * and Opus Research Study, 2007
  • Questions?