The Dark Side of ILSs
How to Own Your Data and Take the Competitive Advantage
Internet Listing Services (ILSs) are no longer the most effective way to reach potential renters. A specialized digital marketing strategy allows you to own your data and have control over campaign and audience insights. These insights empower you to make better decisions about your marketing spend.
ILSs focus on attracting a generic audience to sell multiple communities, rather than identifying and driving the most qualified leads to your community. Having a better understanding of the true cost of ILSs, and how to reduce your reliance on them, will make your marketing budget more efficient and cost-effective.
Four Truths about ILSs:
1. You are paying to compete with yourself.
ILSs are your competition on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) and paid online advertising. ILS advertisements or websites will outrank your corporate and property websites because they bid competitively on popular industry keywords and branded terms. This means that a potential lead has to scroll further down the page to find your website. It also drives up the cost of your PPC campaigns with higher cost-per-click (CPC).
2. ILSs provide quantity over quality.
Almost 65 percent of high-intent customers click on digital advertisements. However, it is much more likely that an ILS visitor will shop around without having an intent to purchase. High-intent customers tend to do an organic search with location- and feature-specific terms.
3. You are listed next to your competitors, decreasing the quality of your leads.
Investing in a digital advertising campaign keeps customer interaction on your website, rather than through an ILS, where you are listed amongst your competitors. You are able to gain control of the customer experience from search to lease and are ultimately a more effective competitor.
4. ILSs can misconstrue your brand messaging.
In the digital age, there is no longer a distinction between your online and physical presence. You need to take ownership of your brand so there is consistent messaging across all channels.
Customers no longer need to rely on ILSs to find a new apartment. As a result, the multifamily industry no longer has to depend on ILSs to attract new renters. ILSs diminish your brand, make you compete with them for traffic, and charge a fee for unqualified leads. How do you reduce your reliance and budget spent on ILS? Invest in your digital presence with a mobile-friendly website, SEO, and digital advertising.
Here are three tips to help you understand the high cost of ILSs, take control over your data, and manage your brand.
Three Tips to Combat ILSs
1. Understand How Leads Get to Your Website
Online search is used twice as much as any other online medium for researching, buying, and getting things done. It is also the first place 87 percent of consumers go to when looking for information. This means that 87 percent of potential renters are first doing an organic search, rather than visiting a specific website, when looking for information.
A significant percentage of organic searches are done on mobile devices. Digital ads currently take up 100% of the mobile search space, which means that you have to have digital advertising in place to appear.
2. Invest in Your Website
The goal of digital advertising is to attract highly qualified leads directly to your website, where they can get a feel of your community and take desired actions. Investing in the backbone of your website ensures that this goal is met and you’re able to create positive experiences from the first glance to lease.
First, implement data-driven foundational and local SEO so that you stand out from the crowd. Next, make sure your website gives opportunities for potential renters to accurately experience what it’s like to live at your property. Creative content, such as blog posts, video tours, and social media, engages leads and initiates a lasting partnership.
3. Offer Customer Experience Actions Online
You’ve invested in your online presence and digital advertising and are directing potential renters to your website. Now, it’s time to let your website work for you and give visitors opportunities to interact with your community online. Provide a simple call-to-action (CTA), such as “Take our Virtual Tour”, to those in research mode. For visitors who are ready to lease, include a stronger CTA, like “Rent Now” or “Apply Now”.
These CTA buttons should be easy to find and take the user directly to the page they are expecting. Make the application process seamless and easy by giving prospects the option to submit a rental application on your website.
Attract More Renters with G5
Have control over your brand and convert highly qualified leads at a fraction of the cost with G5 Digital Advertising. Our digital advertising services funnel high-intent buyers to your website, where they are three to four times more likely to convert than a lead that comes from an ILS.
See for yourself how reducing your reliance on listing services will lead to cost savings and an increase in lead conversion. G5 partnered with Pensam Residential Properties to reduce their ILS spend and implement a successful digital marketing strategy. Read more here.