What’s the first thing you do before buying something online? For the majority of people, they look at the star rating and reviews. Or, what’s known as an online reputation. Online reputation is what users see about your business on digital platforms.
When looking for a place to live, an apartment community’s online reputation is even more crucial to the renting process. It can determine if a prospect wants to visit your property or move on to a competitor.
Your community’s online reputation directly impacts your leases and we’ll show you how! Read on for 5 reasons why it affects obtaining quality leads, directly impacting your apartment leases.
Why & how it affects acquiring leads and leases
1. Star ratings are the first thing prospects see when searching for your community.
Star ratings are crucial to your leads and ultimately your leases. Your apartment community’s rating is one of the first things a potential renter will see when they search for your community on Google. When your property is a business within Google, then it will show on the right side of the results page.
For example – Let’s say a prospect is searching for the community Accent 2050. When they perform the branded search term, this is what will appear in the results.
If you notice, their star rating is the first thing you see under the name of the property. Fortunately, this community has a 5 star Google rating. However, if it had a lower rating, it could negatively impact the renter’s journey. The prospect would move on to a different community before even clicking on the website, directly impacting leases.
2. People trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
88% of people trust online reviews more than personal recommendations. Because individuals put so much confidence in the validity of reviews, it is especially vital for your online reputation to be at the forefront of your marketing strategy.
It also suggests the importance of managing your online presence. An effective yet straightforward way for you to create a positive online appearance is responding to all reviews, both positive and negative.
It’s inevitable that your apartment community will receive a negative review. However, responding to bad reviews can reap many positive benefits:
- Ability to learn from and accept criticism
- Gives you the chance to explain your side in a professional manner
- Helps to strengthen resident relationships & gives perspective to prospects
3. Poor online reputation can keep prospects from visiting your community.
If your online reputation keeps prospects from scheduling a tour, then it impacts your leases. According to apartment renting research, online reviews have a stronger impact on a prospect’s decision to visit a community than on their decision to sign a lease. Once a potential renter visits the community, then the onsite team is the strongest factor in influencing their final decision.
Sure, you may have the best leasing team, but if your online reputation is keeping potential renters from getting through the door, you have quite a dilemma.
Online reputation management (ORM) is a great solution to improve and maintain your online reputation. There are many benefits to opting for ORM including higher online visibility, improve search rankings, decrease negative publicity, develop credibility, and ultimately increase your leases!
4. Apartment communities are one of the most impacted industries by online reviews.
We’ve discussed that it’s common practice for consumers to diligently read online reviews before purchasing a product. But, did you know reviews hold even more weight within the rental market?
Multifamily is the second most impacted industry by online reviews. This is due to the weight held by other’s opinions of an apartment community. Deciding on a home is one of the most important decisions a person can make. So, online reviews and reputation are going to make or break a prospect choosing your community over a competitor.
You can work to manage and improve your online presence through your offsite SEO. Your online reputation is a major factor in your SEO and can be a search ranking factor for Google. For more information about offsite SEO, check out this blog post.
5. Good online reputation always wins.
Speaking of competitors, the winner will be the community with a good online reputation; it trumps all.
In a recent study, when prospects were given the choice between 3 apartment communities to visit, 70% chose the one with the strongest online reputation. As previously mentioned, once the prospect visits the community, the leasing decision is then determined by the onsite team and their efforts. This provides a great example of online reputation directly impacting a lease.
A community having a good online reputation beats a competitor who has a low star rating and isn’t actively managing their online presence. Online reputation should be a key factor in your apartment marketing approach.
So, now that we’ve discussed why online reputation impacts your leases, you might be asking, now what?
There are many different options to get started with managing your online presence. One of the next steps you could take is connecting with an online reputation management service to help you manage, monitor, and improve your community’s online reputation.
A great choice and one of our own reputation management partners is repuation.com. Their expertise is in helping businesses monitor and improve reputation and optimize customer experience online and onsite.
Reputation management is one of the important actions REPLI takes when building an apartment website or implementing SEO because of how much it impacts community leads and leases. Make it a part of your marketing strategy today!
Want to improve your online reputation or have questions about what REPLI can do to help? Contact us today! We’re always here to help.
Taylor Boyd is a digital marketing specialist with REPLI.
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