Building An Apartment Locating Website On A Small Budget
If you’re an apartment locator and want to attract high end renters, your logo, domain name, and website needs to convey sophistication and experience. A high end renter is looking for a luxury apartment, in the hottest neighborhood in your area, with an income of four or five times the rent, and has great credit and perfect rental history. These types of renters don’t NEED to use a locator but your website should make them WANT to use a locator. I understand building a website can be intimidating, but my passion is to help apartment locators make more money so this article is going to focus on the cheapest way to build an apartment locating website that will convert high end renters.
As a business owner, I’m very careful with money and I would never want a locator to spend beyond their budget for a website. If you are new to apartment locating, or you are launching a new brand, or launching in a new market, or if you want a separate website than your broker so you can automate your process and close more deals, these are all reasons you may not have a big budget to hire a professional designer. In recent years, several platforms have developed low cost website builders that are easy for a non-technical person to do-it-yourself over a weekend.
I researched five of the most popular website builders so I could recommend a cheap DIY solution. After much research I decided that GoDaddy offers the best option. They have many pre-made real estate themes that are modern and professional, the price is extremely cheap and bundles a domain with the website builder and email address, the website builder interface is very easy to use, and to top it off their technical support is excellent. They also have low cost add-on marketing products that will help promote your site on Google after it’s finished. I’m pretty impressed with their options for small business owners.
I am not associated with GoDaddy and I do not make a commission by recommending their product.
If you are new to apartment locating, or you are launching a new brand, or launching in a new market, or if you want a separate website than your broker so you can automate your lead process and close more deals, you could easily design a new website over a weekend using GoDaddy website builder. Read my tips for choosing a domain name for apartment locating websites for ideas and inspiration.
Add Credibility and Experience
High end renters are discerning consumers because they have many options to find an apartment. They don’t NEED to use a locator, so your website should make them WANT to use a locator.
High end renters are not going to research your company to convince themselves that you offer a valuable service. Your website should give them all the information they need to quickly make a decision without having to hunt for it. Testimonials don’t have value anymore; prospects want to see unbiased online reviews. Your website should have links to other public sites such as LinkedIn where you have recommendations from industry professionals. Your website should have a widget displaying recent reviews from clients on Google or Yelp. It should also have links to Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube where you have positive posts and comments from followers. You don’t need thousands of followers on every platform, in my opinion what matters most is the posts and comments are recent.
If your last review was more than six months ago, I would encourage you to reach out to some recent clients and ask them to submit a review. You should email or text them a direct link to your preferred online platform, so all of your reviews are in one place. I recommend collecting reviews through Google because it will improve your SEO, but Yelp, Facebook and YouTube are also good options.
In addition to high end renters, the millennial generation (the largest generation of renters) is going to look for social proof before they decide to use your service (or any service for that matter). Renting an apartment requires telling some very personal information about finances and background. Millennials aren’t going to discuss that information with you without some social proof that you are a trustworthy person. The increase in email and texting scams makes it even more important to have reviews that advocate for your credibility.
After you design your website, you need to add your new domain and contact information to these four online platforms that will help you build your online presence and credibility.
I have listed the online platforms in order of importance, that in my opinion will have the biggest impact on your revenue. Don’t feel pressured to join every popular social media platform.
- The most important platform is your Google business page. It will get the most traffic for your business so make sure it’s always correct. Think of Google as your most important customer. Most people are going to search Google reviews and other Google resources beyond your domain. Be careful with Yelp because in the past they changed their algorithm and locators lost reviews they couldn’t get back. If you’ve been collecting reviews on your Facebook page or YouTube channel, then don’t need to switch to Google. Keep all your reviews in one place if possible.
- You may not be aware, but most people with corporate jobs use LinkedIn almost every day. LinkedIn has some unique search features, so people use it to look up your professional reputation and experience. Make sure your profile looks professional and is accurate because property managers use LinkedIn daily. It’s also a great place to publish your blog posts.
- I can’t stress this enough, writing regular blog posts about relevant topics is the most consistent way to improve your Google page rank. Google LOVES words and your articles will generate website traffic forever. The entire reason for social media is to drive traffic to your website and present yourself as an authority so people will think of you when they need to find an apartment. Blog posts do the same thing except they never expire.
- In my opinion, other social media pages on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube are secondary. I’ve seen some impressive Instagram pages from apartment locators, but you can build a successful business without them. If you enjoy social media and like building followers, then an active social media page can be fun and generate leads. But if you don’t enjoy it and it feels like a chore, then I recommend you spend your marketing dollars on something else like email marketing or online ads. My other advice is to focus on one social media platform and do it well, instead of trying to spread yourself across many platforms.
Add High End Apartments
After you design your website and show your credibility and experience, the next step is to show product knowledge. It’s only natural that high end renters will expect to search high end apartments on your website. To generate the most leads, you will also want to include some moderately priced apartment communities for those who can’t afford a high end apartment yet. Millennials with excellent rental history and good credit are qualified leads, but they may not be able to afford $3,000+ a month.
Most apartments require applicants to make three times the rent, so an easy formula is to Google average annual salary in your city so you can determine how much most people can afford and include those properties on your apartment search page. Our apartment map can do that for you easily by setting the minimum rent feature.
My article The Highest Ranked Apartment Locating Websites showed that national rental websites are the number one competitor for apartment locators on Google. Our apartment map and apartment data feed helped these local apartment locating companies beat apartments.com in page rank.
- Dallas Apartment Locators ranks #1 on Google in the Dallas market, and I’m proud to say they are one of my favorite clients. Their Apartment Search page featuring our Dallas Apartment Map is also ranked #1 on Google. Within three months of adding our Apartment Map to their website, it generated almost as much traffic as the home page (which is unheard of).
- Another client, Apartments HERE in Austin has generated over 8,000 leads from January 2022 to September 2022 with our Apartment Map. That is impressive! I’m not taking any of the credit; these locators are crushing their marketing.
I sincerely believe any apartment locator can follow this do-it-yourself blueprint and generate high end rental leads. I love sharing these success stories and I would love to help you create a success story too. I am offering a Black Friday discount on our apartment map for the next six months. Click the link below to learn more about how you can use the apartment map to generate rental leads from your website.
I am a data engineer
I deploy data strategies for apartment locating websites to generate leads.
Do you have a skill or talent that comes naturally to you? And since it comes naturally, you absolutely love it? That’s me with data! I started in commercial real estate at CB Richard Ellis in 1997 where I managed huge databases. It was a natural fit. Commercial brokers rely heavily on data to drive sales and so my love for data and my love for real estate was born. I started this company in 2005 with one market in Houston, and I’ve grown it to 35 markets because I’m still obsessed with what I do. Thanks to Google, data will always be necessary to generate leads.
Please contact me if you need help using data in your business. Or help our journey by sharing this article on your social media platforms.