How To Scale Your Apartment Locating Business
In 2023, every business is an online business, including apartment locating. Investing in a few systems will help you build a professional online presence so potential clients will feel confident using your service.
If I were launching an apartment locating service in 2023, this is what I would do:
- I would build a professional website with modern branding that connects with millennials.
- I would maximize my free Google business page for free online leads.
- I would update my LinkedIn profile to promote my experience and connect with local property managers & regional managers.
- I would ask my most recent clients or professional colleagues to post a review on my new Google business page.
- I would also set up an Instagram page and post a couple of videos explaining my value and ideal client.
- I would research on Google the most popular questions people ask about renting in my area and write ten blog posts to answer those questions. After my website was launched, I would post three blogs a month for three months to generate traffic.
- Lastly, I would identify every task that is duplicatable and create a backend system to automate those tasks.
Business Essentials For Apartment Locators
Hundreds of companies offer website design services including low cost, monthly options like GoDaddy or Web.com all the way up to the custom apartment locating websites we offer. The option you choose will depend on your budget, timeline, and long term goals for growth and SEO.
If you don’t have a domain name yet, I recommend reading our tips for picking an apartment locating domain name.
After your website is designed, create a free Google business page and LinkedIn profile to build social proof. The increase in email and texting scams makes it even more important to have reviews that advocate your credibility. Your LinkedIn profile should have recommendations from industry professionals, and you should have recent reviews on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. I also recommend an Instagram page with a few quality posts.
A smart tip to drive local search traffic to your website is to maximize your FREE Google business page. Use your most important search terms and keywords in your profile description and collect online reviews to establish your rating. Google will always prioritize the reviews on your Google business page over Yelp reviews. Think of Google as your most important customer. Local SEO is a great way to generate free online leads from Google.
Your LinkedIn profile needs to be professional and accurate because property managers use LinkedIn daily. There are many property management and relocation groups on LinkedIn that can help you promote your business and build credibility. Regional managers tell me they use LinkedIn to validate invoices from locating companies they’ve never heard of. LinkedIn is also a great place to publish your blog posts and gain authority in the industry. Property managers will read your articles and gain trust for your service.
Social media is a powerful tool to build an audience that will share your business with others. You don’t need thousands of followers on every platform. My advice is to focus on one or two platforms and do it well. When choosing social media, keep your ideal client in mind. Instagram is universally popular among all ages and their sponsored posts are reasonably priced to reach a broad audience.
Implement A Backend System To Track Every Deal
Automating touch points between your clients and the leasing staff makes it easier to prove you're the referral source when you submit your invoice.
There are many companies competing for your commission. Creating a backend that automates the touch points of each transaction, provides indisputable evidence that you were the reason your client filled out the application. If I was a locator, I would call the property to confirm availability and at the end of the call I would email a deal sheet to the leasing office and to the client at the same time to introduce the leasing staff to my client. Sending the deal sheet to all parties creates an indisputable relationship between you and the client.
I wouldn’t rely on the leasing office to tell me what documentation I need to collect, I would define my own deal points and copy the property throughout the transaction. I would also use email tracking that timestamps when every email is opened, every link is clicked, and every invoice is viewed.
I highly recommend SalesMate CRM to locators because it’s easy to set up. It’s inexpensive for an all inclusive text, email, automation, and tracking platform. Sort leads by who needs to move next so you know where to focus your attention. Create your own deal points to include apartment locating specific information. Their online forms can be sent with a link so clients can respond directly into your CRM.
Zapier will take the phone number and email from an incoming lead and add it to your CRM automatically. Zapier connects thousands of systems together so you can automate your administrative tasks.
YesWare connects to Microsoft or Google business email to track every open and every link clicked from your emails. SalesMate also tracks when an email is opened so you don’t necessarily need both but I recommend you check them both out. YesWare has a lot of helpful features to promote engagement with your clients.
I was talking to an apartment locator client in Dallas last week because she was interested in buying online leads. As Sarah and I kept talking we both decided she doesn’t need online leads, she needs a system to help her close more deals.
Sarah has been a locator for seven years and she loves it. She’s a strong closer, has no issues with invoice collection but the average number of leases she closes each month has been about the same for a year. She occasionally does have a great month where she closes more than her average, but she can’t figure out how to duplicate it.
As we talked through her entire process from lead generation to invoice collection it became clear that she can’t increase her average because she doesn’t have any more time in the day. She can’t scale unless she automates some of the tasks that don’t require her personal touch. I told her if we automate her process then we can track what she’s doing during those occasional months when she closes 10-15 leases.
After we track it, we can duplicate it so she can close 10-15 leases every month.
Automating administrative tasks that take time away from generating revenue.
My conversation with Sarah is not uncommon. You can’t scale your income if you don’t use automation. Identifying tasks where you use the same wording of an email or text message over and over are tasks you can automate.
Tasks that must be performed by a person, like phone calls or sending out invoices, can have an automated reminder via email or text. When you turn on your computer in the morning you should see a pipeline of each client and where they are in the process.
Automating administrative tasks will free up your time for income producing activities like lead generation and business development.
- The first text message that goes out to incoming leads.
- A client questionnaire to capture rental criteria.
- Staying in touch with a client who isn't moving for 2-3 months.
- Follow up text message two days after you send a list.
- An online form to request your clients move date and unit number before you send an invoice.
- Ask clients to write a review on your Google business page.
- Emails to obtain the lease verification and facilitate invoice collection.
- An email to the leasing office to register your client.
- An email or text three months before a lease expires to ask if your clients need to move again.
- Quarterly email marketing to your entire email database to increase repeat and referrals.
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.