This week the Entrata team hosted a webinar to discuss the Marketing Funnel, and how you can provide the right information at the right time to your prospective residents throughout each stage of the marketing funnel.
Veronica Romney, director of the Marketing Suite at Entrata, was joined by panelists Maureen Lannon from Pierce Education Properties, and Eric Clark from Greystar to share what they do to effectively move prospective residents through the marketing funnel. Veronica Romney, then touched on how Entrata has designed specific products to make each stage of the funnel fluid and effective.
In case you missed it, we’ve included the full webinar video below. Click here to download the presentation slides.
Brooke: …here at Entrata. We also have Maureen Lannon, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Pierce Education Properties. We also have Eric Clark from Greystar joining us today. We’re so thrilled to have you guys all here today with us. Let’s jump right in. So all marketers know that it’s important to have the right info at the right time given to the right people. Studies show that still, only 28% of people are only using intuition to determine marketing strategies. Now more than ever, more that just using your intuition, it’s important to utilize the marketing tools that we have to customize messaging and understand our prospective residents so that we can speak to their specific needs instead of just using that intuition. So Veronica, could you give us an overview of the funnel and why we’re talking about this today?
Veronica: Yeah, thanks, Brooke. Okay. I think to start off, the goal of today’s webinar is to help all of us understand when you have prospective residents potentially looking at moving and your apartment happens to be in that mix, what are the layers in which they’re going down before they end up executing a decision? Right? What you’re looking at on the screen is a marketing funnel and what we’re hoping with this particular webinar today is that at the end of the webinar, that myself, Maureen, and Eric, that we’ll walk you through the different levels of the funnel and more importantly, teach you which tools would be appropriate at which points of the funnel. We at Entrata, and I can say this, right? I oversee all of the marketing suite products, and there’s a lot of products that we offer. And I think what I’ve heard from clients time and time again is that it can be really overwhelming to know how to layer all of these products together so that it’s a cohesive marketing campaign. When do you time PPC? When do you add SEO? When do you think about your reviews? When do you think back about your website? When do you go back to these different touch points and tweak them so that they’re more effective and getting you more leases? So the goal of the webinar is to…I want you to visualize. I want you to visualize a funnel and we’re going to start at a 30,000-foot view and we’re going to go down it. As we go through each level of the funnel, we’re going to tie marketing suite products back to it so that you have a better game plan and roadmap of how you can connect all these products in the most effective way to get to your bottom line. Okay? So what you see on the screen is a very traditional marketing funnel. It starts with awareness, it starts with research, then evaluation, then all the way down to the decision. Marketing today is not what it used to be at all. Right? It used to be my AC goes out, I open the yellow pages, that big heavy book that we have on top of our refrigerators. I look for air conditioning. I get to the very first company on the list and call it and that’s pretty much my marketing funnel. Something happens to me, I have a need or a want, it’s the first person who gets to me and that’s the person I go with. We know as marketers today that’s just not the case, right? On average, your prospective resident or buyer or client will have at least seven to eight different touch points with a business before they make a decision to work with you, buy from you, hire you or rent from you. That’s a lot. That’s seven to eight different touch points and when I told clients that in the past, I think their brains start to think or they’re automatically thinking, the gears are going that okay, well, I’m going to hit them with the banner. I’m going to have balloons in front of the property. I’m going to put an ad in the newspaper. I’m going to have an ILS. I’m going to do all of these things because as a collective whole, I for sure have at least seven to eight different marketing things in my queue. What I don’t think we do a great job at, though, is how you take those seven to eight different touch points and make it a cohesive game plan. You’re introducing those touch points at the appropriate level of the funnel, right, because the funnel is basically mapping the funnel to your prospective resident’s intent. When you’re looking at awareness, which is the biggest part of the funnel, that’s the area that your potential resident is thinking, “I want to know something. I’ve been made aware, I want to know. I want to have more information.” Right? Research is this phase where I want to do something. I want to go about making actions. Your evaluation is I want to go. Right? That’s an area where maybe they’re only looking, they’re taking a tour. They’re actually walking into the property, I want to go and do something. The decision is, “I want to buy.” Right? As you’re playing with your different marketing toolkit, per se, your marketing products along the funnel, when do you introduce different products at different times as they’re going down the funnel which matches their intent? I want you to think of the marketing funnel as a couple of different questions. How much pre-rent research do you think your residents are doing or is required before they make a decision? Does each stage of this funnel exist for each of your single properties? A lot of you manage different property types. Some of you oversee student housing. Some of you oversee lease ups or military or affordable. Every property is a little bit different, so do all of these funnel levels match your specific property? You have to take that into consideration. How important is each stage in the process? It might differ for a millennial than a baby boomer. That might be a different thing where each funnel piece might weigh more on their decision than another person or another demographic or persona. And then what is the length of each stage or step? Some of your properties might have a lengthier sell cycle. There’s no urgency possibly that there might be for some other property and their residents when they’re making a decision to move. Some life event changes their plan or as a mother, I might be more conscious of trying to get and move around the school year. So again, we’re going to go through this at a 30,000-foot view and your panelists are going to go through each event how it applies to their own portfolio. But just keep in mind that I want you to apply this funnel to each of you and to your individual properties because all of us oversee different resident types and I think that’s really important that the funnel is matched to your residents’ intent. So understanding your resident is the most important and that’s where we’re going to start. Brooke?
Brooke: Thank you so much, Veronica. That was perfect. Just as you said, Veronica, the first stage is awareness. As Veronica said, prospective residents who just started looking for an apartment and they’re making that decision to move. Eric, if it’s all right with you, let’s start with your process at Greystar when you build a new property in a market. What is the Greystar process in identifying your ideal resident and what that person looks like in your community?
Eric: Sure. It’s actually a lot of the things that Veronica just keyed into. The first thing that we’re going to look at is who are we building and designing this property for? That will really dictate for us what next steps we set in motion. A little bit of how we do that, we actually take even one step further back than just looking at who the end user is going to be. We start from the client’s perspective first because everything we manage is third party. It’s really what’s the investment strategy? What is the client’s objective? What are they trying to accomplish with the property that they’re building? Then we’ll take that and we’ll look at the location, we’ll look at the product type itself, we’re going to look at the amenities and the offerings that the property is going to have. How does that fit within the market? What is its competitive advantage? What are the differentiators? From there, say okay, now that we’ve got that piece, let’s look at the market itself and look at who is living in the market today? Are those boomers? Are those single family homeowners that are maybe looking for an alternative? Is it a millennial demographic? Then based on who that profile is, we’ll create different segmented personas so that we can create a strategy that’s right and relevant for each of those segments of our end-user demographic. We’ll blend all of that together to come up with the ideal mix of how we go to market, what we deploy, and when we deploy it.
Brooke: Great. Thank you so much for sharing, Eric. Maureen, you have a unique challenge because you oversee the millennial generation. With your prospective resident being more online savvy, how do you utilize different marketing channels to get your property name out there?
Maureen: Sure. Well first of all, what Eric said previously was identifying your different target route is essential. But also what Veronica said as far as having that visual, that 30,000-feet above, at this time I would like everybody to jump out of the plane and pull their line and just start flying through the air and seeing this visual of all your target groups at campus. They’re all running around. They’re not probably using that big, thick telephone book that’s on top of the refrigerator any longer, but they’re on their phones constantly. The millennials are probably on their phone as an average two to four hours, if not more, a day. They use their phone for everything. They’re on the computer and so forth. So what we do is that we really try to maximize our effort with social media through Facebook, through our PPC. We do different campaigns and so forth so it’s very challenging out there with our competitors and so forth. What we try to do is we build through our social media all the different sources in the target group so that we can make this funnel work. Through that identification, we connect the dots. What I mean is that you have this funnel and if you would, the visual is layers just like a cake. You have to have the icing, that’s the final layer on the cake to make it delicious, right? So with this layer, we try to funnel it down to who are our groups or organizations whether they’re university officials or parents or students and we identify with them through social media.
Brooke: Great. So you guys have really capitalized on social media and Facebook campaigns. That’s great. Veronica, we want to hear what Entrata offers as a solution in this awareness phase, so could you do that for us?
Veronica: Yeah, so again, right, awareness is I want to know. That is the intent, right? You have a prospective resident and their intent at this stage of the funnel is, “I want to know something.” Okay. So easy, right? These are the widest net is how you’re going to be casting it. These are the products that cast the widest net for those that are seeking to know more information. What we have is ILS Portal. ILS Portal is easy. It takes all of your information that you already have in our system and it obviously syndicates to the apartments.com, Zillow, Realtor, For Rent, you name it. The information is out there and more importantly, it’s consistent. The last thing that you want is your property’s information to be inconsistent online. Not only does that upset Google, but it also creates a level of distrust, not really understanding what the property is offering in this arena of research and its intent. So ILS Portal is definitely the first product out of the gate that I would say just blast out your information, cast the widest net, because if anybody types in apartments in Google, you know an ILS is going to pop up. Of all of the ILS’s, singlehandedly the most popular in this specific market, we have tested this across different markets in the country, but in some markets, if you’re not on Craigslist, you’re nobody. Craigslist, of course, is also another one of our products to help you take the data that we have in our system in Entrata and create ads that you can post and not get ghosted and so Craigslist again. But, probably the most exciting product, not that ILS and Craigslist are not sexy, I shouldn’t say that, but, of the products that you have on the screen, I think the one that is probably the one that is the most underused, that I think is a complete miss, is actually Facebook targeting. It goes back to what Eric was saying. It definitely goes back to what Maureen was saying. If you have built and understand your persona, if you understand who your prospective resident is in Boca Raton when you just finished building this massive lease up, right? Or you know that you have students and they’re all millennials and they’re all on their phone. People check Facebook on average 14 times a day. I don’t know if that makes people sick to their stomach to hear that or it’s also a look in the mirror like myself. I’m probably one of those people. It is what it is. But the truth is that if you’re trying to get your name out there and you’re not utilizing a social media platform like a Facebook, it’s a big miss. Facebook is different than Google. Google you target by keyword intent. Apartments in Dallas, I want my ad to come up. Facebook is not like that. Facebook, you’re targeting demographics. You’re targeting these personas that you’ve gone through all the effort to identify, right? You talked to your leasing staff. You talked possibly to your current residents. You listened to your social media conversations on your social accounts and got a sense of who you’re trying to talk to, you can target all of that on Facebook and it’s cheap. With Facebook, I can go and say I would like to target a mother who on average has two to three children who drinks coffee in the morning and reads a magazine labeled, you know, Oprah’s magazine, whatever the case may be. You can actually target that type of description in Facebook and go after those specific personas to get your brand new property or property that needs more visibility easily and for, like I said, pretty dirt cheap. It’s cents for a click versus dollars for a click on Google AdWords. Of all of our products during the awareness phase, I’d be utilizing ILS Portal, I’d be using Craigslist, and I would definitely be utilizing Facebook advertising and boosting.
Brooke: Great, thank you so much, Veronica. Great solutions at Entrata. The second phase, as Veronica mentioned in the beginning, is research. This is when your prospective residents really start looking deeper into your property. Eric, now that you have gotten past that awareness phase, you’ve done that research for your personas, and you know your market better, how does that data effect your website designs and online collateral pieces?
Eric: All of those pieces are really going to work hand in hand. You have to connect the dots in order to make it successful. Understanding the persona is going to help you understand what type of messaging they want and how they’re going to interact with the messaging. Some demographics, some end users, they are going to be more focused on the traditional print collateral, one on one personalized engagement when they come to the property. The goal with that is to make sure that we’re driving that experience for them. So do we adjust the re-marketing campaigns? That might not be the right approach. It might not be geared toward high mobile user demographic. If it is somebody that is more mobile friendly, that is more on the go, then even with our pay per click strategy, are we doing the pay per click that re-markets someone to Facebook? Maybe are we pushing more than just one source of engagement? Maybe it’s not really driving people to our website as the primary source of interaction. It might be driving them to a social campaign where we’ve then built out Facebook landing pages that again, supplement some of what would be on the website because we know that’s where that demographic lives the most. They’re going to be on social. Then even down to what social channels you want to engage. Is it going to be more of a Snapchat, Instagram end user or is it still going to be a Facebook end user? So really understanding how all of those pieces are going to connect the dots and tie together, making sure that you’ve got the right tracking, all of that so that you can see the results and then continue to adjust and implement new campaigns based on that.
Brooke: Great, that was perfect. So important. I love that you highlighted that you have to work hand in hand with all the different types of collateral. Maureen, the hard part is getting people to your website, right? But now what? Now someone’s on your website. Can you speak to your marketing ads and what you do now that someone has been to your website?
Maureen: Well, when we have someone come to our website, we have a huge party because that’s exciting. We’re all celebrating, right? But, yeah. So that is golden. You find a treasure and you open it and you see all of those people on your website. It truly is a treasure and you can’t take that for granted or anything. The challenging part isn’t so much getting them to your website necessarily. I mean, why? If you follow kind of an equation, and we do use a third party vendor to help with our SEO and our SEM effort so that we can make sure that we’re balanced and we’re keeping in line with getting people to our website, prospects. But once they’re there, we sometimes can freeze up and go, “Oh my gosh, okay, now what do we do?” It’s very important to train your staff on a process to make sure that everybody is following up. I guess one of the words that Eric used previously was push. That is a big word because we need to push our staff. We need to push through those prospects to make sure that those that are looking at us, they’re interested in us, and we’ve got to turn them into a resident. Make sure that your staff is trained on the process. Make sure that you’re capturing their interest from that point on by doing follow up and making it personal and making sure that you’re having the right keywords on your website. The right storytelling. The right dialogue with all of your social media. Go to your analytics and make sure you’ve got all of that lined up. Veronica was really good for ways we dissect each of the social medias because you’re completely right because each one of them plays a huge role in getting them back to your website. I know Entrata does a really good job with the website in itself with the way it’s formatted and so forth to make it easy for us to pull that prospect out of the website and get busy with them.
Brooke: Great, that’s good to hear. Speaking of Entrata, Veronica, what does Entrata offer for this phase of research?
Veronica: I think out of all of the products in the marketing suite, the two that will feel the most pressure at this stage of the funnel is going to be your website itself and then I’ll get to the second point which is to the re-market to the people that do hit your website. Remember, research now, it goes from awareness, I want to know, now we’re at the research phase, which is I want to do something. Your ILS information, your Craigslist ad or your Facebook ad was alluring enough that you got a click from one of those destinations back to your website. Like, oh my gosh, right, yay, party. Like Maureen said, we’re having a party. People are on my website. Am I a hoarder or am I not a hoarder? Have you ever had that feeling when somebody knocks on your door and you’re freaking out because your house is a complete wreck, or is that just me? I know I have kids, so it’s kind of that same mentality. You have somebody on your website. This is a huge deal, okay? This is a big deal. Now, put the pressure on ProspectPortal, right? How attractive is the website? Do you have images that communicate something? Are the images that you’re using effective? If you’re trying to target a millennial, having images of somebody in their 50s or 60s might not make any sense, and I’ve seen this. Unfortunately, I have seen this. I’ve seen websites where the persona has no correlation with the stock images that we were provided. Okay? You have to look at your website top to bottom. Not only is the website having the information, it has the appropriate floorplans, it has the appropriate pricing, it has all of the amenities. Okay, fine. Those are the basics. I got that and I think ProspectPortal does a great job at being that website, total website solution provider for the apartment space. But are your images on point? Is your marketing copy on point? Is the tone of your voice appropriate to the persona that you’re talking to? Is your blog current? Are you staying fresh? If I captured somebody on my website and I haven’t touched my website in two years, we have a problem. We want to show that there’s engagement, that we’re actively maintaining our own brands online and so there’s going to be a lot more pressure on ProspectPortal to deliver the right message, to have the right images, to have the appropriate information, and then most importantly, obviously, to be responsive. The website has to be able to be viewed on a desktop, on a tablet, on a phone, it doesn’t matter what the device is, it has to respond to wherever you’re viewing it. Now the extra layer on ProspectPortal is you can install code on your website that will get cookies. I go to the website, okay, let me back up. Let’s say I go to Nordstrom and I love these shoes. I put the shoes in my shopping cart and I never buy the shoes. Miraculously, magically, these shoes follow me everywhere for 15 days. I see them on an add on a blog I go to, I see them in my Gmail account, I see these shoes everywhere. They’re just constantly on the top of my mind and, yes, I put them in my cart and I didn’t buy them. That’s accomplished through PPC remarketing. Same thing. If you know people are taking anywhere between 15 to 45 days before they make a decision on where to move, PPC remarketing ads are fantastic. They only happen to those that hit your website. So you send traffic from an email, you send traffic from ILS, from Craigslist, from a Facebook ad. They hit your website, they get cookied, and then all of a sudden they start seeing your property on different points of their web experience to remind them of the apartment complex that they looked at that happens to be yours. So now, of the average of seven to eight different touch points that somebody needs to be exposed to a business, I’d hit them once with ILS, twice with Craigslist, three times with a Facebook ad. Now I’ve hit them with my awesome website and now my fifth touch point is a PPC remarketing ad. I’m at five touch points potentially of the seven to eight that is needed to convert and I’m still only on the research phase of the funnel. I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far.
Brooke: Yeah, excellent. Great feedback from the panelists and Veronica. Thank you so much. The third stage, as I mentioned, is evaluation. This is when your prospective residents are assessing whether those claims you’re making are accurate and they’re seeking out validation from their peers or from the internet. Eric, how do you handle your reviews at Greystar and how has that helped or hurt your prospective residents?
Eric: That’s a great question. Reviews are huge. If you really think about it, it’s easy for us on the marketing side to come up with a great story and great content that we can share. We can share it on a website or via an email blast, pretty pictures in a remarketing campaign. Those things, we control that. We pull the levers. That’s easy. The hard part is getting rave reviews from our residents. The hard part is showing prospects that we’re the better choice because everybody wants to live in one of our communities and loves their experience living there. For us, we take reviews really seriously and we work very hard to generate positive reviews, to create exceptional experiences for our residents, and then to really do everything that we can to promote those reviews across all the different channels where we do market. We do a lot to create that sense of authenticity and that’s especially relevant depending, again, going back to your personas. Knowing your different personas. Knowing that a millennial is going to take the word of mouth of a peer and place much greater stock and value in that then they are going to from a campaign message. Again, understanding who your end users are and then leveraging all the mechanisms that we can to reach them.
Brooke: I love that and I love that you emphasized the authenticity. I mean, a lot of studies show that about 70% of buyers are looking for reviews before they’re making purchases or getting a lease online or looking at apartments. I think that’s huge. Maureen, for you at Pierce Properties, with so much information out there from your competitors, how do you ensure that your results are coming up where people are looking?
Maureen: That also is a really good question. I think all of us are constantly trying to be ahead of the game and figure this out, but the best practice, it comes down to what is the best practice ensuring your results are coming up. What people are looking for is a workout every day with your social media and your analytics. It’s again, I feel like I’m just bouncing on this subject a lot, but researching and making sure you’re set, you’re looking at your analytics and you’re really taking that information and you’re doing something with it. You’re taking that and you’re creating different campaigns and so forth, and by the way everyone, I’ve had a couch follow me through Wayfair for the last month so geo-tracking is really effective. I might just have to buy it to get it off of my geo tracking. I know. It’s really, you have to…it’s you who is responsible for making sure that your results are coming up where you want them to. There’s no secret to this. It takes you doing it. It takes you looking at it. There is so much out there that’s provided for all of us, it’s a matter of knowing where to look and having good people around you to help you through this good practice which you could go through different vendors and especially Entrata. I think that’s really important, too, to have a good group of people around you as well.
Brooke: Great, thank you so much, Maureen. Veronica, would you like to add anything to this and cover what Entrada solutions we have at this process of evaluation?
Maureen: Yeah. Okay. At this phase, we’re at now at evaluation, right? We’ve gone through awareness, research, we’re now down at evaluation where four year prospective resident. They’ve got exposed to you, they’ve maybe looked at three or four different websites, and now they actually might be typing your property name directly into Google. Awareness, they might have been typing in apartments for rent, very general, I’m just getting going on the need that I have to possibly relocate and move. At evaluation, they’ve gone through this. Now they might be going to Google and literally typing in your name. This is where you’re going to put a lot of pressure on the two products that we have, which is one, ReputationAdvisor and two, SEO. I’ll start with SEO on this one. I type in the property name, what is the experience on the first page of Google? If I am directly typing in your property name and I’m not getting a knowledge grab of your property with associated reviews online, on social media platforms that are tied to you, all of the above, if that’s not happening when I’m literally typing in your apartment name and your brand should be popping up on different places. It should be your YouTube channel. It should be your website. It should be your review page. It should be your social network. That is all part of SEO. SEO is making sure that the consistency of your brand is just solid. Now ReputationAdvisor is a tool that we have that basically crawls the web and pulls in reviews for your property. Right? So this is really important. Eric touched on this a lot. If you have positive reviews, fantastic. But it’s unrealistic, of course, you’re going to have negative reviews and on purpose, people are going to seek them out. At Entrata, for the summit two years ago, we did this massive survey for residents and reviews. In the finding, we found that people were reading 10 to 15 on average reviews. They were looking at three to four different review sites because they didn’t believe one over the other, they wanted to see reviews across different websites. They were also purposely seeking out negative reviews, not just because we’re all negative people in the world today and it’s 2017, no. It’s because we actually want to see one, if there was something bad about the property, I don’t want to be ignorant. But more importantly, what did the staff at the property do to respond to a negative experience or situation? That is more telling of my landlord experience than anything else. Everybody gets along when everything is great. Okay? You’ll stay in a relationship forever, that’s obviously, right? That’s the obvious point. But what happens when something goes bad or something is wrong or there is construction or the parking is terrible or something happened? How does the property respond? Is it a general response? Is it specific? Is it heartfelt and sincere? That’s where having a tool like ReputationAdvisor that pulls in reviews and alerts you right away of both positive or negative where you can mark up your views with specific attributes that are either positive or negative is going to make a huge difference. That’s the power of ReputationAdvisor. It puts a lot of pressure on that product to be accurate. To give you all of the reviews from different locations on the web whether it be Google or Yelp or Apartment Ratings, it doesn’t matter. It gives you the ability to respond to those reviews. Those two products at this phase where somebody is typing in your property and specifically seeking out review content, you’re going to put a lot of pressure on SEO and you’re going to put a lot of pressure on ReputationAdvisor.
Brooke: Great. I totally agree. I think those are huge tools to help people in this process. Veronica, thank you so much for sharing. That brings us to the last phase in the funnel which is decision. Obviously, the most important part probably making the decision to sign a lease, this is when prospective residents are ready to do that, but all they need is just help completing that process. Eric, how do you help coach your prospective residents at Greystar through the application process?
Eric: We do a lot of different things from, again, user-friendly websites that make it very clear what their intent needs to be and what their user path should look like. We also try to personalize the experience as much as we can. When prospects are with us during the tour or in the leasing office and we use the leasing tablet apps so that again, it’s a very user-friendly, very easy process. We can get the tablet set up, pull up the app, already have some of their information in it and turn the tablet over to the prospects and let them complete the application right there in the office with us. Ask us any questions they might have. Whatever we can try to do to make it feel a little bit less intimidating, less overwhelming because those applications are lengthy. They are several pages. Lots of information so the more that we can do to continue that personalized experience, the better the outcomes have been.
Brooke: That’s great. I love that you said making it very detailed. Giving them ample information to make this process easy for them to do, right? Maureen, what information at Pierce Properties do you guys provide on your landing pages?
Maureen: Thanks, Brooke. We provide different information on the landing pages. With our website, we have different widgets at the bottom and they’re all customized per property based on the demand that we see and the feedback that we get from our target market and our traffic that comes in. I love them because they’re easily accessible to navigate through on our website. What we have on our website is the obvious at the top, right? Just the obvious ingredient to what a prospect would be looking for in this stage, but then we have these widgets at the bottom that provide additional information. We usually try to keep a recipe of like a call to action, we have additional SEO keywords, we make sure that the content inside the landing pages are specific to our target market. We also keep it very clean by design, again, so that it’s a reference that’s really quick that these millennials can go to and get additional information. Then we make sure that we stay within our brand guidelines as well to attract and promote the property to that final stage where that person is evaluating us and going, “Yes. I want to live there. I want to come in for a tour.”
Brooke: That’s great and I love that you said you provide enough clear and clean information because research backs that up that 95% of buyers choose that solution that provides them with ample information. So love that you said that. Veronica, what do we offer at Entrata that really helps to facilitate this decision process?
Veronica: Okay. So, we’ve done it. I’m now celebrating as a marketer. I’ve gone from awareness to research, now I’m down to the decision. Oh, my goodness. Okay. Right? So, I’m really excited, I’m pumped, I cannot lose somebody here. I can’t do it and I can’t do that by over complicating my applications, right? Here is where at this last piece there is going to be a lot of overlap between the marketing suite products and now you’re going to see the leasing suite products. ProspectPortal is going to come back into the picture, but not the website itself. It’s specifically the application part of the website. How easy is it for you, for a prospective resident, if they’re doing it in the office, great, but for you guys on the staff, it would be way easier for you to scale if people had a better…an easier time filling out the application online. Is it quick and easy to use? Forget all of the paperwork. It’s all online. It puts a lot more pressure on the application inside of ProspectPortal. In addition to that, we have two other products. We have LeadManager. LeadManager is a product similar to RepAdvisor. Instead of pulling all of our reviews, what LeadManager does is it pulls in all of those leads. All of those guest card traffics into one efficient, easy to use dashboard that you can organize everything, prioritize your hottest leads to your coldest leads, and just be able to follow up with them effectively. It’s a big deal if I’ve come down to a decision and it might be between you and another property, how quickly is somebody calling them if they have questions? Are you letting your guest cards go stale? Don’t lose them at this phase. Then LeaseExecution, I think that’s pretty self-explanatory where you can basically expedite the leasing or renewal process online and they can sign a lease right there and then. You don’t have to have them come back in to sign any paperwork. It’s all done. At this stage of the game, they’ve made a decision. How easy is your application to follow? Are you effectively following up with your leads through LeadManager? Can they effectively sign a lease online, and do it legally, and also just do it according to the information that is needed for them to live at your apartment complex?
Brooke: Perfect. Thank you so much, Veronica. Great products, great things happening at Entrata. We’re finished with the funnel and we would now love to take questions from you guys online. You can submit them on the GoToWebinar panel on the side if there are questions. We have received a few questions already so we’ll start with those. We’ll start with this one. This can be to any of the panelists. With reviews, do you have requirements in place for how quickly staff members need to respond? Let’s ask Maureen this one. Do you have a requirement in place of how quickly staff members respond to reviews?
Maureen: Yes. Okay. So, is there a way that I can look at this question because Brooke you just went out for a second so I didn’t hear the whole question.
Brooke: Yeah, of course. Let me repeat it. So with reviews, do you have requirements in place for how quickly staff members need to respond?
Maureen: Yes, absolutely. We do have a process. This is very, very key, everyone. The response time is probably one of the most important elements in reviews. You should respond as soon as possible and I would say if you don’t respond within almost, I know this sounds kind of obnoxious, but within a couple of hours sometimes as a review, it can really get out of control depending on what it is. Basically with reviews, our residents, we owe it to our residents. They need to just have the truth and know the truth and we always invite them to come in and talk with us as well. Our process is…and then we also have sources and other staff members to constantly rake through our social media and our website to make sure that these reviews are being met. That’s a process that’s internal as well.
Brooke: Great. Thank you so much, Maureen. Eric, actually I would love to ask you this next question. It has to do with reviews as well. How do you respond to negative reviews or do you even respond to those reviews at all?
Eric: Yeah. Actually, sometimes responding to the negative reviews is, the best thing that we can do to create stark, raving fans, right? Part of that is if all of the reviews you get, as much as we would love that, are positive reviews, again it goes back to that authenticity component. Not everybody is happy all the time. You’ve got to have a good ratio of negative reviews. Hopefully, they’re not terribly negative, but the most important part of that is the response component of it. It’s really about responding, acknowledging the fact that the person was upset about something. Taking things offline so that it doesn’t continue to fuel the fire. Inviting the person that posted the reviews to come into the office and talk about whatever their concern might be. Offering to meet with them. Whatever you can do to segue it offline but just acknowledging that you’re sorry to hear that there was an issue and then providing as much positive detail as you can to show that there’s a resolution in place. In some cases, we have actually been able to go and have the resident that posted the negative review do a follow-up review from their perspective showing, “Hey, you know, we had this issue and the property manager was terrific and they came and they fixed it,” and whatever the case might be. There is a lot of opportunity there to not only win over that particular resident, but then show people that we’re listening, we care, and we’re trying to resolve things.
Brooke: Oh, wow. I think that’s a great idea. That really makes…I’m sure that makes the residents feel like they’re being heard. I think that’s great. Here’s another question. I’m going to ask both of you, actually. I think this is a great question. Maureen, how often are you reviewing website performance metrics on your property?
Maureen: Every couple of days I know that we have different reports that come out. We look at the metrics on a corporate level and then also on an on-property site. We’re on a schedule and then we have a third-party vendor that also reviews them as well. I feel like we’re covering as many bases as we can with our reviews.
Brooke: That’s great. What about Eric? What about you guys at Greystar? How often do you review those performance metrics on your website?
Eric: We’re always reviewing and evaluating the different performance metrics. We’re really fortunate to have a lot of different tools and dashboards to make at-a-glance reporting available and possible for the teams. It’s not something that you can set and forget. You’ve got to be consistently reviewing on a regular basis.
Brooke: Great. Thank you so much. I agree. Here’s another question. Maureen, what are your favorite marketing reports to have site staff and corporate staff review?
Maureen: That’s a good question. I love looking at the traffic, honestly. I know that sounds really simple, but the traffic that comes through the website. The traffic…the different sources that we’re retrieving traffic I believe is a good sign because if you don’t have any traffic, then you won’t have any leasing, necessarily. But the traffic that you have on the website and the behaviors. We have many reports, probably as Eric does, but the most favorite report that I like to look at, that I think tells a huge story is your traffic.
Veronica: Can I add to that as well?
Brooke: Yeah. Please do, Veronica.
Veronica: You’re spot on, Maureen. Spot on. Traffic says a lot, but what you touched on I think is the crucial part, is what are they doing? As of this last stand and release for ProspectPortal, we actually released macro tracking and Google Analytics. If you go into your Google Analytics and you go into just the unfiltered view of your Google Analytics on your website, you will actually see each of the pages that the visitor is actually hitting. It will just foward/floorplan, forward/amenities, and I think that the most important piece is okay, we’re funneling people in through ILS and Craigslist and advertising, okay, great. But when they hit the website, what are they doing? What pages are they going to? What order of pages are they going to? Which pages have the highest bounce rate? What page retains them the longest? If there is blog content, which blog content holds their interest the longest as well? You basically watch the funnel all the way through Google Analytics to see what they’re doing, what they’re behaving, and what’s sticking with them and what’s not. Then with the EventTracking that we just released, you can see if they’re actually pushing buttons. Are they contacting us or are they pushing to learn more? Are they filling out a guest card? What page is the application like are they leaving? You can see all that through Google Analytics and I think it’s the behavior of the traffic that tells more of a story than even, “Hey, I got five people today.”
Brooke: Great. Veronica, that was genius. There’s a reason you’re the director over here. You’re awesome. This is the last question. This is directed specifically at Eric. You mentioned personalizing the experience by using the tablet. How exactly are you creating that personalization?
Eric: One of the things that is helpful for us is it really goes back to a training component and how we try to have our onsite teams do everything from the moment they greet the prospect initially to start creating that one-on-one dialogue. Really get to know the prospect. Get to know what motivates them, what brought them to the property, what excites them about it. Personalizing the tour path using the tablet as much as possible throughout that so that then it just becomes a very seamless transition of here you’re using the tablet as your guest card, your personal opportunity to take notes if you want to, whatever it might be. But then really more into that segue of, “Hey, it’s only one or two more clicks and we can get you started onto your application process and we can secure that apartment that we just looked at with the amazing view that you liked.” It’s really more just a whole sales process and how we do that communication throughout.
Brooke: Great. Thank you so much for sharing, Eric. Thank you so much, Eric, Maureen, and Veronica for joining us today on the webinar. All of you who are listening online, thank you so much. Again, a link will be sent to you with a full recording of the webinar so you can listen to it again if you need to or want to share it with your teams. Thank you so much for being on the webinar today. We appreciate you and hope you have a great day.