INDUSTRY ARTICLES


Website Marketing

Article by George Cottage

The internet is making an ever increasing impact on the apartment rental market. Since it’s inception about 10 years ago at the University level, the demographics of renters using the internet have now extended beyond the 35 year olds. The public is doing less browsing on the internet and more specific searching and buying for particular items. The rental market is no different, and it’s showing increasing usage each year.

Placing an ad in the local newspapers or magazines may no longer be the only and most popular method of attracting potential customers to your building. The drafting of the ad, placing the call to the newspaper and then waiting for publication in some cases could be a timely process--anywhere from 12 hours to several days.

“Real Time” is the new buzzword in the industry and, although in a landlords word it has been a long time in coming, it is getting closer. While not quite Real Time, it is certainly within 30 seconds of real time.

On the internet an ad can be placed within an hour and, if pre-pared, within 30 seconds. That’s advertising at its best.

On the reverse side, when all units in the building are fully occupied, the newspaper and magazine ads are still running out their shelf life while the internet ad can be stopped or changed within the same 30 second time span.

Some advantages of website marketing include:

COST - The cost of advertising is extremely low for the numbers of persons reached.

EXPOSURE - the internet is worldwide, which no other media is.

TIME SAVER - information posted on the net is available instantly.

COMMUNICATION - e-mail has cut communication costs drastically. What used to be a long distance phone call is now a no cost e-mail.

SMALL LANDLORD BENEFIT - the internet allows the small landlord (a few buildings or buildings in different cities) to access the world market.

LARGE LANDLORD BENEFIT - a landlord with buildings concentrated in one area can create a website for his own promotion (although the best benefit is on a commercial site.)


DO'S AND DON'TS OF WEBSITE USE

Do

  • If you have your own website, update it as often as possible, the public is looking for current information. If they see a date that is 2 or 3 months old they will not likely revisit the site on a regular basis. An updated site has people coming back day after day until they find what they want.
  • Provide as much information as possible on the site. There is no cost for you to put the extra information there.
  • Promote the site. The largest site is still a secret if it is not promoted.
  • Make sure your site downloads quicky. The public once again are not willing to wait.
  • Have a method of checking the response from your site. Are the supers or rental agents asking where the inquires are coming from.

Don't

  • Don’t let your nephew create a site for you. Use a professional. The results are obvious. Just like you make sure the entrance to your building is in top shape, your website is the entrance to your business.
  • Don’t misuse colours. Blue lettering on a black background is hard to read. Examine the site yourself or ask others for opinions on your site.
  • Don’t spend a lot of money on site for a small number of buildings, or buildings in different cities. A commercial site is a better alternative.

Here are two quotes I am using from cohusohiostate.com and the HTML Writers Guild. Both are 7 years old but so true today.

“Not being on the World Wide Web will soon be equivalent to not having a Fax Machine.”

“In the not too distant future, not doing business on the World Wide Web will be equivalent to not doing business at all.

For More Information:

George Cottage
gsc@gscrentals.com


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