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September 26, 2011

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

Apartment Website Development That Produces a Great ROI

It is clear that capital improvements to an apartment building are worthwhile investments, as they typically increase both the value of the property and the property’s overall appeal for renters.  These investments also make sense operationally when replacing boilers, windows and appliances often lead to tangible cost savings.

One of the major incentives for performing such capital improvements may be their short-term payback period, with many improvements providing expense savings that recover the original investment in as little as two to three years.  However, it's often overlooked at how developing a new apartment website can also lead to cost savings. 

Just as adding a new boiler can save on gas bills, a new website that focuses on lead conversions, improved communications with potential and current tenants and customer retention can enhance operational efficiencies, reduces advertising expenditures and decrease turnover rates – resulting in a great Return On Investment (ROI). 

This article examines some of the ways that a website can improve your marketing message, thereby providing a worthwhile return on investment for landlords.

 

Developing a Great Apartment Website Can Reduce Advertising Expenses:

Google reports that there are 3.7 billion searches conducted per month in Canada and of that number an estimated 2.2 million searches contain the keyword apartment.  Renters are going online to search for apartments and this search traffic represents a great opportunity for lead generation.

Investing in a website that indexes well within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) can therefore lead to a significant ROI, as leads derived from these searches come at a reduced cost compared to traditional forms of advertising, and in a short time the reduction in advertising expenses recoups the cost of developing a website. 

Landlord Web Solution’s client, Drewlo Holdings of London, Ontario, provides a strong example of this point. Shortly after the launch of their redesigned corporate website, Drewlo reduced their print advertising expenses by a staggering 95% in their Kitchener market.  This decrease was the direct result of increased search engine exposure and lead generation, which allowed them to maintain the same number of leads as all their previous advertising methods combined at a greatly reduced cost.

Saving on advertising expenses as the result of improved lead generation demonstrates that well developed websites can produce a substantial ROI for landlords.

 

An Apartment Website Can Help Reduce Turnovers:

While attracting new residents in a more cost effective way is one way to determine the ROI of a website, the ability to retain current residents is another way that a website can help lower operational expenses.

By adding a resident portal to a website, landlords can keep their lines of communication open with residents, allowing residents to receive an excellent level of customer service. Since one of the key reasons tenants move out of a building is poor customer service, increasing that level of service is vital to keeping existing tenants satisfied. 

A resident portal can facilitate effective communication in several ways. Portals can be used to provide tenants with convenient access to commonly used forms online, such as maintenance requests and elevator bookings; however, the portal can also include social event calendars, news feeds, polling, discussion boards, and community marketplace and referral programs. All of these extra features benefit the residents and enhance the lifestyle within the building.

If the average turnover costs Canadian landlords an estimated $2,000, avoiding one turnover per month could easily provide a 100% ROI for your website in the first year of operation alone.

 

Apartment Websites Can Facilitate Operational Efficiencies:

Websites can also provide cost-saving labour efficiencies by allowing administration processes to become automated.  One great example of this is data syndication. 

Data syndication is the packaging of website data so that it can be distributed digitally to other sources.  For example, details data such as amenities, rental fees, and so on for an apartment building can be sent digitally on an ongoing basis to an online listing website such as Gottarent.com as well as others such as MyIdealHome.com, ensuring that such listing services have the most up-to-date information available about a company’s buildings.  If an administrator changes the building data on the company website, it is automatically updated on any site that has the feed. Over time, labour efficiencies as a result of using syndication can reduce the likelihood that additional staff will need to be hired. 

Developing an effective website can easily reduce long-term expenses in areas such as marketing and advertising.  It can also add value for your current and prospective tenants in the form of improved customer service and it can lead to reduced turnover and increased lead conversions. Together, all of these benefits and savings means that a new or redesigned website can lead to a considerable ROI.