Have you ever been frustrated because you want to customize your internet listing on one of the major ILS platforms? Most of us have been there; we’d like to mimic the language we have on our website and marketing materials and position our community in a way where we feel that we could stand out.
To be fair, I think we all understand the need for the Internet Listing Sites to establish parameters so that the look and feel of their site is uniform, clean and quite honestly, easier to navigate. Much like we in property management often provide same color window blinds or, require that curtains to have a light-colored backing, why; so the look is consistent and standardized, right?
But, when you’re looking for your community to scream “pick me, pick me” this can pose a challenge so here are a few ways I found to jump off the Internet Listing pages without upping my advertising budget.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it is so, so true. Make sure your pictures really pop. Post high-resolution pics, using great natural light and making sure they’re well staged, clean. If you’re not taking professional photos that’s ok, just be sure to take pics at the time of day when natural light is at its’ best but, not too bright otherwise the photo clarity will look washed out.
Another way I found to keep my listings fresh was to frequently change out the photo carousel especially. While a killer pool shot may not be that interesting in December, it sure is April - when people are beginning to think about summer, so lead with that one.
Also, adding in Resident Events pics, either with the resident’s permission or, as staged photos shot by your professional photographer can show a prospective resident what it’s like to live at your community. It gives them a real sense of how fun, engaging, and creative your events are.
Lastly, if you’re a newer community and using renderings in place of photos while you’re under construction, get real life pics on the site as soon as possible. People want to see what things really look like – LIVE and In Person.
USE THE TEXT SECTION WELL
You know the section that I’m talking about, the one where we’re able to go wild and crazy and write the story of the community? Yes, that’s the one.
One thing I learned about marketing years ago was people don’t read long sentences or, paragraphs so bullet point if you can. Think about it- the last time you were in a retail store, you probably saw a sale sign that said something like “35% Off” in big…. bold letters. It grabbed your attention but, it probably wouldn’t have captured your attention as quickly if it was a paragraph that said, “35% off all blue and yellow tops that have fringe along the bottom and have a cap sleeve with a boatneck. Pare down and stick with the important and most impactful elements in your message.
MAKE SURE THE INFORMATION IS ACCURATE
As much as we love technology sometimes things go awry so just make sure you double check your listings for accuracy on the regular. I have to admit that once one of my communities had amenities listed on an advertising site that we didn’t offer and some that we did that were missing, remember technology can have glitches just like people.
Also, it’s important to remember that none of our advertising or marketing efforts should ever be viewed as a “fix it and forget it” or, that it can be placed on cruise control.
Remember, advertising and marketing requires regular attention to freshen and modify in response to what is working and, what’s not.