Utilizing Search Engines to Improve Homeowner Acquisition

    As property managers, you are always taking part in the never-ending rat race to acquire more homeowners. It’s your livelihood, your way of improving your business; and yet, after a time, it can become difficult to discover new ways to market your brand. Unfortunately, with so many companies out there competing for attention, many find themselves fading into the background—regardless of the quality of their property management services.

    But, what if I told you there was a mighty tool that could get your company’s name out in front of an entire population of people just dying to use your property management services? This tool, of course, is Search Engine Optimization.

    General and Local SEO
    One of the most important things you need to do in order to improve the visibility of your service is to start ranking for the terms that people are using to find companies like you. This means optimizing your site around terms such as “[location] property management” and other terms related to that. Of course, this is easier said than done; but, we can help you get a foothold and start your way to your eventual goal. Here are just a few tips that you can use to get started:
    • Choose your Keywords: Choosing keywords is one of the more difficult things you can do, but it’s one of the most important parts of an organic SEO campaign. Use tools like the Google Keyword planner (found in your Google Adwords account) to find the keywords that people are searching for in your area and to see how hard they will be to rank. Then, narrow the keywords that you are interested in down to a select few that you will spread throughout your site. It may seem obtuse, but it’s very important; check out these resources for a little more information.
    • Spread your Keywords throughout the Site: Once you’ve chosen the keywords you wish to go after, you need to disseminate those keywords in the proper places throughout your site. Use them to build the Meta data (titles and descriptions), as well as in the content that you have on each page. However, remember to not stuff your Meta data and content with these keywords. Keep the content and the Meta data sounding natural, or else people will not click on your site in the search engine ranking pages (SERPs) and Google may penalize your site.
    • Make sure All Technical Aspects of your Site are up to Google’s Standards: Egregious amounts of 404 errors, improperly implemented 301 redirects, and a poor link profile can all lead towards Google penalizing your site. Run a technical audit on your site to make sure your site is in line with what Google desires.
    • Set up your Local Strategy: One of the most important results you can achieve as a property management company is showing up in the local business results for your area. As such, you need to gear your SEO strategy towards that end. This means making sure all NAP data (Name, Address, Phone Number) is consistent throughout the site and the internet, as well as doing your best to attract 5 star reviews on your Google Business page. Other steps you need to take include:
      • Setting up a Google Local Business Page: If you do not sign up for Google Local Business, you will not show up in the local search. Click here to learn more.
      • Sign up and Manage Local Directories throughout the Web: Many local directories procedurally create accounts for you, which can result in misleading or incorrect data. Use services like Yext to sign up for all major directory sites and correct the data that you need to. Remember; uniform NAP data is crucial to a Google Local Campaign
      • Attract 5 Star Reviews: The better reviews you get, the better you rank in Google. That means you will need to use reputation management strategies to attract reviews from your consumers. We will talk about this more later in the article.
    Remember: If you are able to use these tactics to rank for high search volume terms such as “[city] property management”, you will have your company’s site in front of thousands of potential clients each and every day, potentially increasing your property acquisition numbers tremendously. However, this is only the beginning of your SEO journey.

    Paid Search
    Once you have you general and local SEO ducks in a row, you may find yourself a bit impatient to start seeing results. After all, it can take months to see any improvement in the search engine rankings, meaning you won’t see that pot of gold under the rainbow for quite some time. Fortunately, paid search can be a source of instant success, gaining you homeowners at a rate that you’ve never seen before after only a few days set up. All you need to do is outbid the other players for the key term you desire, and your site will be generating more leads in no time! However, before you go rushing off to create your first paid campaign, there are a few things you need to understand.

    What is Paid Search?
    At its core, paid search is an ad campaign that is Google-specific. In other words, you are paying for advertising space in Google’s search engine results that provide priority placement and maximum visibility. Now why, you may be wondering, is this such a powerful tool? After all, advertising campaigns are not exactly an uncommon tactic. To answer this question, you simply have to look at where these ads are showing up:
    As you can see, the Airbnb ad runs above the first entry on Google’s natural page rank results. Just by outbidding other sites online for the keyword “vacation rentals Phoenix”, they were able to get one of the most visible sections on the internet for one of the most searched terms in their market. I’m sure we don’t have to tell you how important that is to a marketing campaign!

    The Downside
    With all this said, paid search has some major downsides that can keep certain companies out of the running. First of all, it is perhaps the most expensive mode of online marketing that you can participate in. Not only do many of the best terms cost a lot of money per click, they don’t always convert, and you can easily find yourself in a hole if you don’t know precisely what you’re doing. On top of this, in order to run a well-groomed campaign that produces the results you deserve, you need time, training, and more in-depth information that you won’t be able to get from a short article like this.

    It really does take a paid search marketing expert to get all you can out of a paid search campaign, which costs even more money than just bidding on popular keyword terms! But, if you are willing to put forward the investment, take the time to groom your campaign every day, and shell out for a marketing expert that will keep your campaign running smoothly, paid search can get you to the top and keep you there when it comes to both the search engine ranking page AND your new homeowner acquisitions!

    Speaking of powerful tools geared towards targeting potential clients, remarketing can do something that no other mode discussed in this article can come even close to doing: target consumers that you know for certain have interest in your service!

    Better yet, it works great in combination with other homeowner marketing strategies, allowing you to attract new (or, in this case, past) property owners while also making it easier for you to fill the homes you already have. Trust us; remarketing is a strategy you need to employ!

    After all, so many potential customers visit your site, sign up for your newsletters, or otherwise contact you every day, but wind up leaving before they make a purchase. One of the biggest mistakes that property management companies make is letting these fish off the lure, so to speak. Fortunately, Google Analytics and Google AdWords allow for the ability to “remarket” (or show an ad) to those potential customers, keeping your company fresh in their mind as they continue to look for whatever they are looking for.

    Truly, it’s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, and one that very few make use of! Here are just a few tips you can make use of when attempting to start your remarketing campaign:
    • Make Use of Google Adwords Remarketing Feature: If you are running a paid search campaign, Google allows you to create target audiences that they will then display ads to. These audiences are based on a set of criteria, including those who viewed product pages, those who already used some of your services but didn’t use all your services, and those who visited your site and simply didn’t buy anything. You can then use those audiences and tailor an ad to the specifications that you desire, allowing you to show them what you think they might want!
    • Keep Email Lists: Of course, not everyone uses Google Adwords, but, that does not mean you don’t have any remarketing strategies at your disposal. If you have an email service that sends newsletters to those who sign up, you can use those email lists to see who is not currently using your actual service. These are prime email blast candidates that you can target and turn into potential clients!
    • Email Past Clients: Do you have property owners that transferred services to another property manager? Keep their emails on file as well and make certain you contact them after some time has passed. There’s always the chance that the grass wasn’t greener on the other side, and that they’d want to come back to your service. This also works with those who stay at the properties you manage, allowing you to improve the percentage of properties you have filled at any one time.

    Reputation Management
    Finally, one of the best things you can do to make your property management company more attractive to potential clients is curry online favor in the form of Google ratings.

    Though one of the most difficult things you can do, doing your best to influence the ratings you receive through online rating resources can have an incredible effect on your online presence, your local SEO results, and—most importantly—your property owner acquisition statistics.

    Best of all, there are even a few steps you can take right now to start your journey towards a respectable online rating! Here are some tips you can implement right now:
    • Find and organize the main review directories with your info on the web (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Local, etc.)
    • Develop a guest review process that influences the posting of reviews: People simply don’t like reviewing things online. It takes time, and one of the only situations that they will take time out of their day to post a review—without some prodding—is if they’re angry. As such, you need to prompt them to review, particularly when they are happy!
      • Ask visitors how their stay was and if they were happy, give them a card that has your review profile URLs on it
      • Add a link to review in your during/post checkout emails (if you’re not sending post-checkout emails, you should definitely start doing so soon!)
      • Create review cardstock teepees that say “Tell us how your stay is going!” to place on all units' dining room tables or bars.
      • Keep in contact with your happy homeowners and ask them for reviews!
      • Leverage realtors you deal with for referrals, and ask them for reviews as well!
      • Finally, simply create a review pre-qualification page that promotes quality reviews from your happy customers, while also giving unhappy ones a sounding board for their disappointment. The trick here is to make sure happy homeowners get to your review pages, while unhappy ones only are allowed to send emails to you to let you know why they were mad. This can be done with a simple “thumbs up, thumbs down” webpage that directs users in the direction you want them to go.
    Combine all of these Tips to make your site a Property Owner Acquisition Machine!
    At the end of the day, if you follow all these tips, you will be well on your way toward improving your property owner acquisitions. All you need to do is to make sure you are utilizing all the tools at your disposal, while also ensuring you have the right people at the forefront to help you through this SEO journey.
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