Is the reign of the ILS over?

The way that prospective renters are searching for their next apartment community has taken a turn. The days of using an internet listing service (ILS) for apartment searches are fading—and fading fast. So, how are these renters connecting with your community? Simple. The old fashioned way—internet searching.

J Turner Research recently published a study on how prospects are sourcing their apartments these days. What they found was that many of the top ILS sites, including Craigslist, are declining in popularity by as much as 13% since 2012.

So, we know that ILS’ are on the decline, and search engines for apartments are rising, but what can you do to attract your next round of leases? One word—AdWords.

We’re finding that more and more communities are dropping their ILS and investing their marketing dollars into online advertising—particularly AdWords and Bing Ads. These advertising channels are becoming a more preferred, cost effective marketing options due to their high targeting potential. You are able to promote your brand either on a local, regional or even global scale. Through both online ad tools, communities have the option to be seen at the moment a prospect begins their apartment search. A cool feature with Bing advertising is that if you’re already utilizing Google Adwords, you can easily pull that campaign into your Bing Ads. And perhaps the best part is that you will only pay when your users click to view your website or call. Many property owners appreciate the fact that they are only being charged when their online ad is producing some results.

Online ads are also increasing in use due to the flexibility one has with their campaigns. You are able to set your own budget, so your ad spend will depend on your specific marketing goals, which becomes quite convenient. This way, you are able to decrease or ramp up your campaign at your will.

If you decide to drop your ILS for AdWordsor Bing Ads, you’ll need to know how to leverage the tool for maximum value.

First, brand yourself! By bidding on targeted, branded keywords like your community name, city and state, you will ultimately improve your clickthrough rate to your website. These keywords will also produce your highest quality leads. This is important, as those renters who are already searching for you by name will be able to find you much easier.

Okay, so you’ve purchased your branded keywords—now what?

Choose your remaining keywords carefully. Now it’s time to target other keywords that may offer you more value. You should start by putting yourself in the mind of one of your prospective renters. Think about what information or questions they’d be looking to find the answers to on their search. Is it your pet policy? Amenities? Rent price? Then, base your keyword strategy off of these answers. It will also be helpful to include keywords specific to your location as well. For instance, if you’re utilizing AdWords an option for you could be,”Brightstar Community all inclusive” or “all-inclusive apartments Richmond, Virginia” to attract those renters specifically looking for properties with all amenities included. Make sure you think long and hard about this step, as all keywords are not created equal. The good news is that you can always revise your campaign to include or erase certain keywords.


Rentbot can help.

The future of apartment marketing is changing just as quickly as the way we share information. But, one thing has remained the same—you need an effective website to secure quality leads, and Rentbot can help with that. Each custom Rentbot site is optimized so that it’s highly searchable and will rank well in organic search engine results. With our beautiful, high definition photos and online capabilities, your AdWords or BingAds visitors will turn into tenants in no time! Complement your online ad campaign with a brand new Rentbot site and sit back and watch the qualified leads roll in. Attract the attention you deserve. Get started today, and the first thirty days are on us.


About the Author

Jonsette Calloway joined the Rentbot team in 2015. With a background in public relations, advertising and copywriting, she has helped a multitude of clients achieve their marketing and communications goals within various fields, but she particularly enjoys working with the apartment industry.