Building Your E-Curb Appeal

Building Your E-Curb Appeal
By: Nicholas A. Dunlap, CPM

The apartment industry has become increasingly reliant on technology. With owners accessing financial information and records from abroad, managers logging details on property inspections and operation from the field and residents scouring the web for move-in specials on their I-Phone and Blackberry devices, it’s safe to say that our performance based, financially driven industry has the tech bug, bad. While there are different levels of sophistication in terms of technological infrastructure, at the bare minimum there are minimal steps you can take to emerge from the darkness and embrace the technological advancement that has, well, dare we say, made our jobs easier? Find these tips and suggestions below.

The Property Portal

If you choose to avoid all other technological advancement in the apartment industry, you should at the very least embrace the property portal. Talk about leveraging your time and effort, a portal is essentially an online look at and into the property that includes specific information on the site and location, professional photos, current rates, leasing information, specials, contact information and forms, maintenance request forms, payment options, etc. The portal serves both current and prospective residents and functions as a retention and marketing tool.

Search engines like it when you include “apartments” in your website name, so, if you own a building named “Palm Villas”, try “PalmVillasApartments.com”. You will rank higher in searches and be picked up by more search engines. In plain English, this means your property is more likely to show up when someone types in “apartments” in a Google search.

E-Analytics

Just like you monitor the ads you place in the newspaper or classifieds, track the overall effectiveness of your online presence by subscribing to services like Google Analytic. Google Analytic will tell you everything you could possibly want to know about the people who access your website, including: location, time spent on site, how they accessed your site (directly or from a link), what they typed into the search engine, etc. Knowing what your viewers input to access your site can help you maximize your marketing dollars by increasing keywords and code in one area and adding less emphasis to the other. Reports can be easily configured so that they can be emailed daily, weekly or monthly depending on the number of websites and advertising campaigns that are active.

Financial Reporting…Reloaded

Let’s face it: money never sleeps! Why not have access to it whenever, wherever you are? Whether it’s an iphone, blackberry or a laptop with web access from out of the office, programs such as Yardi, Quick Books and other Property Management programs are now equipped with modules that allow them to be easily accessed, securely and online. Financial management is the fun part of the business, why not do it at your leisure in your preferred location: yacht, motor home, cafe, plane, you get the picture.

In closing, I should add that I hope to soon be utilizing an Ipad to neatly and efficiently log notes, photos and other details on weekly property walks. More on that, soon.

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