The Resident Connection, Written Posts

Setting the Recored Straight On Pay Per Lease Advertising

2 Comments 16 November 2011

It seems like the debate continues on and on regarding which ILS model is the best.  At the recent NMHC Tech Conference people were tweeting about it.  At a recent Apartment Guide conference people were tweeting about it.  It seems that at every conference people are tweeting and talking about it in recent years, let alone all the blog posts and discussions online about the topic.  So, I’d like to set the record straight by saying:

We’re all a bunch of suckers when it comes to buying leasing traffic.

Yes, you read that correctly.  We’re buying gimmicks, and I’m guilty myself.  It sounds so great on the surface.  “Pay only for what you get” is the promise.  I have to ask though, what exactly do we get?

1. Some kind of listing.

2. Some kind of marketing that drives people to these sites.

3. A trackable phone number.

4. A form that prospects can fill out to contact us.

5. And if we’re lucky some links to our websites.

From my perspective, none of these things are concrete enough to justify a pay per lease fee.  Why?  Because there are dozens of other sites and resources that offer a slight variation of the same exact information.  What makes a site so unique that it deserves a “Pay Per” model?  I say nothing.  Is it even realistic to think that prospects just used one site and it should be given all the credit?  I say no.

All said, I’m guessing that you’re wondering why “we’re all a bunch of suckers”?  Well, I think we’ve been sold the idea of ROI.  It’s easy for us to sign up for something that’s marketed as FREE until someone actually uses it.  We’ve allowed ourselves to sign up for a pay per model that promises the same exact thing that plenty of other sites promise all because it’s FREE to start.  All under the guise that leases from the pay per sites are different or better.  Different or better compared to what?  Just different in the way you pay for them from my perspective, but definitely not better.

The problem I have is that phone calls, emails, and lease claims can be inaccurate.  There are issues with attributing leases to a specific source, and with giving ALL credit to one source.  This is an issue for flat rate ILSs as well, but at least I know exactly what I’m investing each month and I can establish the ROI that fits my needs.

Here’s what I want.  An online space (listing) to rent under a well optimized URL that helps drive eyeballs to my properties and hopefully lead them to contact us.  I do expect a certain number of click throughs and eyeballs to find my listing, and I expect those prospects to use multiple sources. Unfortunately some of those clicks will be bogus, but that’s why I just want to pay a flat rate that I can justify.  I do expect to study my leads and leases to determine which sources meet ROI standards that I set.  I don’t expect an ILS to set the ROI standard for me at $400/lease (and I’m not certain I like them setting a pay per lead value either but that’s another topic).  I would appreciate a link to my website as well.  While I want to lease this space from you, my main goal is to get them away from all my competitors and have them come over to my space.  Cheers to the ones that currently fit my needs!

And that’s just what I expect of the current ILS model today.  I have yet to see an ILS incorporate social media or reviews in a way that is truly effective, so I won’t even dive into what I’d like to see there.  What do you think?  Are you a Pay Per fan?  Maybe that works really well for you.  If so, congrats.


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