Donald Davidoff, Peggy Hale, Ryan Perez and Brett Huff speak on the ILS panel at the 2015 AIM Conference.

On the surface, selecting the right marketing channels seems really simple: if it doesn’t work, stop paying for it.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to determine if your Internet Listing Service is working for you than simply looking at the number of leads you’re receiving. It’s a complex web of quantity, quality and the impact on revenue and occupancy, which the panelists on the Maximizing Opportunities with Online Marketing Platform Providers attempted to untangle at the 2015 Apartment Internet Marketing Conference.

“We use a variety of all the Internet Listing Services,” said Ryan Perez, vice president of marketing for Landmark Apartment Trust. “It’s important to identify your digital strategy. In many of the sessions yesterday, they talked about how a varied digital strategy can be successful. Use of ILSs can be deliberate, strategic and also necessary.”

But that doesn’t mean companies should continue to use ILSs that aren’t producing results without analyzing the reasons for poor performance.

“In some years, based on performance, we’ve turned off some of the ILSs,” said Peggy Hale, vice president of sales and marketing for Morgan Properties. “We took a look at performance, took a look at geography and changed up the mix. I’m a firm believer that it has to be a win-win situation. If you’re in a contract, on a property in a particular portfolio, and it’s not working for you, you should have the guts to talk to your ILS partners and change things up.”

Changing requires measuring ILS results based on the key performance indicators that matter to the organization. Just because a community is highly occupied doesn’t mean cutting back on ILS spend is the right thing to do, especially if you’re on revenue management.

“I would never cut back on ILS spend when I was full,” said Donald Davidoff, president of D2 Demand solutions. “When I was full, I’d press the envelope a bit. I’ll take 200 leads at 96 percent occupied because my pricing system is going to get incremental revenue out of it.”

For other companies, like Landmark, cutting back on ILS spend when a community is 96 percent occupied makes sense.

“What’s the cost of the lead?” Perez asks. “How many leads do you need? You don’t need 200 leads if you are 96 percent occupied.”

While the panelists didn’t provide any hard and fast rules with regard to ILS spend, they did make one thing clear –complexity shouldn’t get in the way of utilizing ILS’s to maximize revenue or occupancy.

“Don’t get caught up in precision,” Davidoff said. “Do not let perfection be the enemy of the good.”

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