“Let me Google that” has became interchangeable with “I'll look it up”. So when a potential tenant hears about your property or is piqued by your marketing efforts, you can almost guarantee that the next thing they'll do is head to Google and look up that property. What they see here can make or break that customer's journey, so it's up to you to ensure sure that what shows up is optimized.
For nearly every search of a specific business, Google has a special listing space located in the prime top-right space that includes such content as contact information, reviews and images. Google allows properties claim ownership of their space through a tool called Google My Business (GMB), and today we're going to talk about what you need to do optimize it, and address common mistakes that can explain lead attrition.
Claiming Your Listing:
If you already know that you (or someone on your team) have access to your listing then skip straight down to the Common Mistakes section.
Before you're allowed to edit your business information, you need to be sure you actually have ownership of the listing. Many property owners and investors claim their business from the get-go, but if you think your listing may be unclaimed take these steps:
- Open a Google search tab
- Search for your property name
- On the top-right you should see a rectangular pane with the property name and some contact information
- Scroll to the bottom of this pane and look for a link that reads “Own this business?”
The “Own This Business?” link will allow you to claim your property listing, and it only shows up on unclaimed properties. Going through the verification steps here will get you ownership of your listing and allow you to edit your property information. This brings us to...
1. Not Uploading Images
If you don't upload your own images, then Google will do it's best to scrape the internet for images of your property. At best, these will be images taken by strangers, and at worst they could be of a different property entirely. By uploading just a handful of your own staged photographs, potential tenants will be able to see the best views of rooms and facilities.
2. Incorrect or Missing Contact Information
If you've won over a potential renter and they can't get hold of you, marketing money has been squandered. Be sure that you have the correct email, phone number, and address listed. Beyond that, ensure that this information is the same across all of your platforms, such as your Facebook page, Yelp, and your own website, as Google will penalize inconsistencies. This is increasingly important as more and more searches are done on mobile, and tapping contact information will start a call or open email on cell phones. Lastly, be sure your contact number is in the relevant area code, such as 206 as opposed to 1-800.
3. Not Cultivating Reviews
Would you buy an online product without any reviews? What many multifamily property owners don't realize is that housing works the same way. We don't want to live in poorly reviewed building, and even worse is the uncertainty of zero reviews. Even a few positive reviews will greatly aid your digital curb appeal. Many tenants and business partners are willing to leave brief positive reviews when directly and politely asked.
4. Incorrect Hours
It's okay to set whatever office/working hours you want, but it is not okay to be listed as open when no one is around. Google lets you set your hours for each day of the week, and even has features to adjust for holiday hours, summer hours, and temporary changes to hours due to COVID-19. This is a prolific and common mistake and we can all relate to the frustration of showing up to a business that said they'd be open.
5. Improper Categorization
If you own many properties in the Greater Seattle Area, then you may think to be listed as an investment or development company. However, each individual multi-family unit should be listed as “Apartment Building” or “Apartment Complex”, as that's what the physical location represents. If your property has commercial or dining space, be sure that the living units themselves didn't get categorized as a grocery or a bagel shop.
By offering the most useful and relevant information via Google My Business, you will usher potential tenants through the purchasing pipeline instead of stopping them at the gate.
Google is an important but small slice of your digital presence - the property management experts at Guide are experienced in overseeing the entirety of this and so much more. For a free rental analysis covering marketing, maintenance, pricing, and much more, get in touch with us today.