How it works: You pay a flat monthly subscription fee for lead generation, regardless of the number of leads generated or whether any of those leads visit your community or end up signing a lease.
What I like about it: The thing to remember when looking at a subscription pricing model is that it works to your best advantage when you have a solid and proven system to track lead source performance. If you do, your average cost per lease is, at least in Waterton’s experience, less with a subscription model than it is with a pay-per-lease, also known as the pay-for-performance, model.
At Waterton, we have reduced the number of our listing and advertising outlets by about 23 percent, but our traffic remains solid, the prospects are qualified, they’re leasing and renewing quicker and paying higher rents. This is possible because we have systems in place that allow us to track the marketing expense all the way through the leasing funnel. On a quarterly basis, we evaluate that expense, so we know for sure that we are spending our money in the best places online to generate quality prospects.
Because we have such tracking, we know that if we switched to a pay-per-lease model, using one subscription-based ILS as an example, we would be paying four times what we’re paying with that subscription model. The model works for us because not only are we able to ensure we’re generating quality leads, but we’re able to convert those leads at a high rate.
Biggest drawback: As I’ve mentioned, the subscription model works best when you can successfully determine your return on investment through an effective lead tracking system. Without such a formal tracking system there can be issues since there is no other foolproof method to track, much less predict, lead volumes and conversion rates.
Virginia Love is vice president of leasing and marketing at Waterton Residential.