If you see this, you might have a tracking problem.

Spoiler alert: The majority of your leads aren’t coming from your property website.

It would be awesome if your prospects search for your property website right off the bat.

However, that’s just not the case for most properties, even though a lot of PMC source reports say so.

If your sourcing report looks like the graph on the left, keep reading. Your source tracking is not set up correctly. Instead of tracking the original source of a lead, you are recording the last place your prospect visited.

Once you have the full story of how your prospects are finding your property, you can dig into which sources are most cost-effective and allocate resources accordingly for next year’s budgets.


Why is the Original Source Important?

When my daughter was growing up, her favorite movie was A Cinderella Story, starring Hilary Duff.

Her Dad’s catchphrase was, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Maybe I’m sentimental. Maybe it’s just an inspiring quote. Whatever the reason, this quote stuck with me.

For years I believed this quote was a result of great screenwriting. Recently, it was not-so-gently brought to my attention this is a famous Babe Ruth quote.
Needless to say, it was embarrassing.

How was I supposed to know? The movie never stated he was quoting Babe Ruth, and technically I was right. Her dad did say it.

However, he isn’t the original source.

Even though it was an honest mistake, that didn’t stop me from suffering the consequences (Think: Lots of jokes at my expense).

A lot of property management companies are making a similar mistake when it comes to source attribution.


The OAPS Problem

Instead of attributing the lead to the original source, a lot of PMC’s are unknowingly attributing leads to the final source (the property website).

We like to call it Overly Attributing Property Website Source or OAPS for short.

Unfortunately, the consequences of OAPS are a bit more severe than being the butt of a few jokes. Inaccurate reporting leads to false conclusions about your prospect’s journey and how much you should spend on each source (a.k.a. poor budgeting decisions).


Known Lead Source Example

Let’s imagine your marketing plan includes Zillow.com and Apartments.com. At the end of the month, you find out 100 prospects have filled out a contact form on your website.

  • 37 leads came from Zillow.com
  • 51 leads found your property through Apartments.com
  • 12 leads found your website directly

Keep in mind, these numbers are from a fictional scenario and do not reflect the effectiveness of these sources.

With this knowledge, you can start to piece together a marketing budget based on your prospects’ behavior. Not trends, a feeling or a handful of surveys. Your budget will be backed by success.

Now, let’s take a look at how this situation would go without lead source tracking.


Misattributed Lead Source Example

It doesn’t matter if you aren’t tracking your sources or if you are stuck in the OAPS predicament. The result is the same.

You don’t know how these 100 people found your property. Most leads have been attributed to the property website by default.

Are your investments in Zillow.com and Apartments.com paying off? That’s one secret you’ll never know if you aren’t tracking your sources properly.

In this scenario, it is unclear what is working and what isn’t.

If you can’t track what is bringing leads in, creating the next marketing plan is a shot in the dark.

To create a data-driven marketing budget, you need to know more than just how many people are coming to your website. You need to understand where they are coming from.

We know we need to be tracking our sources. But, how do we do it? Tune in next week to find out how.


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