Years ago, I wrote about the idea of being proactive about addressing your competition on your own website. In other words, actually list out local comps somewhere on your site. I’ll admit I got a lot of incredulous looks, questioning why I would ever suggest that an apartment community would list a competitor on their own website—Why would we ever give them free publicity? The prospect is on our website, do we really want them to see our competition?
Years later, I still think it’s a great idea.
Let me break it down: Your prospects are already aware of your competition, or they will be within a few clicks. They are loaded with more information than ever, so the idea that we are giving them free exposure just doesn’t hold water.
What we are doing is controlling the story. If someone is searching for properties, their view of the market is often dictated by the ILSs or Google itself, so a property has very little control about how they are positioned relative to its comps.
However, if a community is able to get prospects to its website, now that community controls the story. They can position themselves in any way they want relative to their competition. Now, to be clear, I’m not advocating being dishonest in how one portrays the competition, but there are loads of ways to showcase competition honestly and ethically, while still gaining a competitive advantage. One way is being selective in what to feature.
For example, let’s say you have six properties in your area, with one property being especially strong as a competitor. It might make sense to feature the other five, giving prospects a pretty full view of the different locations in that area, but leaving out the one that happens to give you the most fits.