Read on for six short-description writing tips that will improve your listing performance on Apartments.com and any listing service.
“Great location… close to the bus stop.”
“Get more than a luxurious apartment, get a luxurious lifestyle at…”
“Ask about our move-in specials!”
These short descriptive blurbs come right from property listings on Apartments.com, but are they doing any good? Do these little blurbs that often appear on the search results of an ILS help drive traffic to the listing, or maybe do the opposite? Does the short description even matter when it comes to generating traffic to your property’s listings?
Using sophisticated text analytics software and methodologies, Apartments.com’s Statistical Analyst, Jim Davoren, got some answers to those questions. In short, optimizing the short description does matter when your competition is only an inch away on a renter’s computer screen. It may not generate double-digit increases in clicks and leads, but the numbers can be meaningful, with a well-worded, short description generating up to a 4 percent increase in click-through rate.
According to Jim, here are six tips for writing short descriptions that will drive more renters into your listings:
- Be as specific and brief as possible. Keep the short description what it is: short.
- Highlight one key selling point. Don’t take the reader in multiple directions.
- Highlight either geographical features/proximity to interesting areas OR include a special offer. Don’t do both.
- If including a special offer make it a timely, measurable offer. “$50 off move-in” is more impactful than “ask about specials.”
- Avoid wordiness. Words like luxurious and beautiful might be reflective of the community, but according to the data have limited impact on the overall click-through rate. There is no evidence these descriptive words help or hurt, they just add fluff.
- Exclude amenities unless they are free amenities included in a special offer. The same tip applies for floor plans.
So based on these tips, none of the three descriptions featured above would fare well:
“Great location… close to the bus stop.” Highlighting geographic features is good, but it has to be specific. Name the neighborhood, town or intersection that truly makes it a great location.
“Get more than a luxurious apartment, get a luxurious lifestyle at…” While it sounds nice, our analysis showed that flowery language in of itself doesn’t move the needle on clicks.
“Ask about our move-in specials!” Again, be specific. If you have special terms or offers, spell them out (while adhering to the first rule of being concise).
But don’t despair! Well-written short descriptions do exist, and they do make a difference, as Jim points out:
“Bay Hill apartments are close to the 405, 710 and 605. We are just minutes from the Aquarium, parks and the marina.”
“Located off of Defoors Avenue, Defoor Village is located in Atlanta, GA near Buckhead and Downtown, with close access to I-75, I-85, & I-285.”
These descriptions include the actual location and helped generate a 4 percent increase in click-through rate. Here’s another good one:
“2 weeks free rent or flat panel TV plus all utilities included, including electric!” This description is, indeed, short and specific about the offer, and had an almost 3 percent higher click-through rate than the average listing.
While these are good examples, the worst thing you can do, according to our analysis, is try to do too much. The following short descriptions were unspecific, wordy and stuffed with ornate language, and because of it their listings suffered nearly a 4 percent lower click rate than the average:
“(Omitted) has the energy of loft living with surprising signature details. LEASING FAST! Call for current specials!”
“(Omitted) – elegant and traditional…spacious and convenient. Centrally located. Call and ask about our outstanding specials before they run out.”
“Welcome to (Omitted), a wonderful apartment community with everything you’re looking for. CALL FOR ADDITIONAL SPECIALS!!”
As data and the tools we use to analyze it become more sophisticated, we can really start to fine-tune the experience. Short description text may not drive traffic the way rent prices and available floorplans can, but when all other factors are equal, those little blurbs can make a material difference. Give them the attention they deserve.
If you’d like to see more details on the analysis or the methodology, please don’t hesitate to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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