In 2005 we designed a website for Manchester Apartment Management in Champaign, Illinois. In 2009 they merged with Green Street Realty, a much larger apartment management company. Green Street quickly noted how much more traffic the Manchester site was receiving than their own website, even though Manchester had far less inventory. This was the result of our creative team designing the Manchester website specifically for its audience and then getting it ranked well with the major search engines. It w as immediately clear to Green Street that although the Manchester site was 4 years old, it was still more attractive and up to date that any of their competitors in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. So once the merger was completed they asked us to design a new website for them that would blow away their local competitors with apartments at the University of Illinois. That’s a tall order, but one that Green Street was prepared to budget for and one that we were eager to tackle. The result was www.greenstrealty.com. This site features a unique flash animated header that immediately grabs your attention and directs you to the most trafficked parts of the website. We also wanted to give users a cool new way to view all available properties so we asked college students what attracted them most to any apartment management companies website over the others and almost unanimously they responded with the desire for more photos. This led our design team to create an all new way to view listings that featured the primary photo over everything else. And it was wildly successful.
Green Street also recognized the important of communicating
with their audience using the major social networks tools like Facebook and Twitter. We found that after an apartment was rented by a student they would
often retweet the link to Twitter or share the link to their new apartment on Facebook. This seems normal, but essentially this is a personal recommendation.
We wanted to empower more students to retweet and share on Facebook so we added
the retweet and share icons on every page of the website and we prefilled the
content of each post to maximize the number of times that their friends will
click on those links. Students know students and if you want to market to them
a great way to do it is to empower students with the tools they need to be your
personal recommendation. This has worked really well in the case of Green
Street Realty.The resulting traffic has been awesome. Green St. even hired Cybernautic to manage their Facebook and Twitter accounts!