Fargo-based Goldmark is one of the largest property management companies in North Dakota. Its footprint extends into surrounding states, making it a major regional real estate business. Despite Goldmark’s importance in these markets, its website was unequipped to adequately meet the demands of modern apartment seekers.
Site performance issues and sparse information inevitably impacted Goldmark’s employees as well. Customer service reps constantly fielded calls from searchers who either couldn’t find what they were looking for or needed more detail than the site provided. This not only took the team away from other responsibilities, but it also tied them up after-hours when many people conduct their searches.
Goldmark realized it needed to protect its business. Beyond this, company leaders also saw an opening to transform Goldmark.com into the region’s best property management website. Achieving that would require a focused rebuild:
Enhanced functionality to improve UX and reduce calls to customer service
Optimized speed to meet modern consumer expectations
Additional analytics tools without impacting critical software like Yardi and RENTCafé
Improved SEO practices for inbound traffic
Of the potential technology partners Goldmark engaged, Onsharp stood out due to its real estate expertise and initial “discovery” process. Onsharp took time up front to fully understand Goldmark’s business beyond just the issue at hand. This allowed it to create a detailed blueprint for success that resolved immediate challenges while keeping long-term goals in mind.
Onsharp applied a user-focused strategy to its inside-out site revamp. This began with a survey of Goldmark staff, property managers, and apartment residents to determine must-have features. Common themes arose among all stakeholders:
- Stronger search, filter, and sort capabilities
- More detailed apartment information
- Higher-quality photographs and floorplans
- Transparency in pricing differences between similar units
- Option to view locations on a map
- Online scheduling for property tours
Goldmark’s existing CMS was far too limited, slow, and error-prone for these needs. It required a more sophisticated platform that could be customized for real estate nuances. Smooth integration of CRM and ERP business software would also be key.
With this in mind, Onsharp knew Umbraco would be the best CMS option for several reasons:
- Allows for a blend of standard frameworks with custom components
- Offers built-in tools like image processing to streamline page speeds
- Easy to add FAQ and blog sections for a more robust knowledge base
- Intuitive enough for Goldmark to manually update basic content as necessary
- Collaborates well with external real estate systems such as Yardi
- Builds in technical SEO features to complement other SEO marketing tactics late
As experts on Umbraco, Onsharp tailored site architecture to satisfy stakeholder requests for a user-friendly digital experience. For instance:
- Moved filter options to a fully-visible sidebar stacked from most important to least
- Visually separated exact matches from “close enough” results
- Introduced a carousel of photos for each unit thumbnail for more efficient browsing
- Added search-by-map functionality with pin grouping for multiple units in close proximity
- Preloaded searches for apartments in bigger metro areas for convenience
- Ensured mobile-responsive design with a custom tooltip plugin for smartphone user
Onsharp then refactored certain Umbraco web code for even better performance. For instance, it essentially turned features like photos and reviews into on-demand content. Such items wouldn’t be populated unless users “requested” them by scrolling down the page. A load-as-necessary approach made Goldmark’s data-heavy listings pages much more manageable.
Onsharp also accounted for other software integrations. These included existing systems that are vital for any property management company as well as new ones that would elevate Goldmark’s platform to best in class:
- Yardi: platform for rental applications, tour scheduling, accounting, and other operational needs
- RENTCafé: a Yardi national listing service that Goldmark has integrated with its own system
- Examine: high-performance code that prepares data for indexing, makes it easy to search, and ensures its accuracy
- Kingsley: survey technology for monthly feedback, which shows up on the website in the form of ratings and reviews
- Various analytics, tracking, and mapping resources (e.g., Facebook Pixel, Hotjar, Open Graph markup, etc.)
With Onsharp’s guidance, Goldmark reintroduced a superior website in the property management space. A refined UX made it easier for customers to find what they needed quickly, thereby also providing valuable relief to the customer service team.
This UX and better administrative tools helped Goldmark achieve each of its primary goals:
- Reduced customer service call volume and time spent handling live requests
- Implemented all feasible survey suggestions and additional pages/features
- Enhanced UX/UI for desktop and mobile
- Integrated real estate, business, and analytics platforms into a single, seamless system
- Experienced sharp improvement in Google Analytics metrics within the first year
Goldmark continues to work with Onsharp on its website today. Being able to rely on its partner’s expertise and ongoing support gives company leaders confidence in their ability to stay ahead of the competition as the real estate market evolves.