When you’re a property manager in charge of keeping dozens or hundreds of units filled,…
When you’re a property manager in charge of keeping dozens or hundreds of units filled, you can quickly run out of apartment marketing ideas. With the demand for rental units on the rise, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the local competition. Is your property in need of fresh ways to convert apartment hunters into loyal renters? Look no further, here are ten ways to shore up your digital marketing strategy and start closing more leases.
Get started with the basics
Stage stunning model units
Staged model units are a must-have strategy for making a dazzling first impression. It helps browsers imagine themselves already living in the new space, especially if you have unique layouts.
Spark their imagination with colorful pops of flowers, plants, throw pillows, and other accent pieces. Pique their interest in technology by highlighting the solutions in place at your community during their tour – an all-important chance to make a high-tech first impression! Even more simple, less techy additions like a welcome doormat and fresh and fluffy towels help influence perceptions that the unit is a cozy place to live.
When staging units, consider the nuances of your target audience.
Do lots of dwellers walk or cycle to work? Consider adding a bike rack to show off important storage options. Does your complex appeal to new families? Set up a second bedroom as a nursery. Edit the visual context to help prospective tenants feel right at home.
Establish your call-to-action: Will you offer virtual tours or self-guided showings?
Before getting to work on your website and other promotional strategies, it’s important to fine tune your calls-to-action. With many shelter-at-home orders still in place, prospective residents are choosing apartment communities that offer self-guided and virtual tours. What kind of tours do you want your prospects to book?
Potential residents aren’t always available during your working hours, so self-guided tours are another popular option amongst property managers. If your unit has smart locks, you can easily provide access to the unit via an app or set up self-guided apartment tours. When prospects arrive, the lights flicker on and the unit is already warmed to a comfortable temperature.
The strategy is more than mere convenience—studies show that lease conversion rates increase by 86% when prospects have the chance to independently tour a unit. Once you’ve selected the style that works best for your property, use it as a clear call-to-action in all of your marketing materials.
Some property owners feature pre-recorded, interactive open houses on their site for 24/7 viewing. While these are extremely helpful for piquing interest, prospects are unable to ask questions along the way. A guided virtual tour via Zoom or FaceTime gives you the opportunity to dazzle apartment hunters with your conversational prowess, and offer them a closer look at the amenities most important to them.
Whip your website listings into tip-top shape
Invest in quality photography and video content
Properties that advertise stunning visuals move significantly faster than those with poor or non-existent photography. It’s the most powerful way to connect with potential tenants—two-thirds of buyers don’t even read an agent’s description of the home! Small, dark, or blurry photos aren’t just an eyesore, they are subliminal hints at larger problems like a poorly maintained facility or dismissive property staff. Put your best foot forward with high-quality, vibrant content that captures the bright and welcoming ambiance of your available unit.
It’s best to team up with a local photographer to build your library of resident-attracting imagery. If this option isn’t in your budget, there are many apps and phone features that can help boost your apartment’s camera-readiness. Consider these top tips if you need to go it alone:
- Take pictures during the day: Unless you’re showcasing a dazzling evening skyline view, never take photos at night. A bright, sun-soaked dwelling is the best way to draw the attention of prospective renters.
- Minimize clutter, dingy furniture, and dirty laundry. If you’re unable to use a professionally staged unit, make sure you hide any unattractive turnoffs.
- Avoid unprofessional elements like camera flashes or accidental selfies in background mirrors. These are a sure-fire way to deter tour bookings!
Don’t forget the power of “you”! Your website is the digital equivalent of a warm handshake, so use it to share photos of how friendly and helpful your property management staff is. Apartment hunters gravitate towards communities they can trust, and professional headshots are a great way to immediately welcome visitors into your inner circle.
Audit and optimize your website
Website visitors interpret subpar design as a bellwether of a poorly operated business. In fact, 94% of users won’t even consider doing business with a website riddled with messy, hard-to-navigate elements. So how do you ensure your website is in a position to win customers over?
Optimize for mobile-friendly content
Keep in mind that over half of your visitors are experiencing your site on a mobile device. While your site may look stunning on the extra large 4K monitor in your leasing office, mobile devices condense text and images into a much smaller viewing window. Test your website on a variety of screen sizes to make sure it is always clear, legible and easy to navigate.
Design for renter’s intent
Web design platforms are packed with mouth-watering templates and gorgeously animated features.
However, it’s important that you design your content to match your renter’s intent. Your site should serve as a virtual tour guide that walks apartment hunters through top amenities. Limit diversions like unnecessary music or irrelevant stock video and instead focus your content around common FAQs. A relevant, customer-focused website always wins out over an over-bloated performance piece.
Assess site speed
Users are notoriously impatient when it comes to the speed your site loads—40% of browsers will immediately hit the “X” button if a website takes more than three seconds to appear. Carousels and image file sizes are common factors that influence load times, and a web developer can easily help solve these issues. Type your URL into a site speedometer like GTMetrix for a free list of your most pressing problems.
Exercise search engine optimization best practices
If someone searches “apartments in Cleveland with smart locks”—you want to be the #1 page in your local rental market. But how do search engines determine what results to list? Through search engine optimization—a tool used by website designers to boost visibility of their page when it comes to important search terms.
It can be very tempting to use overly cute and clever phrasing when describing your rental property—but don’t let flowery language turn into a distraction.
When it comes to SEO, you want to use the precise words apartment hunters are searching for. In-unit laundry, renovated kitchens, and smart home automation are just some of the keywords driving tour sign-ups, so don’t hide them behind poetic phrasing. Clean-cut, direct descriptions are the best way to ensure local prospects can easily find your property on the web.
What’s another SEO tip used by real estate pros? Alt-tags. These short descriptors help search engines “see” what’s pictured in the images used on your website. Boost your SEO by including these short snippets with each of your photos.
Explore social media and other top search sites
Showcase high-quality content on social media
Social media is one of the top ways to connect with potential renters. It’s a tool 47% of real estate professionals name as their best source of high-quality leads. You can use platforms like Nextdoor, YouTube, and Pinterest (45% use this platform for home and garden inspiration!) to showcase beautiful photos and video, promote upcoming events, and invite prospects for a tour.
Expand your social media horizons by folding new platforms into your marketing program. A recent study found that Generation Z—a cohort filled with recent college graduates looking for rentals—uses Snapchat 20% more than they use Facebook.
Tech-savvy real estate moguls are using TikTok to connect with key demographics like first-time homebuyers. With 36 million Gen Z consumers stamping their social footprint on this video-based platform, it’s a great way to showcase highly desired amenities in fun new ways while answering questions about the purchase process.
Social networks aren’t only a great place to share photos and video, but also a great tool for connecting with potential tenants in authentic ways.
Always include user-generated content
Many consumers are skeptical of advertising and consider it a soapbox of corporate-speak. Smart marketers are leveraging user-generated content to overcome this barrier. It’s a trend that’s worth noting, as 78% of consumers trust the word of their peers over that of an advertisement. Examples of user-generated content for real estate developers include:
- Videos and photos: Get permission from tenants to re-share content they’ve posted to their social media channels. Maybe they hosted a fun gathering in a common area, or had a great time grilling poolside on a warm and relaxing summer day. Your residents can be your best advertisers—and prospects are more likely to trust their word.
- Reviews and testimonials: Do your tenants laud your team’s fast maintenance response time? Perhaps they’re in love with your sanctuary-like fitness facilities. Include top-rated testimonials in the footer of your website, or create shareable graphics showcasing their kind words.
- Short interviews: Let tenants speak for themselves! Record messages from satisfied residents to reshare on your website and social media channels.
By enlisting the help of your most satisfied customers, you can easily connect with prospective tenants on an authentic, human level.
Pay-per-click social advertising
Social media advertising is an extremely cost-effective way to reach renters. You can start running Facebook Ads for a few dollars a day. Using the Facebook ad suite, you can curate your target market through demographics, interests, and behaviors. For example, you can use captivating video to appeal to fresh college graduates, newlyweds, or recently promoted city dwellers.
Another benefit of pay-per-click social advertising is the ability to re-engage site visitors that did not book a tour. Remind them of upcoming meet-and-greet events or promote attractive amenities like smart locks.
In a few swift steps, you can also install a Facebook Pixel on your site. This powerful tool learns the traits of those that booked a tour and creates a new audience of potential renters based on those characteristics. Try out different combinations of copy, videos, and photos to find the right recipe for closing leases fast.
Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing
Did you know that the first three listings on a Google search get 60% of clicks? Maneuvering your website into one of these top spots almost guarantees a long list of hot leads clamoring for a unit tour. When someone searches “apartments with smart lights in Salt Lake City,” you want to make sure your multifamily community sits cozily at the top of the list.
Google My Business is a free, easy-to-use tool used by businesses in your area to achieve just that. By claiming your page, you’ll leverage many of the powerful benefits Google bestows on local businesses.
Directly on the Google results page, potential tenants can peruse photos, check leasing office hours, view your contact information, and read reviews submitted by raving fans. In these easy steps, you’ll make your listing more appealing for search engines—and therefore persuade more prospective tenants to schedule a virtual or in-person visit.
Even if you’re not ready to fully optimize your Google My Business Listing, it’s important to claim it now. Google often provides information on a business based on publicly available information, so log in to ensure it’s up-to-date. After all, completed entries are 29% more likely to convert into purchases, so don’t let an empty property management listing languish for very long. Google also helps utilize Google Ads.
Utilize online listing websites
While it’s important for rental property owners to maintain their own high-quality website, you’ll also need to publish your listing on the top websites visited by apartment hunters. With 73% of renters turning to online resources when searching for a new apartment, these free sites are a must-have in any property owner’s marketing arsenal:
- Apartment List
These seven sites are highly popular amongst apartment browsers, but don’t forget to also publish your listing on rental boards that target residents of your specific city or town. Hyper-local sites are an A-plus way to reach audiences looking to live in trendy or up-and-coming neighborhoods.
Ready to attract new clients and quickly fill vacant units? You can use these top tips and tricks to build a powerful marketing program guaranteed to increase the amount of leases your property management company closes.