Marketing to Renters: Guidelines and Best Practices

Renter behaviors and expectations continue to evolve, adding to growing uncertainty and competition for multifamily marketers. Marketing performance too, has fluctuated sharply, requiring new tools and approaches to sway new renters successfully.

In our experience helping multifamily marketers supercharge their performance and ROI, we get a front-row seat to what’s working or isn’t — especially as we examine data from tens of thousands of multifamily website sessions and digital prospect interactions each quarter.

Below we’ve outlined a few insights and practices that have brought dramatic increases in conversions for the multifamily marketing teams we serve.

Essential practices when marketing to renters

young person holds a piece of paper while sitting at desk talking to another person to connect and explore best practices for marketing to renters

Effective renter outreaches require a mix of proven, reliable practices and constant experimentation and updates to match evolving consumer demands. Judging from our clients’ performance data, the following are essential practices to woo potential renters to click, share their contact information, and come back for more.

Know your target renter

Though knowing your best-fit customers and tailoring your efforts to those personas sounds a lot like marketing 101, it’s not always common practice. Creating those “OMG, that’s so me!” moments when prospects feel seen and relate strongly to your message is only possible when you understand what they crave, fear, hope for and hate, and frame your messaging and strategies accordingly.

The flip side of that — that is, winging your target personas or trying to reach everyone, everywhere — comes at a high cost for marketers: In a futile attempt to sway everyone, you end up watering down messages so much, it persuades no one.

When was the last time you researched and created personas for your target renters? What’s their lifestyle like? Where do they “hang out,” whether in person or online? Who do they trust, respect or relate to? What communications channels or formats do they respond best to? What lease features turn them on or off? What are common objections, FAQs or wish list factors they tend to consider when searching for an apartment?

It’s been a while since you’ve clarified or validated those answers, now is a great time to re-examine them. Talking with current and prospective renters, reviewing your lead capture/engagement/conversion data, reading industry reports, and talking with your lease agents about what they’re hearing from prospects are all smart moves to help you keep your targets (and your understanding of those targets) up-to-date.

(Relevant resource for trending renter behaviors: 2023 Multifamily Field Guide.)

Create a strong online presence

These days, renters conduct the bulk (or all) of their rental searches online. By the time they engage with a leasing agent, chances are they’ve narrowed their choices and are at the tail end of their decision-making process. It’s why an active, current and well-designed online presence is so vital.

Between your website, social media accounts and online reviews, does your online presence reflect a highly desirable, trusted and favored place for renters?
A few tactics to consider:

  1. Allow us to say this again: Before all else, know your target audience. You can’t tailor marketing messages, choose the right tools or channels if you’re not crystal clear on the demographics, lifestyle and preferences of your ideal renters.
  2. Invest in interactive online experiences. Recent data from tens of thousands of multifamily website sessions showed us interactive online experiences lead visitors to spend 160% more time on your property website, capturing 622% more leads and boosting tour conversions by 68.86%. Interactive tools like virtual tours, floor plan matches, expense calculators, AI chatbots and more also compel visitors to share their contact information, enabling you to nurture those leads and build rapport as they navigate their self-led apartment search.
  3. Grow your reach and influence by partnering with people or organizations your prospects trust. Tactics might include partnering with reputable influencers, featuring current residents in your ads or stores, establishing a referral program, cross-promoting local organizations, and partnering with causes that reflect your values (and your target renters’ values), to name a few. How can you leverage others’ influence to grow your own and reach a wider audience?
  4. Offer incentives (e.g., special promos, events, exclusive access, 24/7 support) to help attract new renters and retain current ones. Just as important, reward behaviors you want prospects to take, like sharing a referral link or filling out a form in exchange for a valuable resource, freebie, or special access.
  5. Automate personalized email nurture, using what you’ve learned from each recipient (tracked digital behaviors, preferences, other self-disclosed lead data) to customize messaging, offers, and cadence to match their interests and where they are in their rental journey.
  6. Examine lead sources and how they’re performing to fine-tune your marketing investments. What channels are moving prospects closer to a “yes,” and which are falling short? Beyond the first touchpoint, what other channels are effectively “warming up” leads and moving them down the sales pipeline? (Here’s more on lead source attribution.)

Automating and personalizing renter journeys

Though we’re confident the steps outlined above will improve your reach and rapport with prospective renters, we also recognize there’s never a static, one-size-fits-all recipe for marketing to renters. It’s why we advocate leaning on data to automate personalized lead nurture and help steer marketing investments.

Several multifamily marketers we’ve worked with report three major benefits of using artificial intelligence to automate and personalize digital renter experiences across channels:

  • Ability to meet demand for instant access and answers
  • Hands-off lead capture and nurture, freeing up agents to focus on high-intent leads or high-impact activities
  • Ability to personalize experiences at scale

As one marketing leader put it, “The bar we’re being held to isn’t just competing properties down the street. It’s the Amazons of the world,” (See what else fellow marketers have to say about how they’re marketing to renters and driving conversions.)

See measurable improvements in 90 days

As you clarify next steps for your multifamily marketing program, we invite you to take advantage of PERQ’s 90-day trial, which is plenty of time to see significant, measurable improvements in your marketing performance. See for yourself how fellow marketers are reaping big spikes in conversions with PERQ.