Digital marketing is and always will be evolving with the latest tech and innovative tools. No business in today’s world can survive long term without an active digital marketing plan. What does that look like for property management companies and multifamily communities?
Daniel Paulino, VP of Digital Marketing at Bozzuto, sat down with Muhammad Yasin, our EVP of Marketing, to take a deep dive into the world of digital marketing for mutlifamiy communities. From how to invest your digital dollars wisely, to how to help integrate tools that help the onsite teams, there’s a lot digital marketing can do for multifamily properties.
During this Sofa Seminar, they chatted through a wide range of topics including:
- The Prospect’s Journey
- Apartment Websites
- Investing in your Tech Stack
- Using Metrics to Measure Value
When it came to advice on how to look at your digital marketing efforts, Paulino said, “Bottom line there’s two main driving points that are extremely important; what does the prospect need and how is your business addressing that.”
Stand Out from the Crowd
Paulino noted how many prospects begin their journey on an ILS before getting to your property’s website. This means that they know a lot about pricing and amenities but they don’t know your property’s story. Your website should showcase who you are and what makes you different from other properties.
“Consumers have an obsession these days with floor plans,” Paulino continued to say. Your website needs to have high quality and informative floor plans. Whether they are 2D or 3D, interactive floorplans keep prospects interested and according to Paulino, he’s seen an increase in time spent on property websites that have quality floor plans.
He also made sure to emphasize that when you look at your tech stack and each individual tool, you can’t just look at one metric. Look at the prospect’s journey, what tools they interacted with and the data that was collected from them. While you need to look at multiple metrics, the most important data point Paulino wants multifamily communities to look at is the lead to lease conversion rate.
The chat between these two brilliant digital marketers is one to look back on for advice when you’re in a marketing rut and to make your properties stand out from the rest of the crowd.
TikTok in Multifamily
Ways to Make your Apartment Website Stand Out
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You’ve heard it many times before because it’s true — your website is your biggest asset. Prospects start their next apartment search online and your website will most likely be the first impression they have of your community. When it comes to apartment marketing, the way your multifamily website design looks can turn your website into your own marketer. Here are 3 ideas to make your apartment website stand out from the crowd:
- Create a Blog
- Video Series
- Neighborhood/City Guide
Did you know businesses that have a blog see 67% more leads monthly than businesses that don’t? It’s true. Not only do they see more leads, but they also 55% more visitors than businesses without a blog. Most property management companies don’t have their own blog incorporated into their multifamily website design. This means that property management companies and multifamily websites are losing out on potential leads and increasing their online visibility.
Apartment blogs are great for other multifamily professionals as this is where people in this industry go for the newest trends, tips on how to increase their lead conversion numbers, and stay up to date on the newest technology. They’re also great for prospects and residents. It builds trust and makes your apartment seem like a reputable and credible source. Blogging needs to be incorporated into your multifamily digital marketing plan and strategy because it’s a simple and effective way to getting property management companies and multifamily websites ranked higher in organic searches.
When it comes to content for apartment marketing websites and for apartment website design in general, there is a lot that you can do and create. You can even ask residents to submit blog posts about what they think about their unit, a day in the life in your community, or anything that is relevant to apartment content. Testimonials are great, but a few blog posts written by residents are more authentic and will be a more candid conversation.
Content that should also be included in your multifamily digital marketing plan are videos. You can create videos all about apartment decorating, moving tips, daily life in the community, reviewing local businesses, and more. These videos don’t need to have a lot of production. A steady hand on the camera with good lighting is really all you need. Adding video elements to your apartment website design will make your multifamily websites more engaging to prospects and they’ll spend more time on your site.
Apartment videos are popular on YouTube and TikTok. Having your apartment in that category will boost your online reputation and make you stand out to prospects. These videos are more authentic and relatable than just a regular old pre-recorded tour of an empty or staged unit. You can do a video on small space decorating ideas or best ways to arrange your furniture for the best flow, etc. Apartment related videos on these platforms have billions of views collectively. While it’s dense and saturated, prospects are constantly craving for more apartment content. Your multifamily websites and multifamily website design need to be visible in these categories.
Apartment marketing includes marketing the neighborhood/city your apartment is located in too. Make your multifamily websites the hub of information for what is happening in the local community. List the businesses nearby and include a map that shows your property and the businesses around. This will help boost your property management companies and multifamily websites in local online searches and improve your SEO rankings as well.
This can even be incorporated into blog pieces that are neighborhood specific that are found on this page. If there’s a local festival that happens once a year, write up a blog post about what it’s like to attend and be sure to include pictures. If your property is close to a lot of nightlife, write up a piece on the best bars near you. Multifamily digital marketing needs to be more than just highlighting the property and units, it needs to include all aspects of what living at your community looks like. Renting has an emotional aspect to it as well and that can get lost in a lot of multifamily website designs. Creating pages and content that focus on life in your community is a great way to market to and appeal to the emotional side of renting.
There’s a lot of creativity in how you can do the marketing for apartment communities and property management companies. Rethinking the content on your multifamily websites is a good place to start.
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Instagram is a powerful tool. We talk a lot about what’s in your tech stack and what tools can help you run your property more efficiently. But what tools can help you build your brand? When we think of Instagram, some of us might just think it’s a photo sharing app while others see it as a great tool to use for marketing and branding.
A lot of realtors use Instagram to promote themselves, the houses on the market, and the neighborhood in which they sell in. When you look at a lot of multifamily properties’ Instagram, it tends to be a little boring and not very interactive. Instagram is a visual platform which means your content needs to be visually appealing but also means it’s an easy way for multifamily properties to create and evolve their brand. Social media marketing for apartment complexes need to be consistent and engaging.
Keep a consistent posting schedule. Millennials and Gen Z renters have grown up using this platform and when they see a page that only has a handful of posts and hasn’t been updated in months, it’s a huge turn off. Posting once a week, whether it’s through the stories feature or as an actual post, will build up your feed and show your brand identity.
The aesthetic of your website is an easy place to start when thinking of what you want your multifamily property’s brand to look like. Keeping similar visual styles and color themes will make your property look more put together.
There are endless ideas of what kind of social media marketing content you can create for apartment complexes that are intriguing and interactive. We know of some already for resident retention such as posting a pet of the month or photos from a resident event. You can also post videos of interactive floorplans or tours of staged units.
Your content can also be centered around your property’s onsite team. You can do a story or a reel of what a typical day in the life of someone in the leasing office is like. You can post a behind the scenes of the onsite team putting together an event or putting up decorations for a holiday.
A third area your content can touch on is the neighborhood. This is one area that most multifamily properties’ instagrams lack. Highlight local business and post about events happening in the community.
Instagram is a great platform and a tool that you need to consider as a part of your tech stack. Keeping an updated page with interesting and relevant content will make you stand out amongst other properties in your area and is also a great way for out of state prospects to get a feel of your property and the surrounding community.
Incorporate targeted special offers and promotions on your company’s website to increase sales and traffic. The key is knowing your audience and what deals matter most to them.
Online incentives motivate consumers to shop at one store over another because of the perceived value. Our human brains love a good deal. We’re wired to get excited when something’s marked as clearance or offered at a discount.
“When my wife shops, it’s always something she purchased on sale. Not because it was the cheapest, but it was the best value,” says Bob Lapointe, CEO of Tailbase, a web solution and digital marketing company. “Show value proposition. What am I going to save by going to your store? What is the incentive?”
Clearance centers are the second-most visited pages on most retailer websites, according to Lapointe’s experience and research. “Just in case they can find a deal. We do that instinctively as consumers,” he says.
Website promotions not only increase foot traffic in a showroom or leasing office, they also drive revenue if they’re relevant, timely and targeted.
Motivate Online Consumers to Visit In Person
In a study published in Marketing Land, 91 percent of consumers surveyed said they’ve visited a brick-and-mortar retailer as a result of an online promotion.
Retailers and multifamily properties can differentiate themselves from competitors and inspire consumers to visit in person by delivering unique, direct value with personalized coupons that reflect what they’re searching for on the website.
“When people go to a website, they’re looking for the best value for them based on what they find online,” says PERQ National Sales Director Doug Stump. “They’re trying to make decisions on which retailer they’re going to go to, because they’re not going to six or seven stores. Incentivized offers can be very powerful for converting that online traffic.”
Deals and discounts drive even more in-store traffic if you make it compelling for the consumer to buy today. This is a popular neuromarketing strategy commonly used in advertising. Make the offer good for a limited time or mention a current sales promotion in your store. Bob Lapointe says “What will get me off my couch, into my car and driving down to your store today?”
Deliver Savings in Return for Consumer’s Information
To gain insight into an individual shopper’s needs, incorporate interactive website experiences like free planning or budgeting tools that capture detailed leads and useful analytics. You can also offer quizzes and assessments to help consumers figure out the type of mattress, car or apartment floor plan that best fits their needs.
“Consumers expect something in return for giving their information.”
In return for offering resources to consumers, your company learns what type of product or apartment the shopper prefers, where they’re at in the buying process as well as their specific pain points. Tap into that information to serve up a targeted incentive to close the deal using AI and predictive software on your website.
Consumers expect something in return for giving their information. Again, it’s just the way our brain works. After a consumer completes an assessment, deliver a result and then offer a related coupon, such as one-month free rent, $150 toward a trade-in vehicle or $100 off a new sofa, to increase the likelihood they’ll buy from you.
Additionally, exit intent incentives are one of the highest lead-converting tools. Entice online visitors to volunteer their information, if they haven’t already, before leaving the website. Your company will capture a new lead while the consumer gets an interactive scratch-and-save coupon that encourages them to give your brand a second look. “We’ve leased units from exit intent,” says Katrina Greene, senior regional property manager at Sheehan Property Management.
Free Giveaways and Contests Get Results
Nothing gets our consumer brains revved up like the word “free.” All of our clients choose a new welcome message that requests the consumer’s information in exchange for an exciting incentive or contest entry. One such incentive could be the chance to to win two years of free rent. The website experience is then personalized based on their responses.
Clients can choose to use PERQ’s $25,000 giveaway as the new customer incentive. Our annual drawing had more than 302,000 registrants last year across all verticals we serve (auto dealerships, multifamily properties and furniture retailers).
“Incentives do help,” says Patty Crawford, PERQ’s Vice President of Multifamily Sales. “It doesn’t have to be free rent. You can use creative ways to market the incentive.” Crawford gives the examples of a free trip giveaway or a contest to win all new furniture. “There’s huge value in it, because everybody likes to register for things like that.”
Align Promotions with Your Audience
While we know incentives work to convert online leads, companies must consider the target audience and evaluate how the special offer impacts the bottom line. “I think the nature of the incentive is less important than the strategy of personally delivering it to them based on what they engaged with on the website,” says PERQ’s Doug Stump. “That is the most important component of it.”
Stump works with retailers to identify areas where they have some cost flexibility so the promotion doesn’t negatively impact profitability. Maybe it’s offering free shipping for orders over $1,000. They’re not cutting into the manufacturer’s price point and overall markup, instead shifting it to something more controllable, like the cost of operating their own delivery trucks. Price-match guarantees are another popular incentive. Notice how both of those incentives sound familiar? Big e-commerce brands use them for a reason. They work.
“Any strategy you take with regards to a sale or some other incentivized way to drive people into your store, you have to find the audience that aligns with that deal,” Stump says. “Not everybody wants $200 off a leather sofa sectional. Some might be looking for a rocker instead.”
Be willing to test different types of incentives, messaging and placement, then carefully track the results. “As long as you can have some flexibility with your incentives and are able to try different things to find out what works the best, that’s the strategy we want to take with stores,” Stump says. “Deliver something of value versus a blanketed offer for everybody. You’re going to end up winning by having some diversity in your offerings.”
Justin Bowen, Web Content Manager at The Great American Home Store, agrees incentives increase traffic and sales but must be targeted for a specific market and clientele. “We’ve probably tried every conventional type of incentive. I definitely think personalized and targeted promotions are more effective,” Bowen says. “Customers have strange perceived values when it comes to enticing offers. What we may not consider to be a ‘good offer’ may actually be highly valuable in the customer’s eyes.”
After surveying customers in their markets, Bowen says The Great American Home Store found that while a 20-percent off coupon might technically be a bigger discount than free shipping, it’s the most valued offer.
“One promotion at our company may not work well at another company, because there are so many variables,” Bowen adds. “Take every opportunity to get to know your target customers as in-depth as you can to figure out what their needs and problems are, then solve those with promotional offers that matter most to them.”