The last couple of years have been all about adapting, evolving, and finding new solutions when it comes to how we market apartment communities. While the world has gone digital for quite some time, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit for remote lifestyles to become more normalized. Today’s generation of renters are different from any generation of renters before them and we have access to insightful data on their buying habits and what they want from a rental unit. Let’s dive into ideas that will strengthen your apartment marketing efforts from SEO to creative social media content.
LOCAL SEO MATTERS
You need your apartment community to show up on the first page of Google. In order to do this, you need to lock down a local SEO strategy. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of finding what keywords and phrases your target audience is using when they search on Google or other search engines. Knowing these keywords allows you to add them to the copy on your multifamily property websites so your sites get ranked higher up on search results. We all know how important it is to be on the first page of results. These websites get more visibility and let’s be honest, how many times have you gone to the second or third page on Google?
LocalIQ conducted a study of renters and found that 93% of respondents used a search engine when looking for their next lease. 80% of respondents in the same study noted that they actually would visit three or more property websites before deciding which ones to visit in person. This shows that it’s important to be ranked higher up in searches when 4 out of 5 renters will look at multiple property websites. Local SEO needs to be prioritized in your marketing strategy. There are SEO strategy agencies that can help you or you could have someone dedicated to this by using SEO tools like Moz or SEMRush.
A WEBSITE TO REMEMBER
Once you’ve got your apartment SEO down, you need to have a property website that’s engaging and set up to collect insightful data on the prospect. There are a lot of fun marketing ideas for apartments that talk about social media, which is important and we will touch on, but another important and creative marketing idea is blogging.
Creating and maintaining a blog can be a lot of work but it’s worth it. Businesses with blogs have 55% more online visitors than those that don’t. Writing blogs will allow to have more places to add keywords onto the copy of your website page helping boost your search visibility. There are lots of things you can write about as a property to including:
- A Move-in/Move-out Guide
- Decorating tips for specific floor plans
- How to put in maintenance requests and what to expect from them
- Renter friendly storage ideas and DIYs
- Recap of resident events
- Local business reviews
There really is so much you can write about it. This is great not just for prospects but for residents as well. Creating a neighborhood/city guide will position your property website as the hub of information for what’s what in your local neighborhood. When renters sign a lease with your community, they are also committing to the neighborhood too. They want to know what life is like there and if it fits their needs — whether it’s vibrant nightlife or a quiet community, this impacts renters decisions too.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Apartment related content has over a billion views collectively on YouTube and TikTok. Getting your property in these tags will help you meet today’s renters where they are online. A lot of fun marketing ideas for apartments include Facebook contests, but let’s be honest, Gen Z don’t care for Facebook. A lot of them don’t even have an account.
While it’s important to keep a Facebook presence, your social media strategy needs to be focused on Instagram and TikTok. Luckily with Instagram you can easily share your posts on Facebook too so you don’t have to waste energy keeping your Facebook active.
When it comes to TikTok, a lot of the ideas of things you can blog about can easily be transformed into video content. Stay up to date on what the trending tags and sounds are as this is how you will be found.
Even if some of the trending hashtags don’t related to what you are posting are apartments in general, the way the TikTok algorithm works is based on adding those tags as well as #foryoupage and #fyp in order for your video to show up on renters’ feeds. Some ideas of posts, which can be done on both Instagram and TikTok include:
- Pet of the month
- Meet a member of the onsite team
- Move-in/Move-out tips
- Resident Event vlogs/recap posts
- Local business review
Apartment marketing needs to be more creative in order to get the attention of Gen Z renters. They will look at your competitors before making a decision so you need to make sure you stand out and really show how your community can be their future home.
After a long, hot summer, that chilly fall breeze feels amazing. Fall is a great time of year for many reasons — nice weather, warmer drinks, and more time spent being cozy inside. This is the perfect season to bring back resident events. During a busy leasing season, resident events tend to take the back burner especially when you have a lot of turnover happening in units.
Fall starts when leasing season usually comes to an end and everyone is beginning to settle into their new homes and communities. Fall events are important as it brings new residents into the community and if you have student housing, it helps students become acclimated to their new homes. Let’s dive into some fun ideas to make the fall season a fun one for residents.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WEATHER
Sweater weather is here and while it’s not blistering hot or unreasonably cold outside, Fall is a good time to have some outdoor events. These events don’t have to be at the property either. There are plenty of fall-themed activities at local businesses that you could partner up with for a group event. Some outdoor ideas include:
- BBQ Cookout
- Cornhole Tournament
- Apple Picking
- Pumpkin Patch Tour
The first two could be one event or two separate ones. A BBQ cookout would be a nice way to use any grill/lounge spaces you have at your property for a resident event. Residents can meet each other and get to know the leasing team. Be sure to include vegetarian and plant based options so all residents can enjoy the cookout and if you have a 21+ community, have some hard seltzers or beers too.
The same goes for the cornhole tournament — or “bags” depending on where in the midwest you’re from. Make it a good time with music and hard seltzers/beer. Have residents submit their teammates beforehand so you can easily set up a bracket before the event happens. You could create an incentive by offering the winners some sort of prize.
The last two on that list require partnering with a local orchard or pumpkin patch. Maybe they could offer a discount for residents or you could set up a time where everyone goes to pick apples or pumpkins. With every event, remember to take plenty of photos for socials and have residents tag you in their posts as well.
The two big holidays in Fall are Halloween and Thanksgiving. The month of October is perfect to have a themed month at your property. Some spooky activities and events you could do are:
- Door Decorating Contest
- Scary Movie Nights
- Trick or Treat
- Costume Party/Contest
Door decorating is always a fun way to spruce up a property for a themed event and a great way to make the community feel more cozy and like home. Hosting scary movie nights with popcorn and candy corn is also a great way to get everyone together and do something spooky. You can even send out a poll to residents on which movies to play.
Trick or Treat is more for communities with a lot of kids but even if you don’t have any kids you can still leave out a bowl of candy in common areas or in the leasing office for residents. Everyone loves candy and chocolate and Halloween is the one holiday in Fall meant for chocolate. As for the costume party/contest, this one will take the most planning to do. If you have a large clubhouse or communal space, you could go as far to hire a DJ or just come up with your own playlist. You can even offer themed snacks and drinks.
Resident events are a great way to boost resident satisfaction and to build a community within your property. Neighbors getting to know each other and really settle in will help them feel more at home.
Consumers demand automation and instant gratification from any and all businesses. They want answers 24/7 and they don’t care if a robot is the one giving them. They care that once the robot can’t help anymore, they get connected to a real person who is up to date on what they already talked about with the bot.
The best chatbot software uses artificial intelligence to power its knowledge and capabilities. Leasing AI has been making waves in the multifamily industry this year. You probably Google chat bots at some point in the last year or at least have had a personal experience talking to an AI chatbot.
There are a lot out there right now that are geared towards multifamily and talking to rental prospects, but they all have differences that don’t seem big at first. Let’s get into one of the most defining differences that impact the consumer experience.
NATURAL LANGUAGE VS RULE BASED
An AI chatbot is either natural language or rule based. Natural language bots are ones where you text it directly and it responds as if it was texting you back. The prospect can type “How many 1 bedroom are available in x number of days?” and the bot will reply with the answer.
A rule-based chatbot gives the prospect prompts that they have to answer in order to get what they are looking for. Instead of getting straight to the point, this way takes more time, and the prospect has to go through questions they might not want to answer. The best kind of AI chatbot example that gives a better idea of what a rule-based chatbot is like would be when you call customer service for your phone, internet, etc and you get a robot menu that you must go through before getting a person on the phone.
Those menu chatbots on the phone are personally very frustrating. It takes forever and sometimes you leave the “conversation” without the answers you were looking for. When it comes to the best chatbots to talk to, natural language is definitely the best. After all, the user is actually talking to the bot and not being forced to answer prompts. When it comes to best chatbot for website, natural language wins too because it’s quick and efficient. It gives prospect more time to go through your website and spend less time trying to get answers through prompts.
THE WHOLE PACKAGE
The chatbot component is very important but what else does it offer? Some chatbots are just chatbots that integrate with other CRMs and lead generation tools while others are a complete solution. Do you want to invest in a bunch of single point solutions that come from a bunch of different vendors, or do you want to invest in one, whole solution from one vendor?
When you go into budgeting meetings this is something to keep in mind. While single point solutions might all be cheaper individually, they do add up and whether or not they work together harmoniously will always be up in the air. A complete solution that offers chatbot, website conversion, lead nurture and follow-up, etc. will be more expensive but it offers more and because it is all in one, you only need to work with one vendor if something goes wrong instead of troubleshooting with a lot of different vendors.
AI LEASING ASSISTANT
PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant is a complete, all-in-one solution with a natural language chatbot. The AI Leasing Assistant not only makes promises of higher website conversion, better lead nurture, and only handing off qualified leads to onsite teams, it actually delivers on those promises.
Take Unified Residential. In the first 60 days of hiring the AI Leasing Assistant, they saw their website conversion increase 3X and their lead to tour went up to over 80%. We have a more in-depth case study with even more metrics to show how much they’ve been able to improve their operational efficiency and reduce their operational costs.
During an era of website leads increasing dramatically due to more “looky-loos” as Dalia Kalgreen, Director of Marketing at Unified Residential, likes to call them, the leasing team is able to focus on just the qualified leads.
The battle of the bots is more than just who is the better bot, but who delivers the results they promise. Pilots and demos take time and energy. Learning as much as you can about each bot and deciding on which to invest in is important. Interested in hiring the PERQ AI Leasing Assistant? Talk to our team today.
Lease to lead conversion is one of the most important metrics for multifamily properties and also one of the toughest to see growth and improvement. A study done by MarketingSherpa found that 79% of leads don’t convert due to a poor lead management solution. Luckily, in the last few years, multifamily and property management in general has seen a lot of innovation in technology solutions that center around lead management.
FOLLOW-UP & LEASING AI
One of the biggest breakthroughs in multifamily tech is the rise of leasing AI. AI Leasing Assistants are able to effectively manage your pipeline and only hand off qualified leads that are ready to talk, tour or lease.
A huge component to increasing your lead-to-lease conversion numbers is having good follow-up and lead nurture. The problem is, with an increase in online leads, onsite teams are overloaded and are unable to spend the time they need to only work on qualified leads who are more likely and more ready for leases. This is where an AI Leasing Assistant goes to work.
PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant knows when to follow-up and when to reel it back in so as not to bombard the prospect’s inbox. With PERQ’s AI Assistant, the follow-up can be personalized to fit your brand colors and your brand voice. While the messaging is still coming from a bot it’s more personalized to your property and more effective in meeting today’s consumer buying habits. It isn’t just a standard follow-up email template or apartment tour follow-up email template.
It uses the data that the AI Assistant has collected on the prospect during their time on your site and through any messaging with the chatbot. It knows exactly what the prospect is looking for and when. The follow-up is much more personalized to the actual prospect too. The best part is that the leasing specialist has access to all of this data and messaging between the AI Assistant and the prospect. With better automated follow-up and lead nurture leads to better conversations between the onsite team and the prospects.
To the right is a sample follow up email to prospective client through PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant. You no longer have to Google “how to follow up on a prospect to lease an apartment” because the AI Assistant does it for you and does it efficiently. This isn’t just fiction, it’s backed by the increase in lead to lease conversion.
SUCCESS FOR UNIFIED RESIDENTIAL
The only way to truly know if AI Leasing Assistants improve your lead to lease conversion is to see the data and success. Unified Residential, like many multifamily companies, wants to improve their lead to lease conversion especially after the massive increase in online leads in recent years.
Dalia Kalgreen, Director of Marketing, decided to hire PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant for the job. The numbers speak for themselves. Unified increased their website conversion 3X and their lead to tour by over 83%. “It takes a lot of time for your leasing team to sift through what we call ‘looky-loos,’ when they could be working on more serious leads,” says Kalgreen.
Having the AI Assistant work on their property websites has increased their operational efficiency and made their website more engaging and interactive. This means that prospects are staying on their website longer and looking at more info. You can read more about Unified Residential’s success and see just how many of their metrics improved after hiring PERQ for the job.
Technology that has been made for multifamily property management has seen a lot of advancement and innovation in the last few years. With so much new software, is there any harm in trying them out or is it better to just wait, and see?
Lisa Lawrence, Property Manager at Aura at Arbodale, a Bonaventure Property, chatted with Muhammad Yasin on our most recent sofa seminar about the latest in leasing tech. She is known for trying out new and different platforms at her property to see what is the best and what isn’t worth your time.
During this Sofa Seminar, they chatted through a wide range of topics including:
- Leasing AI
- The Importance of Personalization
- Integration within your Tech Stack
As a whole, a lot of us spent quarantine talking about going back to normal and that virtual leasing and leasing AI are fads that aren’t here to last post-pandemic. “There’s no advancement and growth in going back,” explains Lisa. With leasing AI, she knows that herself and her leasing specialists feel more educated and have more confidence when talking to prospects as AI Assistants have empowered them with better and more personalized data on prospects.
“We don’t sound like robots asking all these questions anymore because they have already talked to a robot who’s asked them,” she goes on. By handling prospects’ questions and only handing off qualified leads, leasing AI has saved Lisa and her team hours of work. They are able to talk to personalize the conversation and tour to make the prospect feel more at home. All this new tech has allowed Lisa and her team to make a bigger impact with prospects.
Lisa does note the importance of integration within your tech stack. For her, they use Entrata as their PMS. For any new tech they try out, whether its virtual leasing platforms or AI chatbots, if it doesn’t integrate smoothly, she doesn’t waste her time with it. At the end of the day, all this tech should be making it easier for teams to do their jobs and not create more work.
The multifamily industry has been known to be a little wary of embracing new technology. Within the last two years, the industry has seen how valuable being up to speed is. From virtual leasing and now to leasing AI, there have been a lot of new products to try. To all those who are still unsure, Lisa says “I don’t foresee it hurting, keep an open mind, it’s only going to benefit you.”
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When the pandemic hit, a lot of renters fled cities and urban markets for the suburbs. There are a lot of reasons. Some renters who lost their job moved back in with family, others wanted more space for their new remote lifestyles, and others adopted pets and needed more pet friendly environments.
The thing is young people still want to live in cities. In The New York Times article, “Reverse Migration: Moving to Cities While Others Flee”, they talked to a few renters to get their thoughts on why they are moving back. Let’s take a look into how you can attract renters back to your multifamily properties in the city.
Many jobs and education programs are remote or online now. In the same article, some of the renters they interviewed who fled to the suburbs talked about how in their city apartments, there really wasn’t enough space for them to both work and live there. Many units in urban markets are on the smaller size. It can be tough to live and work practically alone in 500 sq ft for days on end, especially if your building barely has outdoor amenities.
Creating rentable, private office spaces, larger communal work rooms, or offering outside seating near outlets is a great way to convert your property to one where renters can live and work remotely. Having outdoor amenities like a lounge space or grills or a rooftop terrace is attractive to renters as outdoor amenities are the number one thing renters are looking for in 2021.
City apartments used to be just places to sleep in while young renters went out and about in the city. With things shut down, renters attitudes towards space, especially outdoor ones that are easily accessible, changed. Multifamily communities in these areas need to keep up with this change so they can attract renters back to the city.
On top of remote work, many people adopted pets during the pandemic. Nationally, 1 in 3 renters have a pet according to PERQ data. The suburbs offer plenty of spaces to walk dogs, yards with fences, and even more parks. Attracting renters back to the city means attracting their furry friends as well.
You need to take a look at your pet policies and if you are a place that would make a good home for a dog. Charging too much in pet rent and having little to no grass/turf nearby won’t work with today’s renters. Whether it’s finding the space in your own property or advertising nearby parks and trails, you need to have some content on your website or social media that shows you are pet friendly. We have a blog post on how to be more pet friendly with some tips from industry leader Jamin Harkness.
With all of this in mind, you need to evaluate if your property meets these standards. Would it be easy to live and work at your property? Does your property offer enough outdoor spaces? Is it pet friendly? Bringing renters back to the city is going to be a pretty big hill to climb but meeting some of the basic needs that caused renters to move out in the first place is a good place to start.