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.
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.
Resident retention is one of the most important metrics/goals for multifamily properties. A happy resident is a resident who renews and a renewal means that you have one less unit sitting open. Most renters plan on renting one unit for 1 to 2 years. With the new generation of renters planning on renting for most, if not all, their lives, there’s opportunity to keep some residents for longer than just 2 years. Let’s take a look at what can be done during a resident’s lease to keep them happy and ready to renew when the time comes.
The theme among all negative reviews for a multifamily property is maintenance. No one wants to live at a property that handles maintenance requests poorly. There needs to be clear communication between maintenance, the leasing office, and the resident who put in the request.
Once a request is sent, within 24 hours there should be someone who contacts that resident to let them know the request has been seen and give them a timeline of when someone can come fix it. This is becoming more important with people working and learning from home more regularly. They need to know if they should rearrange some meetings or let their own teams know that they will be offline at a certain time.
PETS AND RENEWALS
Offering a discount on a few months rent or giving other incentives is a popular way to encourage residents to renew. Creating a referral program is also another popular way that many multifamily properties use for resident satisfaction in hopes of it leading to a renewal. People love to live in communities where their friends are close by and they know their neighbors. A simple way to get a large group of residents to stay and renew is getting rid of pet rent.
1 in 3 renters nationally have a pet according to data collected by PERQ. That means there are a lot of furry residents out there too. Jamin Harkness at TMG got rid of pet rent last year and found that 80% of his residents who owned a pet renewed their lease. He made up all that “lost” revenue in some of the highest retention rates. Making a community more pet friendly includes getting rid of pet rent.
Residents who feel heard and taken care of will stay at your property longer. High occupancy and low turnover is an ideal situation for any multifamily property. That means ensuring that onsite team members are putting in the time and effort to keep residents satisfied and keep their units running smoothly.
Anticipating prospective renters wants and needs gives you a competitive advantage in the multifamily industry. With so many new multifamily communities and properties being built all over the country, focusing on resident retention and meeting the needs of prospective renters has become increasingly important. We have many blog posts about what renters want based on data collected by PERQ from our solutions that live on multifamily websites. In 2021, multifamily trends are showing that outdoor amenities are rising up the ranks in what renters are looking for.
The way we live life has changed a lot in the last few years and with more and more companies and jobs becoming remote or semi-work from home, people are spending more time in their homes. We also all spent a better part of a year mainly inside. It’s no surprise that multifamily trends show that renters want outdoor spaces.
Outdoor Amenity Ideas
If you don’t already have outdoor amenities, we’ve got a few ideas on what you can add or budget for in the next few months to meet these demands and to increase the value of your property. A win-win situation! Some outdoor spaces that you can easily do are:
- Rooftop Terrace
- Grill and Lounge
- Work Space
The rooftop terrace is a great way to add outdoor amenities in an urban setting where you may not have the room to build outward. Everyone loves a good rooftop. From the views to a great aesthetic, rooftop terraces are attractive to renters and add some spice to your property. You can have fire pits, lounging chairs and sofas, dining tables and more! Add some cute lights and greenery and your rooftop is ready to go! It’s also a great place to do resident events from happy hour to a movie night, utilizing your rooftop is going to give your property an edge over competitors.
If you do have the ability/the yard space to add some grills and lounging chairs/sofas or dining tables, then do! As a renter, you can’t have a grill or that classic summer BBQ experience at your home. Providing grills and a space to entertain gives renters the ability to host these kinds of events and bring people to your property!
Lastly, adding outdoor coworking space is also a great outdoor amenity idea that is attractive to remote workers and learners. In order to do this you just need outdoor outlets and tables and chairs set up. Adding some nice landscaping or having a coffee shop do a pop up every now and then is a great way to create an outdoor work space that Millennial and Gen Z renters will love.
The best part is, if you don’t have the space for the last two, they can be incorporated into the rooftop terrace as well! Outdoor amenities are growing in popularity and multifamily properties that don’t meet this demand are going to be left behind. You might think “this is just a trend for 2021” but in reality, the changes that have happened that have led to this demand are lifestyle changes. That means they are here to stay long-term. It’s time to add outdoor amenities to your property if you don’t have any.