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, your website can be 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.
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.
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.
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.
Apartment videos are popular on YouTube. 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 marketing includes marketing the neighborhood/city your apartment is located in too. Make your website 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 website 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.
There’s a lot of creativity in how you can do the marketing for apartment communities. Rethinking the content on your website is a good place to start.
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One of the best things to come out of 2020 was having multiple tour scheduling options. From self-guided to virtual to pre-recorded videos, the ways prospects could tour a unit adapted to a less physical and socially distanced world.
With all of these options, in-person tours still rank as the most popular tour option according to PERQ data. How do we go back to in-person tours in a way that is healthy for both prospects and the leasing team? We’ve got 3 tips to help your leasing team meet prospects expectations with health guidelines and quality of the tour.
Know the Guidelines
It is so important to know what your state’s health guidelines are. While they typically aren’t more than 2 people who show up to tour an apartment, there are states that are hit much harder than others when it comes to COVID cases.
Be sure to stand the recommended 6 feet apart from prospects as they walk around the unit. For a smaller unit where this might not be possible, consider leaving the door open during the tour and standing near it.
Masks and Sanitizer
Requiring prospects to wear a mask during the entire time they are at your property and on the tour is a highly effective way of keeping the leasing agent and the prospects safe. Offer hand sanitizer to them when they first show up and offer it again when they leave.
Some prospects might forget to bring their masks with them. Having some disposable masks on hand to give them is a great way to show how your property is taking safety seriously and allows the prospect to still go on the tour and not have to reschedule.
Clean Common Surfaces
After each tour, be sure to clean the surfaces that prospects touched. Most common surfaces are door handles, cabinet knobs and pulls, and appliances. This seems like it can be a lot of extra work but it keeps the touring unit clean and reduces the chances of spread.
This will make it much safer on days where there are a lot of tours stacked up. Give yourself 10 – 15 minutes between tours to disinfect these common surfaces to ensure that everyone is safe. We have a whole list of resources for multifamily communities centered on COVID-19. You can check them out here.
We have access to more data than ever before. An online prospect can have over 15 different touch points or data associated with their time on your website. On Season 2 of The Bridge podcast, hosts Andy Medley and Muhammad Yasin chatted with Desiree White and Colin Cloud from NE Property Management about how they have been enabling their own onsite teams to help convert online prospects into a signed lease.
The “3 P’s” that NE Property Management looks at when they see incoming online traffic but aren’t closing the deal are:
They look to see if the pricing is too high or too low, if the product they are selling is desirable to prospects and if there are any upgrades that need to be made or small cosmetic changes to their own site.
They also look at the people on the on site team. Desiree finds that listening to phone calls has been helpful as a training tool and even offers to join in on calls for support. The initial conversation is the hardest and the most important.
Conversation and Data
Looking at the incoming traffic on your website as a metric is a way that Desiree and Colin can measure if their marketing efforts are working and if so which ones specifically. This is where they both suggest having Google Analytics and training onsite teams in analyzing their ads and data to ensure that their marketing is doing its job.
Your onsite team has access to the personalized date coming from the incoming traffic on your webiste. The first conversation can’t be following the same script that telemarketers and cold callers use, it has to and can be more personalized. Using the data that your website has collected on the prospect, onsite teams can and should be having more personalized conversations with prospects.
Desiree explains, “you don’t need to act like you’re selling it to them, you’re helping them with this journey.” Lead with the details that the data gives you like the number of pets they have, the floorplans they were looking at, etc. A more personalized experience will make the prospect feel like you want to find them a new home.
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.
PERQ EVP of Marketing, Muhammad Yasin, played host to another insightful lunch and learn which explored the challenges multifamily properties faced while trying to market to shifting consumer behavior during the pandemic. Guests Liv Gabrielsen, Director of Marketing for Bainbridge, and Scott Papenfus, Director of Strategic Partnerships for LCP360, chatted about the creative ways they’ve adapted efforts and the true impact of the pandemic with an in-depth conversation on:
- Shifting marketing efforts
- The increased use of virtual tours
- Role of community, conversation and communication
- Standing out in an email and on social media
- Tertiary metrics
- Tool integration
Virtual Chat: Marketing in a Pandemic from PERQ on Vimeo.
When asked about big shifts in general as a result of the pandemic, Liv began by acknowledging what most businesses experienced, consumers embracing the digital experience.
“For multifamily, what it did is forced our industry to embrace all things digital as we saw stay-at-home orders. The COVID pandemic made us shift what we’re doing to ensure we can meet consumer demands in a 100% digital environment.”
She added that the industry knew they would need to embrace consumers’ digital demands eventually. The pandemic just accelerated the process.
“We’ve known this for years; it’s been moving in this direction,” Liv says. “For me, it was still a little bit of a shock of sorts — how fast we had to lean into some of the things or behaviors we were already thinking about, then suddenly over the course of a couple of weeks went from ‘Yeah, we’re going that way’ to ‘Now this is it.’”
Scott shared that, from a technology company’s perspective, they saw a huge increase in the number of virtual tours.
“You can literally look at a graph and just see this huge spike in virtual tours when the pandemic hit,” he says. “One of the key things we’re seeing is more and more people on-site are using our guided virtual tour or mirrored virtual tour.”
He explains consumers are not touring alone, instead doing so virtually with a leasing agent on-site who shares their knowledge and expertise about the property while customizing the tour for the prospect.
“I’ve really seen an uptick in interest is people wanting to perform kind of a hybrid — it’s a virtual tour, but it’s actually led by somebody on-site,” says Scott.
“For multifamily, we want that face-to-face interaction because our communities are more than just four walls,” Liv says. “It’s the community, the environment and the lifestyle. So, how do we communicate that in a digital way when we are removing these on-site visits? That was the challenge — we knew we had to provide a full picture of what it’s like to live in a Bainbridge community.”
Watch the full video to learn more about what Liv and Scott implemented to better serve and market to their customers during the pandemic.
A Guide to Marketing with TikTok
How TikTok can Attract Residents
Google My Business
LCP360- Why Panoskin
LCP360- Guided Virtual Tours with Panoskin
LCP3060- Coronavirus Response Survey
Apartment Marketing Blogs- Getting Started
A Guide to Effective Digital Leasing
7 Feelings your Apartment Website Should Create
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Businesses create personas to place the consumer at the center of decision-making. Customer personas work when designing products and services, yet do they still serve a purpose in marketing and sales?
Marketing, the process of identifying, anticipating and satisfying customers’ needs and wants, essentially matches what you’re selling to the people looking to buy. On a fundamental level, we all share the same basic needs and wants. Moving beyond the basics of buyer personas opens up a world of possibilities.
With everyone as a potential customer, creating personas may help marketing feel more manageable. Putting a face, age, and fictional name to your customers’ traits, personality characteristics, and pain points kicks off your digital strategy, but then what? Where do you go from there? Customer personas, in theory, work to attract leads, yet treating each customer in a generalized manner may actually move your brand further away from connecting with prospects.
Technology now provides valuable information beyond the type of customer interested in your brand (married with two kids and a mortgage); it delivers details on their online behavior (searching for distressed dining room tables to seat 10).
With the right software and CRM, collecting valuable online data generates insight into the customers’ specific needs and wants. Real information, captured in real-time, directly from the people interested in your products. From there, you can use the data to personalize the follow-up and lead-nurture process for more prospect engagement and brand loyalty.
More than Just a Customer Persona
Technology allows for a deeper understanding of consumers. Not only do you learn more about your customers through their actions, but you can also create a better experience online to stand out from the competition. Give website visitors the opportunity to interact with your brand, while also providing the information they need.
Understand what customers want while shopping. Offer interactive engagement opportunities like quizzes and assessments, live chat or online financing pre-qualification. Even better, with AI-driven software you can ensure your website remembers the customer’s previous visit, suggesting options and incentives based on prior behavior. These personalized, guided interactions will shape how the customer views your brand and build a feeling of welcome and value.
Buyer personas may attract shoppers to your website, but leverage personalization to move them along the customer journey toward a purchase.
Customer Data Helps You to Focus on Personalization
Not only does personalization benefit your customer, but it also translates into customizing your company’s operations. Your customers’ behavior and data should drive your business decisions.
If your target consumers continually search for specific products or services you don’t currently offer or do offer but don’t prominently market, demand exists and justifies expanding your offerings or adjusting your ad and website copy to meet the need. If prospects routinely drop off the website after reviewing pricing on your website, it may be time to run some competitive intelligence.
Analyze and use data from your CRM to help your sales team nurture leads and convert them into sales. Generate automated and personalized emails with AI-driven technology to get shoppers back to your website or in the door. Track the average number of touches necessary to result in a purchase, and adjust your approach based on the analytics.
It may feel counterintuitive to rely on technology to build personal relationships and really get to know your customers, yet with more than 80% of shoppers beginning their shopping journey online, the power of personalization makes it possible — and imperative.