The Secret Behind the Best Multifamily Websites

The Secret Behind the Best Multifamily Websites

Your multifamily website is your biggest asset when it comes to prospecting and resident satisfaction. LocalIQ recently conducted a study of renters and found that 4 out of 5 renters will look at a few property websites before making a decision about coming in to see the property in person. With 80% of renters looking at multiple properties online, only the best multifamily websites will make the cut.

 

How can you transform your property websites so they stand out in a crowded search?

 

 

BRING PHOTOS TO LIFE

It’s safe to say that most multifamily websites look and feel the same. There’s gallery photos, a list of amenities, and ways to explore different floor plans. For some reason, many property websites have this cold, gray tone to them. Not all of them do, but there tends to not be any life in the color palette of these websites.

 

Multifamily properties don’t like the term “apartment complex”, they prefer the word community instead. The thing is, when your website is more generic and just photos of the property and staged units, it feels less like a community and more like…well a complex. Creating a community oriented website starts with the kinds of photos you have on there.

 

Yes, it’s important to have staged photos of units but that doesn’t mean it has to be super gray and boring. You can add pops of color to your staged photos with different kinds of rugs or throw pillows. It would even be interesting to have a person or a couple in some of the photos too. After all, it is going to be a place where people live. It can just be a person sitting on the couch and watching tv or working on a laptop.

 

In the same way that Jamin Harkness found his self-guided tours to be more successful after he stocked the fridge and pantry with drinks and snacks, having just a few of these photos with a person doing something normal, like cooking or watching tv, will help prospects visualize themselves in the space more.

 

You can even do short, stock-like videos, of someone cooking in one of the kitchens or making themselves a sandwich as part of your gallery that runs on the landing page. Adding some sort of life will go a long way in creating a lasting impression. You’ve got them on your website but you need them to stay long enough to capture insightful data and make more of an impact. This is where blogging comes in handy.

 

 

COMMUNITY BLOGS

Blogs are great for spicing up your website but also for helping your SEO strategy. Blogs give you more areas to include keywords on your website, making it easier for search engines to find your website and rank it higher organically. Blogs also help create a community oriented website vs that dreaded “apartment complex” look most multifamily websites have.

 

Apartment related content is huge on all social platforms, with billions of posts and views. It’s no surprise since a lot of Gen Z enjoy reality entertainment, from tv shows to influencers who vlog. Your blogs can also include YouTube or TikTok videos that relate to the topic as well. Some content ideas include:

  • Moving tips, specific to your property
  • Move-in Day vlog
  • Renter friendly decor ideas
  • Small space storage ideas
  • How to request maintenance
  • Reviews of local businesses
  • Recap of resident and local events

 

There are a ton of topics you can blog about. Prospects will get a more intimate glimpse of what life is like at your community compared to all of the other websites that are generic and typical. They can begin to picture what it would be like to move in and settle into one of your units and a general idea of what it would be like to live in that neighborhood. You can also ask residents if they’d like to write a guest blog on your website. If you’re a student housing community, this is a great opportunity for residents who are looking to expand their writing portfolio for internships and jobs post graduation.

 

If you run out of ideas, don’t worry, you can easily look up #apartment on TikTok or YouTube and there are billions of videos that you can gather inspiration from.

 

 

ENGAGING AND INTERACTIVE

The last way your multifamily website can stand out is by having an engaging and interactive website that is also capturing valuable prospect data. Investing in a 24/7 natural language chatbot that can provide support round the clock to prospects is a must have with this new generation of renters.

 

Gen Z’s consumer buying habits are centered around instant gratification and automation. They expect this kind of service even for big financial commitments like buying a car or renting an apartment. Leasing AI is one way to help meet these buying needs. PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant combines a 24/7 natural language chatbot, personalized lead nurture and follow-up, and keeps your website engaging and interactive for prospects while gathering data your onsite team will need to get that signature.

 

Standing Out in the Apartment Search

Standing Out in the Apartment Search

Leases all come to an end, and so the hunt for the next apartment begins. LocalIQ conducted a study of renters and found that 93% of respondents used an online search engine when looking for their next rental. 80% of respondents in the same study noted that they visited three or more property websites before deciding where to tour. This is how renters look for their next lease these days and in order for your property to be top of mind, it needs to be top of the search results. 4 out of 5 renters will look at a few property websites and if your property isn’t high up on the results page, it won’t be taken seriously.

 

 

STRATEGIZE

Local apartment SEO is important and needs to be prioritized. Digital marketing for apartments can have a lot of fun and creative elements, but if a prospect can’t find your website when they Google “apartments near me”, all that effort goes to waste. There are SEO strategy agencies as well as tools like Moz or SEMRush that can help you understand what keywords prospects are using in their search.

 

Knowing the keywords will help you optimize your website for search. Adding those keywords to the copy on your website pages is how search engines will be able to find your property and rank it higher organically. There aren’t a lot of areas of copy on property websites so how can multifamily SEO adapt?

 

 

BLOG ABOUT IT

Blogging is a great way to have more written copy on your property website. This is where you can add all sorts of keywords including ones that are more obscure. This is also where digital marketing for apartments can be more fun, creative, and unique. Dedicating time to write one blog a week will help increase your online search visibility more than you think. Businesses that blog have 55% more monthly visitors than those that don’t. More content means more for search engines to find and pull from.

 

What sort of content can you write about? Some ideas include:

  • Moving in/out tips
  • Storage/decor tips for specific floor plans
  • How to request maintenance
  • Recap of resident events
  • Reviews of local businesses

 

Blogging about the local community your property is a part of is a great way to boost your local SEO results. Renters who are looking to move into a new neighborhood will do research on what local life is like. Placing your multifamily property website as the hub of information of what’s what in the neighborhood will attract more rental prospects. Your website will show up in their research on the area and not just when they search for apartments. This allows for more visibility and gives the impression that your property is a fixture in the community.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media marketing for apartments seems to never change, no matter how many blogs are out there giving advice. The best apartment Facebook pages and Instagram feeds are the ones who are posting consistently. This takes time, energy, and effort. Make it one person’s responsibility to keep your socials up to date and posting content weekly.

 

TikTok is huge when it comes to apartment related content. Creating short videos of life at the apartment community will get you property in front of prospect’s in a place they least expect it. The best part is you can reuse these videos as a Reel on Instagram — their version of short videos on the app. You can spin some of the blog content into content for socials. Create a video explaining how to request maintenance or share moving tips for your property. You can even post about the local businesses and tag them.

 

Apartment SEO is a big task but it’s essential. Today’s generation of renters are more in tune with tech than ever and your property needs to be able to meet their expectations.

Walking the Line Between Occupancy and Pricing

Walking the Line Between Occupancy and Pricing

Finding and maintaining the perfect balance of occupancy and pricing is crucial for multifamily communities to achieve revenue success. In Multifamily Real Estate (MFRE,) it is considered a best practice to train employees to understand that the value of an asset comes in the form of it being a healthy, stabilized asset. That, by definition, is an asset that has not just achieved high occupancy, but that has achieved a balance of maximizing rent growth while maintaining/achieving stabilized occupancy.

 

Anyone can achieve “high occupancy.”  In fact, it would be really easy to get to 100% occupancy if a property simply dropped rents 20% below market rate. That, of course, would not achieve the true goal of a property, which is rental revenue. In order to have a truly performing real estate asset, you must push an asset’s rent growth while also increasing occupancy. It’s a balancing act.

 

This balancing, today, is hard. Pricing algorithms in revenue management systems will suggest how much a property can push on renewal rents and new rents. But, really, it is the job of a property manager — and all those that support that role — to understand what the market can truly handle in new rent. And this can only come from knowing the market.

 

 

THE BIG RUB

When a property is high occupancy, there is sudden tension between work needing to be done to manage residents and their needs, versus all the other things that get done out of the leasing office. It’s difficult to know what leasing will look like in the next quarter and availability will remain unknown until you are sending out renewal offers. This difficulty leads to unawareness of what units will be open and how they should be priced. When occupancy isn’t at risk, multifamily teams often end up not realizing how much they are shifting their attention away from maintaining this balance in the future.

 

The logic behind the decision seems sound, but this is a big mistake that puts both the occupancy and the pricing elements at risk. The loss in visibility of the market economics affects a property manager’s ability to properly price units.  And, being out of market for new renters can make it nearly impossible when you need them.

 

 

SMARTER PRICING BASED OFF DEMAND

Engaging with the market during those high occupancy times helps your team better understand market trends. When you keep your leasing activity alive, you gain visibility into:

  • Future demand for specific floor plans
  • Volume of active future leasing activity
  • Budgets of active future leasing prospects

 

This kind of actionable data empowers you to make smarter decisions on rent growth and price your units based on demand and what renters are willing to pay for specific units. Not only will you know if your units are underpriced, you will also understand if they may be overpriced. As a result, you will better understand your prospective renters’ budgets months before they make the move.

 

But how do you get this visibility if you’re not actively marketing and looking for renters?

 

 

FUTURE LEADS ARE LOOKING NOW

We all know the pandemic had a considerable impact on the MFRE industry.  But it also had an impact on renters. To find the property they seek to call their home, they need to begin looking earlier. Data collected by PERQ shows that over 22% of rental prospects are looking to move 6 months out from when they begin searching. So, while your property may be high occupancy, the leads that are coming in during these high occupancy months are still serious about renting at your property, but they aren’t ready to move for months.

 

It is becoming a best practice for PMC’s to continue with their marketing and leasing activity during these high occupancy months. Therefore, if the current resident in an apartment chooses not to renew, you already have a list of qualified leads who are ready to move in. This leads to quicker turnover of vacant units as well as the added benefit of pricing your units based on demand.

 

While each property is different and property management companies can have portfolios of varying sizes, 20 – 30% of your marketing budget needs to go to lead nurture and automation. According to DemandGen’s reporting, companies that have lead nurture campaigns show an average 20% increase in sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads. Cutting out lead nurture while you have high occupancy will make it harder for onsite teams to be successful with leads further down the pipeline.

 

But how does the leasing office manage all this activity as well as the added work of managing high-occupancy properties?

 

 

HOW PERQ CAN HELP

PERQ was built to solve this problem. With PERQ, you can maximize the effectiveness of all your marketing and leasing activity, and minimize the need for the team to do more work. PERQ uses AI to manage your top of funnel activity; managing communication, nurture and digital experiences for rental prospects before they are ready to speak with a leasing agent.

 

PERQ works with leads and pulls them down the pipeline, so when a vacant unit does open up, your team has a list of prospects who are qualified and ready to move. It nurtures all of those quality leads that have stated they are over 90 days out from moving, without adding more work on your leasing teams. PERQ’s proprietary combination of assistants, interactive online experiences, and cross-channel lead nurture keeps those prospects engaged, while also capturing important insights that help to qualify prospects and personalize their experience.

 

Without a technology like PERQ to pick up the work, these important leads are at risk of falling through the cracks. And, knowing how many leads are in your pipeline lets you more precisely budget marketing spend during your busiest leasing months.

 

 

CONCLUSION

High occupancy now doesn’t guarantee high occupancy in the future. Just because you’ve found a good balance now doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do to maintain that balance.

 

Lead nurture tools can help fill the talent gap, giving your prospective renters a consistent, engaging experience without the need for a leasing team member.  And, it can help you understand the balance between occupancy and pricing by giving you more insight into demand, renter budgets, and improve your operational efficiency year round.

 

That’s a concept that’s good for everyone.

Creative Ideas to Boost Your Apartment Marketing

Creative Ideas to Boost Your Apartment Marketing

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 relate to what you are posting or relate to 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.

Fall Themed Resident Events

Fall Themed Resident Events

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.

 

 

SPOOKY SEASON

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.

Battle of the Bots

Battle of the Bots

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.