6 Apartment Marketing Techniques
Five practices to enhance your apartment marketing performance
Among the traits that high-performing apartment marketers share is a penchant for continuous experimentation, with constant tweaks and incremental improvements adding up to big boosts in performance. In this resource, we’ll explore five apartment marketing techniques or practices you would do well to reassess, refresh or add to your apartment marketing mix.
While marketing plans should be specific to your properties, target personas and goals, our intent is to spark an idea or two (or several) that will help accelerate rapport with prospective renters and move you closer to your apartment marketing goals.
Let’s dive in and go through a few different marketing techniques for apartments.
An oldie but goodie, email marketing remains hard to beat in its effectiveness and affordability, with an estimated $38 return for every $1 spent, reports CampaignMonitor. Unlike social media platforms or other digital channels, email gives you a chance to get in front of prospects who’ve expressed an interest in your properties and nurture them long-term, keeping them engaged and keeping your properties fresh in their mind when they’re considering a new apartment lease.
Keep in mind that a signed lease can also come from your current residents, and email marketing is one way to cultivate that relationship and help drive interest in a lease renewal. Putting all your efforts into new prospects and neglecting current residents (who will eventually become prospects again) is a losing game if you’re trying to keep occupancy high. We recommend segmenting your audiences and sending new prospects and current renters messaging and offers that are relevant to where they are in their renter’s journey and relationship with your property.
When it comes to breaking through your recipients’ inboxes, you have to prove your value to get readers to open, click, and engage with your messages. You do that by making the bulk of your messaging reader-focused: What are helpful tips and resources that can make their lives easier? What do they gain by clicking on your content (or what do they stand to lose if they don’t)?
For current renters, how-to guides, lifestyle tips, local events, recipe-sharing, special promotions and a heads-up on incidents affecting them (e.g., road closure, trash pickup schedule, looming deadlines) are ways to drive them to engage with your email broadcasts and share them with others.
For prospective renters, consider sharing information relevant to their favorite floor plans, upcoming deadlines or events, community information, what they should be considering (or avoiding) in their apartment search, and featuring stories of current residents. Your goal should be to eliminate confusion, answer common questions and objections, and solve problems so their apartment search is as smooth as possible, and so they can make a lease decision they’re really happy with.
Notable, consumers now expect marketing messages to be tailored to their interests and preferences, shunning companies that can’t deliver personalization, McKinsey researchers explain. Apartment marketers we’ve worked with routinely use prospect data to automatically personalize a myriad of email nurture communications, including:
- The cadence of email sends based on the renter’s move-in window
- Content based on their preferred floor plans and budget
- Content based on other preferences like how your community supports pets, disability access, fitness or community areas, for instance
- Nudging next steps based on the prospect’s last recorded behaviors
- Availability notifications for units that match their interests or move-in timeline
- Upcoming deadlines relevant to where they are in their renter’s journey or lease
- Following up on themes or questions they asked your chatbot
Where do you get the data to personalize email outreaches? Hold that thought — more on that shortly. (Hint: website interactive experiences will do it!)
Your website is your online sales rep, and controls much of prospective renters’ first (and lingering) impressions of your priority, and how it stacks up against competing properties. How do you stand out and deliver a “wow” first impression that will have visitors returning and re-engaging with your marketing channels?
Starting with basic expectations, renters want to know about the units and floor plans you have available, amenities, pricing and community information. Increasingly, they also want to tour your property online without having to get off their couch, talk with a leasing agent, and take the time to travel to your property until much later in their search process, when they’ve narrowed their options.
Speed, ease, instant access and gratification are other “biggies” that have become baseline expectations for today’s digital-first consumers. From fast-loading websites to anytime/anywhere support, they don’t want to wait for answers, nor have to go out of their way to call someone (particularly if those questions arise after office hours).
The National Apartment Association recommends having your team step into prospective renters’ shoes and navigate your website looking for answers to common renter inquiries. They recommend website visitors should be able to find the following information within 30 seconds from arriving on your home page:
- Location and contact information
- Amenities list
- Image gallery
- Resident reviews
If it takes your team longer than 30 seconds to find these items, your navigation needs improving. (We also recommend the fewer number of clicks possible before visitors find what they need.)
Now, how do you turn those first-time visits into repeat visits? What does it take for them to share personal contact info and preferences?
Though renters aren’t keen on engaging a sales person until the very end of their apartment search, they’re willing to exchange contact info for truly helpful resources relevant to their needs. Interactive quizzes, calculators, floor plan matches, AI chatbots, video tours, how-to guides and neighborhood explorer tools are some of the ways you can compel visitors to share their contact info so you can follow up later, nudging them to return and take the next step.
That prospect data (both the info prospects volunteered about themselves and the behaviors you tracked in their visit) then becomes valuable intel that allows you to personalize nurture communications, feeding their interest and “warming up” those leads for your lease agents.
As prospective renters hit search engines to find a new apartment, they’re likely to click on the first few search results and ignore the rest. It’s why your property needs a solid search engine optimization (SEO) plan, making your website more visible to searchers.
To get your website high up on search results, you have to understand how your target renters are searching online. This includes the words or phrases they are using in their searches, what questions they are looking to answer, and what kind of digital content they want to see relevant to their apartment search. While many platforms exist to help you discern ideal keywords or search terms to target, Google Trends is a great place to start and learn about trending searches.
Once you have a list of target keywords, you’ll need to infuse those keywords throughout your website’s written content to grab search engines’ attention when they are compiling search results to your audience. We recommend using your primary keywords in your homepage’s main headline and at least 1-3% of remaining text. Subsequent keywords can be sprinkled throughout the homepage and other pages on your website.
Many multifamily marketers choose to outsource SEO efforts to specialists so they can keep up with fast-changing search algorithms and best practices. If you currently lack SEO expertise in-house, we suggest a consultation with a specialist to point you in the right direction, or you may choose to build your knowledge through free courses on platforms like Google, Semrush and Hubspot.
Finally, be sure to optimize your Google Business listing — the info Google automatically displays when someone searches for your property.
A strong brand image isn’t just about looking good to renters. It’s about being more visible, building trust, and being easier to recognize and remember in a crowded market.
First impressions tend to stick long-term, and your brand marketing sets the tone for lasting consumer perceptions and beliefs about your properties.
To nail your multifamily brand, you should align every aspect of our brand presentation — images, fonts, language, color palette and more — with your target renters: who they are, what they value, what they aspire to.
Exclusive, luxury apartments, for example, would position their brand in ways that appeal most to luxury renters who expect to pay top dollar for first-class amenities. By contract, if you’re primarily targeting families with pets, you’d want your brand to reflect a family atmosphere and highlight pets and families in your communities. As a third example, an apartment complex that targets Gen Z or college students might play up community parties, game or fitness rooms, and have a lot of fun with bright colors, memes and pop culture.
Though there are many components to brand building and marketing, it starts with clarity on the renter personas you want to attract, the feelings you want your brand to convey, and the experiences you want to create. All visual, audible or multisensorial representations of your brand should be consistent in that goal.
The reason you readily recognize Starbucks’ green mermaid logo or McDonald’s golden arches is because they have a clearly defined brand identity and repeat those identity elements consistently in their colors, store layouts, materials, websites, and more. Next time you consider printing a community notice or marketing flyer on colorful paper using your favorite font or clipart, do pause and ask yourself if those visual representations are consistent with your property’s brand style. (More on creating a cohesive brand style guide.)
Chances are your prospective renters have a serious social media habit…like the rest of us. When prospective or current renters go searching for your property on social media, you don’t want them to find a half-baked profile that hasn’t been updated in weeks. Or worse, user comments and messages that go unacknowledged for ages!
At a minimum, a consistent, current social media presence serves as a trust builder, supporting your other marketing efforts. Even better if it’s compelling enough to drive users to follow, engage, check out your website and opt into your email list.
A few rules of thumb and basic etiquette to build your social media following:
There’s a give-and-take to engaging content on social media. It can’t be solely focused on your brand/property, all the time.
Think of it as a meeting someone at a party: You’d walk away from a guest who won’t stop talking about themselves. By contrast, you’d feel drawn to someone who asks you questions, takes care to listen, touches on themes you’re experiencing in your life, provides helpful guidance, and shares the spotlight with you.
With that in mind, we recommend balancing your property-focused content with content that’s genuinely helpful and focused on readers, often inviting them to take part in the conversation.
Highlighting residents and showing the personal side of on-site teams is one way to share the spotlight and humanize your community. Guidance for how to find your ideal apartment or neighborhood, how to decorate small spaces, living with pets in apartments, special events and promotions are some of the ways to speak to what’s in your target renters’ minds. Polls, engagement prompts and other user-generated content are also excellent for fueling engagement and visibility in your social platforms.
Do note that each social media platform has its own flavor and culture. What works great on Facebook may not work on TikTok or Twitter, for example. Do consider ways you’ll need to adapt your content to each platform. Just as important, your brand doesn’t have to be present on every social media platform under the sun. Pick the ones where your target renters are most likely to use, and invest your social media efforts into those.
Finally, a reminder that best apartment marketing techniques or strategies shouldn’t be static, just like consumer behaviors and market conditions aren’t static. Astute marketers recognize this, keeping an eye on industry data (as well as their own marketing data) and continuously experimenting with new tactics, formats and channels as conditions change.
A few resources to get you started:
- Multifamily Rental Prospect Data Report
- Multifamily Marketing Quarterly Report
- Multifamily Marketing Webinars
Finally, don’t hesitate to contact PERQ multifamily marketing specialists. We welcome your questions and would be happy to share what we’ve learned in working with your peers. We also invite you to test-drive the PERQ multifamily lead nurture and personalization platform for 90 days.