All eyes are on COVID-19 right now as our communities work to address the ramifications of a pandemic on people, businesses, and our world. The real estate industry is no exception; in addition to questions of investment, development, and the management of current residents and employees, marketers are working hard to understand how they can adapt during this time. They’re looking for apartment marketing ideas for COVID-19 that can withstand the instability of a pandemic and support financial health while properties maintain essential operations.
And that’s just what we’ll be discussing here. This blog will not, of course, replace your legal counsel or supersede the guidelines of government officials—we urge you to seek out the counsel of those professionals first and foremost. That said, this post will arm you with marketing best practices during this pandemic to help support your community and investments during this challenging time.
Establish Teleconferencing for On-Site Staff
You have likely begun making this shift already, but it’s essential that you provide clear and consistent guidelines for your on-site and leasing staff when it comes to operating remotely and maintaining essential operations. Ensure your staff members have the equipment and software they need to reliably conduct video calls with coworkers, residents, and prospects.
Offer Virtual Tours
One of the chief challenges of real estate marketing in the time of COVID-19 is that in-person tours are no longer viable due to social distancing practices. Offering an alternative can help get prospects the information they need to sign a lease with confidence.
If you don’t already have a virtual tour option, now is a great time to create one. One option is to offer on-call virtual tours where a member of the leasing staff walks the prospect through the show unit while on a teleconferencing call with them. Another virtual tour option is to simply record such a walkthrough and provide the video on your website, via email, and even on social media. This second option ensures additional protection for staff because they will not have to leave their homes to conduct multiple tours through a show unit that has been visited by many people.
Make Full Use of Existing Software
Software solutions exist for many of your daily operations needs—now is a good time to lean on them. Your CRM software is a great place to take excellent notes about leads coming in to ensure continuity between their interactions with various staff members, even when your team is working remote. Additionally, teleconferencing software options are abundant and many are free to use. Google Hangouts has even extended its functionality recently and other platforms are making similar adjustments.
Enhance Your Online Presence
It’s never been more important to have all the relevant info a prospect needs available online. Ensure a prospect can find your property and determine whether it’s right for them all within the convenient confines of their browser window.
Your property website should have solid SEO, great UX, and clear Calls to Action so that it can drive conversions. Consider adding a “Virtual Tour” or “Contact Us” CTA button above the fold on your home page to encourage further action from site visitors.
If you don’t already feature 3-D floor plans, unit availability, and pricing info on your website, now is a great time to add this functionality. This way a prospect has the tools they need to determine that your property is right for them without the added difficulty of contacting staff and waiting for a response, which can cause prospects to pass you up for a property offering a more convenient buyer experience.
For current residents, ensure your website also provides a clear and working link to your resident portal where they can pay rent online and access any statements you have or will release about COVID-19.
For prospects, ensure there is a clear link for online applications that allows them to submit and sign an application digitally.
Google My Business
Although Google My Business has shut off reviews for the time being, this is still a helpful resource you can use to provide visibility to your property. Make sure to provide complete contact info on your Google My Business page so prospects can email or call easily if they want to know more. You can also feature property photos on your GMB page and feature available units in GMB posts so that a prospect knows you have what they’re looking for even before they choose whether or not to click the link to your website.
Review Existing Creative & Digital Assets
Across all your messaging, whether it’s website copy, a display ad, or paid search copy, ensure your messaging is consistent with current circumstances and availability. Do you have a CTA that reads “stop by for a tour!” You might need to update this to “take a virtual tour.” Do you have an ad that focuses on a community amenity that’s currently closed to residents? Consider replacing it with one that focuses on apartment amenities.
It may also be a good time to enhance your paid search ads with more robust extensions so that you provide your audience with more reasons to convert. Consider showing floor plan prices, call extensions, dynamic call-outs, and other extensions on your paid search ads through Google Ads.
Focus on Email Communications
Inspiring confidence in current residents and prospects is key right now, and email communications are the best way to reach your audience while offering a personal and professional touch. Be clear and communicative with residents and leads. Make sure they know what they need to do and how they can reach on-site staff.
Everyone has questions right now, and the ability to communicate is key. Take some time to ensure you have quality contact info for all of your residents so that you can make timely announcements and communicate reliably with everyone in your community.
Email marketing allows you to take a personalized approach to lead nurturing—prospects need to know leasing staff are accessible by email, phone, or video call to get the help they would normally get in person. It can also help them lease with confidence at a time when they can’t gain the reassurance of touring the entire community in person or speaking with a staff member on site.
We hope these tips help you adjust your real estate marketing plan in the face of COVID-19. For more insight into how you can respond to this pandemic, we invite you to check out this list of resources compiled by NAA. And don’t forget, Threshold’s digital, creative, and customer service teams are always here to help.
If you’re interested in expert assistance, reach out to a Threshold team member today.