There are hundreds of individual decisions, actions, and steps that go into developing an overall real estate marketing plan. Everything from initial naming and branding to digital ads to lease space design to seasonal specials…all these things and more can be part of your marketing plan, influencing the number of lease signings you see at the end of the day. With so many factors going into your plan, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unfocused.
That’s why we’re taking some time today to identify a few of the most impactful actions you can take as part of your overall real estate marketing plan. Focusing on these five action items will go a long way in generating meaningful results and putting heads in beds. So without further ado, let’s get into it!
Understand Your Target Audience
This step is absolutely crucial and ultimately involves more than one single action (sorry, we know we’re cheating here). As early as possible, you should do some audience research that will help inform where, when, and how you should implement your marketing plan for best results. Find out where your audience spends time on and offline, how they tend to make purchase decisions, what amenities are important to them, and what kind of messaging appeals to them.
Understanding your target audience allows you to evaluate the messaging that will best highlight your property, the types of ads most worth running, the local business most worth partnering with, and the local events most worth attending, among plenty of other things. Not only that but having a well-defined target audience will help you evaluate why your marketing plan is ineffective if you’re already implementing strategies but not seeing results.
Participate In Your Community
Some of your most effective marketing can be done in person, out in your local community. First and foremost, make sure you’re taking part in any local residential events like housing fairs, if applicable. Secondly, build relationships with businesses near your property and leverage those relationships as part of your real estate marketing plan. For example, you might ask local businesses if they’d be willing to display your poster or brochure at their business (perhaps in exchange for you promoting their business in a similar way in your leasing space, or hosting a resident event catered/sponsored by their business if applicable). You might also offer discounts to customers or employees of a given business and promote those discounts at that local business as well as through your online presence. Finally, referral specials help promote grassroots marketing and tap into one of the most effective marketing avenues—word of mouth.
Do Competitor Research
You know as well as we do that your property doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your potential residents probably have a lot of choices, so it’s important for you to know who your competition is and what they’re up to. After all, if a competitor is just like you in many ways, but is running a seasonal special when you’re not, you stand to lose out on renters that might otherwise sign with you instead.
Competitor research shouldn’t just be done once either. Check in regularly on your competition to see what specials they’re offering, whether they’re doing any renovations, what amenities they’re promoting most, and so on. The more information you have, the better poised you are to meaningfully differentiate yourself from your competitors and give potential residents a compelling reason to sign with you.
Manage Your Optics
In other words, make sure you look good both on and offline. Savvy consumers are going to perform searches, read reviews, and (if they get that far) visit your property before they make their final leasing decision. To make sure potential residents like what they see (and can see you at all), there are a few areas you need to focus on.
It’s essential that you have a positive reputation online. Never neglect your reviews on places like Google, Yelp, and Apartments.com. Respond to positive reviews with thanks and negative reviews with understanding and a clear intention to make things better. While you’re at it, make sure you actually take feedback to heart; implement reasonable changes, clear up misunderstandings, and talk further with residents about their concerns when possible. It’s far better to be a property that makes mistakes but learns from them rather than a property that appears not to care about its residents.
Most potential residents will visit your property before signing a lease if they have the option. If your property greets potential residents with poorly-kept grounds, that’s a red flag right off the bat. Make sure plants are healthy, parking is unobstructed, signage is attractive, fences or gates are in good working order, and stray trash or debris is removed. Any indication that your property is dirty, unsafe, inconvenient, or otherwise poorly maintained will certainly give a bad first impression, while a well-cared-for property inspires confidence and invites potential residents to learn more.
Residents may never find you in the first place if your SEO is poor. Performing an SEO audit is often an important step for properties that are having trouble reaching their desired audience. Understand the keywords your audience uses to look for apartments like yours, then make sure those keywords appear on your website in prominent places. In a similar vein, it’s crucial to ensure your Google My Business page has ample and accurate information about your property, including a link to your website, office hours, street address, and contact information.
To everything, there is a season, and that’s often particularly true for apartment marketing. Whether your seasonality is consistent and pronounced, as with student housing, or simply dependent on renewal schedules, as it often is with conventional multifamily properties, these seasonal fluctuations should be accounted for in your long-term marketing plan. Scale back marketing during your most leased seasons, then ramp it up again when you need to attract more renters. On that subject, consider offering special rates for early rent renewals and new residents who sign during a high-vacancy season.
That’s it for today’s apartment complex marketing ideas! We hope we’ve helped give you a few actionable items that will generate meaningful results! If you’re interested in discussing these tactics further, or you’d like to learn how we can help you do all these things (and more), go ahead and chat with a Threshold team member! We’d love to help you improve your real estate marketing plan.