We get this question often: “Can I pause my digital marketing now that I’m 100% leased?” It’s a reasonable question. You might be thinking now is a great time to save money by cutting back on ad spend or completely pausing digital marketing altogether. But ultimately, we don’t recommend this strategy when it comes to digital marketing for apartments. In short, it won’t benefit your apartment marketing plan as much as you think.
Why? Well there are a few reasons. In fact, there are enough factors involved that we decided it was time to put it all together in an easy-to-reference blog post. Whether you’re one of our digital clients or a real estate brand looking for marketing advice, we hope this can answer one of our most frequently asked questions.
Awareness Marketing Never Rests
The primary reason we don’t recommend pausing your digital marketing when you’re 100% leased is that your digital marketing plan should find ways to reach prospects at every stage of their buyer journey, and that includes the awareness phase. In fact, being 100% leased presents the perfect opportunity to scale back your other strategies (like retargeting and lead generation) and focus more of your attention and spend on awareness tactics.
Put simply, now is the time to make your audience aware of your brand before they even have the immediate need to find a new apartment. Building that awareness among your audience allows you to enjoy better results later on, as more people will move into your sales funnel further down the road when availability opens back up.
We’ll tell you more about how you can implement awareness tactics in the “What To Do Instead of Pausing Digital Marketing” section below.
You’ll Rob Yourself of Optimization Potential
You’ve heard that practice makes perfect, and it’s true for marketing too. Any good apartment marketing plan includes room for learning: learning about your market, your audience, and what works for your brand.
Marketing is most expensive at the beginning, and that’s partly because the best digital marketing for apartments engages in continuous optimization. Your goal isn’t to get it exactly right from the very beginning; it’s to start smart but get smarter along the way as your KPIs deliver valuable insights.
And the learning never stops. User habits, market trends, local competition, and a thousand other factors will keep you on your toes. Especially during times of change, it’s important to stay abreast of how your marketing strategy is performing. Even under normal circumstances, pausing your digital marketing and then trying to pick up where you left off once your occupancy starts trending downward again is harder than you might think. That brings us to the next point:
Momentum Loss Means Higher Costs Later
You may have heard that it’s energy-efficient to maintain a relatively stable temperature in your home even while you’re not there. This is because your HVAC has to work much harder to bring your home to a dramatically different temperature than it works to maintain a consistent temperature over time.
The same basic concept is true when it comes to digital marketing for apartments. After all, another reason that marketing is the most challenging at the beginning is that you’re starting from zero: zero brand awareness, zero brand loyalty, zero brand trust. The best marketing results emerge once you’ve gotten over the awareness hump to earn a little cultural currency.
In other words, your marketing campaigns have to do the most heavy lifting when you’re starting from a standstill. Though pausing campaigns may not have negative short-term effects, in the long-term, you’ll lose the progress you once made in terms of building awareness, recognition, and trust within your market, and the next time you start, you’ll be starting fresh, subject to those higher start-up costs as you once again lay the foundation you need for better results.
Put in technical terms, before it has a chance to normalize again, your Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Conversion will initially rise, likely to the degree that it will offset any money you saved by putting your campaigns on pause.
Continued Momentum Means Lower Costs Later
If lost momentum means higher marketing costs later, then the converse is also true, and not just because you’ll benefit from continued optimization and stable brand recognition. You’ll also benefit from other advantages that can only be built over time.
As brand awareness and loyalty build with continued marketing over time, so too do SEO rankings and brand reputation. These elements give you a stronger foundation to draw from later so your paid marketing isn’t pulling as much weight; you’ll be enjoying organic traffic and providing great reasons for prospects to convert without paying as much to get your message in front of them.
Plus, if you continue generating leads now, you’ll have a larger lead base to start nurturing when availability returns. Imagine having an eager audience waiting to hear that you have apartments available for move-in. In fact, that leads us to our next section:
What To Do Instead of Pausing Digital Marketing
Instead of pausing your digital marketing entirely, we recommend switching your focus to the digital marketing strategies that help you out most in the long-term. Since you don’t need to put as much spend toward short-term strategies that earn quick results, you can redirect that spend to set yourself up for reliable results when you need them again.
Specifically, focusing on awareness campaigns, SEO, and reputation management is a great apartment marketing strategy when you’re 100% leased. As far as ads go, focus on awareness tactics highlighting your key differentiators like stand-out amenities and desirable location. Facebook campaigns, YouTube campaigns, and geofencing can be useful awareness tactics to employ during this time.
Beyond that, we also recommend establishing a Wait List (or “VIP List” if you want to get fancy) collecting the information of leads that come through right now. This way the conversions you get now can still help you later on when you need to sign new leases. This is especially useful for senior housing communities—whose prospects often have flexible moving timelines and may wait months to find the perfect place—or student housing communities where pre-leasing is the norm and turnover season is predictable.
While pausing your digital marketing may seem tempting once you’re 100% occupied, continuing your digital marketing efforts can actually save more money and earn better results in the long run. If you’re thinking about scaling back your digital campaigns, consider redistributing spend to awareness tactics, SEO improvements, and reputation management efforts that can promote long-term growth.
As always, if you’re looking for professional advice concerning which tactics you should be using while 100% leased, you can always reach out to our marketing experts for a free conversation—no strings attached.