Marketing Your Apartment Development During COVID-19
by McKenna Hogan, on Jun 4, 2020 8:30:00 AM
According to a survey from The National Multifamily Housing Council, 53% of multifamily developers are still reporting delays in construction.
Although this number has slightly decreased since April, those surveyed actually showed a vast decrease in adapting to proper marketing strategies for new construction lease-up, leading to a significant cut in the number of units set to open in 2020.
To help unfinished communities stay on track during these unprecedented times, we’ve compiled several strategies to help market your apartment development during COVID-19.
3 Key Strategies for Marketing Your Apartment Development During COVID-19
Despite delays in construction, data from the same multifamily housing survey shows that these delays are slowing down. While construction is soon to pick up pace, marketing efforts have still not caught up.
“59 percent of respondents said they have implemented new strategies to deal with obstacles caused by the coronavirus outbreak, down from 75 percent in the previous survey,” states Multi-Housing News.
A few ways we’ve seen this happen is through technology, limited number of employees working at a time, and sourcing materials through alternate locations.
Although a reason for this is most likely due to restrictions in some states being lifted for nonessential construction, the development industry still faces a relatively high vacancy rate projected for the end of 2020.
Here’s how your multifamily marketing efforts can speed up for new apartment openings that lie ahead.
1. Prioritize website accessibility
Website accessibility in the era of virtual leasing is an essential first step towards transitioning to online leasing efforts
Since there’s no perceivable way to market your development in person or otherwise, your apartment website acts as the sole tool for reaching lease-up goals during COVID-19.
By leveraging the proper digital content, focusing on an easy to navigate web design, and implementing SEO optimization, your website can inform, engage, and convert in one accessible location.
Best practices for website accessibility are listed below.
- Leverage virtual leasing tools
- Add alt tags to images
- Provide ADA compliant tours
- Add accessibility menus to websites
- Ensure your website follows ADA and WCAG guidelines
- Optimize your website’s SEO
- Make web design clear and usable to everyone
Learn more on how to ensure website accessibility.
2. Leverage the proper digital content
Because your apartment development is likely still under construction (and potentially facing delays), it’s important to display the proper digital tools and content on your website for renters during their housing search. .
Video content marketing is currently the key to a successful marketing strategy in multifamily
Video has the capacity and dimension to deliver a significant amount of information in a short period of time.
Even more, video can be immersive, engaging, and informational, making it the perfect content for multifamily communities—especially developments. Video may seem like an impossible feat for developments, but there are many ways to make video happen, even without an existing building.
Below are a few video content ideas for your apartment community that are perfect for virtually leasing your development.
- 3D rendered walk-through/fly-through videos
- 360 video
- Meet the team videos
- Construction/progress updates
Video content can be leveraged across many channels, including your website, social media, and even Google My Business listings. This makes video marketing ideal for developments to build awareness and visibility online.
3D Renderings provide a photorealistic model of your apartment community so prospects can visualize themselves living there.
With the ability to drive pre-leasing goals and generate leads, 3D services also cater to the need for virtual leasing during the pandemic, making them the perfect tools for developments under construction.
Below are a few types of 3D services to streamline the pre-leasing process during COVID-19.
Integrating a 3D virtual tour into your apartment development’s marketing strategy as COVID-19 continues will be the driving force of your pre-leasing efforts.
Virtual tours providers such as Panoskin can elevate your marketing with 3D rendered virtual tours. Below is an example of a 3D virtual tour used in the pre-leasing stage.
Customizable features and immediate call to action links are only a fraction of the benefits these tours provide.
Panoskin integrates a hosting feature to virtual tours so that real estate professionals have the ability to give guided tours to prospects before a community is even built, which allows renters to ask questions as well as build a connection with development teams.
Catering to renters inquiring about your development may be difficult during this time, but virtual tours will bring much needed assurance for moving forward with your community.
Click here to view case studies on Google and Panoskin virtual tours.
3D floor plans
Floor plans are a 3D visualization of a model layout that is designed using virtual staging to illustrate what an actual unit will look like from a birds eye view.
Not only can they show prospects the difference between your apartment’s available floor plans, they can also be customizable—allowing development teams to personalize the virtual staging within each unit.
Floor plans can be leveraged the same way most of your virtual leasing content can, including within Panoskin virtual tours and real-time availability tools.
Real-time availability tools such as stacking and site plans will deliver convenience as well as streamline the pre-leasing process with user-guided features.
This content allows renters to navigate your property by level and available units. From there, renters can inquire about a specific unit they are interested in.
Both are excellent for developments due to the fact that they are an entirely different user experience. For example, stacking plans are not only great for lead generation, but they also incite a sense of urgency among renters due to the fact that they update in real time.
On the other hand, site plans allow leasing agents to give a true visualization of what an entire complex will look like, including unit numbers, parking lots, exterior amenities, etc., which provides prospects with a detailed resource to make an informed decision.
Stacking and site plans are additional pieces of content that offer all the information necessary for signing a lease sight unseen.
3. Be upfront about the availability of your amenities
A big issue currently within established communities is figuring out how to handle their amenities.
With safety precautions such as keeping a 6-foot distance from others as well as wearing a mask in public areas, deciding how to market amenities during COVID-19 may be of concern.
Since your development is not yet ready for move-ins, but is in the process of pre-leasing, being honest about the possibility of unopened amenities will be paramount to establishing an open and honest relationship with prospects.
This includes highlighting outdoor or exterior amenities that will most likely be safe and functional once your community is finished.
As for interior amenities, designing a space that is already in compliance with CDC guidelines will not only ensure no issues arise in the availability of certain spaces, but will also make your community stand out among competition.
Digital content will drive marketing efforts
With construction timelines gradually picking up speed again, and marketing efforts tapering, now is the time to inquire about what digital content you can be leveraging for your developments. This will put you ahead of the competition that is slowing down and promise you more move-ins in time for the grand opening.
Although restrictions are slowly lifting, real estate professionals must remember that this very well may not be the last we see of the pandemic’s effects. So setting your development up for success with the right virtual leasing tools will ensure accessibility and convenience.