5 Apartment Marketing Strategies you Need to Fight Slow Lease Velocity
by Klaudia Marzec, on Sep 5, 2019 9:00:00 AM
Every apartment manager dreams of leasing out all of their units in no time, but the reality is that you need a solid marketing strategy to avoid the dreaded slow leasing process.
There are many ideas online, but researching them takes valuable time out of the day that could be used to talk to prospects and give tours of the property.
We know your community is unique, and your leasing strategy should be unique too. That is why we put together these 5 apartment marketing strategies to save you time and help you market your community effectively and efficiently.
Everything from renters’ personalities to current industry trends will play a role in choosing what the best strategy is for you. But one thing is for sure, not having a strategy when trying to lease out your space will lead you to pull your hair out questioning why you're experiencing such a slow lease period.
1. Social media marketing strategy is the way to go
When you can’t think of a place to start, think social media. Everyone is on it, and now is the time for apartments, as more people are renting now than at any point in the last 50 years.
Aside from your ideal target audience growing, the age group leading the way are millennials. And you can bet they are on social media, with 95% of them following brands through various platforms.
Eighty-eight percent of young adults say that they use any form of social media, but those are just stats that back up the power of social media marketing. Let's get down to business and share real marketing strategies you can start implementing into your community’s social media.
Post pictures on Pinterest and Instagram
You may wonder, how can posting pictures of my apartment help me lease more units? Done the right way, it can have a great impact on making your community look more appealing.
With over 77 million Pinterest users last year, 45% of them were looking for home and garden ideas, so it is in your best interest to get pinning to get noticed and stay on the minds of your potential prospects.
The most basic marketing content for apartments are floor plans, but they are also the most important. That is what you are trying to sell, so make sure that you create specific content that tells the prospect exactly what product they could get.
As important as it might seem to display your great resort-style pool or your luxurious clubhouse, your prospect will still most likely spend the most time in their apartment.
Having floor plans displayed on your Pinterest and Instagram can help you really stand out on social media, where many potential lessees spend hours scrolling.
The power in Facebook marketing
After so many years, Facebook is still the number one social platform with 69% of users spread evenly across the population, with 74% of them using the platform daily.
This kind of traffic of potential prospects should not be neglected by any business, and if you don’t have an account yet, you may want to start by creating a Facebook Business Page.
Sharing your community’s content, and having current and relevant information about your property will increase the likelihood of someone contacting you to learn more.
You can also be one step ahead of your prospects by sharing a virtual tour of your community on your Facebook page if you have 2000+ likes.
Another great marketing strategy is to post about your open houses and other leasing events on Facebook Events. Create an appealing cover and share information with your current followers that you are hosting an upcoming event. This lets you generate buzz around your community and get current and prospective residents excited.
You can even get creative with it by turning it into a competition and offering gift cards and discounts on the application fee to the first 10 people who RSVP.
Getting people engaged is a great strategy to boost your apartment marketing.
2. Leveraging a visual content marketing strategy
If your apartment complex is experiencing a slow lease period, it might be because your online presence is lacking a visual representation of the space.
One marketing strategy is to add more photography to your website gallery and your Google Knowledge Graph, but if you want to be on-trend, it might be time to consider a virtual tour.
Virtual tours are a great way to get your prospects engaged with your community as well as get them excited about all of the amenities you have available. In the virtual tour, you can display all of the different areas and organize them on your website in a way that invites future residents.
This type of marketing content is a great starting strategy because it's very much what’s on-trend and what the younger generation expects during their interaction with brands Younger audiences crave instant gratification and won’t hang around on websites if they aren’t engaged or information isn’t presented to them efficiently.
A 360 virtual tour works like a 24/7 open house for your community, which is a huge asset in today’s world where more than 90% of people are looking online first for their next home. And, keep in mind, millennials tend to work longer hours than their predecessors, so a 24/7 open house is just what they need for their busy schedules.
Because younger audiences are much busier, you may not be reaching your target market at the time that they are looking, which is often after business hours. The generation that is most active in apartment searches is receiving most of their information online at a time when your leasing office is long closed.
That is why investing in virtual tours for your apartment is a great marketing strategy to reach the younger generation who are looking for interactive online content and are looking at a time when you are not always available to speak with them.
3. Investing in 3D renderings for developments
The future is here and 3D is taking over everything, including apartments. For developments, 3D renderings can be incredibly valuable to meet lease-up goals. Leasing is incredibly challenging for developments or even Class C apartment homes, so leveraging 3D solutions can help meet goals and increase lease velocity.
Create your next apartment marketing strategy around incorporating more 3D and getting in front of your competition.
Benefits of 3D Rendering Your Development
The “work in progress” stage of your new apartment development is a fun and exciting time, but it can also prove challenging if you are trying to pre-lease the space while experiencing construction delays and other obstacles on the road to opening day.
The pre-leasing process is one of the most important phases of the development because while the building is in construction, you don’t want to waste any precious time.
This is a time for forward-thinking prospects to get their hands on a new and innovative apartment complex and an opportunity for you to sign a lease sight-unseen, or possibly seen.
Neither of these can happen without a solid marketing strategy and the right solutions to reach prospective residents and hit your pre-leasing occupancy numbers.
What if you could show the property to new potential lessees before the project is complete? Well, with 3D renderings you can.
Creating your new development marketing strategy around 3D renderings will help you reach your goals in no time. The numbers are compelling, as 89% of property buyers found images of the property they are interested in very helpful in making the final decision.
This means that if the property is still under construction, you cannot get any photography to show to your prospects, but you can get 3D rendered photos and even 3D rendered 360 virtual tours.
3D work attracts more clients and it works great as marketing content to put on your landing page or embedded on your website. Showing, rather than telling your prospects about their new home will put you ahead of the competition.
The 3D renderings also help close the gap between the world of the architect and the final viewer. You cannot show the prospect a design or a complex blueprint and expect them to understand it. By showing them a photorealistic 3D rendering of the space, you help them visualize the space for what it will be and give them more confidence in signing before opening day.
This marketing strategy makes you more engaging than other developments and will also help you boost your SEO by having fun and innovative content on Google even before the building exists.
As a result, having the great 3D content living on your Google Business Listing will help you get more organic leads and therefore, help you speed up your leasing period even before you officially open doors. Working on your SEO is another important aspect, which we will go into in the next section.
Leveraging Virtual Staging
Another great marketing strategy aligned well for apartments is investing in virtual staging services. Virtual staging ultimately helps bring your empty space to life with your audience in mind.
Virtually staging your model unit will save you time and money from having to rent and stage the furniture yourself.
In fact, 81% of buyers say that home staging makes it easier to visualize the property as their future home. And you know how important it is to make someone feel right at home when talking about leasing a space.
And get this, if you nail the style that caters to your target audience, 45% of them will have a positive impact on the value of the property. Staging your next model unit is a win-win situation for you and your prospects.
Not only will your apartment building create a better impression with all of the photos of your floor plans and staged model units, but it will also spend an average of 73% less time on the market.
4. SEO is a game-changer in your apartment marketing strategy
If you have not paid much attention to your SEO up to this point or would like to improve it, then listen to this. Search engine optimization is a way for your prospects to find your community online and find your website faster.
Generic searches have more than doubled in the past few years from 10% in 2012 to 23% in 2015. Therefore, it is twice as important now to appear higher on those organic searches.
But how do you go about climbing the search results page when someone searches a term like apartments near me?
Many factors affect your SEO, and the final goal is to boost your rankings to the top of Google’s search results (given that many people don’t click past the first page).
One marketing strategy that apartments need to look into is having more professional photography on their Google Business listing. Most people will skim over any text and go right for the visuals, which are the most telling about your community. A picture is worth a thousand words, and your apartment has a lot to say.
Many people think that the quality of their photos will not make much of a difference, so they may their on-site leasing agent take a couple of photos with their phone.
Unfortunately, this is one mistake that can weaken SEO. Google favors quality and useful content, so poor photography tied to your listing could ultimately damage trust, reputation and your Google Maps rankings.
The difference between a photo taken by someone on-site with their phone and a professional has to do with the levels of skill and the equipment itself. Photography is a skill that takes people time to perfect and learn the different components such as image composition, balancing, exposure, HDR-ing and more.
A key apartment marketing strategy is to hire a team of professionals experienced in real estate photography. To shoot great photography, you need good lighting, a specific lens, quality control among many other factors.
Not only will professional photography appeal to more people who have the potential to turn into leases, but great photos are also a great representation of your community. People are put-off by low-quality photos and attribute that to poor management or marketing. Essentially, great photography shows prospects that you care, ultimately increasing trust and confidence in your community.
A marketing strategy with professional photos will save you money and speed up your leasing process by securing more leases. There is no better investment than that since your photos will capture your community in the best light and show exactly what people want to see.
This kind of apartment marketing strategy pays off as you will now have higher quality content to show prospects, along with ranking higher on Google search results.
5. Lastly, blogging is an untapped apartment marketing strategy
Starting a blog is a power move since websites with blogs get 55% more traffic as well as receive up to 67% more leads than those who do not.
So, if you are working on your apartment marketing strategy, make sure you allocate some time to adding more content to your website. Not only does this bring in more virtual leads and sales calls, but it will work as a long term SEO benefit.
Search engines give preference to websites that have new and relevant content. When your website becomes more preferred among your competitors, you will start to rank higher in search results.
Not only is blogging an effective apartment marketing strategy to optimize your site and drive more relevant traffic, but you can also link out to your blogs in your social media posts.
Ultimately, this establishes you as a more reputable member of the real estate community, and when potential prospects find your blog online during their apartment search, they will likely look at your community first and engage longer on your site.
Another win-win scenario for you. All of these apartment marketing strategies are meant to be customized to your community, so go ahead, try them all and see which ones work best for you.