12 Marketing Ideas for Your Next Apartment Lease-Up
by Kyna Garrett, on Oct 23, 2019 9:00:00 AM
Hard hats, construction fences and temporary, hard-to-find leasing offices can make that next apartment lease-up quite a challenge. How do you get prospective residents to inquire about your apartment development? How do you get the word out that your upcoming community is the perfect home for them?
On top of everything else on your plate, thinking up creative apartment lease-up marketing ideas can feel like unnerving task.
That’s why we’re here.
Apartment lease-ups shouldn’t be scary. They should be full of excitement and discovery for your team and the prospects who stumble upon your great new community.
So let’s dive into a select few ideas that can really help shape a solid marketing plan for your next apartment lease-up.
12 Apartment Lease-Up Marketing Ideas to Get You Thinking
1. Start with training.
Knowing the space is crucial during the lease-up. Your staff holds all the answers, and needs to accurately describe the flow of the community, the spaces it will have, and what floor plans will look like.
Because there’s not much to show other than some renderings and 3D floor plans, your team has to really know their stuff: everything from understanding materials, furniture, square foot estimates and more.
2. Make renderings a priority.
Easily one of the most challenging aspects of the apartment lease-up is the fact that you really have nothing “live” to show. There’s no way to capture photography and no way to give an in-person tour. Thankfully, technology has come a long way.
Today, 3D architects are able to take your blueprints and construction files and convert them into 3D renderings for your apartment like the ones below.
3. Create a video or virtual tour from those renderings.
Renderings will get you so far if you only invest in stills. You can really immerse prospective residents by investing in 3D video or virtual tours.
A 3D lifestyle video like the one below or a virtual tour walk-through embedded on your website is a major selling point. This gives users the opportunity to explore your community, learn about your amenities and see the model units. A virtual tour gives the full picture, while stills will only show a flat image with no dimension.
4. Get crazy with listings.
During the lease-up, you’re still establishing your brand. In order to get the word out, we recommend getting crazy with your listings — that means going beyond just Apartments.com. While that’s a definite must, consider a few others that can have a huge return:
There are of course many, many more, but don’t just stick to one or two. Get the word out about your new community and consider local listings.
5. Speaking of listings, don’t forget about Google.
Easily one of the most important apartment listing websites happens to be the largest search engine in the world. In fact, Google receives over 63,000 searches per second any given day. It’s a massive opportunity for your development. It’s a valuable asset to your brand, and the more complete your Google listing, the better. To learn what makes a Google listing complete, download our free Google My Business checklist.
The important thing to remember is that Google My Business isn’t just an address and phone number. It’s a listing. So investing in great photography and a Google virtual tour can go a long way in your lease-up efforts.
Pro Tip: What's often unknown is that you can upload 3D renderings and 3D 360s to Google - even though they're not actual photographs. This gives you an edge up on the competition, and the at very least, levels the playing field with established properties in the neighborhood.
6. Signage is key.
Part of the challenge during a lease-up is that temporary leasing offices can be hard to find and construction fences are off-putting. Take those renderings we talked about earlier and cover the fences with signage to display your new community.
If your leasing office is hidden, make sure your website is clearly marked with instructions on how to get there and have signage on the street that points in the right direction. Otherwise, how are prospective residents supposed to know someone is there to answer their questions?
7. Make the local neighborhood a selling point.
Considering that today’s renters are more interested what the local area has to offer, be sure to highlight the various restaurants, shops, and venues in the neighborhood. This can be done easily on your website or in a virtual tour.
8. Virtually stage your units as they are completed.
You may be in a rush to get those model units completed so you can move furniture and decor in for those in-person model unit tours. But we’re here to tell you that there’s no need. Fortunately, you can avoid the stress of model units altogether.
No consultation. No interior design costs. No moving furniture during busy construction.
Instead, once you have a few completed units, consider virtually staging them. You can then add these photos to your listings — yes! More content on your listings. That means you can snap professional photos of some newly built units both empty AND virtually staged.
Consider this: virtual staging can reduce the cost of traditional staging by up to 97%. (Yes, we did the math.) Real staging can cost a pretty penny, but virtual staging will also save you some time and money, allowing you more time to focus on those lease-up goals.
9. Don’t be afraid to dig into social media ads.
A lot of marketers today stray away from social media ads. We get it. They can be scary. But if you’re investing more in visual content for your new community, consider putting some ad spend behind it all. That means you can retarget those users that happen to land on your website. It allows you to stay top-of-mind and users are bound to inquire about your shiny new building.
Keep in mind: consider where your audience is. Are you targeting young millennials, or perhaps 55+ active seniors? Where are they on social media? Is it Instagram and Snapchat, or perhaps mostly on Facebook? Marketers worry about social media ads because it is very easy to pump a lot of money into your campaigns and see no return. But with the right content, messaging, platform, and targeting methods, it can really pay off.
10. Host a gathering in your temporary leasing office.
While you’re anticipating that exciting grand opening in a few months, consider hosting a gathering at your temporary leasing office, an event space or a local venue where you can educate locals and prospects about your upcoming community.
More than likely, people haven’t yet heard of your apartment or maybe have only passed by the construction site on the street. This is your opportunity to educate locals and even get some valuable leads.
11. Set up a VR experience in your office.
One of the biggest drawing points to any apartment community is the live in-person tour, but of course you don’t have that luxury during a lease-up. Remember those renderings we mentioned a bit ago? Those can be converted into a fully functioning, walkable tour.
Prospects simply visit your leasing office, try on the VR headset and take a tour of the space as they would see it in real life. Unlike a desktop or mobile tour, this immerses the user into your community. It creates a memorable experience that feels tangible, just like a live tour.
12. Create a sense of urgency with a stacking plan.
A stacking plan in real estate is a valuable tool, especially during lease-ups. A stacking plan is essentially an exterior view of your new development (a rendering) that allows prospects to select between floors and choose units to apply for (in real-time). Stacking plans show real-time availability, thus creating a sense of urgency and shows how popular your community is.
Imagine a prospect lands on your community’s website. They browse through your 3D renderings and find the stacking plan. They browse through the available floors and units and notice that over half of the building is already leased. Not only does this paint your community as this shiny new, popular living option, but also creates that sense of urgency.
The Bottom Line
Lease-up goals can be aggressive. Sometimes they're 50%, other times they're close to 90%. At the end of the day, it's all about the bottom line.
There is no such thing is a perfect lease-up marketing plan, but there are some strategies that come pretty close to it. Discover strategies that work for your lease-up and budget to see major lease-up success.