The New Year has arrived. And with it, a new set of apartment marketing challenges to face and overcome.
For regional managers and people on the front lines of apartment marketing, these challenges mostly revolve around advertising costs and their respective ROIs. But with so many different apartment marketing strategies available, the first challenge is determining which ideas are worth the time.
So with that in mind, we put together this list of the three strategies apartment marketers should focus on in order to sign the most leases and maximize their ROI in 2017.
#1: Reputation Management
Towards the end of December 2016, participants in the weekly #AptChat conversation on Twitter were asked about their main marketing resolution for 2017. The top response? Reputation!
@AptChat Q1-A1: reputation!
— Tara Marks (Smiley) (@tarasmiley) December 20, 2016
Unlike other methods on this list, it’s hard to really gauge the ROI of your online reputation management efforts. Sure, you know it pays to have a great reputation. But quantifying how well it pays is something else entirely.
There’s no way to find out if a single 4.5 Star review directly resulted in a website visit or a lease signing. But when you look long-term, the macro trends speak for themselves.
Consider, for example, that 87% of rental prospects will not rent an apartment from a community that holds less than a 3-Star rating. That’s an alarming statistic, one that should make boosting your community’s rating above the 3-Star mark a top priority. And since it’s fairly easy to boost your online reputation for free, it also promises a high ROI.
Pay-Per-Click ads are one of the best apartment marketing tools available today. There’s literally no way you can lose with a platform like Google AdWords. Unless, of course, you don’t know what you’re doing…
And, unfortunately, there are a lot of apartment marketers who don’t.
We recently stumbled across a conversation in the Multifamily Insiders forum in which the original poster shared his own bad experience with Google AdWords. After months of pouring money into campaigns, the poster was “still not getting any foot traffic or phone calls,” and was considering giving up on the platform. Another poster weighed in expressing similar dissatisfaction.
While this negative outlook towards AdWords is common, a vast majority of the problems apartment marketers experience are due to poor execution rather than the platform itself. So if occasional AdWords horror stories made you reluctant to use PPC in years past, 2017 is the year to change your ways.
Here are some reasons why:
- You can personalize your messaging. PPC allows you to customize your ad’s messaging according to the Google search query. Your ad campaign doesn’t have just one message across the board. It has multiple messages, allowing you to tailor each ad for each prospect.
- You determine your spend. PPC is built on the idea that marketers should determine how much they want to spend for a single lead. If you believe a website visit is worth $3, you can set your maximum AdWords bid at $3 and never pay a penny more for each visit. It’s hard to argue you’re not getting your desired ROI when you literally set the terms and conditions of your desired return.
- You can easily outrank an ILS. Internet Listing Services are at the top of Google’s organic results for almost every non-branded apartment search. But even smaller apartment communities can easily outrank them through PPC. Not only will this create more visibility for your community and traffic for your site, it could also save you tons of money. In fact, many people are considering ditching ILSs altogether in 2017 in exchange for more favorable ROIs from PPC campaigns.
One downside about AdWords is that it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. As we mentioned above, it’s easy for things to go awry if your execution isn’t right. Luckily, there are several companies that can help. Including, of course, Respage, which offers fully-managed PPC campaigns designed exclusively for multifamily.
#3: Remarketing Ads
Remarketing ads aren’t something you hear about too frequently in the multifamily industry. But in other marketing circles, they’re kind of a big deal. And for good reason.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, remarketing ads are ads that reveal themselves to a prospect only only after that prospect has visited your site. Think of them as walking billboards that follow people wherever they go. Whether a prospect is on Facebook, NYTimes.com, or any of the other millions of sites that partner with Google’s display network, your remarketing ad can reach them. For more details, check out this post.
While the idea of an ad that follows prospects around is – uh, well – kind of creepy, it actually makes a lot of sense for the multifamily industry.
Think about it: How many listings does the average person see before pulling the trigger? What are the chances that a prospect saw your listing, really enjoyed it, but decided to keep looking just to see what else was available? And what are the chances that said prospect forgot about your listing (or simply couldn’t remember where it was) after looking at hundreds of other listings?
The buying cycle for apartments is long and arduous. Marketers need to be vigilant in order to stake their claims. And in 2017, remarketing ads are one of the greatest ways to keep the attention of your most clearly interested leads in a way that’s neither obnoxious nor obstructive.
A Closing Note
The strategies above are not the only things apartment marketers should focus on in 2017. They’re merely three strategies we feel have the most promise. While we recommend that everyone build these practices into their campaigns, we also encourage using other platforms and techniques to attract new renters and keep current residents happy.
Good luck in the year ahead!