Anyone who works in online marketing knows that the field is always in flux. What works today may not work tomorrow. And what works tomorrow may be completely obsolete the following week.
With that in mind, we put together a quick rundown of three apartment marketing tools and services we think stand a pretty good shot at remaining relevant and effective in 2019. Read on to see what these tools and services are, and why we’re placing bets on them this year.
#1 Google My Business Posts
Google My Business has always been a great apartment marketing tool. It’s free to use. It’s highly visible in Search. And it makes it easy for prospects to quickly find information about your communities, including your addresses, phone numbers, reviews, and websites.
But slightly over a year ago, Google My Business took things to the next level by introducing Google My Business Posts, which open up a whole new world of opportunities for apartment marketers.
GMB Posts allow your community to share images, videos, text, events, and buttons directly in Google Search and Google Maps. This is fantastic for marketers, as the posts essentially serve as free (and highly visible) ads.
The benefits provided by GMB Posts allow you to:
- Directly communicate with your prospects
- Improve customer experience with timely information
- Promote sales, specials, events, news, and offers
- Appeal to prospects with engaging videos and photos
We should note that GMB posts have expiration dates and must be renewed every seven days to stay public. (We can help with that, by the way.) It’s also important to clarify that GMB Posts are not the same as Goolge+ Posts. For more information about GMB Posts, check out this blog entry.
#2 Facebook and Instagram Ads
Social media has plenty of new kids on the block, but Facebook is still the “OG” when it comes to apartment marketing.
Roughly 87 percent of respondents in a recent Multifamily Insider survey claimed to have advertised their communities on Facebook in 2018. On top of that, nearly 41 percent of respondents claimed to have advertised on Instagram, which is a subsidiary of Facebook.
Meanwhile, only 4 and 3 percent of respondents claimed to have advertised on Snapchat and Twitter. Those numbers are somewhat comical because many marketers expected these younger networks to surpass Facebook in popularity. But as it turns out, Facebook and Instagram advertising have experienced explosive growth in popularity while Twitter and Snapchat appear to have fallen out of favor.
From an apartment marketers standpoint, the growth in Facebook and Instagram advertising is certainly understandable. Both platforms allow communities to:
- Access the two largest social networks in the US
- Target specific audiences based on interests, locations, demographics and behavior
- Create multiple customized ads complete with images, text, and CTAs
- Measure and tweak campaigns to optimize performance
Furthermore, advertising on these networks is far from cost prohibitive. Fully-managed Facebook advertising for apartments can be had for a fraction of what it costs to advertise on most Internet Listing Services, with far better results.
#3 Apartment Review and Reputation Management Tools
You might consider your apartment’s reputation to fall under the Public Relations umbrella rather than the Marketing umbrella. And while this is technically correct (review sites provide a forum where you can identify and address problems of current residents) review sites also play a huge role in your ability to attract new prospects.
Reviews and ratings fall under the evaluation stage of your marketing funnel. This is one of the last stages of conversion. You know that anyone who is looking at apartment reviews is interested in renting. And those who are looking at your community’s reviews are considering renting from you. If you win them over at this stage your odds of landing a lease are really, really high.
The trick to maintaining a stellar online reputation is two-fold: You need to have a high rating and you need to respond to every single review.
This fact is backed up by a recent Multifamily Executive survey which found that (A) 87 percent of renters are likely to consider a property that has almost all positive reviews with a handful of negative reviews mixed in, and that (B) “renters are much more likely to have confidence that the property manager is on top of things [when you respond to reviews.]”
Of course, these things are easier said than done. Most multifamily professionals have far too much on their plate to worry about monitoring and responding to every review posted on the Internet, nor do they have the time to go door to door asking each resident for a review.
Fortunately, tools exist to automate much of the process and save you time. The Respage Review Bot, for example, can help generate reviews by prompting your residents to give your community a rating whenever they visit your community’s website. Another Respage service, the Review Response Tool, responds to reviews on your behalf and gives you editorial oversight prior to publishing.
Time to Party Like It’s 2019
If you haven’t adopted the three tools and services outlined above into your 2019 apartment marketing strategy, now’s the time to add it to your list of New Year’s resolutions. And as always, if you need help getting started, give us a call!