As the owner of an Ad Agency coupled with nearly two decades of successful Real Estate experience, I’m often asked by friends in the apartment industry, “How do you successfully market your apartment community when you’re running a tight budget?” I’ll often respond with, “Like most business owners, multi-family residential community owners are consistently thinking of ways to increase occupancy while cutting cost.” Whether you’re trying to increase your occupancy or maintain a high level of resident retention, one needs to have a good marketing plan in action. Although there are many more sophisticated ways to promote your community, below are 10 marketing ideas that have proven to be effective no matter what type of budget you’re working with.
#1 – Craigslist: Is usually the first website that people tend to go when they are seeking a new apartment home. This is a free source to market your apartments with tons of target driven traffic. People love pictures, this is a sure fire way to seal the deal, sight unseen and get traffic coming through the doors. So make sure you add plenty.
#2 – Have a virtual tour: Make people fall in love with your property within seconds. There are hundreds, if not thousands of listings. Make your listings stand out from the rest by giving them a virtual to tour all in the comfort of their own home. This will give them the experience of being in that apartment and will imagine living there.
#3. Sponsor a community event: Come up with some fun and exciting ideas to encourage community satisfaction. You can speak to the local entrepreneurs/charities within the community. Create an urban market in the clubhouse featuring their products. Or host a charity event and raise funds. Serve some light snacks and refreshments, making it really fun. This brings the community together. It also promotes trust and goodwill. Encourage your current residents to bring a friend.
#4. Word of mouth: Old school or not, the best form of marketing is word of mouth. Happy tenants are good tenants! They will speak about it! If the word is good, it will bring referrals. It is impossible to keep everyone happy, resolve issues courteously and quickly. Make them feel important! They are a priority and that you genuinely care about their concerns. If your tenants are happy, it should be easy to get them to bring in referrals. Why not offer your tenants a bonus or a discount off their next rent? Everyone could always do with a little extra money or savings. Send out some pamphlets with your referral discounts.
#5. Create an attractive website: In today’s age it is important to have a great looking website. Having a website is like having a marketing and sales person available 24/7. You can showcase your property, images, specials, amenities, floor plans and your community events. You can also show pictures of the community doing projects to help the local community. Make sure that it is professional, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. It’s important that it’s mobile-friendly. Most people search on the go and will not use a site that is not mobile friendly.
#6. Make use of social media: Create a Facebook page and/or Twitter account. Share and post special events and communicate with your tenants. Post images of tenants at social events and tag them along with the property. This will show up in their profile and it will link it back to the apartment. The exposure on Facebook can be huge, depending on the amount of friends they might have. Adding a link to your website will bring more traffic to your landing page. Posting new listings or open houses on Facebook also allows you to target potential residents. Targeting your advert to a group living in a specific location will reach people who might be interested in your apartment.
#7. Build a positive online reputation: What are your current tenants saying about you. Most people use and trust online ratings and reviews. Having an online reputation is key. Use marketing tools that allow tenants to find you online and track your reputation. If there is any negative feedback address it. Encourage and share positive reviews on Facebook and Twitter.
#8. Offer something exclusive: Know what your competition is offering and offer something they don’t have. Maybe you can offer them a flexible lease, free Wi-Fi, or a baby-sitting service. Come up with something that is unique, which sets you apart from the rest.
#9. Get to know your competition: Take a drive or walk through other apartments and see what they have to offer. See what they are doing wrong and how you would make it better. Pretend to be someone interested in renting, phone them and hear how they do their marketing to you. Make notes and see how you would improve or what you could offer that is completely exclusive.
#10. Networking: Create a pamphlet with your specials and display adverts from local businesses. It is a complete win-win situation. You get to target people you are not normally seeing. Business get some free advertising. They might even sponsor one of your community events.
~ Glenn Bradley, CEO