Depending on the local inventory of apartments available at a given time, property managers may find themselves with quite a lot of competition for tenants looking to rent a place. Just like with any business, it’s important to have savvy apartment marketing ideas to get the word out and highlight your properties above the competition.
We asked marketing and property management experts for their best apartment marketing ideas. Here’s what they said:
1. Know Your Floorplan
Cindy Ung, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at Triumph Property Group
Knowing the layout of a home is crucial for many people and key among apartment marketing ideas. There is always an ideal square footage that one has in mind and having a floor plan will allow for a better visual understanding of the space. Many plan ahead before even making a visit to ensure that the space will fit their ideal home. If a floor plan is out of the budget, try to, at the very minimum, provide a square foot estimate to the apartment. This is a common question.
2. Make Great Photos a Priority
Justin Kerby, Founder of Cave Social
The number one thing you can do to increase engagement with your listings is to include great photography. Make sure that your rooms are well-lit, clean, and that you’re using a high-resolution camera. We live in a world where Instagram and Snapchat are a part of our everyday lives, so feel free to add a filter or two to your pictures as well. They can make your photos look softer and add more appeal.
3. Create a Video Walkthrough
Taylor Short, Market Researcher at SoftwareAdvice.com
A recent Appfolio post mentions the importance of video walkthroughs; they see videos becoming as important as photos. As such, summer offers an opportunity to use high-quality video to show off your apartment amenities, such as pool areas, grilling areas and BBQ pits, playgrounds, pet-friendly areas, such as a dog park, proximity to popular summertime attractions (e.g., beaches, parks, or water parks) balconies, and patios.
4. Make Sure Your Website is Attractive
James Smith, Creative and Marketing Director for Buckingham Companies
A concise and attractive website needs to be established, as it creates a first impression for your product and level of service. Driving leasing traffic to your website is useless if the site isn’t informative and full of useful content, answering the prospect’s checklist questions in that 60 seconds before you lose them.
5. Mention Nearby Attractions and Amenities
John Doherty, Founder at GetCredo.com
If the apartment is close to a Whole Foods or has easy access to a highway to get out of the city, mention that! Different tenants have different desires for a place to live, so one person’s treasure (close to a highway for access out of the city) may be another person’s nightmare if they are very sensitive to outside noise.
Many apartment portals list nearby attractions or provide a map of nearby attractions, but if yours doesn’t, then mentioning the most important conveniences (near a grocery store, lots of parking, etc) can help your potential tenants make a better decision.
6. Accentuate the Positive
Denise Supplee, Co-Founder of SparkRental
I try and make the positives stand out. For instance, if the property is located on a busy highway, I make it into a convenience point. Or if a room is especially small but contains large windows, I point out how bright and sunny it is. Or how it is much easier to clean and keep up. When I show a galley kitchen (apparently not very well liked), I get excited and explain how everything is right at your fingertips.
I talk about the positives much louder than the downfalls of an apartment. I will spend some time in a large kitchen, opening the closets and showing excitement over the counter space, and take much less time in a small bedroom, for instance.
Going further, listen to what is important to your applicant or purchaser…if it is a couple who mentions something about protein shakes, I will make sure and tell them there is a great fitness center nearby (or if the apartment community has one, be sure to talk about it).
7. Show Properties Virtually
Tabitha Jean Naylor, Owner at TabithaNaylor.com
With so many visual platforms to advertise properties, there’s no excuse for you not to provide 360-degree panoramic virtual tours of your available properties on your website.
Virtual tours provide every detail a tenant would want to see before they commit to a live walkthrough, but it also sets up positive anticipation that could put you just one visit away from snagging a qualified tenant.
8. Stage to Impress
Noah Henderson, Marketing Coordinator for Nextrend Furniture
We always hear how important staging is for real estate. If you aren’t able to stage, there are simple things you can do make a property more appealing. A fresh coat of paint and improved lighting can make an apartment feel more inviting.
When staging an apartment, you want to get the biggest bang for your square footage. The two biggest things people look for are the feeling of bigness and storage.
To accomplish this, remove any piece of furniture that doesn’t serve a definitive purpose. That big bulky chair might be a favorite, but if it takes up too much space, a potential tenant might not be able to picture how their own furniture will look in the space.
For smaller spaces, you want to create the illusion of spaces that serve dual purposes: for example, an office nook in a small apartment that also has storage for blankets and pillows for movie night. To make a space feel bigger, place mirrors across from windows. This creates the illusion of more square footage and reflects light to brighten a room.
Keep things simple. You don’t need a large renovation budget. Accentuate the best parts of the space. Only show the apartment when it is clean, and consider a plug in or candle to make a space smell fresh.
9. Create Landing Pages for Apartment Searches
Stoney G deGeyter, CEO & Project Manager at Pole Position Marketing
We do digital marketing for a group of apartments headquartered in Denver. One of the first things we focused on was building out navigation based on what people are actually searching for on Google.
Many searchers are looking for apartments based on geographical locations, size, being near parks, schools, etc. In order to capture these searchers, we sought to create landing pages that can be optimized for those specific searches.
10. Leverage Social Media Ads
Dmytro Spilka, Director at Solvid
As to marketing the actual property, Instagram and Facebook ads can be very effective, powerful, and efficient, as they can easily translate the real experience of being inside the property. With the use of top-notch quality pictures, videos, precise ad targeting, and budget, the campaign can bring tremendous results.
Far too often, Facebook & Instagram ads are undervalued due to the social aspect of these platforms. Some people are skeptical about the performance of these ads when compared to Google Adwords. That being said, Facebook has around 1.8 billion monthly users, and offers precise ad targeting based on interests, demographics, and behaviors. With a good ad relevance score and a budget of only $100, the ad can generate thousands of brand impressions and hundreds of clicks to the website.
11. Buy Your Property Name as a Keyword
Joselin L. Estevez, Director of Digital Marketing at The X Factor Digital Marketing
We recommend that our clients buy their own property name as a keyword through Google Pay-Per-Click, as competitors may purchase your name in order to divert people away from your site.
Although it’s legal, someone can buy your name as a keyword, which means they will pay for people to click on your company name when it’s searched and drive traffic to their page. This is common in the property management recruitment space, as it’s used as a “gray hat” tactic to piggyback off of your name.
12. Launch a Tenant Referral Program
Alex Middel, Founder at AM Digital Marketing
Tenant referral programs are a very popular way to capitalize on word-of-mouth advertising.
If your current tenants are happy with their apartment, they’ll be more than happy to tell their friends. Incentivizing them by offering a rental discount will motivate them to actively promote your apartments.
You can post resident referral flyers around the community to spread awareness of your program.
13. Get a Professional Designer for Your Model Unit
Courtney Gaines, President of CLEAR Property Management
New property owners or owners of smaller properties may not want to use professional interior design services because they are afraid of the costs, but there are affordable options out there that are worth every penny. You can hire an individual interior designer, stager, or a company like Charter Furniture Rental or Cort Furniture, which specializes in multifamily furnishings to stage your leasing office, clubhouse, and model unit. They have economies of scale in purchasing furniture; they can leverage their relationships with their suppliers to get good deals and they have that professionally-trained eye for design that even the most studious of Houzz and Pinterest lovers don’t have.
Additionally, a professionally designed interior subconsciously communicates that your property management services are just as professional and skilled. It can also help you raise your rents to the higher end of the market rent spectrum.
14. Connect with the Brokerage Community
Mckinze Casey, Broker at Sotheby’s International Realty
In a lot of cities, brokers manage the majority of tenant representation. Knowing who the top rental brokers are and capitalizing on their personal marketing/outreach efforts will allow easier tenant identification.
As a broker, I can export data via MLS to show which brokers represent the most tenants. In a market where brokers are involved in the majority of rental deals, I would suggest that property managers hire a broker to market the units just to get that highly valuable list.
Even in a market where brokers are not as active, understanding which brokerages represent the most relocation activity into their area is also valuable. For a property manager to leverage the relationship with the brokerage community, I would give brokers the information on new rentals before the public, provide tours, host events, make them aware of your product, and not be afraid to pay them for placing a tenant.
15. Hold an Open House
Erin O’Reilly, Property Manager at FirstService Residential
Host a small party within the unit or within the building as part of an open house. Potential renters need to see why they would like to call it home and how functional the space can be. Depending on the composition of the building, you may want to invite the other tenants and/or the Board.
16. Offer Online Tools to Make Applying Easy
Robert Bixel, Owner of Integrity Plus Property Management
Offer an online automated 24 hour scheduling app. Many potential renters are looking for properties online after normal business hours. Make it easy for them to schedule an appointment.
Offer an online application to streamline the rental process. On-line payment and maintenance request options make properties more attractive.
17. Sharpen Your Craigslist Ad Skills
Josh Grillo, Co-Founder of Resident360
Simply define what property specifications best sell the property (convenience, luxury, amenities, etc.) and keep the sales pitch to a minimum.
Include important search words, like “two bedroom” or “loft,” as well as regional identifiers including ZIP code, city, or community name. Think about which specific items renters will use to find you in the search results.
18. Host a Party to Attract Millennials
Michael Taus, Vice President of Marketing at ABODO
If there’s one thing most people can’t resist, it’s free food. Add a game on the big screen in your community’s rec room and you’ve got a party. Let your tenants know that they’re welcome to invite a friend or two and you have happy customers spreading the word on your behalf.
Develop a calendar of weekly events themed around sports or campus occasions. Use social media and your residents to get the word out to prospective tenants.
19. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
Danielle Legler, Content Marketing Specialist at G/O Digital
98% of renters use their mobile device at least once a week during their home search and 44% of mobile users said they would not use a site if it did not work well on their mobile device.
When it comes to apartment marketing, responsive design is a necessity, not a luxury. Make sure your website loads quickly, adjusts for screen size, and has obvious links that easily allow visitors to access the information they are looking for to ensure your site it useful and accessible.
20. Get a Branded Real Estate App
Ian Naylor, App Institute
In terms of the benefits of a branded app, one of the key benefits is that it is something that is unique, and comes across as very impressive and professional. Despite the stats showing how useful they can be, few leasing agents take advantage of apps. Having your own branded app can help you stand out from the crowd, and it can be a pretty big crowd in the world of property.
In terms of how geofencing works, when someone with the app installed enters the geofenced location, they will receive a push notification. That can be used in some very nifty ways. Potential clients who have your app downloaded could be driving through a specific neighborhood, and receive a push notification letting them know that your property is nearby. They could be prompted to book a viewing directly from that notification, too.
21. Use social media to your advantage
Jenny John, Leadsquared
Create social accounts for your business on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Promote your apartment on social groups. Facebook also has the option of creating local groups for the explicit purpose of putting things up for sale. Find all the real estate related groups in your city, become a member and contribute there. Upload pictures to your Instagram page. Make sure you use relevant hashtags for the images. Hashtags are very important on Twitter as well. Pin an attractive image of the apartment on Pinterest.
Over to You
Have these ideas sparked your own on how you can market your apartment? Have you had success with any strategies you care to share? Leave a comment in the section below with your own apartment marketing ideas.