Every business can benefit from building a buyer persona, and multifamily communities are no exception. When adding detailed buyer personas to your marketing strategy, you ensure your efforts are being targeted to the right group.
Buyer personas are simply fictional, generalized representations of your ideal renters, according to HubSpot. But why are they so crucial to the success of your multifamily property?
Buyer personas help keep marketing teams, campaigns, and goals on the same page. They help determine the direction of your marketing strategy, and keep all areas on target – from ad copy and social media messaging, to interior and architectural elements. Knowing your persona (or target audience) inside and out will enable you to create the ideal experience that your resident is looking for in an apartment community.
Consider, for example, the developer building luxury apartment homes that will target empty nesters who want to downsize their home while maintaining an active lifestyle. In this case, the marketing team would not you create marketing campaigns around millennials or young professionals who couldn’t afford the apartment homes, but would instead research the characteristics of their target population.
The value of buyer personas comes down to effectiveness. In the example above, if all of the marketing materials (e.g., online ads, billboards, website imagery) feature images of young professional living, the empty nester audience would tune it out immediately as it doesn’t resonate with their needs.
By building a buyer persona, you’re identifying specific characteristics and stories that personify your ideal resident. Making notes on age, job history, lifestyle and interests, family dynamics, etc., helps your marketing team envision exactly who will be resonating with the content.
Once you have resident personas in place that strategically outline who your ideal renters are, , it’s time to navigate the buyer’s journey.
According to HubSpot, the buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service. This purchasing journey for buyers is broken down into three stages:
Awareness Stage: The buyer realizes they have a problem.
Consideration Stage: The buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it.
Decision Stage: The buyer chooses a solution.
When applying this to multifamily housing, it’s important to get the right content in front of renters at the right time. You don’t want a RENT NOW button flashing on your site when a user first stumbles upon your property. Purchases start with needs that are often paired with many unanswered questions. In order to gain the buyer’s trust, you’ll want to be a resource — not a salesman.
In the awareness stage, buyers are not yet aware that your product or property is an option. While your audience is in the process of sorting through information in this stage, it’s important to make them aware of your property without being too aggressive.
Consider the questions running through your persona’s head: “My lease runs up in 2 months and I don’t know where to move,” or “My husband and I are ready to downsize our four-bedroom house, but aren’t ready for a retirement community,” or “I’m moving to Phoenix for a job and need a great apartment nearby”.
If you are positioned to provide specific solutions to these needs, you will become part of their consideration. Blog about the pain points, questions, or concerns your potential renters have, and be sure to optimize keywords on your website and blog so that you rank high on Google for search terms.
In the digitally-charged world we live in, a majority of your renters will be searching online or through Google searches. According to RentecDirect, 72% of respondents use the Internet first when starting a search for an apartment.
Now that buyers are aware of your property, they move into the consideration stage. They have evaluated different options through research, and still need more in-depth information before making a final decision.
In this stage, it’s fair to start bringing in the competitive advantage of your property while always connecting it to an underlying pain point of your audience. When your persona is in this stage, they’re open to weighing pros and cons of multiple options and will research in more depth to find the best solution.
When it comes best practices, avoid being too salesy. Promotional content can still come across as resourceful when done right. For instance, if you are targeting young professionals, you can write a blog on must-have amenities for the millennial renter and use yourself as an example of a property that meets the requirements. Use images of your dog park or resident lounge when referencing these trending amenities.
In this stage, residents are now prepared to make a decision, but still need quite a bit of information to feel confident they are making the right one. Supply them with opportunities to tour your community in person or virtually. Invite them to a community event to experience the personality of the property first hand. When a resident transitions to the decision stage, they’re open to forward offers or content that directs them to more information. After all, they want to make the right decision, just as much as you want them to!
It’s important to always keep the buyer’s journey in mind when marketing to potential residents, otherwise you’re likely presenting the wrong content at the wrong time. Inbound marketing drives this methodology home by making these stages the core of a marketing plan. Having personas isn’t always enough — go beyond by identifying where in the buyer’s journey a persona is, which amplifies your strategy.