From new regulations to advanced technology, the multifamily industry is constantly changing — and so too are your consumers. This is why it is only natural to change the way you lease as well, adapting to today’s renters.

Traditionally, leasing staff is trained to focus on what they are selling such as high-speed internet, shared community areas, and other amenities. Today, properties are experiencing more success when focusing on who they are selling to — honing in on what’s important to the targeted audience.

For example, if a leasing agent offers the same sales pitch to a Baby Boomer and a Millennial, they may only get one lease. It is important not to just be experts about your amenities and physical space, but to know what resonates with each potential renter. This is called a buyer persona. Building a buyer persona helps you target sales around your audience, and makes the difference between one lease and many.

Understanding Buyer Personas

Do you know who your customers are? Where do they work? Where do they shop? What are their interests? While these questions might seem unimportant in the sales process, they are essential characteristics to know in order to understand your prospective renters’ purchasing decisions.

A well-defined buyer persona helps target marketing efforts toward the right people, at the right time, and in the right way. Personas help you identify your renters and understand how your product can fulfill their needs and wants.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on interviews, market research, and real data about your existing or target audience. These personas capture the demographics, motivations, behaviors, problem areas, and professional/personal drivers of your ideal customer. Knowing this information helps you create content, design amenities, and understand the type of customer service needed to attract residents.

Building Buyer Personas

When working through our research process for branding new developments, we always start with the creation of personas. Through this research, we interview current and prospective residents in order to obtain a 360-degree view of the organization. It is important to dive deep and gain a thorough understanding of your customers, where they spend time online, what resources they trust, and what pain points they are facing.

As a commercial real estate marketing agency, Criterion.B lives in the world of brand identity. We help multifamily properties understand that such a big part of marketing their communities is tied to knowing their residents and then communicating differently with each target audience in the leasing process.

We begin by thinking through very specific examples of the target residents, identify unique qualities about them, and find out what is important to them. This helps create a more personal connection when the ideal resident walks through your door. We take the information we learn and craft personas for each target. Then we give them a fun name such as Empty Nester Nell or Baby Boomer Bob, making each persona easier to remember.

Consider the following when building a buyer persona:

  • Memorable name
  • Job titles and responsibilities
  • Demographics such as age, ethnicity, family status, education, etc.
  • Goals you want to accomplish on your website
  • Pain points (Why is it so easy for residents to leave? What are they struggling with? What are some of the things that frustrate them about the apartment industry?)
  • Technical experience
  • Work environment (Do they work a standard 9 to 5 job? Busy stay-at-home mom? Are they on their feet all day in a fast-paced workplace? Is their office located in a large high-rise downtown?)
  • Photos (Using realistic pictures, rather than celebrities or stock photography, is always best.)

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Leveraging Buyer Personas

After establishing your persona, everything about your brand should be angled toward your ideal customer. But what do you do when your perceived customer comes from two different generations?

For example, if your property is located in an urban area, you will draw several different prospects. One might be a Millennial professional who likes to do fun activities and enjoys the convenience of the light rail. Another might be a recently retired Boomer couple who want the relaxed feeling of less maintenance and walkability.

Building a buyer persona gives the entire leasing process a purpose. Otherwise, you are selling the same physical amenities no matter who walks in the door. If the leasing agents are trained to understand each target persona, they can tailor the sale to that person. This means that when that empty nester couple walks in the door, the staff will focus their sales pitch around the carefree lifestyle the couple can have with a full-service maintenance team or the community spaces they can reserve for family gatherings.

The Key to Commercial Real Estate Marketing

While building a buyer persona may seem tedious, it gives you the ability to humanize your audience and work more efficiently to let them truly envision what they value most as a renter. Download our multifamily persona worksheet to learn how to develop a buyer persona that speaks to your renters’ needs and helps align your marketing strategy.

For more information on buyer personas and selling to the person, be sure to attend the NAA’s Apartmentalize Conference on June 13-18, in San Diego. The “Undercover Resident” Panel session will delve more into this topic.

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Grasping the attention of residents has become a tough business. No longer will traditional forms of mass marketing and advertising be an effective way to bring awareness to your business and convert prospects into residents. The solution is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a modern method that equips you to create content that drives buyer personas through your marketing funnel.

Understand and Develop a Buyer Persona

Before you produce content it is important to understand and develop a strong buyer persona. According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal resident.

These personas help you understand the demographics, pain points, behaviors, and motivations of your ideal resident. Developing buyer personas ultimately allow you to better connect with your audience. For a multifamily property, empty nesters looking to downsize their living space, for example. And depending on who you are trying to reach, you may have more than one persona.

To develop a strong persona, you will want to have a great understanding of your existing audience. By conducting three to five one-on-one interviews asking a series of questions, you’ll start picking up on trends of your persona.

You can also collect data from your CRM and sales team to aggregate a generalized view of your potential persona. Then, once you have developed your persona, remember to always reevaluate and revise it as resident needs change.

Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Now that you have your buyer persona, you are better positioned to understand 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.”

In the awareness stage, your persona has identified a problem and is trying to understand that problem. In the consideration stage, your persona is considering all potential solutions to alleviate their problem. And finally, in the decision stage, your persona is deciding on choosing a specific option to solve their problem.

Using Inbound Marketing Methodology to Guide Your Content

You have probably heard at least once that “content is king.” The inbound marketing methodology will help guide what context your content should be used within, based on four stages: attract, convert, close, delight. By following this methodology and knowing where your persona is in the buyer’s journey, you can produce content in the right context.

Attract

The attract stage is all about building awareness creating content that turns strangers into visitors. Thus, the type of content you would primarily be focusing on are blogs, social media, and white pages.

With every piece of content you publish, the goal is to provide solutions to your persona’s problems. For example, for an urban apartment, you might write a blog highlighting “The Best Places to Grab Cocktails” or “10 Interior Design Tips for a Loft Apartment.”

Convert

The convert stage is about converting visitors into leads. The type of content you are producing would be in the form of a call-to-action (CTA) or landing pages. Create gated content, where viewers must provide minimal information that will be valuable to your business (email, zip code, etc.). For example, gated content can include infographics, fact sheets, eBooks, or other resources that provide value. When trying to convert a persona, they have likely already become aware of your property and are looking for more information.

Close

In the close stage, your content is all about getting leads to become residents. The content being produced in this stage is focused on your CRM, email, and workflows. Your focus is to speak their language, meet their needs, and seal the deal.

Delight

In the delight stage, you will continue to provide value and show you care about your residents, and they will, in turn, become advocates and promoters for your property. Through social monitoring and surveys, you can see how satisfied your residents are, and if there is a problem you can address it quickly. Happy residents are your best advocates for attracting new residents.

With the knowledge of these content stages, you can consistently produce the right content in the right context for your persona.

LEARN HOW TO DEVELOP PERSONAS

Promoting a product without knowing who your target audience is (or what they want) is an impossible task. You will just be making decisions based on what you think they want. That is not sustainable over the life of any brand.

That’s why creating user personas is important for any company that wants to grow. The research involved in putting together a user persona report will not only help you understand your target audience, it will also help you create a better product for them.

Things like life goals, education level, age, and common problems will determine how you serve these customers in the future — especially when it comes to making marketing decisions. Even small factors like location or salary can influence how those people make decisions, and in turn, use your product.

User personas are important for creating a targeted multifamily marketing plan, and for influencing your growth strategy.

Not sure where to start? Here are 20+ user persona examples, tips, and templates to help you create some amazing user persona examples from scratch:

1. Create 3 to 5 unique and detailed personas to start.

If you are creating your first customer or user persona guides, I would design one for each of your main customer groups. Most resources recommend between three and five distinct personas, and I am inclined to agree.

For example, Michael Szczepanski created four unique user persona examples below, they just happen to be dogs. I believe that this is the perfect range to make sure you cover all your bases and gain insight, without getting too in-depth.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

2. Highlight products your audience already uses in your industry.

Including well-known products in a user persona guide is a simple way to add a wealth of secondary information. For example, if this user only buys Apple products and only shops at Whole Foods, you can make a lot of assumptions rather quickly.

Or like in this persona guide example for a reading app, the books that they love can help shape that persona. I mean, a user that reads romance novels at home is going to have different needs than one that reads only comics on the go.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

3. Use a customer journey map template to help create each persona.

If you are having some trouble putting together your user personas, a customer journey map may help. This is a great way for you to look at the customer’s journey from a different angle, and hopefully come out the other side with better insight.

Just like in the below example, you can learn a lot about your personas by just studying how they use your product.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

4. Use icons to emphasize information in your persona guides.  

I am a huge fan of icons and illustrations, especially infographics. These little visual helpers allow you to add context and information rather effectively. Plus, people are relatively familiar with icons, so there is no learning curve.

Because of that, they can also be used on a persona guide to illustrate a complex concept or idea. Just take a look at the below example, there are a plethora of useful icons. From the music icons in the interest section to the ones that help illustrate and organize the whole guide.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

5. Find a common metric to track across your different personas.

When it comes to analyzing your different user personas, you should try to have at least one similar metric between them. Otherwise, you are going to compare really abstract things like their bio, keywords, or some other written metric.

Something like a score or point can generally be compared across the board. Then, you can use icons like stars to visualize these metrics, like in this user persona example from ABWS Digital.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

6. Keep layouts consistent between persona guides.

Other than creating one of the most unique persona examples in this collection, this example from Shopify does something exceptionally well, almost as well as they know e-commerce, entrepreneurship, and inventory management. The designers kept the layout consistent throughout each card.

Consistency is key when creating an effective user persona because it allows for quick comparisons. It is not efficient to have people aimlessly searching for information because the designer wanted to switch things up.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

7. Visualize persona data in a memorable way.

Providing real stats and metrics is a fantastic way to take your persona guide to the next level. But make sure that the data you are presenting is actually useful and memorable.

You can achieve this by creating data visualizations as we see in the example below. By combining icons with important data, the designers were able to create a visual that can be easily recalled.

If you do not have much (or any) experience creating data visualizations, starting with a user persona guide template can help.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

8. Highlight the differences between your personas.

Different people have different goals, problems, and preferences. To help keep your marketing campaigns segmented and your product features focused, it can be helpful to highlight the differences between your personas.

Take a look at how this user persona example uses pie charts and custom illustrations to show the differences between each type of person:

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

9. Turn your user persona guide into an infographic.

Infographics are an outstanding way to communicate visually. So, why not turn your persona guide into an infographic?

The designers at LOLSMG used visuals like icons, decorative fonts, and conceptual images to make their user persona guide more engaging. Plus, there are already a ton of free infographic templates that you can use as a starting point.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

10. Make sure the designs reflect the personas.

To make your user persona guides more memorable, use design elements that reflect each individual persona. Think about how you can use design to reflect their age, jobs, and interests. For example, if one of your personas is a 20-something in the tech industry, use bold, quirky fonts or colors in their persona guide.

Take a look at this gamer user persona, and how the design reflects his interests and problems.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

11. Thoroughly research your users’ motivations and pain points, then highlight them.

When you start the actual research into specific personas it is important to look at both the motivations and pain points of each. A few guides that I saw while collecting user persona examples focused on only one or the other.

To truly create an accurate user persona, you need to thoroughly research both your users’ motivations and pain points.

For example, this highly qualified influencer finds it difficult to attend events (maybe because he’s a cat), and maybe your product can really help them out.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

12. Include goals that your product or service may not directly impact.

Obviously, the goals that your product or service directly impacts should be featured in user persona examples. But you should also take it a step further and highlight the other goals this persona may have.

Maybe your product is a fitness app, like in the example below, which features traditional and nontraditional health goals. Now, these indirect goals may not be something your product will influence or impact, but they are still important in understanding the persona.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

13. Begin your user persona guide with a helpful introduction paragraph

Part of creating a well-rounded user persona is giving them a backstory. It really does not have to be much, but enough to help highlight key traits or aspects. You can use this intro to talk about what makes your personas tick. Outline why your company should care about this persona. Or make it purely biographical, like in the user persona example above.

I like this approach because you can use it to tell a real story instead of just listing facts and figures.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

14. Design a fully visual persona.

There are no rules that say your user persona has to be a document, a poster, or even an infographic. Honestly, it can be whatever helps your brand build better experiences for your users.

If you can create one that does not fit into any of the traditional conventions, like Jason Travis did below, then more power to you. I mean, with just a handful of items, he was able to paint a rich tapestry for each user.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

15. Include details like geographic location and salary range.

Factors like location and salary are extremely useful, especially if your customer base is mostly in one geographic region. This user persona example from GB Lee made sure to feature both, but some guides omitted it completely.

Think about how different customers living in LA and NYC are, or how different the rent is when living in San Francisco and Kansas City.

Those are massive things that you cannot afford to ignore, or your user persona guide will be a wasted effort.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

16. Use sliding scales to accurately define a user.

Generally speaking, the more specific your user persona guide is, the better. Take a look at the previous tip to see a few of those concrete factors. However, other sections or factors are better defined if there is a little more gray area.

Like in this example, where personality traits are more accurate if they are graded on a scale. It is better to say that Rory is a bit more introverted than extroverted. Labeling him at either extreme would paint an inaccurate picture.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

17. Assign each user persona example a real name.

Thinking about these personas as actual customers or people can make the whole process of developing personas more effective. That is why I believe that assigning them a real name is so essential.

Take a look at this user persona example, if they had used a single keyword or something like “Runner McGee” the facade is broken immediately.

Then you run the risk of your user persona guide being just another document that your team ignores. Your personas should guide your multifamily marketing plan.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

18. Break down a day in the life of your user persona.

To help think like your persona, it can be helpful to imagine what a day in their life is like. An easy way to illustrate a daily or weekly routine is by using a timeline infographic. You can use icons to illustrate the different activities they do or obstacles they face.

Like Monica Miller did in the user persona example below, you can impart a lot of information in a rather small package.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

19. Present all personas guides on one page for easy comparison.

Comparing the similarities and differences between your personas can be helpful when creating your marketing plan. You can make comparisons easy by showing your personas on one comparison sheet (or even a comparison infographic).

In this user persona example, they presented all three personas on one graphic. You can compare each aspect in a matter of milliseconds, instead of swapping screens or shuffling papers.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

20. Summarize each user persona with a few keywords.

What drives each of your user personas? Try and summarize them in a few powerful keywords.

These user persona examples come from our friends at Mailchimp. I can confidently say they are my favorite in this roundup.

Not only are they visually unique and can be used as posters around the office, these guides also tell you all you need to know about each persona with only a few keywords.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

21. Highlight social media or tech use.

The social media platform or technology a persona uses on a daily basis should definitely be included in each guide. This tip (and user persona example) is especially useful for any brand or company that is internet-based. Not knowing both of those factors could spell trouble from the beginning, because if we were to target one of these personas on the wrong device or platform, all our efforts would be a waste.

So, take the time to really find out where your personas are hanging out, and what device they use to do that.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

22. Never use recognizable faces or celebrity photos.

I mentioned already that you should give each persona a real name, and the same can be said when it comes to using images or headshots.

Creating the impression that this is a real person is key, so do not use any celebrities, people from your office, or recognizable faces. This could lead to people subconsciously adding traits from these people to the personas.

In this user persona example, they did the right thing and used a random person. It is almost like you are looking at a blank slate, which really is ideal.

user persona examples from a multifamily branding agency

Now that you know how to create an ideal user persona, it’s time to actually go do it! These are going to take a while, and involve a lot of research but do not get discouraged. In the end, they will be worth it because you will be able to help your customers better. When in doubt, start with a persona guide template.

Ryan McCready is the Content Editor and Design Analyst for Venngage. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in economics and international business.

Is the Paradox of Consumer Choice Still Valid?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the number of product choices available today? Whether it’s cars or toothpaste, consumers have more choices than they’re even aware of. If you’re anything like me, sometimes all these choices leave me feeling confused … or even regretful when I finally do make a decision. This idea has been called the “Paradox of Choice.”

The Paradox of Choice

About ten years ago, the Paradox of Choice was a popular theory of consumer behavior, which debunked the old idea that more is better. Instead, more choices — too many in fact — overwhelm shoppers and create anxiety. Ultimately, these shoppers walk away without a purchase because they just could not decide, or they feel deep buyer’s remorse: “Ugh, I could have picked something better!”

Consequently, some companies simplify product choices to avoid this conundrum. Think of Apple’s product branding and packaging motif: clean, simple, and minimalistic. The company uses only a limited spectrum of bright colors, and the new iPhone 6 is available in three quintessential colors, not ten.

On the logistics side, McDonald’s recently announced that it will cut a number of items from the menu. According to the fast-food giant, people take longer ordering when there’s an extensive menu, which holds up lines.

The Internet: More Choices, Easier decisions?

A decade after the Paradox of Choice was introduced, we’re living in a different world. Smartphones in hand, the internet gives us access to more product choices than ever before. Yet, it has also adapted in wildly creative and efficient ways to help us sort through (literally) millions of options.

The question remains, does the Paradox of Choice still apply? Are consumers still overwhelmed by all the options today — or have “hundreds of options” become a natural part of the consumer process?

Yelp & Consumer Reviews

On any given day, you have hundreds of restaurant choices (overwhelming, right!?). However, today with sites like Yelp, you can capture the opinions of thousands of consumers in a single star rating (e.g., 4.5 out of 5 stars). Read in-depth reviews, see first-hand photos, and check the credibility of the reviewers. With hundreds of restaurant choices in your area, you can then sort and select them based on multiple criteria (e.g., ratings, cost, type of cuisine, etc.).

The “Yelp model” can be found in other forms (e.g., TripAdvisor) and on any retailer site. It helps us quickly sort through countless product options and make an informed consumer decision. Consumer review sites seem to make the Paradox of Choice much less daunting and, for some, quite enjoyable.

Contextual Advertising

With contextual advertising, consumers receive coupons and promotions based on their location. This advertising trend is quickly growing, as our GPS location determines which ads might be relevant to us.

In theory, ads for nearby business can be pushed out to consumers as they get close. For example, a coupon for a local restaurant appears on my phone as I come within the vicinity. That restaurant, for the moment, becomes both top-of-mind and incentivized. As contextual advertising becomes more prevalent, consumers will be served relevant options without even having to seek them out.

Equally impressive, geo-tracking also filters search results according to your location. Google’s Shopping tab notes nearby stores and their distances for your items. A hundred places may have your items, but most of us will only consider buying at the stores closer by. We narrow our choices depending on proximity, and geo-tracking helps us do that.

Answering the Big Question

With the tools that the internet has enabled, is the Paradox of Choice still valid? Is having more choices really making us more anxious? In the realm of consumer products, I don’t think so. Yes, we have more choices, but we are better at sorting through it all. Ratings, reviews, geo-track: All of it helps us find the diamond among rocks of products and services. With so many tools accessible at the click of a button and tap of a finger, more choices mean no problem!

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So much of marketing is based on people — specifically, the people marketing is targeting. For marketing to be truly effective, understanding your target marketing demographics is key to optimizing ROI. A company selling chains for car tires to be used during winter storms would be incredibly unsuccessful if they used a substantial amount of their marketing dollars to target people in Texas versus somewhere like Maine.

Marketing demographics are, at the most basic level, the entry to understanding where you should target your audience (especially digitally). At the highest level, they’re key to understanding the motives, decisions, or actions of your potential customers. To stick with the basics of marketing demographics and how they influence your strategy, we’ll start by breaking down some of the most basic demographics you should track and why they’re important.

Gender

There’s a reason the battle of the sexes has persisted as a theme for as long as it has. Sure, women and men think and react differently to certain things, but even more base level, they use the internet entirely different. While men have gradually caught up with women in overall social media usage, there are differences in platform usage.

group-of-friends-hands-with-cell-phones-in-circle

Women are more likely to spend time on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, while men prefer forum-based social channels like Digg or Reddit. In e-commerce, men and women differ in how they search, with men searching by product while women search by brand. 

Knowing these key differences in usage patterns can greatly alter your marketing strategy. Targeting moms? Place ads on Facebook and post on Pinterest. Going after single young men? Post your blogs to a relevant subreddit.

Age

Baby boomers are online, but not to the extent of younger generations, and certainly not in the same places. Only 57 percent of Americans 65+ are online, as opposed to 93 percent of adults aged 30-49. Boomers and older Americans spend the most time checking their email. Meanwhile, younger generations split time between social media, shopping online, and researching products.

Keeping that in mind, a boomer seeking an active adult community might appreciate a newsletter on your offerings. A millennial seeking high-rise living might prefer a tweet.

Income

While internet browsing gaps between people of different incomes have narrowed, this information is still important for marketers. If you’re offering a tiered service, this data can help you better target the appropriate range to the appropriate person.

Why is this important? Because you wouldn’t want to alienate a customer who thinks a product may be out of their price range when really they saw the higher end price.

Location

This can mean country, region, or even if someone is living in an urban or rural environment. While country and lifestyle have some effect on internet usage, the reason this marketing demographic is most important has much more to do with knowing and understanding your market.

construction-buildings-skyline-evening

Someone in an urban environment probably won’t need an industrial-grade sitting lawnmower. Likewise, people in New York City probably don’t want to see information about car accessories. Knowing a person’s location can also help ensure that any written content sent to them matches terms to their colloquial knowledge.

For example, using Pop v. Soda depending on where in the U.S. you’re from or ensuring that they’re not seeing deals that don’t pertain to them at their location (e.g. some insurance companies don’t operate in every state).

So you’ve gathered your basic marketing demographics, and you’re ready to get started on building your strategy…

Hold up a second.

There’s more to it than that. While all this information is certainly a starting point, it’s important to take this information even deeper. In digital marketing, we call the amalgamation of this information a buyer persona — the typical person who might engage with your product. To learn more about buyer personas, take a look at our blog.


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Creating Marketing Qualified Leads With the Right Form

The excitement of starting an inbound marketing strategy for your organization can lead to initial eagerness to get things rolling. But in that sprint to kick off your multifamily marketing, you might find yourself missing a step or two.

14 Multifamily SEO Facts You Didn't Know (Plus Tips for Implementing these SEO Tips Into Your Multifamily Marketing Strategy)

The use of content to gather apartment leads is without a doubt the primary focus of inbound. Therefore, many marketers and property managers spend their time emphasizing content strategy to generate those apartment leads. 

However, optimizing your content without optimizing your lead strategy defeats the purpose of inbound altogether. Instead, marketers should spend much of their intro to the inbound process on apartment lead generation and business strategies to guarantee their content is meeting objectives.

What is the purpose of an apartment lead generation form?

Nearly every multifamily website these days has an apartment lead generation form. But the effectiveness of those forms depends on many factors, including:

  • Type
  • Location on the page
  • The offer
  • The questions
  • How the contact data is used

Have you ever been interested in a new apartment complex or shopping center around town? Maybe you had a specific question while they were in development, so you filled out the contact fields — and waited. And waited. But no one got back to you.

Chances are, you provided a decent amount of personal information on that apartment lead generation form. You did so willingly because it was an exchange you found reasonable: your contact details for the offer or answers you wanted. Understanding this exchange is the key.

In short, an apartment lead generation form is a means of gathering information — the level of which is dependent on what you are offering on the other side of the form.

In short, an apartment lead generation form is a means of gathering information — the level of which is dependent on what you are offering on the other side. In multifamily inbound marketing, forms are also a means of progressive profiling (i.e., qualifying your apartment leads by asking for a little more intel) each time they fill one out. This progressive profiling is meant to get more and more information that qualifies leads by lifecycle stage and determines their point in the buyer’s journey.

What questions should you ask on your apartment lead generation form?

Now that you know the importance of your fields, the next issue becomes, “What questions should I ask?” This is where your apartment lead generation strategy comes in. If you followed the multifamily inbound marketing strategy correctly, your teams all came together to identify your buyer persona. Doing this should have resulted in defining your lead lifecycle stage.

If you have not done this, go back and do it now, because this data is vital to your progressive profiling.

Let’s say you are a tenant representative for a large new commercial office building downtown. The project is not complete yet, but it has generated a lot of buzz and companies are showing interest. You want to be sure you lease up before opening. However, you also need to make sure the companies you bring in are a good fit. This is where progressive profiling comes in.

Your first apartment lead generation form (the awareness one) will always cover introductory information. This includes the basics:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Company name
  • Job title
Smart fields help expedite the lead qualification process by letting you ask for additional relevant information. These fields also make things easier for sales down the line if the apartment lead becomes “sales qualified.”

If you are using certain marketing automation software like HubSpot, you have the opportunity to add smart fields that will populate if you already have this particular information. Smart fields help expedite the lead qualification process by letting you ask for additional relevant information. These fields also make things easier for sales down the line if the lead becomes “sales qualified.”

Developing your questions

Gathering your teams together for your apartment lead generation strategy would be pointless if you don’t have a process by which to direct them. Thankfully, that process is relatively simple. Early in the multifamily inbound marketing process, your team should have come up with an ideal buyer profile and a buyer persona, as well as SMART goals for the year to determine what type of leads you are hoping to attract. Need help building your ideal buyer profile? Check out our other blog here.

At this time, you get to bring all those details together. By using lead and customer goals, persona details, and sales data, your team should be able to determine the necessary lead information to create marketing-qualified leads.

By using lead and customer goals, persona information, and sales data, your team should be able to determine the necessary lead information to create marketing qualified leads.

Back to the tenant rep example from above. You know the office building in question has a specific number of spaces with an anticipated rent range. You also know the amenities that the building does and does not have. Given the nature of the building, along with your business goals, you know you will likely need to build a large awareness funnel to meet the occupancy goals by open.

While your awareness questions are simple enough, the details you need in the consideration and decision stage are much more in-depth. For one, the type of business and size is important in determining fit, as the building may not support the needs of certain companies. If the building is high-end, questions around “current rent” or “monthly revenue” may be important to help you discover if the company is a good fit from an affordability standpoint. By gathering this information early on, when it comes time to start leasing, the tenant rep’s job should be fairly simple in picking sales-ready leads that met the requirements.

Segmenting your list

While the ultimate benefit of progressive profiling is to shorten the sales cycle, there’s a secondary benefit that can help. List segmentation is the act of separating contacts in your CRM by various criteria. If you run a multifaceted business with a lot of different verticals, list segmentation is a lifesaver. 

List segmentation is the act of separating contacts in your CRM by various criteria. If you run a multifaceted business with a lot of different verticals, list segmentation is a lifesaver.

If you have a new offer for clients in the senior living space, for example, you don’t want to send it to the people in the economic development of mixed-use developments. Furthermore, people interested in your ad services probably aren’t interested in what you offer in multifamily branding. By gathering this information from apartment leads, you can use it to segment your multifamily marketing for a more streamlined message.

For marketing success, an apartment lead generation form is much more complex than slapping a few fields on a page. Forms require a certain amount of business strategy to be used for their optimal effectiveness. This is a powerful tool that can improve the life of your sales cycle while requiring little more than some upfront strategy. All it takes is asking the right questions.

14 Multifamily SEO Facts You Didn't Know (Plus Tips for Implementing these SEO Tips Into Your Multifamily Marketing Strategy)

How to Build, Measure, and Scale Your Multifamily Marketing Approach

When most real estate developments begin to create their multifamily marketing strategy to attract marketing qualified leads, you can imagine that the conversations are more or less the same each time. 

Namely discussions on ad buys, billboards, large banners, and sales calls. These methodologies are often inefficient, proving to have little ROI and little reach in meeting business goals.

There’s a key reason these methods are inefficient: multifamily marketing has changed. 

For many years, marketing was based on interruption through things like cold calls and advertising. But as society became more digital — from the VHS and DVR allowing people to fast forward, to programs like AdBlock preventing ads from displaying on websites — these methods have become inefficient. 

Technology has empowered consumers to take the buyer’s journey online; therefore, your multifamily marketing efforts should be online too.

How is multifamily marketing evolving?

The better question is, how are residents evolving? Whether you like it or not, millennials (and now Gen Z renters) comprise a sizable chunk of the multifamily market.

Not only are millennials renting longer and by choice, but their lifestyles are also vastly different than generations before. Trends like pet ownership and hyper-connectivity are defining this generation, along with a willingness to sacrifice square footage for prime locations.

And yet, while these lifestyle trends are driving development, they’re only a starting point when it comes to multifamily marketing.

While these lifestyle trends are driving development, they’re only a starting point when it comes to multifamily marketing and generating marketing qualified leads. Building the perfect product and selling it are two different things.

Here are a few secret keys to attracting and converting web visitors into marketing qualified leads for your multifamily business:

1. Giving every property or organization a custom approach.

Development and the creative process should cater to the audience — not the other way around. 

Development and the creative process should cater to the audience — not the other way around. Start by really understanding the target demographic for your multifamily property or organization. Immerse yourself in understanding of their lifestyle, pain points, and interests. Bring in a multifamily branding agency who can help you turn insights into a concept that will remain top of mind throughout the entire development process, from contractors to vendors, from building to multifamily branding.

Let’s start by really understanding the target demographic for your property or organization. Immerse yourself in understanding their lifestyle, pain points, and interests. Bring in a multifamily branding agency that can help you turn insights into a concept that will remain top of mind throughout the entire development process, from contractors to vendors, from building to multifamily branding.

Customizing your apartment marketing approach is essential in today’s world. Marketing strategies vary per market because each market is remarkably different. It would be ignorant to believe that residents in Lincoln, Nebraska, want the same things as residents in Charlotte, N.C, for example.

2. Creating a narrative; telling your multifamily brand story.

With an earnest understanding of your target audience in mind, a narrative about your residents should unfold. Their motivations, lifestyle choices, and demographic characteristics should come together as a story. From these insights, the concept for your property will be born.

Focus on building something that inspires the people living there. Watch a car commercial, and you’ll see how well the auto industry understands this concept of storytelling. It’s not so much about the product as the lifestyle it promotes.

This aspirational lifestyle affects every facet of multifamily development — from site selection to design and multifamily branding.

When it comes to differentiating your property, it starts with knowing your audience better than they know themselves. Only through thoughtful research can you begin to develop the environment, the lifestyle, and the creative messaging that resonates (and ultimately generates marketing qualified leads).

When it comes to differentiating your property, it starts with knowing your audience better than they know themselves. Only through thoughtful research can you begin to develop the environment, the lifestyle, and the creative multifamily marketing messaging that resonates and generates marketing qualified leads.

3. Building your digital marketing funnel.

What’s the first thing you do when you’re looking to buy something? Odds are, you do some research on Google first. This is where apartment marketing begins in the modern age. As everything moves online, the internet has become the source of major information exchange.

Having relevant information on your multifamily website isn’t enough to generate marketing qualified leads, however. That information needs to be optimized for search engines to read, which attracts visitors.

What keywords should you be using? Well, imagine what your typical buyer is searching for. If you’re looking to attract people to your blog about real estate developments in Dallas, you shouldn’t mention attractions in Chicago. From there, the information needs to be broad enough and address the buyer persona’s problem in a way that drives interest.

The information should exist in the form of a content offer and will be “gated” so that the visitor will complete the relevant information to download it. That information turns the visitor into an apartment lead

These apartment leads might then consume more relevant information and provide more sales information to become marketing qualified leads, and so on. This is called building the multifamily marketing funnel, and this funnel ensures that leads are qualified before reaching sales. This methodology also sees apartment leads being pulled in to ask questions and do research, rather than pushed and bombarded by unwanted advertising messages.

Your apartment leads might consume more relevant information and provide more sales information to become a marketing qualified leads, and so on. This is called building the multifamily marketing funnel, and this funnel ensures that leads are qualified before reaching sales. This methodology also sees apartment leads being pulled in to ask questions and do research, rather than pushed and bombarded by unwanted advertising messages.

Why is this significant? Because not only are you spending less on obtaining these types of leads, but these marketing qualified leads are more likely to convert, minimizing your overall ROI.

4. Tracking how you are featured online.

Building the funnel is what you need to do to be successful with your apartment marketing to ultimately generate more marketing qualified leads. The next issue is making sure that you’re presenting this information well. As we stated before, it’s not enough to just exist online. Your presence needs to be in tip-top shape!

Why, you ask? Because first impressions are important on the web. People will leave your site within 5 seconds if they cannot find the information they’re looking for. So how do you make sure you’re relevant?

Building the funnel is what you need to do to be successful with your apartment marketing to generate marketing qualified leads. The next issue is making sure that you’re presenting this information well. As we stated before, it’s not enough to just exist online. Your presence needs to be in tip-top shape!

Keywords

Making sure that you’re using accurate multifamily SEO keywords that will be searched by your customer is important. You want to feature these regularly enough that search engines will map your content, but not so much that they’ll dock you for keyword stuffing.

Focused Content

Staying relevant with your content — including linking to other trusted sites and keeping your information objective — is key to keeping consumers on your site. When a consumer feels like they’ve stepped into an infomercial on your homepage, they’re likely to leave. However, if you keep your content focused and informative, from blogs to social media posts, consumers will more likely see you as an authority, and keep coming back.

UX Multifamily Web Design

People are tempted to go with style over substance when it comes to multifamily web design. Multifamily websites, contrary to what your boss might believe, should always be designed for the consumer and with their interests in mind. What does that mean? The consumer doesn’t want to hear about you. They want to hear about how you’re going to solve their problem.

By keeping your content and multifamily web design consumer-friendly, a consumer is more likely to stay on the site. This includes making the site ADA compliant for your user too. Mobile-friendly designs are here to stay, so make sure your site cooperates.

The Future of Multifamily Marketing

With these aspects implemented, you can expect both an improved search presence and a lead ROI that can deliver substantial returns. 

This is the future of multifamily marketing. Rather, this is the roadmap for building brands in today’s world to bring in more marketing qualified leads, and this industry has finally got its hands on it.

Ready to hit the “GO” button on your campaign? Before you dive in, make sure you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s. This free checklist will help you cover all your bases.

Gone are the days of a “set-it and forget-it” website. To truly engage your audience you need to know how to write a blog that speaks to them. Business blogging is not just a trendy thing to do, it actually is good for your bottom line.

Consider the following statistics:

  • 81% of consumers trust advice and information that they read in blogs. 
  • Nearly 96% of bloggers promote their service business blog posts via social media.
  • 57% of marketers say they’ve gained customers specifically through business blogging.
  • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
  • Using images in blog posts gets 94% more views.

In a world where digital consumption is king, there is only one way to fight the battle against your competitors — business blogging and distributing your content for all the world to see. 

Business Blogging Tips for Multifamily Marketing

Below, our experienced team of content writers at our multifamily branding agency compiled all of our best business blogging tips for writing and distributing a service business blog.

1. Select your platform

Prior to starting your blog, you must first decide which business blogging platform you would like to use.  Some free options include WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. However, if you do not care for any of these, you can always search for other business blogging platforms via Google. If you are a business, you should consider hosting a blog within your website in addition to an outside blog site. Through your external blog, you can create inbound links that drive traffic to your company’s website and in turn, means free advertising!

Business Blogging Tips for Multifamily Marketing

2. Decide on a web design theme

The next is choosing a web design theme for your business blog. Some bloggers like to talk about the industry, others focus on common problems that clients have. One great way to write about solutions to the problems that your customers have is to predict the questions your prospects are Googling.

If you already have your buyer persona built, predicting your customer’s questions and pain points will be a cinch! If not, refer back to some of our previous blogs for simple steps on how to accomplish this.

3. Pick your design template

Now that you have your theme, it’s time to think about the layout and color scheme of your website. Do you want it to be clean? Simple? Elegant? Fun? Creative? Whatever you choose keep your readers in mind, and make sure that there is a synergy between your design and web theme.

If you operate in the multifamily industry and want a beautiful, affordable, and easy-to-implement web theme, be sure to check out our sister company Swifty!

Multifamily Websites and Apartment Web Designs

4. Create a content calendar

Once all of this preparation is complete, it’s time to create an editorial calendar. You’ll want to begin by mapping out at least 3 to 6 months at a time. Then, make notes on the calendar for each day you want to post content. 

Most importantly, stick to the calendar! Make sure that you create an editorial calendar that is reasonable for your schedule. Do not overwhelm yourself — it will be hard to stick to your goals if you over-commit and in turn will discourage you from writing future content. 

However, you should challenge yourself — don’t schedule just one service business blog a month. Once you get into the groove, you will see that you can post more often and the boost in SEO, engagement, and traffic will make it worthwhile.

Business Blogging Tips for Multifamily Marketing

That being said, your business will struggle if you don’t have a system in place to attract the right kind of audience with the right content at the right time. Your goal is to nurture and convert your audience, not drive them away because you are shelling out the wrong content (and too much of it).

So press pause before pumping out eight articles a day without defining your business goals first. Create a content strategy that will attract your buyer persona and improve their experience.

Running an inbound marketing campaign on your own can be difficult. Where do you start? What do you do? We put together this handy, free template to get you started!

5. Write away!

Finally, now that you’ve established your blog site, designed your theme and layout, and developed a content calendar, it’s time to put your fingers to the keyboard and write your first business blog. 

At first, keep it simple. If you’re not sure how to get started, read through a few established competitor blog sites. Get a feel for the voice you want your service business blog to have. 

Research your customers’ pain points and choose topics that will answer their most pertinent questions. Try to keep in mind what your customers are searching for online so that you can position your organization as a trusted resource.

The length of your blog will depend on your buyer persona and their interests, but we typically recommend a blog post length of at least 1,200 words to get the most out of your SEO strategy. The key for your business is to research your persona and conduct interviews to learn what type and length of content are most valuable.

Interested in more tips for creating a highly optimized blog for your business’ SEO? Check out this blog for step-by-step business blogging tips!

Business Blogging Tips for Multifamily Marketing

How to Distribute Your Blog Content to Reach the Right Audience

Many of our clients ask us about the importance of content marketing and whether they should consider starting a service business blog. Our answer is always a resounding yes.

Not only is consistent content marketing integral for SEO and achieving a higher search ranking, but it’s also a great way to position your business as an expert resource to customers.

However, distributing content is more important than writing content. In fact, promoting a blog can often take more time than writing the actual content. This is particularly true for businesses that do not have a corporate team of writers and marketers on hand.

To make the blog worth the time and effort of your team, it’s critical to distribute the content effectively and obtain as much use from the blog as possible. For example, a single blog post can be shared on Twitter with a snappy headline, extended to Instagram with an engaging image, and adapted to a shareable infographic.

Business Blogging Tips for Multifamily Marketing

Below are a few ways you can get the most bang for your blog:

Organic Distribution via Social Media

One of the biggest perks of social media as a marketing channel is the ability to create an engaged, online community of the individuals that build up your target audience. 

  • Social Sharing Buttons — Allow your website visitors to read your content and share it with their friends. The not-so-savvy internet users, or even the lazy ones, will rarely copy your URL and post it on their social pages, so make it easy for them to share your content.
  • Business Social Accounts — Share all of your blogs through your social accounts. Write a one-line teaser that will encourage them to click on the link and include a blog graphic to give your audience a visual representation.
  • Connections — Connecting with influencers in your respective industry is important to building a solid blog following. Find people on social media that you know will be interested in your content and reach out to them so they can have easy access to your service business blog.

Email Marketing Distribution

Like your RSS Feed, you should encourage your website visitors to subscribe to your email list. Once you capture those email addresses you can send out monthly newsletters that feature your most relevant blog posts and drive traffic back to your website.

Content Syndication

It’s important to build relationships with relevant blogs, brands, or publishers. This ultimately builds your brand and makes your blog awareness a lot higher than others. Asking others to link to your content in return for you linking back to their content gives you a connection that benefits both parties. This strategy is very important because it allows other bloggers to endorse you and build a bigger audience.

Paid Distribution

Paid advertisement distribution on Facebook is fairly simple to use and necessary in today’s digital marketing world. Digital marketing gets difficult when organic reach on Facebook decreases, so use paid distribution to your advantage.

Reshare Regularly

Not all of your potential customers are online or on the same social channel at the same time. Additionally, a customer might have read your article the first time and forgot to save it or forward it along to their co-worker. For these reasons, it’s essential that you reshare your content regularly across your social media and even in your newsletter.

Include an “In Case You Missed It” section in your newsletter that highlights previous popular blogs. Choose several one-line teasers or important quotes from your article and schedule tweets throughout the month. Adjust the ad set and re-run your Facebook ad to get your content in front of an even broader audience.

Make It Visual

Infographics provide significant value from a content-supporting standpoint. Companies are constantly generating content, but the bulk of it is often heavy and wordy. Focus on utilizing the visual aspect of infographics to break up the content. Pull important statistics and tidbits of information from your in-depth service business blog and build out an enticing infographic that users can easily download and view.

Additionally, pull out some other short quotes or statistics to create an eye-popping graphic that you can share on Instagram and Pinterest. Considering you cannot share links in your Instagram posts, prompting users to click the link in your profile is a great way to promote your service business blog.

Making the Most of Your Business Blogging

Business blogging is no easy task, but with these tips in mind, you are well equipped to make the most of your time and effort by expanding the reach of your content.

Running an inbound marketing campaign on your own can be difficult. Where do you start? What do you do? We put together this handy, free template to get you started!

5 Steps to Improve Your Multifamily Marketing Analytics Strategy

The world of digital marketing analytics is always changing, making it difficult to understand the correlation between ad dollars spent and revenue. As a multifamily agency, we know there is not a one-to-one correlation between the two, and it is nearly impossible to prove to upper management that our efforts are actually worth the investment.

The tracking and analyzing of your content mix to measure return on investment (ROI) is what digital marketing analytics is all about. And thankfully, there is no shortage of multifamily marketing resources to help collect and manage these data points.

How can different marketing methods impact your brand? This marketing story infographic looks at four popular marketing methods and explains how each impact a fictional company looking to grow and expand. Discover how these different methods could impact your business.

Gearing Up With the Right Digital Marketing Analytics Tools

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool marketers use to track their multifamily website or app. While the interface seems daunting at first, this tool allows you to seamlessly monitor everything from the demographics and behavior of site visitors to bounce rate and what they are clicking on the most.

Social media insights

Most social media platforms offer their own analytics if you have a business account. Social media insights allow you to measure post reach, follower demographics, engagement and interactions, and even what time of the day your followers are most active. Additionally, you can track ad spend, cost per click, and more through Facebook’s Business Settings.

Hootsuite and Buffer

While Hootsuite and Buffer offer free platforms for social media management, the paid memberships allow you the ability to track all of your social media analytics on a single dashboard. Rather than logging into each of your social accounts to schedule posts individually, these platforms also give you the ability to schedule posts across multiple platforms from a single app.

Multifamily marketing automation software

While there are several tools to track digital marketing analytics, HubSpot, SharpSpring, and other marketing automation software allow you to wrap all of these into one. With these platforms, you can schedule-out email campaigns, social media posts, blogs, and more as well as track the digital marketing analytics for all of them.

While you may be overwhelmed, the gear-up process for your marketing strategy can be a breeze with the right tools. This free inbound marketing kit includes four major tools we use in-house to outline our inbound marketing efforts and strategy.

Practicing Patience With Digital Marketing Analytics

Just as “a watched pot never boils,” you cannot expect to see immediate results from your multifamily marketing efforts. Patience is key as you track the success of your labor.

More likely than not, you will not see significant progress within the first week, month, or even quarter. Successful multifamily marketing takes time. While you should track items daily such as Facebook ad conversions or clicks on a CTA for your weekly e-newsletter, it is more important to monitor these metrics over a more extended time to see real improvement.

For example, your Facebook Business Page may receive 60 new followers in one week but only a handful the next. The change in followers is not necessarily a reason to be concerned, but it is a trend you should track closely to discover why your followers did not increase as much as in previous weeks.

Analyze Your Success With Digital Marketing Analytics

After all, when you spend countless hours each month planning, scheduling, managing, and tracking your content marketing analytics, there’s no better way to enjoy the fruits of your labor (like increased ROI) than to track and improve your strategy continually. The key is to not get frustrated with your digital marketing analytics results. Stay patient and keep tracking.

How to Improve Your Digital Marketing Analytics Strategy

Reaching your buyer persona in the right place at the right time is paramount to multifamily marketing success, and digital marketing analytics are essential to the evaluation stage of any apartment marketing strategy. However, if not collected diligently, they are of no use.

If you are not achieving your multifamily marketing goals or seeing the results you want from your efforts, it’s time to adjust your strategy. The following are a few good practices to make habits that will increase your data’s relevance:

1. Identify your problem areas

First, decide where you could use some improvement. Focus your efforts on a few specific areas such as social media engagement or website traffic to track relevant data for your business.

2. Create SMART goals

To prove your analytics efforts are worth your time, you have to set SMART goals — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. This way, you can continue to track your progress in comparison to your end goals. Without this step, there is no way to assess the performance of the strategy you have put in place.

3. Stay committed

Now that you have the groundwork set, here comes the hard part — staying fully committed and on track with the goals you set. Tracking and reporting your analytics data weekly as well as monthly, quarterly, and yearly is crucial to finding different trends, so stay committed. Pausing your efforts or adding multiple layers to your pre-constructed plan will only lessen your impact.

4. Track your digital marketing analytics

Follow different trends in your digital marketing analytics data and make adjustments accordingly. Then, track and report the results to find new insights. Luckily, there are a variety of digital marketing analytics tools to help you with this crucial step.

While you may be overwhelmed, the gear-up process for your marketing strategy can be a breeze with the right tools. This free inbound marketing kit includes four major tools we use in-house to outline our inbound marketing efforts and strategy.

5. Report and repeat

Successful multifamily marketing is a long, winding road of strategy, testing, retesting, and careful planning. When you have met your goals, report your data to your team and set new ones.

Analyze Your Success With Digital Marketing Analytics

Trust the Experts to Become the Experts

Use digital marketing analytics to make informed decisions about the time, place, and manner in which you advertise. This way you can focus your ad spending in specific areas, to better reach your target audience and improve the value of your multifamily marketing.

Remember, if implementing and executing a successful multifamily marketing campaign is not your business’ specialty, you do not have to go at it alone. You can leave the heavy lifting to a multifamily marketing agency like Criterion.B. You spent time and energy creating multifamily branding that offers a unique value proposition, so now it is time to trust the experts to develop a multifamily marketing mix that sends the right message to the right people.

Not sure if your apartment marketing strategy needs the boost of working with a multifamily marketing agency? Check out our worksheet that helps you identify where your business’ apartment marketing strategy stands!

How can different marketing methods impact your brand? This marketing story infographic looks at four popular marketing methods and explains how each impact a fictional company looking to grow and expand. Discover how these different methods could impact your business.

Any new business plan starts by assessing the environment and the opportunities ahead. What’s in store for multifamily marketing for the remainder of this year? What goals can we set? How can we achieve them?

In this blog, we survey the digital multifamily marketing environment and make predictions for the remainder of this year and beyond. We have pinpointed opportunities and offer tips for how your property can play them to your strengths. 

We’ve settled on the four multifamily marketing trends we project to have the most impact and potential this year:

Multifamily marketing guide to social media and social media for apartments.

1. Customer Storytelling

Oftentimes, it can be hard to develop a multifamily brand story, especially if our product or service is not outwardly life-changing.

What’s your multifamily brand story? And by that, we mean, what makes your multifamily brand human? How do you care for your customers and your community?

For some organizations, their brand story is an easy one to tell. For example, TOMS donates a pair of shoes for every pair sold, and St. Jude’s helps children fight cancer every day. It is easy to see how these organizations have an impact on people’s lives.

But what about the rest of us? The bankers, the chefs, the designers, the agency owners, and so on … What’s our mark on the community? How do we care?

Oftentimes, it can be hard to develop a multifamily brand story, especially if our product or service is not outwardly life-changing. That’s why we love this example from Airbnb:

Airbnb is all about the customer, which makes obvious sense considering the customer (both hosts and guests) is the brand. The company does not manage or own the properties on its platform; rather, the company offers a platform for customers to book or promote properties, meals, experiences, and more.

Airbnb knows that if no one is using the platform, the company does not have a product. This is why it’s critical for the company to utilize customer storytelling to build its brand. In fact, the platform has an entire section titled “Stories From the Airbnb Community” for this very purpose.

Positioning the customer at the center of its brand and letting the customers be the brand is essential to Airbnb’s philosophy and identity. The company is literally built on the power of customer storytelling.

Multifamily Marketing Trends of 2021

Mobilize your advocates and go beyond the standard

There is a quote we often recite in our office and try to remember in our multifamily marketing efforts, “People don’t buy what you do, but rather why you do it.” 2021 is the year to mobilize your advocates — that is, your loyalists and your enthusiasts.

What role does your multifamily brand play in people’s lives? Create a forum for your customers to tell their brand story (i.e., what they love about your brand). Livestreaming and takeovers on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok will continue to be the breakout social platforms for customer storytelling. Go beyond the standard “Post a photo.” Challenge your advocates.

It all goes back to this: how do your customers connect with your brand? Now, how can we leverage those connections to tell our multifamily brand story?

2. New Data Collaborations

Another significant digital multifamily marketing trend to keep on your watchlist is new data collaborations — that is, how “hard data” will no longer rule the roost. It’s going to be a year of collaboration and teamwork. Hard and soft data, big and small data, quantitative and qualitative … no matter how you look at it, marketers must use both to find digital multifamily marketing success.

Hard and soft data

Let’s start by differentiating between the two. Hard data is quantitative in nature, meaning that it can be precisely measured. It’s usually collected on a large scale, which allows us to quantify and organize the data we collect. With hard data insights, I know that 60% of my customer base is female, 32% is Hispanic, and 10% make $200,000+ each year, etc. Hard data tells me that 40% of my web traffic is coming from a single blog post. Or that 72% of my online customers are finding me through social media.

Multifamily Marketing Trends of 2021

On the other hand, soft data (or qualitative data) is descriptive, intangible, and hard to measure. It also goes much deeper than hard data. Soft data is often gathered from interviews, observations, or from spending time with people. While hard data tells me that 60% of my customer base is female, soft data focuses on just a few of my female customers in an effort to understand:

  • How do they use technology throughout the day?
  • What are their perceptions of my brand?
  • Who do they trust most for product recommendations?

If hard data tells me that one of my blog posts is driving 40% of my web traffic, soft data tells me why that blog is effective.

Nail your value proposition

Traditionally, multifamily marketing and advertising have been a hard-data world. Recently, however, there’s increasing awareness of the value of soft data. Without soft data insights, we will never really know our customers or our target audience. We will never know what is important to them, what they do on the weekends, or what keeps them up at night. Why do these things matter?

Because without these soft data insights, we do not truly know our value proposition. We do not know what problems we are trying to solve for our target audience. We do not know the best way to appeal or intercept them — what kind of technology, what message?

Cue your resident buyer personas …

In the section above, we talked about brand advocacy — that is, when customers voluntarily and excitedly recommend your brand to others (AKA the multifamily marketing mecca). To get there, you have to know what makes your customers tick.

One way to do this is through resident buyer personas. A persona is a semi-fictional character you create that epitomizes your customer. It captures their demographics, behaviors, and motivations. Not only does it summarize your target market, but it gives you “someone” tangible to market to. A resident buyer persona starts with hard data, then adds the soft data insights.

Multifamily marketing guide to social media and social media for apartments.

Role Play: Luxury Apartment

Let’s pretend you are the multifamily marketing coordinator for a luxury apartment complex in Uptown Dallas. You are trying to determine how to attract more young professionals, so you hold a small focus group with a few of your current residents. You ask them questions that aim to understand the “why.” Why did they choose this apartment? Why did they renew their lease? What’s the value of living here for them?

You then emerge with a few character profiles that read something like this …

Multifamily Marketing Trends of 2021

Chris is 28 years old, single, and living in a one-bedroom apartment in Uptown Dallas. He’s originally from Chicago, but he stayed in Dallas after college for a job opportunity.

By day, he’s a financial analyst; however, every evening, you can find him at the CrossFit gym. He enjoys the camaraderie of CrossFit, and he frequents The Pickled Sub, a sandwich shop two blocks east. He always knew he wanted to live in Uptown, where he can walk to nearby grocery stores and restaurants.

His life revolves around Champ, his active three-year-old dog, who he likes to take out for runs. At his current location, the Katy Trail is 100 yards out the back door and the dog groomer is two blocks north. His dog sheds, yet he’s found these hardwood floors easier to keep clean than the carpet in his previous apartment. He’s gotten to know fellow pet owners throughout the apartment complex, with whom he enjoys the small talk that surrounds pet-owner responsibilities.

BOOM. You just got the angle for your new multifamily marketing materials. Remember that Chris does not actually exist. This persona was created from several conversations with residents. Hard data found that 34% of the residents were single, male, pet owners. Soft data revealed why they live there, and how you can continue to attract them. A persona gives you someone tangible to market to.

It’s teamwork, you see, between hard and soft data, big and small, quantitative and qualitative. We will see a lot more data collaboration this year. Why? Because it produces killer insights.

Want to learn more about the importance of building your buyer persona, including free resources like checklists, guides, quizzes, and more to help you do so? Check out our list of free buyer persona resources to help you get started!

3. Multifamily Inbound Marketing

This term, inbound multifamily marketing, has become more prevalent in the last year or so. Inbound multifamily marketing methods focus on content creation (e.g., blogging) as a way to attract your target audience and establish yourself as a resource within your industry or community. In turn, regular blogging serves to boost your multifamily SEO and drive media interest. It also provides points of engagement on social media.

Inbound multifamily marketing is a pull method, rather than the push method of traditional apartment advertising. The prevalence of inbound multifamily marketing has necessarily given rise to a new trend: ongoing content creation.

Ready to hit the “GO” button on your campaign? Before you dive in, make sure you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s. This free checklist will help you cover all your bases.

New kids on the block

No longer is blogging merely a novelty multifamily marketing tactic. Instead, blogging has become essential to businesses in the digital age. (Just ask us how our last few clients found us!)

As the journalistic landscape evolves, we will see traditional writers and editors start to fill demand on the creative side. Businesses need more than just “a writer” these days. They need an editorial vision. They need someone who knows how to tell a multifamily brand story and then translate that story to several platforms. Journalism provides an excellent skill set for storytelling. This is why we’ll start to see content creation within agencies and businesses become more of a journalistic process.

Multifamily Marketing Trends of 2021

By the end of 2021, we would not be surprised to see multifamily companies running their own little newsrooms! Lord knows that multifamily marketing agencies already are!

4. Context-Aware Advertising

Location, location, location. You have heard it before, but how will it drive digital multifamily marketing in 2021 and beyond? You’re about to find out.

Context-awareness will be a major apartment advertising trend to keep an eye on this year. As the name suggests, context-aware apartment advertising takes into account your location (along with other publicized information) to serve you ads that are hyper-relevant, and thus, more likely to convert.

Imagine all the applications … Consumers can receive coupons (e.g., half-price frozen yogurt, $10 off shoes) as they enter the vicinity of a store. Even small businesses inherit the power to be relevant and connect with consumers at the most actionable time (i.e., when they are standing outside of the store).

Consider beacons that stores sometimes use, and this scenario — already pretty realistic — becomes  all the more possible:

Multifamily Marketing Trends of 2021

Predictably, there are several privacy debates currently surrounding location-based advertisements, which require consumers to somehow “opt-in” to location-based ads or make their location public. Oftentimes, however, consumers may not be aware that they have “opted in.” Other privacy concerns include the ease of “opting out,” which the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) is currently sorting out.

From a multifamily marketer’s perspective, the technology is exciting. Now how to make context-aware apartment advertising work for you?

The key to effective ads (redefine context)

To deliver effective context-aware ads, you do not necessarily need access to personal information. Instead, think broadly.

Context-aware apartment advertising can also pull from other dynamic feeds, such as weather, stock prices, or breaking news. For example, if I own a local ice cream shop, my ads would probably be best served on sunny days when the weather is 80+ degrees. A student housing apartment complex is best promoted in July and August as the new semester begins. So on and so forth.

Think about what makes your product relevant to your customers, then capitalize on the context.

Ultimately, to stay on the pulse of digital multifamily marketing trends, you must first know who your target audience is and make them the center of your multifamily marketing and apartment advertising efforts. 

Ready to hit the “GO” button on your campaign? Before you dive in, make sure you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s. This free checklist will help you cover all your bases.