Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of Hiring an Inbound Multifamily Marketing
Should I hire an inbound marketing agency? This is a question that comes up naturally as businesses discover the inbound process.
Inbound marketing is a complex and intensive marketing methodology that offers a strong ROI when implemented but can be difficult to navigate. While several businesses opt to utilize the inbound methodology in-house, many others prefer to employ an inbound marketing agency.
As an inbound marketing agency, we admit to being biased in this area. However, the points can be viewed objectively despite this.
The Complexity of Multifamily Inbound Marketing
To take on a multifamily inbound marketing approach, you must first understand what it takes to run a successful campaign. A campaign is comprised of multiple bits and pieces working together to accomplish a specific goal. That goal may vary but should still utilize the same fundamental resources and tools.
Being fundamentally content-focused, people need clarification on multifamily inbound marketing with content marketing. In reality, inbound is much more complex. This methodology utilizes content but relies on a strategy to target that content and use tools like forms, landing pages, and offers to gather pertinent information from prospects to convert them.
The success of inbound content, however, is dependent on other aspects. For example, comprehensive knowledge of your buyer persona’s journey and lead qualification for your business is important. Without these factors, your content could fail to attract the desired audience. Or, you may be able to attract the audience but fail to convert and qualify them properly due to asking the wrong questions.
Items like content creation are also heavily dependent on the processes you have in place. Without methods and consistency, you could fail to build a strong foundation. This, in turn, could impact the success of any ongoing campaigns you choose to operate.
What does this mean for your multifamily inbound marketing endeavors? Potentially nothing. Or potentially everything. Several businesses can adopt and enact inbound with great success. Others try and end up using an inbound marketing agency or abandoning this process altogether. The most important factor in your outcome is the level to which you understand the complexities of this strategy.
Taking the Inbound Marketing Agency Approach
If you choose to take the inbound marketing agency route, there are many things to consider:
- Bringing an inbound marketing agency on board means having a team of experts to help guide and execute your strategy. This often means less error and higher efficiency.
- Hiring a team rather than an individual means having the best of the best to generate your content, including designers, writers, and strategists.
- Utilizing a multifamily marketing agency allows you to focus on other business factors.
- Using a team of experts ensures that all knowledge in the field is current and up to date.
- An inbound marketing agency has the perception of being more expensive than in-house marketers. In reality, if you require hiring a team to implement your strategy, it might be comparable in cost. However, agency retainers tend to cause sticker shock.
- When working with an inbound marketing agency, communication gaps may exist. An agency will need time to develop knowledge in your field and to execute your needs, as they are away from the office with you.
- Negotiating project scope can be challenging, as agencies must balance their work with other clients. This means that issues may arise when a project is underestimated in hours. This could impact the project and/or your costs.
- Agencies require kick-off time to educate themselves on your industry. They must learn about your company to ensure your marketing system is in place.
Taking Inbound In-House
Taking multifamily inbound marketing in-house can be tempting, but this approach has several positive and negative factors.
- In-house marketing communication is much simpler and quicker. You will not have to onboard an agency or worry about passing along the correct information. Instead, the team working on the marketing is local and aware.
- Using a marketing manager or a small in-house team means more easily aligning your strategy with other business efforts.
- An in-house team may be able to implement strategy more quickly because there’s no learning curve.
- Your team controls the related decisions, successes, or failures.
- This type of marketing takes time to learn and even more time to perfect. This can be difficult for a team to start.
- Paying a salaried staff may cost as much if not more, than a monthly retainer.
- If key staff members leave, much training is lost, and replacements may have a different knowledge base.
- Your staff will have a different skill depth than professionals to produce top content and design.
- An in-house team may also be spread too thin, especially starting. Without a full team, your in-house department will likely wear multiple hats.
The Deciding Factor
If things look pretty even to you now, they are. Choosing an in-house team vs. an inbound marketing agency is simple enough for some companies based on their needs. For others, it’s too early to determine which will work best for their company. What is the best thing to do when choosing? Remember your goals, timeline, budget, and plans for scalability to determine which options will meet and support your business.
The True Cost of Doing Inbound In-House
Many businesses need help with the choice of choosing an agency vs. doing the inbound marketing in-house. Some factors impact the success of each option. However, what most businesses need to take into account is cost.
When we discuss cost, we don’t necessarily mean the monetary costs of running a campaign (though that certainly is a component). Instead, we mean non-monetary costs like time, resources, staff training, etc. Knowing the significance of these costs on an organization is challenging when deciding which option is best for you.
To understand this, you must first know what your costs are or will be.
Hiring and Training an Apartment Marketing Team
The highest cost to companies looking to do inbound marketing in-house is staffing. This impacts teams without a marketing department and those with an established one. Businesses’ most significant concern is bringing a team to use a new strategy like inbound or finding the talent to implement it.
If you already have a team, it means spending money on training. And the training and transition of your team to inbound methods can easily take months. It means hiring and onboarding new staff to implement your plan if you still need a team.
Additionally, adding staff salaries is pricey. The national average wage for a marketing manager is $74,532, per Glassdoor. If you hire a director, that salary can cost you $169,058. Then you must account for the rest of the team — designers, copywriters, strategists, and developers.
Factor in the two to three months it will take for onboarding and add that to those costs. Then consider turnover, additional hiring as needed, and additional training.
Quality and Quantity of In-House Marketing
Another factor to consider is understanding the costs related to workflow variance. There are busy times and lulls, which will impact your team’s efficiency and productivity. This can affect the overall return on your apartment marketing investment.
Quality is trickier to quantify or put a number value to directly. However, it is an equally important cost. The quality of your efforts impacts the effectiveness of your strategy. With a newer team, a dip in quality will recover over time but may cost you apartment leads or require additional efforts to meet goals. Ultimately, this means more time spent on the campaign than originally budgeted.
An inbound marketing agency will have several proven resources, services, and software that are efficient in its processes. Usually, the agency covers these costs and will split and pass the cost amongst each client. However, when doing your marketing in-house, you will be forced to learn which resources work for you and cover the entire cost yourself. This will likely be more than what the agency charges you for its resources.
The reasons for this are widespread. First, you’ll likely have more trial and error associated with these resources as you learn the effectiveness of different tools over time. In addition, while an agency will pay a high cost for a high-level tool, that cost spread among many clients will mean a small cost to you. There’s also the cost of learning and developing processes for a tool. Finally, the time that goes into finding and researching a tool, learning that tool, and training staff is a cost to you.
Know Your Capabilities
While all these costs aren’t necessarily deterrents from bringing multifamily inbound marketing in-house, they are often overlooked. Therefore, when calculating the value of an inbound marketing agency vs. taking it in-house, it’s important to analyze the cost and time factors to determine the true impact on your company. You will only truly capture the differential and determine the most effective method.
Who Should Be in Charge of Social Media for Apartments?
By now, we’ve established that social media is another platform for communication.
Renters want information anytime, anywhere, and they want it at their fingertips. Their need for information is instantaneous, and social media for apartments is the only marketing source to deliver that.
Residents are increasingly connecting with properties online throughout all phases of the renting process, from research to retention. As a result, property managers need to be able to do their jobs online, requiring them to have a certain amount of autonomy. Social media for apartments presents several opportunities for leasing, multifamily marketing, and building relationships. However, it also presents many risks.
A Balancing Act Between Corporate and Property-Level Marketing
Online word of mouth and one bad resident experience can taint an apartment brand. Property managers (not just corporate) must be present, helpful, and interactive on social media to read, respond, and act on any negative resident feedback.
It’s natural for corporate management to want complete control over their properties’ online activity, as doing so would limit risk and maintain consistent apartment brand messaging across all properties. However, this isn’t realistic.
The key to success in multifamily digital marketing lies within the property managers — they’re the ones who know their residents better than anyone else. They live and work in the communities they serve, and they’re the ones interacting with residents daily.
So, how do we balance apartment brand consistency (corporate-level) and local content/personalized service (property-level)? The answer is quite simple. It just calls for a little training and education.
Corporate Responsibility: Training
Resident interactions on social media must be handled at the property level. Corporate management needs to take the necessary steps to train property managers. They need to provide resources (e.g., content guidelines, tone), that property managers can customize according to their residents. Employees should feel empowered to communicate on social media — that is the corporate’s responsibility.
We recommend providing your properties with standard corporate messaging via a “Voice and Tone Guide” for social media and all content marketing, then allowing each property to personalize its content.
Focus on keeping messaging simple and consistent. By providing guidelines for use, you can strengthen corporate apartment branding across all properties while still allowing local social media to take the shape of its own at the property level.
The most important thing to remember is that corporate training should be ongoing. Organizations like the National Apartment Association (NAA) make that easy for corporate management to implement.
The NAA Education Institute offers the National Apartment Leasing Professional Program. The course includes six modules, which corporate management can license and provide for employees, either online or in the classroom. The curriculum includes everything from monitoring your online reputation to optimizing content for search engines.
Property Responsibility: Open Communication
Successful training requires an earnest effort on the part of each property and its employees. Without their commitment, an effective digital marketing strategy is impossible to implement.
The property manager must consult their regional or national corporate representative anytime they have questions, feedback, or insight regarding social media use.
Corporate management should serve as a resource for properties and vice versa. Property managers should provide feedback on local apartment marketing efforts (What works, what doesn’t?). They should also be able to ask corporate representatives for help in unfamiliar situations and provide them with insights from their resident community.
Open communication is the key to balancing strong apartment brand messaging on social media with local personality and service.
Tying It All Together
To sum it up, here are some common threads in establishing multifamily brand development and character: A customer-centric approach is essential to the success of any multifamily digital marketing effort, whether that’s differentiating your property, meeting millennial expectations, designing your multifamily website, and so on. The most successful properties are capitalizing on the relationship-building attributes of social media for apartments and intercepting prospective renters in the places they’re already searching.
Technology is fast-changing the apartment marketing environment, and it’s up to you to respond or risk falling behind.
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 ever. Sometimes all these choices can leave you feeling confused or even regretful when you finally make a buying decision. This idea has been called the “Paradox of Choice,” and it impacts apartment marketing more than you think.
The Paradox of Choice
More than a decade ago, the Paradox of Choice was a popular consumer behavior theory, debunking 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 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 latest and greatest Apple products and iPhones typically come in up to four quintessential colors, not ten.
On the logistics side, McDonald’s and several other fast food chains have cut several items from their menus. According to McDonald’s, when an extensive menu holds up lines, people take longer to order.
The Internet: More Choices, Easier Decisions?
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 and 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.
With contextual advertising, consumers receive coupons and promotions based on their location. This advertising trend is quickly growing as our GPS location determines which digital ads might be relevant to us.
In theory, ads for nearby businesses 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 seeking 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.
How It Impacts Apartment Marketing
How does the Paradox of Choice impact the multifamily housing market? With so many options available, it can be overwhelming for renters to choose where they want to live. The Paradox of Choice makes it difficult for renters to decide where they want to live and can lead to them becoming disengaged and uninterested in the options available to them. This presents a problem for apartment marketing, creative advertising, and brand development.
To overcome this challenge, creative advertising and brand development in the apartment market must focus on simplifying the decision-making process for consumers. This can be achieved through effective messaging and branding that emphasizes the unique selling points and benefits of each community or building. By highlighting what sets a particular community or building apart from the competition, it can help consumers to see the value in choosing that option.
Additionally, apartment marketing should aim to create an emotional connection with consumers. Using compelling images, stories, and testimonials can humanize the experience of living in a particular community or building. Connecting with residents emotionally can help overcome the confusion and indecision caused by the Paradox of Choice.
Finally, apartment marketing must be flexible and adaptive to changing market conditions to remain relevant and effective. This can be achieved through ongoing research, market analysis, and the development of new apartment marketing strategies and tactics.
Is the Paradox of Choice a Hindrance or a Benefit for Multifamily?
While the Paradox of Choice may seem like a hindrance for the multifamily market, it can also have several benefits. Firstly, it creates healthy competition among communities and buildings. With more options available, communities and buildings must work harder to stand out from the competition and offer something truly unique to attract renters. This can lead to better amenities, more creative apartment marketing strategies, and a better living experience for renters.
Additionally, the Paradox of Choice pushes the line of creative advertising in the multifamily market. To stand out from the competition, communities and buildings must develop new and innovative ways to market themselves to renters. This can result in more creative and engaging advertising campaigns, which can be more effective at capturing the attention of potential renters.
Finally, the Paradox of Choice offers renters more choices in where they want to live. Renters are no longer limited to a few communities or buildings in their area; they can now choose from various options. This allows renters to find a community or building that truly fits their needs and lifestyle, leading to a higher satisfaction level and a better living experience.
Answering the Big Question
Is the Paradox of Choice still valid with the tools that the internet has enabled? Is having more choices making us more anxious? In the realm of consumer products, we don’t think so. Yes, we have more choices, but we are better at sorting through it all. Ratings, reviews, geo-track: 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!
Unlocking the Mystery Behind Email Marketing for Apartments
Email marketing is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways for apartment communities to reach their residents and grow their email lists. Email marketing lets you stay in touch with your residents, keep them informed about special events or promotions, and increase resident loyalty.
It’s also an incredibly valuable tool for engaging potential renters who may be interested in leasing in your community. However, email marketing success depends on various factors, including open rates, click-through rates (CTRs), content quality, email design, subject lines, and more.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss our top email marketing best practices so that you can maximize engagement from your current residents as well as attract new ones.
1. Grow your email subscriber list with lead forms.
Email list growth is key to successful email marketing. You should always use opt-in apartment lead generation forms to encourage people to join your email list. This can be done through various channels, such as email blasts, social media posts, and website CTAs. Additionally, you can work with an email marketing agency that will help you maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns.
The best way to earn a new email is to offer the person something valuable in exchange. For example, an eBook, guide, checklist, or another valuable downloadable offer can be offered in exchange for their email.
Want to see this in action? Check out our CTA button below! You can click the landing page to see how we have this offer presented, along with our lead capture form.
2. Segment your email list.
Another email marketing tip that can be used to increase engagement is segmenting your email list. By creating tailored messages for different audiences within your email list, you can optimize the content of each email to better suit each audience’s needs. This can result in higher open rates and more relevant content being sent out.
For example, once your email list is large enough, you’ll want to segment the list by current, prospective, engaged, non-engaged, etc.
3. Monitor your email marketing analytics.
Email marketing should be tracked closely to see what is and isn’t working for your email campaigns. You should track metrics such as open rate, click-through rate (CTR), email forwards, and unsubscribes to understand your email campaigns’ performance better.
Statistics show that email marketing continues to be one of the most successful multifamily digital marketing tactics. Email marketing has significantly risen in recent years. According to Campaign Monitor, email open rates have increased by 6% from 2020 to 2021, and email click-through rates increased by 9%. And email open rates in 2022 average 21.5%; typically, open rates between 20% and 40% are viewed as average.
This clearly indicates that email marketing is becoming an increasingly effective way for businesses and apartment communities to reach their residents.
Pay close attention to email open rates to determine the success of your subject lines. To determine your open rate, divide the number of unique opens by the number of emails sent minus those that bounced. Although it’s not always exactly accurate, open rates provide a good gauge of your engagement over time. If your open rate starts to dip, it’s a sign that you need to review your subject lines or sending frequency.
4. Pack your emails with high-quality, relevant content.
Never (and we mean NEVER) send an email just to send an email. Writing quality content that resonates with your target audience is essential for email marketing success. Make sure that emails are well written and offer valuable information to readers so they will open them in the first place.
It’s also important to ensure that content is properly displayed on different devices, including mobile phones and tablets, since most people now access their emails via their phones.
5. Don’t stress about your email design.
Email design matters too. But not in the way you think it does.
Designing visually appealing emails with engaging images and colors CAN help keep your email list engaged, but you need to determine what is best for your audience.
What we mean by this is that you don’t always need a fancy email design to build, maintain, and grow a successful email campaign. We’ve tested this theory ourselves with designed and visually appealing email newsletters vs. a plain text html email that we send to our list. In every occurrence, our email open rate and CTR were higher with the plain text email.
Our theory? People are inundated with emails every single day. Emails flood your inbox and the designed sales emails typically end up in the spam folder. Or, if the person opens it, they quickly delete it if something (the content) doesn’t grab their attention immediately.
Html text emails feel and look more personal. We started sending these emails to our list from one team member. It’s sent as a one-on-one email exchange and garners more engagement than a highly designed email.
So, next time you plan your next email campaign, we recommend A/B testing a designed email vs. html text to see what works best for your audience.
6. Subject lines are critical.
First impressions matter and that’s exactly what a subject line is. It’s arguably the most important part of your email and should talk almost as long to perfect the subject line as it does to write the whole email.
Using attention-grabbing subject lines will also encourage people to open your emails instead of sending them straight to the trash bin. We treat subject lines like a landing page: Keep it straightforward, pique your audience’s interest, and don’t overwhelm your audience.
Here are a few things we’ve learned from A/B testing email subject lines:
- 60 characters MAX or no more than 9 words.
- Most email subject lines are between 41-50 characters long, but the true sweet spot is 25-30 characters.
- Punctuation is not needed.
- Sentence case is favorable.
- Emojis can be added but should be done with intention.
- Emojis at the beginning of your subject line tend to perform better than at the end.
Our most popular subject lines:
- 3 keywords for more lease traffic
- 🚨Property SEO mistakes to avoid
- Win Yeti merch in 5 minutes
- Potential renters will love to see THIS
- Are you using this type of ad?
- This will keep leads on your website longer
- Increase open rates with this 1 tip!
After 4 months of A/B testing email subject lines, we’ve increased our overall open rate per email from 10% to 20%. Specifically, our five best-performing subject lines all had an open rate of 25%-30%.
7. Invest in email marketing automation software.
The final tip we suggest when it comes to email marketing is email automation. Automating email campaigns can save apartment communities time and money while also providing a more personalized experience for users. The key here is to provide targeted content at specific times to maximize the impact of your email marketing campaigns.
You can use platforms like Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, SharpSpring, HubSpot, and many more to help you automate your emails. The goal of automation is to make sure no lead is forgotten. You can create email workflows triggered when someone signs up for a property tour, fills out a contact form on your multifamily website, or clicks on a link in one of your email blasts.
Email marketing software will also make tracking your analytics and A/B testing content a breeze.
Get the Most Out of Your Email Campaigns
Email marketing can provide great results for apartment communities — if done correctly. Email offers an incredible opportunity to engage with current residents, attract prospects, and build renter loyalty.
By following email marketing best practices and taking advantage of email tracking data, you can get the most out of your campaigns and see positive outcomes for your property.
4 Things You Likely Didn’t Know About Multifamily SEO
There is no shortage of competition within Google’s SERPs in the real estate industry. As you niche into subsections on real estate, the competition becomes even tighter. Property management companies in the multifamily space must fight tooth and nail to reach the top of Google’s rankings and keep their position. With such intense competition amongst property managers online, you must have a clear plan on how to master SEO. The more relevant keywords your multifamily website shows up for, the more potential business you ultimately interact with.
Today, we will bust four surprising myths about multifamily SEO that you might be uncertain about.
1. No-follow Links Don’t Matter
Since many people within the multifamily SEO space would argue that backlinks are the most important ranking factor, it makes sense to start here. The last time that you had the opportunity to get a no-follow backlink pointing back to your site, did you accept? It is a myth that no-follow backlinks carry zero weight. There have been statements made in the past from people within the SEO space that no-follow links don’t pass domain authority. Many people stop here and don’t look any further.
While no-follow links do not pass domain authority, they do pass other great SEO signals that can help your apartment website. Additionally, large website publications like Business Insider only give out no-follow links. Suppose your property management business gets a link from Business Insider talking about how great and relevant you are to the multifamily industry. In that case, Google will see that as a great thing! You’re likely to experience a boost in rankings even though the link is set to no-follow. Although they don’t pass direct authority, plenty of other SEO benefits are passed, making these worth pursuing.
2. Viral Content Isn’t Worth Chasing
Google considers website traffic a huge ranking factor when ranking real estate companies. One way to get a huge surge of traffic is to create a viral piece of content. For example, property management companies of large multifamily buildings have created a funny, parody-style music video showing their property to potential tenants. Another common example of creating viral content is when people need to sell a house in the luxury real estate market. Real estate professionals will record flashy drone footage highlighting a mansion sitting on a massive estate. These eye-catching, memorable videos ultimately draw traffic to the website, which helps boost apartment SEO.
The cherry on top of making viral content is when the content is relevant to the local community where your property is. Not only will your multifamily website catch real, local traffic by legitimate internet users on legitimate IP addresses, but you also may generate a few apartment leads from it. Attempting to create viral content seems overwhelming at first. It’s hard to know where to start. If you can crack the code and generate something truly special, you will boost your multifamily website’s rankings and generate apartment leads.
3. No One Reads Anymore
The myth has some truth to it. Many people do not read anymore. However, some people surprisingly still do. That’s why creating meaningful, relevant, and useful content on your apartment website is important. Your goal is to create useful guides that address the needs of your target audience. Offer solutions to their needs, or at least useful perspectives, through engaging content.
You don’t have to only use words for your content. Switch things up and include videos, infographics, and other engaging features that you can include on a page. This will help keep users on your multifamily website from bouncing. If people leave pages once they arrive, it signals to Google that your site might not be that good. Keep your content relevant, engaging, helpful, and diverse.
4. Pictures Don’t Matter
A picture says one thousand words, right? Pictures matter in SEO for several reasons. The quality of the photo is important to gain trust and credibility once someone hits your site. If you’re using too many stock photos, that will turn people off, and they will likely bounce. Add photos of your property to help encourage people to rent from you.
Pictures also play a role in your local SEO efforts. Google picks up geotags from photos depending on where they were taken. Depending on how the image was transferred, saved, edited, or added to the site, it could remove the geo-tag. For property managers that want to show up for local keywords, it’s important to have geo-tagged photos throughout your multifamily website. That tells Google, in the background, that you are a legitimate, local business and not a scammer.
Multifamily SEO Is a Moving Target
No matter how much you dial in your SEO efforts, new algorithm updates will emerge, and things will change. Google has a great way of keeping multifamily marketing professionals on their toes. As you dismiss myths within the online space, new ones will arise that you’ll be forced to create an opinion on. Test and measure things as often as possible without breaking your website. This will help you improve your website’s health, SEO, and rankings.
Jenn is an experienced writer for the real estate industry and a house flipper. If she’s not swinging a hammer, she’s either writing about different real estate topics or reviewing investment property opportunities.
How to Convert Apartment Leads Into Leases Using Your CRM
Sales are all about converting apartment leads into residents. And a CRM (customer relationship management) system can be an invaluable tool for making that happen for your property.
You can improve your chances of converting leads into leases by tracking apartment leads and resident interactions. Key features to look for in a CRM include apartment lead management, multifamily email marketing automation, and contact management.
Apartment lead management is important for monitoring prospects and keeping track of their progress. Multifamily email marketing automation can help you nurture leads with automated email campaigns. And contact management can help you keep track of resident interactions and follow up with them effectively.
When it comes to multifamily marketing, these CRM features can be extremely helpful in booking more property tours. By using a CRM system, you can better manage your apartment leads, automate your email multifamily marketing, and keep track of resident interactions. This will all lead to more sales and a higher conversion rate.
That being said, not all CRMs are created equal. Some CRM features are more helpful than others when it comes to conversions.
Here is a closer look at what our team views as the most important CRM features for conversions (and what we use every day in our multifamily marketing efforts!):
1. Customizable lead capture forms
A good CRM will allow you to create custom lead capture forms that fit your needs. This is important because you want to ensure you’re capturing all the information you need from potential customers to follow up with them effectively.
Custom lead capture forms are online forms that allow you to gather leads for your multifamily property. By collecting contact information and other key data points, you can nurture leads through the sales process and ultimately convert them into residents.
There are several features that can be included on custom lead capture forms, but some of the most important for conversions include the following:
- Property type: By asking leads what type of multifamily property they’re interested in (e.g., apartments, townhomes, etc.), you can ensure that you’re marketing to the right audience.
- Budget: Collecting budget information helps you qualify leads and determine whether they can afford your multifamily property.
- Location: Knowing where your apartment leads are interested in living helps you target your multifamily marketing efforts and ensure that you provide relevant information.
- Contact information: To follow up with leads, you’ll need to collect their contact information (e.g., email address, phone number, etc.).
By including these key data points on your custom lead capture form, you can increase the likelihood of conversion by ensuring that you’re marketing to the right audience and providing relevant information.
2. Lead scoring and grading
A lead scoring system will help you determine the most promising leads, so you can focus your energy on converting them. This is important because it allows you to prioritize your time and resources and increase your chances of making a sale.
If you have access or interest, marketing automation software offers lead scoring to qualify your apartment leads. Lead scoring involves tracking any lead in your CRM across your multifamily website. With lead scoring, you can ascribe value to different blogs or page views, offers or email interactions. When a lead reaches a certain score, decided on by your team, they become sales qualified.
3. Automated follow-up
Automated follow-up is one of the most valuable features a CRM can offer. Once an apartment lead has been captured, it’s important to follow up with them as quickly as possible. An automated follow-up system will ensure no potential sale slips through the cracks. It allows you to set up automatic email or phone reminders to follow up with apartment leads, so you never miss an opportunity to convert them.
For example, you will want to set up automated follow-up emails for anyone who fills out a form on your multifamily website to book a tour, contact your leasing team, or if they download any of your free resources.
Don’t forget to use personalization tokens in the body copy of your email to ensure your message is catered to the specific resident. However, be cautious with personalizing your subject lines, as recent studies found that emails with personalized subject lines get lower open rates (18.79%) than those with generic ones (22.14%). Further, the personalized subject line click-through rate was 1.74% versus 2.74%.
4. Detailed customer profiles (AKA get to know your prospects)
The more information you have about a resident, the better equipped you are to provide them with what they need and want. A detailed resident profile will include contact information to lease history and interests.
This profile can also help you refine your resident buyer persona. Potential residents should never be looked at as an entry in a database or a contact in a CRM. Multifamily marketing messaging is meant to connect and provide powerful content that is useful and relevant to their problems. All the while, it’s helping transform your properties through real and honest data.
What renters perceive is reality to them, which is why it is important to ensure your residents feel comfortable and welcome at your property. This requires properties to anticipate the needs of community members, and the best way to do that is to get to know them.
Qualifying your apartment leads to increase conversions
Just because a lead is sales-qualified does not mean they are a good fit. As a multifamily marketer, you’ll likely never know if a lead meets sales’ needs. That requires sales to engage with the lead first. Instead, it’s imperative to use lead qualification methods to ensure your apartment leads are qualified from a multifamily marketing perspective and ease sales jobs on the rest.
With the right CRM tool and marketing automation software, you can more easily determine who your hot leads are and take action, so no sales fall through the cracks. Or, you can use this information to nurture those leads to eventually become leases. Ultimately, with the right tools, you’ll be well on achieving your leasing goals.
The Secret to a Successful Multifamily Marketing Strategy: Influencer Marketing
Millennial and Gen Z renters no longer consider commercials or ads the major influence in their decision-making process. Many brands know this, using their marketing tactics to focus on influencer marketing to reach beyond the typical leasing billboard.
From reviews to thought leadership, social media for apartments offers a unique outlet to build fans as an influencer. Social media influencers in the real estate world are recognized for their large following and insights covering all aspects of the multifamily space.
A strong social presence is necessary to hold an influencer status in addition to quality posts. Turning to these influencers as a voice within the industry will result in valuable relationships that companies can leverage.
So who exactly are these valuable assets?
Social media influencers are users with a large following and are “influencing” the community. They are often viewed as a more trustworthy resource than advertisers, thus better capturing an audience.
According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands. It makes sense, right? Who sounds more reliable, a brand trying to sell you something or an individual just stating opinions?
Influencer marketing has become an increasingly important tool for businesses in recent years, and the multifamily industry is no exception. Influencers are social media users with a large and engaged following who can help to promote your brand or product. When done correctly, influencer marketing can be an extremely effective way to reach new prospects and generate apartment leads.
What does influencer marketing mean for multifamily?
As property managers take to more nontraditional methods for reeling in renters, social media influencers hold an interesting opportunity for multifamily. Influencer marketing is an indispensable asset as it allows a third party to promote your property.
For instance, influencers have brought attention to properties through guest blogging and social promotion, like TweetChats. Most of them participate or host weekly Tweetchats, like #AptChat and #REOnline, where real estate professionals exchange ideas while networking. Apartment communities can join the conversation and leverage the popularity of online hashtags run by influencers.
Leveraging influencer marketing for your property
There are a few key things to remember when leveraging influencers for social media.
- First, it’s important to identify influencers who are a good fit for your multifamily brand and who have an audience that overlaps with your target market.
- Second, you’ll want to develop a clear strategy for working with influencers, including what type of content you’d like them to create and how you’ll promote it.
- Finally, ensure you measure the results of your influencer marketing campaign to continue improving your multifamily marketing strategy over time.
Connect and Engage With Influencers
Connecting with real estate professionals is the first step to becoming aware of how influencers can help your marketing. Engaging with these professionals in relevant topics will help develop a network that can be used to get involved with the community.
Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have a large commercial real estate community, so it’s important to know where to go to connect with the right professionals. TweetChats and LinkedIn groups are great places to engage with property managers, so use these to your advantage. As long as you’re getting your name out there, other professionals will start to see you as a reputable source.
Socialize With Quality
Focusing on sharing quality content is important to real estate influencers. Social media should be an outlet for property managers to be themselves and talk with other professionals. Sharing relevant content and using popular real estate hashtags will elevate your presence. Further, voicing opinions on certain trending topics will show a positive interest in building an active, involved community.
Boost Your Multifamily Marketing Efforts
Influencers are great marketing tools because they know the ins and outs of the industry. Connecting with these professionals allows property managers to market their property simply by becoming visible to their followers.
Rather than spending large marketing dollars on billboards or print ads, influencer marketing is free or significantly cheaper. Consider allowing one of these professionals to guest blog on your property’s site, for example. They can share your article with their followers, and you have more content to add. It’s a win-win!
By following these tips, you can maximize the impact of influencer marketing for your multifamily business.
Answering Your Content Marketing FAQs + 5 Key Ingredients to Multifamily Marketing
Trends come and go, and multifamily content marketing is not immune to this phenomenon either. There’s always the latest and greatest way to gain awareness and generate apartment leads. TV commercials were once all the rage; decades later, the rise of technology and a new era of consumers have limited their effectiveness.
While technology has adapted the mediums for marketing, multifamily content marketing is not a trend. Rather, it’s a strategy that is fundamental to the core of inserting thought leadership and value into marketing. It’s tried and true, and has been around for decades — only the conduit in which it is delivered has changed.
So, how do we leverage these changes? How do we extend our multifamily brand across digital platforms? And how do you measure marketing ROI?
These are questions we hear often, and we’re going to dive into each of these and offer some of our best multifamily content marketing tips for success.
What is multifamily content marketing?
The short answer is: It’s traditional marketing focused on disruptive tactics. TV commercials and radio programs have become less effective with the invention of the DVR and internet radio. Not to mention, today’s consumers are averse to traditional sales speak.
But multifamily inbound marketing takes a drastically different approach. Multifamily inbound marketing meets prospective customers by providing information about the topics they’re searching for.
Let’s take a baby boomer, for example. He’s nearing retirement and sits down at his computer to search for “best retirement cities with golf all year round.” If I’m a residential resort community that practices content marketing, I’ve already anticipated what my prospects will be searching for.
Throughout the past few months, I’ve been blogging about relevant topics, including a recent blog post that highlights cities with the best golf courses. I’m not directly selling my property, but I’m educating on what’s out there. The idea is that through education, transparency, and thought leadership, I have an excellent platform through which to tell prospective customers about my business!
Let’s extend the same approach to millennials, except this time I’m also engaging them on social media. Perhaps they’re interested in “active and health-conscious cities with good job markets.” Through relevant blog topics, interactions, and well-targeted social media advertising, I can open their eyes to a new city and a new property.
Is multifamily content marketing a cost center or business builder?
Multifamily is a game of risks and rewards. It’s a strategic bet by each developer that each project will generate the residents necessary to yield a return on their investment. In today’s crowded market, it’s never been more important to differentiate your property and generate apartment leads.
Many people view multifamily content marketing as a cost center rather than as a business builder. The perception is that multifamily marketing is necessary, but also expendable. It’s often diminished to an apartment logo or a flowery brochure. Therefore, when you need to tighten the belt … goodbye marketing!
The glaring oversight is that multifamily content marketing rarely differentiates between its audiences. Further, it is not leveraged as a tactic for achieving measurable business goals.
Historically, real estate has used a copy-paste strategy when marketing apartments. It recycles old messaging and doesn’t take into account the resident lifestyle. It seldom harnesses new technology. With new technology comes the ability to track, trace, and affect the bottom line.
Why is multifamily inbound marketing a good fit?
It’s targeted to specific personas. You’re not blanketing the market with collateral material that may land on the doorsteps of folks nowhere near the buying process.
With multifamily inbound marketing, you’re engaging in a dialogue with individuals specifically seeking the solutions you provide. Thus, you’re targeting individual personas, identifying their pain points, and creating solutions.
It delivers measurable results. Inbound is a strategic alignment of tactics that surround your business goals. Inbound multifamily marketing allows you to see real-time data on valuable metrics. By monitoring increased traffic to your site, you can determine the number of visitors that have further engaged.
How many qualified apartment leads did we drive? Did any of those apartment leads turn into residents? From there, you can associate dollars spent with dollars earned — direct ROI.
It meets your best prospects where they are. Increasingly, all generational cohorts are using the internet to research their buying decisions. Therefore, your prospective residents are expecting you to provide this information through this conduit.
What are the basics of a great content marketing strategy?
Certainly, today’s content marketing teams are giving a nod to the traditional newsroom. Head to any major corporate website — Whole Foods, Capital One, CBRE — and you’ll find evidence of a robust editorial team at work on the blog.
Essentially, you need to create a great piece of content, then adapt it across platforms. 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.
While social networks continue to grow more visual, multifamily marketing professionals will have the opportunity to be wildly creative in their cross-platform applications.
How do you justify the value (ROI) of multifamily marketing?
If you’re approaching your content marketing strategy correctly, you have the power to tie your efforts directly to ROI — both qualitative (brand-focused) and quantitative (business-focused).
Let’s take Zillow, for example. Its content strategy achieves highly targeted brand goals (i.e., establishing Zillow as a storyteller within real estate) and business goals (i.e., driving traffic to its website to increase conversions). It should work the same way for your multifamily property:
- What multifamily brand goals are you trying to achieve?
- What business goals are you trying to achieve?
No matter your business, your content marketing actions should be driven by the questions above. Only then can you develop a roadmap — one with a purpose and measurable objectives.
5 Key Ingredients of Multifamily Content Marketing
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for why content marketing is simply not a passing phase and why real estate is ready, it’s time to develop your strategy. Here are the five most important techniques to get started:
- Audience and Personas: By establishing a target market and consumer persona, you can then understand how individuals may interact with your property management site, product, or development.
- Measurable Goals and KPIs: Measuring content marketing ROI and creating quantitative and financial milestones ensures you are set up for success. Essentially, you need to determine if your marketing budget is driving residents to your property and at what cost.
- Content Strategy: Leveraging content on various online platforms not only brings awareness to your multifamily brand but also moves your audience down the buyer’s journey.
- Social Media: Determine what platforms are best to leverage your content strategy and the proper methods, content, and market for each platform.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Maximize the number of eyes on your industry-related content with multifamily SEO; this ensures the right eyes are looking at your property or development.
Ultimately, multifamily content marketing provides incredible opportunities for connection and creativity. Certainly, you don’t want to miss the opportunity.
Understanding the Relationship Between Multifamily SEO and Social Media
Did you know that multifamily SEO matters on social media?
More and more multifamily properties are hopping on social media, which serves as another channel for them to share and interact with renters and the community. But perhaps you don’t see the appeal of a social media presence?
Well, we’re here to give you another very important reason to be on social media, and that’s search engine optimization (SEO). Multifamily SEO is essentially the process of optimizing your content for search engines.
For most platforms (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr, to name a few), there are a few simple steps you can take to move your multifamily property up in search engine rankings:
How do you optimize your social media profiles?
1. List Basic Information
All social media platforms have a place for users to list basic information: Company Name, Location, About Us, Address, etc. Make sure to fill out all the information sections on your profiles with specific keywords. The more information you share, the more chances you have to be indexed by Google. Besides, you want to make sure that anyone who comes across your property online knows exactly where it’s located and how to contact you.
2. Anticipate Popular Keywords
Brainstorm words or phrases that are relevant to your multifamily property. Perhaps it’s “lofts in downtown Dallas” or “Houston apartments with a dog park.” What is your property or multifamily business offering? What would your target audience search specifically? Use these keywords at a high density throughout your social media profiles and bios; include them in your social media captions when it’s natural to do so. You also might want to use them in hashtags (within the caption and not the comments) to get users on social media to find you more easily.
3. Invite Reviews
Display a section for reviews when possible. Facebook pages have a review section on the left side panel with 1-5 star ratings for the user to evaluate and post comments. It shows real people living in your multifamily property, providing real feedback. Again, it’s more opportunities to be indexed by search engines. This also allows you to publicly address any issues that your residents may be having, ultimately showing potential residents that you’re on top of handling problems.
4. Link Often
Outbound links are one of the most important aspects to multifamily SEO, so be sure to link to other sources! In your use of social media, provide links to relevant blog articles and neighborhood events. Spread the word out about the great happenings going on around your neighborhood and property. Not only is it good for multifamily SEO, but “linking” is a great way to connect with people and businesses in your community.
5. Create Shareable Content
Inbound links are equally as important to SEO, yet you have to earn them. When people link back to your multifamily website or social media pages, it means you’re sharing content that is high quality, compelling, and helpful.
Some ideas include:
- Make and share a weekly newsletter with information about what’s going on at your property.
- Post interior design tips for small living spaces.
- Write about apartment decorating and storage hacks.
- Promote local events and happy hour specials in your community.
Creating shareable content starts with knowing your audience and what they would find interesting and resourceful.
6. Utilize Multifamily PPC
While SEO is the organic approach to driving traffic, multifamily PPC is the paid. PPC ads display at the top or in the sidebar of search engine results. A successful multifamily PPC campaign combines your keyword research and your insights to design highly targeted ads that drive traffic to your website. It’s important to note that well-qualified traffic is the result of research and continued testing. Understanding your residents should be an ongoing learning process and the foundation of any SEO or PPC campaign (not to mention, all digital marketing).
7. Update Your Instagram Bio
Potential renters don’t just use Google to find new apartments, they use Instagram too. They go to the search bar on the explore page a type in “apartments in [city]” and maybe even include a descriptor such as “affordable” or “luxury.”
The way you give your property’s account the best chance of showing up in a related search is by adding keywords right into the “Name” of your profile’s bio. While the label for this section might make you assume you’re limited to just having your property’s name, there are actually no rules for this section. You can put whatever you want for your bio’s name. There’s also quite a bit of space you have to work with.
Here are some examples:
- Rio Villa Apartments | San Angelo, TX
- LVL 29 | Luxury Apartments in Plano
- Willow Creek | Affordable Apartments in Austin
- Prairie Pride | New Homes in Midlothian
If you feel like your Instagram handle is enough to communicate the name of your property, you could even remove the name entirely and focus more on longer or multiple keywords.
Following these simple steps is a great way to improve your search engine ranking with the social media platforms you’re already using. It ultimately makes your content easier to find, allows you to connect with your audience, and helps you build the brand that you’re striving towards.
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.
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:
- 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. 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:
- Company name
- Job title
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.
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.
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 content 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.