Marketing Tactics You Need to Know
By Barbara Ballinger
Four strategies property managers are using as leasing pickups.
Many companies are rolling out marketing and advertising campaigns using a wide variety of strategic approaches. Here are four that impressed us for their creativity and potential to reach and retain existing residents.
1. Predictive marketing
"We are living in the age of data overload," says Faith Aids, Vice President of Marketing and Branding for the Laramar Group, based in both Chicago and Denver. "Prospects are engaging with our community brands over numerous channels. The way they consume content is all over the place, and they do their homework before making a buying decision."
Laramar manages 17,000-plus units in 11 states. Because the company has access to more data than ever, it is taking greater advantage of "predictive marketing," which focuses on data interactions to find patterns and anticipate results, Aids says. "We're testing out systems that take data analytics beyond what Google Analytics offers to serve up more curated content on our website and spot trends earlier."
2. Refine marketing reports
Wood Partners, based in Atlanta and one of the largest merchant builders nationally, aims to better determine the future success of its marketing plans, says Managing Director Steve Hallsey. "We want to attain a more accurate indication of how each dollar spent drives velocity and leasing. Too often the solution is to throw more money into marketing when there is a leasing issue [rather] than understand what currently is working and what's not."
Digital marketing produces 50 percent of Wood's leases, yet the company plans to spend 70 percent of its funds and devote 70 percent of its time on digital to target potential renters, it is using proven internet listing services (ILS), strategic search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns, cost-effective pay-per-click (PPC) strategies, intense focus on ratings and reviews, and smart search engine marketing (SEM) tactics.
Since Wood has also found that 30 percent of prospective residents come from organic marketing, it employs signs, banners and flags that can be seen when driving or walking by a property. The company plans to do a better job of developing more visible, enticing designs, possibly by varying size, design or color, Hallsey says. The final 20 percent of prospects—including those renewing—come from the company's Ground Floor Project, which brings artists, musicians and influencers to a property to create special engagement. But Wood wants to go beyond a wine-and-cheese event to create memories and word-of-mouth marketing.
3. Maximize Google Beacon
By using Bluetooth hardware technology, Google Beacon relays through nearby smart devices important information about prospective residents coming to its sites. ZRS Management, a management company based in Orlando, Fla., is installing Beacon at or near the front door of many of the company's leasing offices. The devices ping each mobile device in order to track the success of the company's various advertising and marketing efforts, says Jeremy Brown, Vice President of Marketing. "Results allow us to determine the impact of ads in bringing apartment shoppers to our doors, since many prospects walk through before filling out contact forms," he says.
For example, ZRS might evaluate whether including washer and dryer keywords attract more prospective residents or whether a prospective resident prefers a property located near a company's headquarters. "Google ads are more expensive than other digital ad options, so we use them for properties where they are most applicable," Brown says.
4. Continue to strengthen the bridge between marketing and sales efforts.
RKW Residential, based in Charlotte, N.C., manages 20,000 units in six states. "We are very mindful that our job as the marketing team doesn't end once we've reached a certain click-through percentage or total number of leads generated," says Joya Pavesi, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategy. "We work very closely with our operational team to ensure that we have strong efforts and training focused on what happens after a prospect transitions from the marketing funnel into the sales funnel."
At RKW, an in-house digital marketing analyst tracks benchmarks for a core set of key performance indicators (KPIs), such as the amount of time it takes for follow-up to occur or frequency of follow-up. "We are constantly analyzing what's most effective to get prospects to come in for a tour and eventually rent. We also want to know where there are opportunities for us to improve and identify ways we can be effective," says Pavesi.