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Marketing Strategy Toolbox: Addressing Renter Demographics

marketing strategy
September 2018

Resident attraction and retention are essential to a stable NOI.

One key variable to consider in developing the right marketing strategy for any apartment property is varying resident demographics.

Evaluating the best way to reach prospective residents in a wide variety of age ranges and lifestyles can help property owners and managers create impactful marketing that drives a property’s success for the long-term.

With more than 23,600 units under management across 162 properties, Western National has assembled strategies for every rental housing marketer’s toolbox.

Choose Digital Platforms Wisely

Nearly every potential resident will find their apartment via the Internet. Hence, online presence and reputation management is vital to every property’s survival in competitive and non-competitive markets.

Hand-in-hand with online reputation management is a proactive and well-planned social media strategy.

For example, 62 percent of Baby Boomers use Facebook, while only 8 percent are on Instagram, where Millennials are much more prevalent.

Understanding where a demographic spends most of its time online is key to ensuring marketing success. Rental-housing owners and managers should plan their marketing accordingly, ensuring that relevant social platforms are used to reach different generations of residents.

Additionally, marketing content must change depending on renter demographics. For instance, promoting new security installations is not as likely to attract a Millennial renter, whose primary concern is convenience, ease and speed of service. For the Millennial, marketing messages around services such as valet garbage pick-up, food delivery or grocery shopping services are likely to be far more impactful.

Millennials seek high-tech amenities or services, while Baby Boomers and Gen Xers look for family-friendly communal areas, security systems, high-tech home furnishings and concierge services.

Understanding the preferences of each age group and marketing accordingly will become an increasingly important strategy for owners and managers in the years ahead.

Consider Lifestyles

When deciding on marketing strategies, ensure to account for resident lifestyles.

For example: Provide night owl residents with a 24-hour coffee maker in common areas or offer an exclusive key for late-night fitness center usage. If a community’s residents are studious, set up property-wide quiet hours during exam weeks.

These lifestyle perks will cultivate a sense of community for retention and can be touted on websites and in digital marketing for resident attraction.

Take Conversations Online

Understanding differentiates an asset from its competitors is the foundation of successfully marketing it.

This marketing strategy is comprised of two steps: Ongoing surveys and public discussion.

One of the most effective marketing strategies to employ is gathering feedback on a regular basis. Asking questions such as, “What made you choose to live here?” and, “How has our property management team exceeded expectations?” help to give Western National the insight it needs to assess and shape internal and external marketing messages.

Next, work to share those messages in authentic conversations via online forums and posts. By actively engaging in conversations with our residents—both current and prospective—we are able to demonstrate our core positioning as a team that offers quality living while caring about our residents.

Much of this public discussion is hosted on review sites such as Yelp. Sites like these have the potential to be harmful to a community’s reputation; however, by monitoring them frequently and addressing concerns in real time with genuine answers, managers can successfully increase current and potential renter confidence.

Authentic, honest conversation with residents on public digital platforms can be a powerful tool when they are conducting their own research and making renting decisions.

The Bottom Line

A polished and proven marketing strategy is an important tool to maintain a thriving apartment community.

By wisely selecting digital platforms, considering resident lifestyles and conducting open, honest and well-planned conversations online, managers and owners can maximize marketing budgets and find success in resident attraction and retention.

From there, the truest key to marketing is following through by promptly fulfilling resident requests and needs. These strategies help strengthen brand loyalty and ultimately serve the greatest purpose: Upholding renter satisfaction, resulting in a strong NOI for the long-term.

Scott Wickman is the Regional Vice President of Western National Property Management.