You already recognize the power of Instagram to reach out to renters, but are you making the most of your Instagram multifamily marketing efforts?
In today’s marketing environment, the incredible potential of Instagram cannot be denied. In fact, according to the independent social media analytics company Hootsuite, 7.7 billion people (a full eighth of the total global population) now have Instagram accounts.
Even better, Intstagram is particularly effective at reaching key marketing demographics. Analytics data shows that 71% of Instagram users around the world are 34 years old or younger. Furthermore, Instagram use is at its highest (60%) among individuals who make more than $100,000 a year.
So how can you use Instagram in the rental property sector to maximize your multifamily marketing outreach? Well, in today’s competitive market, it’s simply not enough to create and maintain a standard company Instagram page.
If you want to tap into the full potential of Instagram, you need to educate yourself on what makes this popular social media site truly unique. Here are just a few multifamily marketing strategies that will optimize your Instagram presence.
1. Make Strategic Use of Hashtags
Although hashtags have become prevalent across the broad spectrum of social media, Instagram has built hashtags directly into the basic search functions of the site. In other words, hashtags are just as important as keywords when it comes to driving consumer traffic for marketing purposes.
By choosing your hashtags carefully, you can reach out to the Instagram users who are most likely to help you reach your lease-up goals. Precise location hashtags, for example #parkslopebrooklynapartments, can help neighborhood-conscious apartment hunters find your listings with ease.
Instagram is also uniquely positioned to help you capitalize on non-industry hashtags that are already trending. By piggybacking on extremely popular hashtags such as #tbt and #nofilter you can extend your reach into a whole new market.
2. Regram Relevant Posts from Others
Unlike its cousins Facebook and Twitter, Instagram doesn’t readily support reposting or sharing the content of other users. In fact, a preponderance of multifamily housing providers don’t even know that Instagram reposting is possible.
But with the help of third-party digital applications such as Websta and Repost, you can gain a considerable advantage over your competitors by regramming the relevant content of other Instagram users. This strategy can help you capitalize on the perceived authenticity that goes hand in hand with user-generated content (UGC).
In the realm of multifamily marketing, effective UGC might include a photograph of existing residents enjoying the apartment complex pool on a sunny day. Marketers can maximize the outreach of their UGC campaign by uniting it under a creative branded hashtag and encouraging residents to use this hashtag when posting content that relates to their living environment/lifestyle.
3. Use the Instagram Stories Feature
Introduced in 2016 to compete with a similar feature on Snapchat, Instagram Stories is an exceptional way to present time-sensitive content. Briefly described, Instagram Stories allows marketers to gather a number of images and video clips into a single piece of multifaceted content that will delete automatically after 24 hours.
Like the reposting of Instagram content, the use of the Instagram Stories feature is woefully underused by multifamily marketers, providing another great opportunity for you to get a significant jump on the competition. The Instagram Stories format offers an exceptional way to frame in-depth and timely information.
Consider using it to tell the story of ongoing structural renovations or present the highlights of an open house or a special event for residents. To promote your organization itself and its exceptional team members, you can use Instagram Stories to post a “behind the scenes” peek at the daily activities of a top property manager, leasing agent, or administrative executive.
4. Change Your Bio Link to Direct Traffic
While other leading social media sites allow users to post unlimited clickable links, Instagram restricts users to a single clickable link within the biography section of their profile. This may work great when it comes to keeping visitors on Instagram for longer periods of time, but it makes marketing on the site exceptionally difficult.
Wise marketers, however, can get around this clickable link conundrum by frequently changing their Instagram bio link to lead visitors to the most important promotions of the day. This strategy can really set you apart from competitors who have adopted a “set it and forget it” bio link approach that simply sends visitors to a generic homepage, landing page, or “about us” page.
Multifamily marketers can post pictures of vacant apartments on their main Instagram page after changing their bio link to an official website URL dedicated to that particular apartment. If you choose to pursue this strategy, just be sure to include a statement such as “click the link in our bio to learn more” next to the pictures that you post.
5. Pay Close Attention to the Brands Your Followers Follow
To create marketing content that will truly resonate with your audience, you need to tailor it after the content that they already love. To discover the other brands and organizations that your Instagram followers follow, begin by selecting one of your followers and clicking on the “following” count of that follower. From there, you can sort through the different accounts that he or she follows concentrating solely on brands and organizations.
Contact Bigeye to learn more
Bigeye is taking digital marketing into the future with innovative social media strategies that have proven to drive conversions. If you’re ready to push your multifamily marketing efforts forward, contact us.
Marketing for Multifamily, Student Housing, and Senior Living Developments
In this week’s episode of In Clear Focus, Bigeye account manager Matt Cummings shares his observations about the importance of marketing in the multifamily, student housing, and senior living development and management industry. Matt discusses hot topics in multifamily development and identifies trends that are reshaping the industry.
Adrian Tennant: You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS: A unique perspective on the business of advertising. Produced by Bigeye. I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, VP of insights at Bigeye. For those of you who don’t know us, Bigeye is an audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency. We’re based in Orlando, Florida, but serve clients across the United States and beyond, providing audience research, branding, creative, media and analytics services. Thank you for choosing to spend time with us today. For this episode, it’s my pleasure to be joined by Matt Cummings, Bigeye’s account manager dedicated to guiding engagements with the agency’s clients in multifamily, active adult, student living, and co-living community development and management. Matt is the newest member of the Bigeye team but was previously our client as regional marketing manager for Greystar Real Estate Partners, here in Orlando. At Greystar, Matt was responsible for business development, brand development, client relationship management, and acting as the project manager for all marketing-related efforts for regionally-managed assets. Welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS, Matt.
Matt Cummings: Thank you.
Adrian Tennant: So can you tell us something about what initially attracted you to Bigeye when you were a client?
Matt Cummings: Absolutely. Well, when I worked with Bigeye as a client in my previous role, I was always incredibly impressed with their team and the level of work that they had produced for my projects. I saw that passion and collaboration among team members and those are just two qualities that I would strive for internally with my teams. I really enjoyed my conversations with Justin and hearing of his vision for Bigeye’s expansion in the property development industry. And I always felt that I had to be right there with him to assist and make it happen. But aside from that, I’m also honored just to work with such a creative and fresh group of professionals. The team here is definitely full of talent and I just can’t wait to learn from everyone as we take this journey together.
Adrian Tennant: That’s great. Well, now you’ve been on the Bigeye team for a little while, what’s been the most surprising thing about working on the agency side as opposed to being the client?
Matt Cummings: Well, I can tell you that I have a newfound appreciation for agencies and the level of detail and work that goes into every project and decision making, the amount of collaboration that I’ve been a part of has been refreshing. And just being able to listen to different perspectives and also weigh in on decisions has been really exciting for me. I guess I just never really fully understood or appreciated the work that goes on behind the scenes when I was a client. But being here it truly opens my eyes to what we do here.
Adrian Tennant: So what does your role as account manager at Bigeye look like? Describe a day in the life, if you will.
Matt Cummings: Well, my role is pretty unique here. It does allow for increased ability to focus on bringing in new business and introducing my multifamily and student living colleagues to an agency that speaks their language. But I also get to work on our active projects that are in progress and just shadow the different teams within the agency to understand what they do to help me get the deliverables that we’re working towards for our clients. I can honestly say that I haven’t had a routine day just yet. But a constant has been starting my day with our full team production meeting, which is really fun to see everyone and hear what they’re working on and then immediately filling up my coffee mug to get my day started.
Adrian Tennant: So what do you think are some of the most common challenges facing clients in the multifamily development and management space right now?
Matt Cummings: Well with marketing, I would say that developers and management companies have different expectations and requests when working with agencies like Bigeye but there is a bit of an overlap. So usually with developers, they tend to work on their projects years in advance and they have a wealth of knowledge of their communities long before they even come to fruition. But finding a true creative partner to help bring this information to a brand identity and then tell the story of the community is a challenge simply because there aren’t a lot of agencies in my experience that understand what this type of work truly is. And with management companies, they’re just looking for someone who understands how to take a brand identity, make it tangible, and usually cost-effective so that they can effectively lease up their communities. And usually, it’s as quick as possible. But for both groups, there is a layer of thinking outside of the box that everyone strives for. Since the rental industry tends to be highly competitive with many options for prospects to choose from, they just want to know how to differentiate their product and honestly just be the most profitable in the process.
Adrian Tennant: How do you think a multifamily marketing agency such as Bigeye can be of most help?
Matt Cummings: While the fact that Bigeye already has an extensive portfolio of property-related projects and experience working with management companies and developers in the past – that allows for more of a productive collaboration from the get-go. As a client, it’s certainly made my job easier when we were able to skip the educational part of the apartment industry for each project and just move right into deliverables and discovery. They just got it. And, I think with my addition to the team and the experience that I bring, I can help our current and new clients get it even more.
Adrian Tennant: That’s great. So how does your approach to marketing student housing developments differ from apartment marketing?
Matt Cummings: Well, with student housing it’s a bit of a different trick. Usually, they’re focused on events. I’m really focused on what we can do with the university, what we can do with a college, honestly tying in that school spirit to show that we’re one of them, or at least we try to be. And focusing on the organizations they are part of, and it’s really just being relatable. I think with newer renters and college, universities, and off-campus housing, they don’t want to be sold to. So you have to truly just help them understand what type of lifestyle you’re selling to them, without it coming across as selling.
Adrian Tennant: You said reflecting the college spirit. Are we talking branding that reflects the sports teams and colors and all of that?
Matt Cummings: All the above. Yeah. We have to show them that we’re a part of every team that they have, whether it’s football or chess.
Adrian Tennant: Nice – nice one. How do you approach marketing for a senior living community?
Matt Cummings: That one, it’s a bit trickier. It’s a lot of similar approaches, but just different execution. We’re not going to focus on school spirit here, but we are going to focus on their care and showing that we’re not here to just lease them an apartment but here to show them what the lifestyle would be living here and that we’re here to take care of them. I’m really just selling the convenience of living in an apartment community and all that we offer them. Typically with active adults, they tend to previously have owned homes and they’re looking to downsize or maybe save some money and just find somewhere that is convenient, comfortable and it gives them an opportunity to live their life now. A lot of times, we see that they’re retired, so they just want to be able to relax and enjoy everything that they have to offer. But they also look for a lot of guidance. They want to understand what the process is for renting from an apartment community. Typically they haven’t had to do it before or they haven’t had to do it for a long time. So the lifespan of someone renting an apartment community in active adult is typically a lot longer than someone in multifamily. So it’s just showing that we’re there to help them, we’re there to show you what the lifestyle would be and that we’re going to take care of them when they move in.
Adrian Tennant: Right. So what kind of assets are we talking about, to communicate that message?
Matt Cummings: A very easy-to-use website. Very convenient office hours. So finding the time to come to the office and explain everything in person with them. And marketing materials do help with that. We do find that they like to have paper in front of them and like to make notes. So being able to provide them with those, those assets to do so. And a lot of resident event inspired collateral. So showing them that we do have, you know, a night where they can come and meet their neighbors or something, some sort of craft activity, anything holiday-inspired. They do love that, so just developing materials that speak to that.
Adrian Tennant: The way you described it, it’s not sounding so different from the student housing! I like that. Alright. So tell me a little bit about your process for assessing the marketing requirements for a new property development. And for the sake of this conversation, let’s talk about apartments.
Matt Cummings: Well, every development, they have a similar structure. But typically what I would want to know is the story behind the decision of how they even decided to develop there, why they decided to develop the asset they are and just what their short and long-term goals are. Every developer has a different strategy for their investment or the community they’re building, so it’s really important to know that from the get-go. But typically they’ve already done extensive research, so being able to discuss their findings and understand audience and marketing opportunities is usually very beneficial. From there, everything else just comes into play. We’d like to understand who the management company is and develop a strong rapport with them to ensure that we’re not only providing them with everything they need, but helping them execute on those deliverables, and make sure that their team has everything they need to effectively lease the community up.
Adrian Tennant: Okay. How do you keep up with trends in multifamily marketing?
Matt Cummings: Well, everyone says that the multifamily industry is essentially one giant family. And I’m here to tell you it’s true and that’s the best way to keep up. Honestly, I just, I keep in touch with all the friends I’ve made, all the colleagues, the mentors that I’ve had since I’ve started in this industry and just understanding what they’re doing, what they’re working on, what they’re hearing is the hottest trend. There’s always a story to share and there’s always a topic to talk about, but I would say if you put us in a room together, we can probably go on for hours and hours. And from there you just learn. But aside from that, I do try to stay active with our local apartment association. So here in Orlando, it’s the AAGO, the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando. I do try to attend any industry-related conferences across the country just to hear from different experts, leadership executives in this space and what they’re working on. And then I usually do try to meet with the local reps. There’s local account reps with ILSs, just to hear what they’re seeing for rent growth, occupancy shifts, new development pipelines, and it’s really crazy what information you can get from those reports and understand what type of marketing strategies you need for communities, knowing what the market looks like.
Adrian Tennant: Now a little bit of industry jargon just crept into that explanation. Help me understand, Matt – an I-L-S?
Matt Cummings: Internet Listing Service. So basically, when a prospect is looking for an apartment or when someone’s looking for an apartment, they start their search usually on Google and that will lead them to usually paid advertisements, websites, and apartment locators. So, think of like apartments.com or apartmentguide.com, Zillow. Those are some common ILS’s that prospects would look to, to find information. It basically just streamlines all the apartments that are in their query or in their search results and it gives them options to choose from. And it basically helps them just develop a short list that they can go and work off of when they’re touring properties. When you know there’s 50 to 100 properties per market. So usually the account reps that work for those ILS’s, have a lot of really good information and good data that we can look at and understand and just develop good conversation from.
Adrian Tennant: That’s interesting. So, they are a source of information, potentially referrals for you. Do you see any differences generationally in the ways that people navigate the search process online? Are there any differences or do we all pretty much use the internet in the same way at this point?
Matt Cummings: No, I think there’s definitely a strong differential between how people use the internet and what they prefer. A lot of folks that are maybe in an older generation, they will prefer to call or set up an appointment and have more of an in person meeting to understand what you’re providing them, go through all their questions they have and see things in person. We find that a lot of newer renters don’t like that. It’s actually the complete opposite. So there are folks out there that are trying to find the easiest ways for a prospect to tour their property without even talking to somebody. So really it comes down to what you think your audience will look like or what the audience will be. And then tailoring every decision making around that. So it could be a more enhanced website or 3D tours on your website or just having more Q&A information for folks that typically would have more questions when they’re searching for an apartment and just tailoring it to make it as easy as possible for them.
Adrian Tennant: That’s so interesting. Research we’ve done into Generation Z and their habits regarding banking, we found that the majority of Gen Z actually don’t want to have a phone call with anybody; they’re much more interested in using a chat or a chat bot, to get their questions answered. So it seems like it’s the same in your world.
Matt Cummings: Oh yeah, for sure. I mean a lot of websites now, especially in student living, have chat features integrated with their website so they can ask all the questions they want. Typically it’s either a very responsive bot feature or it’s someone on the other side that’s actually answering the questions. Texting is really big as well. Being able to text the property to set up an appointment or just text the property and ask them what their availability is for one-bedroom is a huge feature as well. Actually, it’s interesting because a lot of questions typically get asked through social media as well. They know there’s a website, but they want to hear from individuals or from people on-site what their questions are and they want to be able to have that conversation through Facebook, Instagram, whatever they use.
Adrian Tennant: And I’m guessing a lot of this interaction takes place outside of regular office hours.
Matt Cummings: Oh yeah. Nine, 10 o’clock at night. They’re getting messages on Facebook and they expect a response pretty quickly.
Adrian Tennant: Okay – always on call. Alright, so you mentioned attending conferences, conventions, keeping up to date with the latest trends. What’s like a super hot topic in the world of apartment marketing right now?
Matt Cummings: Well, I would say that all multifamily related topics are hot and I’m sure a lot of people would agree with that as well. But joking aside, I would say biggest focus topics within the industry are centered around the discovery journey for prospects, so going from their search journey all the way up until the day they move in, understanding what folks look for, how to make that as easy as possible and just focusing on the user experience. Another big topic is anything tech-inspired. Again, focusing on that, that journey, but also tech-inspired features and amenities in the apartments, at the community -anything they can use while living there to make it more interactive, more of an interactive experience for living there. And then finally I would say identifying resident preferences, but then taking it a step further, leveraging that information to ensure that each of our communities has a high retention rate. A big focus is not only getting residents to decide they want to live in an apartment community but keeping them there, engaging them and making them feel like this is a home they want for a long period of time rather than thinking of it as a short-term rental option. That’s always been a hot topic for any management company, I think.
Adrian Tennant: So what companies in the industry do you most admire, and why?
Matt Cummings: Well, you’d be surprised with how many companies actually work in the multifamily student industries. There are a lot, but, I do find all of them to be incredibly beneficial for all of the different resources they provide. And I would say a management company also finds it vital that they use their company options as well. But there’s a few that I’ve really enjoyed working with in the past. Engrain is a hot company out there right now. They’re actually based in Denver. They develop a lot of interactive sitemap tools for the website and for the online leasing and in-office displays. I’ve worked with them in the past, on the management side, and they’ve always been incredibly beneficial to work with and they’re always looking for how they can take their services and, and go one step beyond and working with managing companies to develop that partnership. So I really enjoy working with them. And then honestly I’d like to mention Benson Integrated Marketing. They have been really an incredible partner for a lot of the signage side of marketing- print needs, promo items. They’re pretty popular in the multifamily space and student living space. So, they know what they’re doing and they really truly focused on multifamily, so that helps them build better conversations with the multifamily management folks. And they also just, I think get it.
Adrian Tennant: So there’s something else I want to explore: this was new to me, the idea of co-living spaces. Is this like co-working spaces?
Matt Cummings: It’s a little different. Think of adult student dorms where oftentimes the spaces might be a little smaller. They are a little bit less expensive and then you’re sharing some common space. So there could be larger living rooms that everyone kind of gathers in or does work in, shared kitchen sometimes. And oftentimes they’ll be fully-furnished so that all they have to do is get their keys and move in. So that’s really, really cool. It’s a new concept. I think it’s still pretty new to a lot of markets, but it’s coming and it’s a great option for more urban cities that are just losing real estate. They have to go vertical or figure out a new way to use the space. And, co-living apartments is definitely a way of the future, I think.
Adrian Tennant: Right. You heard it here first.
Matt Cummings: Yeah, that’s right – here at Bigeye!
Adrian Tennant: Marvelous. So let’s change gears a bit. Tell us about your background, Matt. How did you get to where you are today?
Matt Cummings: Well I started as an unpaid marketing intern as a college student. I had to go through the process of finding an apartment for myself and I was touring student living communities and I thought, “Man, this is a pretty cool job. Like they get to sit here and tour students and make friends and hopefully they get a discount on rent too.” So that’s kind of where I started my journey. I actually went to USF in Tampa. So, “Go Bulls,” for anyone that’s listening. But then from there I just, I found a real interest in it, I graduated from USF with my marketing degree and I worked my way up as a leasing manager. I was a property manager for a very short time, realized that I wasn’t a big fan of that. And then I eventually grew and started traveling with different companies, more of a regional marketing sales trainer type of role. And then landed at Greystar and multifamily, working on a lot of new developments, business proposals for marketing, marketing strategies, budgets. And here I am today, eight years later.
Adrian Tennant: As you know, at Bigeye, we have a great internship program. We’re actually joined by a couple of interns in the studio today. So, thinking about them, what advice would you like to give to our interns if they are interested in a career in agency account management?
Matt Cummings: I would say if you’re focused on what I’m focused on and that’s multifamily and student living, just working in the apartment industry, I guess, or any business really, this kind of works both ways is thinking like an owner. That was advice that was given to me, well into my career of working in the apartment industry. And it really changes your perception of how you make decisions. It’s really easy just to give away the farm or to make things as affordable as possible. But when you start to understand that from a business perspective and understand how that can affect your bottom line or your decision making or the brand of whatever you’re trying to sell or what you’re trying to lease, it certainly makes your brain think a different way. Um, so that’d be my first advice. Honestly, just getting involved in any type of project management, uh, related jobs that you can get in is really helpful. This is a very, very busy agency to work in or I guess an industry to work in. So being able to effectively communicate, being able to effectively keep organized all of your projects. Um, and then just asking a lot of questions even though it may not pertain to you, ask why, ask how, and, understand what makes things work. I think that’s, that’s definitely very helpful to understand.
Adrian Tennant: Now you mentioned that we are a very busy agency – yes, we are! What is one common myth about working in advertising – now that you’ve been here for a while – that you think needs to be debunked?
Matt Cummings: Well I would say before I worked at Bigeye or before I worked in the apartment industry, whenever I would hear the words, “advertising agency,” I would automatically think of one of those classified ads you’d see in a newspaper or think of a billboard. Those are true, but it goes way beyond that. And it’s funny because when people ask me now, “What do you do?” or “What does Bigeye do”, it’s like, well, how much time do you have? Because our capabilities deck is just incredible. It’s hard to really focus on everything that we provide and just call it an advertising agency, creative agency, whatever you want to call it. But I would say that beyond what everyone thinks or beyond any myth that might be out there, we work as true partners. And I think from day one, we’re already acting as, kind of an investment into your brand or to your company or whatever it is you’re trying to work on. And that we go beyond, I think hopefully we go beyond any expectations they have.
Adrian Tennant: Now, are you a listener to podcasts or music?
Matt Cummings: I’m definitely more of a music listener. It calms me. I have a very active brain – there’s always something going on up there. So music helps me focus for sure. In the morning, during work, and the evening before I go to bed, I’m always listening to something.
Adrian Tennant: Okay. What’s on your playlist?
Matt Cummings: Right now it’s a lot of Dave Matthews band. I really like Lizzo as well. It gets me ready in the morning. And every so often I’ll listen to Ellie Goulding just to calm me down.
Adrian Tennant: Great. Okay. So I saved the best question to last: what does having a CLEAR FOCUS mean to you?
Matt Cummings: Well, that is a great question. For me personally, I have a clear focus when I understand goals and objectives from the get-go. Like at Bigeye, I would like to think of myself as audience-focused. So I really enjoy having a common goal to work towards and then having the ability to refer to it throughout the progress of a project just to keep everything and everyone aligned. I think when you refer back to that goal and you refer back to why we’re here in the first place, it makes it a lot easier to get through a project and it makes it, it keeps everyone in the same flow I would say. So if they see it and I see it, then to me that’s having a clear focus.
Adrian Tennant: Great answer, Matt. It’s been a real pleasure. Thank you. Thank you to our guest, Matt Cummings, account manager at Bigeye. You’ve been listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business advertising, produced by Bigeye. If you have questions about the content of today’s show, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll also find a transcript of today’s show on our website at bigeyeagency.com. I’m Adrian Tennant. Thank you for listening. Until next time, goodbye.
Among the countless advantages that digital marketing has over traditional media marketing, geo-fencing ranks near the top.
Briefly defined, geo-fencing establishes an invisible perimeter (or “fence”) that covers a particular geographic region, allowing digital marketers to specifically target the audience that lies within it.
Countless industries and business sectors have benefited from geo-fencing, but its value to marketers within the residential real estate sector cannot be underestimated.
As the old cliche goes, the three most important criteria for determining real estate desirability are location, location, location. Renters in search of a new apartment almost invariably look within very specific areas and have little interest in properties that lie outside of those areas.
Geo-fencing allows you to make the most of your marketing efforts by reaching out to apartment-hunters inside a precise geographic region that you are able to define and alter at will.
With geo-fencing, you can program automatic alerts to launch to smartphone users who happen to stray close to your apartment community. Prospective tenants who are using Zillow, Yelp, Pandora, or any other mobile app that supports geo-fencing are instantly identified through technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) or the Global Positioning System (GPS) and can receive one or more instant alerts when they enter your targeted area.
3 Key Benefits of Geo-Fencing
Unsurprisingly, more and more apartment marketers are employing geo-fencing to specifically target individuals who are most likely to engender conversions and, ultimately, fill property vacancies. The majority of prospective tenants also benefit from geo-fencing. After all, what apartment hunter wouldn’t appreciate a tip or a special offer regarding a great place in an ideal location?
Here are just three key advantages of apartment marketing and hunting with geo-fencing:
1. Optimized search operations based on location
Real estate websites and online rental databases that employ geo-fencing technology do much of the legwork for apartment hunters by automatically and instantaneously sorting through a nearly infinite number of listings to show only the properties that fall within the parameters of a specific geographic location. In addition to targeting only the most likely future tenants on an individual basis, geo-fencing allows apartment marketers to send them relevant sale suggestions at the most opportune moments.
2. The delivery of key apartment information in real-time
In addition to sending relevant listings to a localized audience and vacancy alerts to individuals who are close to your various listings, geo-fencing technology can aid with prompt apartment showings and spur-of-the-moment apartment applications. More generally speaking, it can do wonders when it comes to helping apartment complexes and other real estate organizations build their brand and engage with the most relevant audience possible. After all, why spend the money and energy on an extensive and protracted branding campaign that will reach thousands or even millions of uninterested people?
Geo-fencing goes a long way toward placing the power to find and obtain the perfect apartment in the palm of any smartphone user’s hand. In addition to optimizing the online apartment hunting process, geo-fencing allows even the least tech-savvy Zillow, Redfin, or Realtor.com users to schedule relevant apartment search alerts that do most of the hunting for them. By setting specific rental interest criteria within a particular geographic area, they can let their favorite real estate app do the work, notifying them of key apartment prospects while they concentrate on career, family, and other important matters.
To Learn More
If you have any questions about geo-fencing for apartments, contact the real estate marketing leaders at BIGEYE today. The professionals at BIGEYE offer a broad spectrum of marketing services that can benefit anyone in the property rental sector.
If you want to win in the apartment marketing game, you need to be a “brand for all seasons”. Here’s what that designation means.
Perhaps you’ve heard the old joke about auto mechanics telling new drivers that they need to add more “blinker fluid” or replace the “summer air” in their tires with “winter air?”
If you tell someone who doesn’t understand the apartment rental space that you need “summer marketing” and “winter marketing,” they too might feel that you’re having a bit of fun at their expense. The truth, however, is that apartment marketing is highly seasonal. To do it effectively, you need to be a brand for all seasons.
Let’s take a closer look at why apartment marketing is seasonal, and some relevant strategies you can employ each time the weather changes.
Why Apartment Marketing is Seasonal
If you’re wondering why marketers need to vary their approach by season, the answer is simple: Because buyers vary their behavior. Most leases end in the spring and summer, which means that the market experiences its highest volume of prospective buyers during the warmest months.
If you’re a savvy marketer, you prepare for this influx of interest. It’s also important to understand why rentals peak in warmer months. The start of a new college year, for example, results in a rush for new rental accommodations. Marketers need to be aware of this and tailor some of their offerings to the college demographic.
Higher birth rates, necessitating new living spaces
Marketers who are ahead of the curve consider all of these elements and calibrate their campaigns accordingly. Additionally, when interest drops off in fall and winter, marketers can adjust their approach as needed. If too much inventory remains unrented, marketers can design campaigns with special incentives to encourage prospects to move sooner than they were planning to.
Some On-trend Ideas for Apartment Marketers
360 degree videos and virtual reality. Today’s apartment renters are extremely tech savvy. They use popular real estate platforms to explore properties and neighborhoods from the comfort of their couch, taking full advantage of tools such as Google Maps and Street View. Smart marketers understand that “couch browsing” has become an unofficial national pastime. 360 degree walkthrough videos show off a property in a way that static photography simply cannot match. By providing 360 degree videos and VR/AR walkthrough content, you can differentiate your offering and give browsers exactly the type of experience that excites and intrigues.
Offer seasonally targeted marketing initiatives involving your complexes. Is it spring? Then partner with a local college to co-sponsor a gardening class. Is it fall? Then organize pumpkin carving or trick or treat experiences within your complex. Is it winter? Then build a massive snowman outside of your complex and add an advertising sign to go with his corncob pipe and button nose. No matter what season it is, be fun, creative and relevant.
Create a YouTube channel with interesting content and do-it-yourself tips for renters. This is a great way to engage with people and build awareness, but it’s important to make a commitment to produce strong content on a regular basis. Additionally, you should make an equal commitment to optimizing your video content so it’s seen by large (and geographically relevant) viewers.
Finding the Right Apartment Marketing Partner
At Bigeye, we’re the apartment marketing specialists. Contact us today to learn how we can help you maximize your marketing potential — in any season.
Most multifamily marketers know the importance of promoting the features of their communities, but fewer fully grasp the importance of apartment branding.
Multifamily marketers tend to spend a lot of time highlighting their available vacancies, touting structural and functional details that range from vaulted ceilings and granite countertops to scenic views and smart appliances. While this marketing approach is certainly valuable, trying to implement it without first establishing a solid apartment brand is like trying to put a coat of paint on a building before pouring its concrete foundation.
Real estate industry statistical research firmly supports this view of apartment branding as supremely important. The Harvard Business Review, for example, reports that 64% of people cite shared values as their principal motivation for developing a consumer relationship with a particular brand. Covering the other side of the consumer/business coin, the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report has shown that 57% of small business owners regard strong relationships with consumers as the chief force behind ongoing/repeat business.
In short, it is absolutely essential to create, institute, and cultivate an apartment branding strategy that says something powerful and unique about your multifamily community. Furthermore, it is vital that you continually monitor the overall effectiveness of your exiting brand to ensure that it is squarely connecting with your chosen audience.
Building an Effective Brand from Scratch
When it comes to establishing a brand that reflects your company priorities and values, creative and strategic apartment naming and logo design are key…but they are only the beginning. Your name and logo will serve as a launching pad for all of your subsequent marketing strategies from overall messaging style and content delivery to the development of specific promotional efforts and advertising campaigns.
Want to optimize your apartment branding process to make a tremendous impact on the marketplace? By following the three steps outlined below, you can ensure that your branding efforts get off on the right foot and continue down the path to success.
Surprisingly, this important first step in the apartment branding process is one that many multifamily marketers fail to invest in. This is, quite frankly, ridiculous. In the absence of adequate preliminary research, your branding efforts will be little more than a shot in the dark, and you will have little chance of hitting that elusive branding bullseye. Key areas of branding research include consumer demographics/psychographics, consumer behavior/lifestyle choices, and geographical/financial market analysis.
2. Brand Identity
After conducting in-depth research, you must give extensive thought to your proposed brand identity. Keep in mind that this identity must extend throughout every element of your comprehensive marketing efforts, from the color of your chosen logo to the tone of your written promotional copy to the videos and images that appear on your social media page. The two keys to brand identity are relevance to company values and consistency across all media channels.
3. Implementation Strategy
The final step in the brand-building process consists of positioning your fully developed brand within the marketplace. This necessitates a comprehensive implementation of all brand elements (signage, letterheads, promotional messaging/events, website/social media design, etc.) with a firm focus on lead generation and positive public relations. It is absolutely essential to develop a prudent implementation strategy that fits the specific characteristics of your brand. As Executive Magazine contributor Samantha Chalmers puts it, “when promoting a LEED-certified community with composting stations and community gardens, it wouldn’t make sense to place a print ad in a Range Rover catalog” or “serve coffee or water in Styrofoam cups in the leasing office.”
Brand Optimization and Rebranding
No matter how much time, effort, and care you took to develop your initial apartment brand, it is important to realize when, in the words of Multifamily Executive Magazine contributor Jamie Matusek, “your brand becomes more of a liability than an asset.”
When this occurs, it is time to optimize your brand or rebrand entirely.
A successful rebranding effort requires marketers to follow the same comprehensive steps that drive the initial branding process. But when is the right time for your apartment complex to rebrand? Events and situations that often trigger a rebrand include planned remodeling or structural capital improvements, a floundering reputation in the consumer marketplace, and a general desire or need to expand your overall audience base.
Your specific brand optimization or rebranding strategies will depend entirely on the events that necessitate them and the weaknesses in your brand as it currently stands. If your apartment complex is plagued by poor resident ratings, for example, you will want to reach out to existing tenants to precisely identify key areas of concern and then reformat your brand to address those areas specifically. In this case, your new brand should reflect a distinct break with the old brand, clearly stressing the value of a fresh start. As part of your rebranding efforts, it will be absolutely essential to communicate what, exactly, will be different about your company as you move forward. Furthermore, it will be even more important to honor those messages through conscientious action.
For more information
Bigeye is an apartment branding agency that places a supreme emphasis on creativity and forward-thinking business strategy. Whether you’re looking for a multifamily marketing agency to build your brand from the ground up or to optimize the brand that you’ve already developed, we can help. Don’t hesitate to contact Bigeye today.
Despite the typical seasonal slowdown, don’t let your apartment marketing endeavors take a vacation over the holiday season!
While few renters would say no to a bigger and better apartment, absolutely nobody looks forward to moving day itself. And while changing residences in the heat of summer certainly isn’t fun, moving in the cold months of autumn and winter is, for many people, virtually unthinkable.
The hassle and expense of the holidays only make matters even worse for the apartment rental sector. So it’s not surprising that, despite the inherent joy of the season, real estate professionals tend to approach the stretch of time between Thanksgiving and New Years with nothing short of dread.
However, despite its notorious reputation among property renters, the holiday season need not spell absolute doom for those with the right apartment marketing skills. The real estate market may slow during the holidays, but it doesn’t stop completely!
A wise apartment marketing professional or multifamily marketing agency will tailor their existing marketing campaigns to effectively reach the small amount of renters who absolutely must face a cold weather move. After all, people accept new jobs, establish/terminate relationships, and face a whole host of professional and personal changes all year round.
Looking for even more good news in advance of the upcoming holiday season? By leveraging the unique marketing opportunities that the holidays present, you can actually present a Thanksgiving or Christmastime relocation as a plus rather than a minus… a blessing rather than a curse.
Here are just a few apartment marketing tips that can help you weather the holiday season in fine form.
1. Tailor Your Online Presence to Fit the Season
If you are on top of your marketing game, you are already updating your website and social media pages on a regular basis. Why not use the upcoming holiday season as an excuse to change key elements of your website and other online destinations?
Switching website design to reflect the holiday season is a great way to connect with your existing resident base and reach out to future residents in a positive and heartwarming way. The feelings of general goodwill and togetherness that go hand in hand with the holidays serve as a great opportunity to welcome people into a new home.
2. Encourage Online Sharing to Boost Engagement
Yes, the holidays are great at bringing people together. This holds true whether you are gathering physically around the dinner table or meeting in the virtual space of social media. By sharing holiday photos, stories, and other seasonal content, you can effectively reach out to prospective tenants by reminding them of the traditions and values that so many of us share. Get creative by encouraging employees and existing tenants and to share beloved family recipes, musical playlists, and anything else that may strike a common chord during this special time of year.
Of course, the reciprocal nature of social media always begs for a response. Boost overall engagement in a major way by exchanging favorite memories and current moments of celebration throughout the holiday season.
3. Offer Creative Seasonal Incentives
One need look no further than the holiday tradition of Black Friday to realize an indisputable truth: Nothing brings people to the marketplace faster than the promise of a sale.
Since most members of the general public know full well that the holiday season is notoriously slow in the real estate sector, you can play upon this conventional wisdom by offering special incentives. While the precise nature of these incentives will obviously depend on the financial and operational constraints of your particular real estate organization, it is absolutely essential that prospective renters feel that they are getting a worthwhile bargain in exchange for signing a lease during the winter or late autumn months.
Of course, the key to this strategy is publicizing this bargain in a manner that will draw people to your door (or website). By acknowledging the seasonal rental slump and/or adopting a general holiday theme, an effective marketing campaign can present even a relatively small incentive as an exceptionally big deal.
4. Partner with Worthy and Appropriate Charitable Organizations
There is truly no better way to acknowledge the holidays than by lending a hand to the less fortunate among us. Why not make a seasonal charitable donation to a reputable charitable nonprofit that has special meaning, either to your team in particular or to the real estate industry in general?
Do you offer pet-friendly rentals? Consider partnering with your local Humane Society and perhaps even hosting an on-site pet adoption fair. The holidays traditionally engender a boost in pet acquisition because…well, what kid doesn’t want to find a new puppy or kitten under the Christmas tree?
Regardless of your charitable affiliations, be sure that your existing tenants and the public at large know all about it. Post key information, pictures, and other charity-oriented content on your official website and social media pages. Write and distribute a press release to local media outlets and other organizations that might appreciate and/or share your charitable involvement.
For More Information
A different type of marketing agency, Bigeye stresses creativity and strategy in equal measure to help drive successful campaigns no matter what the market or time of year. If you’re looking for a multifamily marketing agency with a deep understanding of the property rental sector, please contact us today.