What College Renters Really Want from Apartment Communities

Often in need of relatively short-term housing while completing their studies, college renters have long been key drivers of the apartment rental market. But what, exactly, are they looking for in an apartment?

From short-term tenet agreements to increased risk of property damage, renting to college students has its obvious pitfalls. However, college towns remain one of the best markets in the United States to own rental property.

This is particularly true of states, like Indiana, in which people generally own homes rather than rent. Forbes Magazine points to Indiana as a prime example of this fact. Although the percentage of renters in most Indiana counties is less than 25 percent, in Monroe County (home to Indiana University at Bloomington) that rate rockets to approximately doubles to 48 percent.

So what can you do to capitalize on the key college student rental sector? Here’s a brief look at what college renters really want from their apartment communities.

Cost, location, and overall value

As the cost of a college education continues to skyrocket, students are generally wise beyond their years when it comes to choosing rental apartments that are reasonably priced

Surveys of students and recent graduates have increasingly shown that on-campus dorm living has become incredibly expensive. In light of this fact, more and more students are turning to off-campus apartments as a way to stick to their budgets.

In addition to overall apartment cost, college students list location as one of their top concerns, indicating that they may be willing to pay a bit more for a place that is close to campus.

Security, home technology and access to public transportation

After coast and location, renters are highly concerned with security and convenience, ranking gated access high on their list of must-haves. They also value high-tech security measures such as app-controlled door locks. Other home technology devices and infrastructure that renters list as important include built-in USB charging outlets, smart digital thermostats, and Amazon lockers.

Among renters who must live a considerable distance from campus, the convenience of nearby public transportation is also a top concern.  According to Apartment Guide, 31 percent of renters are seeking properties with shuttle service to public transportation.

Specific amenities

Reaching out to a consumer base that tends to value practical concerns, apartment communities can forget about frivolous incentives. Apartment Guide points out that lease-signing gifts such as free iPads or gift cards may have effectively filled vacancies in the past, but today’s students are looking for something far more substantial.

However, there are many apartment amenities that might be potential deal-breakers regardless of their inessential nature. With 92 percent of renters listing it as a priority, air conditioning is an amenity that many renters simply won’t live without. Other top amenities, such as automatic dishwashers (86 percent) and in-unit washer/dryer combos (77 percent) are equally practical in nature. When it comes to less practical amenities, renters particularly value outdoor spaces such as patios, balconies, and rooftop terraces.

In addition to these key on-site features, apartment complexes can benefit from close proximity to a variety of off-site amenities. For example, 32 percent of renters want to be close to a café or coffee shop while 24 percent of renters want a library nearby.

For more information

If you want to learn more about the top concerns of renters in the college environment, you should talk to an agency with specific expertise in the fields of apartment marketing and resident advertising. A highly innovative and forward thinking marketing firm, Bigeye has countless ideas when it comes to reaching college students in the residential housing marketplace.

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What’s the Difference Between Co-Living and Co-Housing?

Two up-and-coming buzzwords in the worlds of residential real estate and property development marketing, co-living and co-housing draw upon the best of historical traditions and new trends to create shared living environments and communal spaces.

There is certainly nothing new about shared living spaces. Offering co-living home options in major cities that span the United States, the residential property firm Common points out the fact that people have chosen to live in shared spaces since before the dawn of recorded history. From the hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age through the public homes of the Middle Ages to the boarding houses of the Industrial Revolution and the World War II era, shared living has been a prominent part of the human experience.

While there is certainly nothing new about shared living, it has recently emerged anew as a highly popular concept among millennials and other people who are looking for something different in the residential property sector, both urban and rural.

What is co-living?

The shared living organization Open Door has locations in both Portland, Oregon and the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It offers a definition of co-living that is both nuanced and succinct. In its attempt to clear up any confusion, Open Door calls co-living “a modern form of housing where residents share living space and a set of interests, values, and/or intentions.”

In short, co-living gathers individuals and/or families in residential environments that offer private sleeping quarters but shared bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and other common areas.  

As previously mentioned, co-living is particularly popular with millennials who have come to age in an era of social networking and the sharing economy. Many young adults view co-living as the natural progression of these ideas and appreciate its emphasis on values such as openness and collaboration.

It is important to note that modern co-living environments differ from the “hippy” communes of the 1960s, which tended to be activist-oriented and isolationist in nature. The co-living of today stresses the value of interconnectedness within the community and without.

What is co-housing?

The California co-living housing development Kindred Life resorts to Wikipedia to draw a clear distinction between co-living and co-housing. While both promote communal residential life, co-housing allows for substantially more privacy, keeping certain, more personal spaces (such as kitchens and bathrooms) separate. In addition to sharing significant indoor living spaces, co-housing places a strong focus on integrating shared features such as specialized work spaces, gymnasiums/health clubs, and game areas.

Co-housing, as we know it, first came to the United States in the late 1960s from Denmark. It generally tends to exist in suburban or rural settings rather than urban centers. The prototypical co-housing setup consists of a cluster of small private homes that share one or more common buildings. These common buildings often consist of common recreational areas, guest rooms, dining rooms, and/or kitchens. In many co-living situations, the community is planned and managed by its residents and governed by consensus-based decision-making.

To learn more

Despite its inherent value and growing appeal, shared living remains a decidedly niche market. If your residential property company is interested in pursuing this trendy new living style, you absolutely must have a clear and forward-looking plan to promote and market it. For more information about co-housing and co-living marketing, contact a knowledgeable Bigeye representative today.

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Using Look-Alike Modeling for Multifamily Marketing Outreach

A proven technique for expanding audience for multifamily property developers, look-alike modeling should be a key component of any advertising campaign.

Look-alike modeling defined

Look-alike modeling certainly isn’t a new technique on the modern marketing landscape, but far too many multifamily developers and apartment complex owners fail to grasp just how valuable it can be when it comes to broadening their marketing audience base and spurring overall renter conversions.

Briefly defined, look-alike modeling regards your current consumer base as a “seed audience” that can be used to cultivate a far larger audience base while mainlining highly relevant and precise target marketing practices. In other words, a skilled marketing professional will begin to create a look-alike model by analyzing your existing target audience and identifying individual consumers of exceptionally high value. The specific characteristics and behaviors of these consumers can then be used as a template in efforts to reach out to similar individuals that lie beyond the limited purview of your existing marketing efforts.

The prevalence and effectiveness of look-alike modeling

As reported in the leading sales and marketing medial outlet Business 2 Community, a 2014 study by eXelate determined that a 73 percent of American advertising agencies and 64 percent of advertisers regularly employ look-alike modeling to “enhance their targeting marketing focus.” Furthermore, among the advertising agencies that actively engage in the technique, roughly half say that it improved the overall performance of their marketing campaigns by 100 to 200 percent.

Although no other qualified marketing industry resource has released a comprehensive survey of look-alike modeling since this most recent eXelate report, it is safe to assume that the practice has only expanded and become more effective thanks to the continuing evolution of marketing standards and improvements in digital technology.

The complex nature of the look-alike modeling process

As we have previously discussed, the look-alike modeling process begins when a qualified professional isolates the most valuable members of an existing marketing audience and analyzes their defining attributes. This requires a great deal of expertise because, among other potential problems, marketers who focus on the wrong consumer attributes are bound to skew final look-alike modeling results and set the process off in a decidedly less fruitful direction.

GlobalWide Media Analytics Manager Zackary Cantor offered a perfect example of this issue in a recent article for the leading global performance marketing publication PerformanceIN. Detailing look-alike modeling work that he undertook for an apartment rental site that sought to boost overall numbers of online rental applications, he demonstrated the need to value certain consumer attributes far more than others.

While many look-alike modeling processes simply look for overlaps in general characteristics and behaviors among different consumer profiles, Cantor quickly realized that this particular model had to pay closer attention to profile attributes for home ownership. Even prospective new audience members who share many attributes in common with the ideal target consumer were “very unlikely” to submit a rental application if they showed a propensity toward home ownership.

Look-alike modeling guidelines

The intricate nature of look-alike modeling makes it truly effective only in the hands of highly experienced of digital marketing professionals. But how can you tell if your multifamily developer marketing agency has what it takes to produce the look-alike modeling results that you seek? Here are just a couple of guidelines for securing the very best look-alike modeling services available:

  • Pay close attention to any negative predictors – A strong propensity toward home ownership is only one of may potential negative predictors that can easily trump a whole host of commonalities between the most valuable members of your existing marketing audience and the expanded audience base that you want. It is absolute vital to place all data in proper context when determining consumer similarities and differences in order to identify strong negative predicators and give them the appropriate weight in your final look-alike model.
  • Insist on full look-alike model transparency – We have already examined the ways in which the underlying elements of a less than optimal look-alike modeling framework can lead to less than desirable results. If your marketing agency can’t give you a basic understanding of the predictive modeling method that they are employing on your behalf, you may want to look elsewhere for your look-alike modeling needs.

How Bigeye can help

If you’re looking for a multifamily developer marketing agency with extensive expertise in look-alike modeling and other techniques that can expand your potential customer base and drive prospective renters to your door, contact a skilled and knowledgeable Bigeye representative today.

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Can You Benefit from Rebrand Apartment Marketing?

How can you tell when your existing apartment brand is no longer working, and if you should pursue rebrand apartment marketing? These tips can help you decide.

The importance of a strong apartment brand

Every good apartment marketer is well aware of the value attached to touting the key features and amenities of their units and complexes. Establishing a key fundamental apartment brand, however, may be even more important.

In short, a brand that is both psychologically/emotionally compelling and relevant to the rental properties under your purview can do wonders when it comes to driving traffic online and leading customers to your door. The Independent business news resource Small Biz Genius reinforces this fact by citing studies from multiple research authorities.

Circle Research, for example, has shown that 24 percent of business-to-business marketers regard branding as crucial for growth. Furthermore, Fundra has determined that 56 percent of consumers remain loyal to brands that “get them,” and 89 percent of customers remain loyal to brands that “share their values.”

Knowing when rebrand apartment marketing becomes beneficial

Regardless of how much care you initially put into your apartment brand, if you have had that brand for any significant period of time, you have certainly built up a good amount of brand equity. Even if your brand is struggling to connect positively with a large audience, it has value, both online (in terms of domain authority with search engines such as Google) and in the hearts and minds of at least certain segments of the general public.

By launching a completed rebrand, you must unfortunately forfeit all of the brand equity that you have previously accrued. In other words, you have to be ready to start entirely from scratch when it comes to building consumer name recognition and brand loyalty. So ultimately choosing to pursue rebrand your apartment complex is certainly nothing to be taken lightly.

So how can you tell when your apartment complex needs to cut its losses and start over with a whole new image? Industry experts have identified the four following circumstances as key progenitors of an valuable and/or essential apartment marketing rebrand:

  • Property Under New Ownership – If you’re a multi-property owner who has recently acquired a new property, you will want to conduct a thorough professional assessment of its existing brand to ensure that it is effectively connecting with your key demographic and/or the general public at large. Even if the existing brand of your new apartment complex happens to past muster, you will still want to consider an apartment marketing rebrand in order to bring that complex’s branding more in line with that of your other complexes.
  • New Capital Improvements – As we have previously discussed, your brand should reflect the unique value that your apartment complex provides and presents. For this reason, planned complex remodeling and other new capital improvements offer an excellent opportunity for a beneficial apartment marketing rebrand. Just make sure that your property upgrades are thoroughly reflected in your new overall brand image.
  • Overcoming a Poor Reputation – If you are forced to rebrand due to bad online reviews or a foundering reputation in the public sphere, you must ensure that your new brand makes a clear and distinct break from your old brand. This type of rebrand will be particularly tricky to plan and execute because you must concurrently build a new brand while “doing damage control” and dealing with fallout from your previous brand.
  • Expanding Your Audience Base – A desire or need to grow or shift your current target demographic may coincide with one or more of the situations outlined above. No matter what factors happen to precipitate your audience expansion plans, comprehensive demographic research and analysis must be undertaken to identify the specific characteristics and desires of your new target demographic.

For more information

If you’re unsure if an apartment rebrand is right for you or are ready to take the first step toward a new and better brand for your complex, contact a specialized rebrand apartment marketing agency today. The professionals at Bigeye have the tools and experience that you need to get a fresh start in a highly competitive industry.

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How to Use Video to Power Apartment Marketing

When it comes to effective digital apartment marketing, video has proven invaluable in a broad spectrum of circumstances and applications.

According to recent statistics, more than 75% of Americans now shop online. This means that, whether they are buying groceries or searching for a new apartment, consumers are responding to the ample information and dynamic features that only online marketing can provide.

The informative digital marketing authority Quicksprout reports that videos engender a 74% increase in overall understanding of a product/service when compared to still photos and, perhaps more importantly, boost the likelihood of an ultimate purchase by a whopping 64%. In fact, 80% of Internet users have strong memories of the video advertisements that they watch online, and 46% take some sort of direct action as a direct result of their video viewing.

The practical applications of video in the field of apartment marketing are virtually endless when it comes to boosting conversion rates among prospective renters. Of course, the road to these increased conversions depends on the unique qualities, deficiencies, needs, and goals of the apartment business at hand. Therefore, the first step toward using video to power your apartment marketing efforts is deciding upon the specific categories of video that you would like to immediately pursue. Here are just a few that you’ll definitely want to consider:

1. Listing / Tour Videos

The most prevalent form of apartment marketing video, the listing/tour video has proven very effective. Quicksprout cites statistics showing that listings with an attached video generate 403% more inquiries than those without. Although a virtual tour of the apartment itself is an absolute must, these videos are even more successful if they also show key aspects of the surrounding neighborhood, community, and/or city.

2. Interview / Testimonial Videos

In an interactive modern marketplace that is profoundly influenced by social media, social proof reigns supreme. Therefore, you simply cannot underestimate the value of a well-placed interview or testimonial video. Whether they are new to your community or have lived in it for years, satisfied tenants are an invaluable resource. By offering a few positive comments in their own words, your loyal tenants can become video marketing superstars.

3. Apartment Advice Videos

One of the most popular types of online video is the ”how-to.” As a result, some of the most effective apartment marketing videos offer advice on apartment hunting and/or moving process. Incorporating this category of video into your overall marketing campaign can drive conversations from an incredibly wide audience base.

4. Housing Market Update Videos

Like an apartment advice video, a video that provides information on the current housing market in your area can easily lead to a conversion. This is especially true if the information provided casts your apartment rentals in a particularly light.

5. Brand Promotional Videos

When it comes to centering your apartment marketing campaign, nothing works better than a good brand promotional video. Typically a bit longer than the average real estate video, your brand video can root your entire website and/or social media page in a central message that demonstrates your company’s unique approach and style.

Tips for Making Effective Apartment Marketing Videos

After determining the type of video you would like to make and the audience that you would like to reach, it’s time to start planning. Critical questions to ask during this phase include “who and what will your videos feature” and “how will this video attract/keep the attention and ultimately lead to conversions.” Whether you choose to produce videos yourself or hire experienced audio/visual professionals, you would be wise to keep a few industry best practices in mind. These best practices include…

1. Aim for Instant Impact

The typical viewer will judge your video within the first few seconds, so you must make an immediate positive impression. This means creating videos with high production values that scream “I am worthwhile” from the onset. Remember: customers have nearly endless options when it comes to watching videos online.

2. Keep It Brief

Research has shown that viewers overwhelmingly prefer shorter videos to those that are longer. Don’t test the attention span or challenge the time commitment of your audience. Generally speaking, a two-minute video is ideal for most forms of real estate marketing.

3. Avoid Auto-Play Videos

Most people simply don’t appreciate a video that begins blaring at them the second that they visit a particular webpage. Allow viewers to choose exactly which videos they might like to view on your website or social media page and click on these videos at their leisure.

4. Motivate Viewers to Take Action

To increase your chances of making a conversion, you should include essential information such as agency logo and contact details during both the introduction and conclusion of each video. (Remember that the modern consumer may only watch your video for a few seconds!) To drive conversations among viewers who make it all the way to the end of your video, consider integrating a clickable lead capture link or “shop now” button directly into the video frame itself. You should also take the time to include a compelling call-to-action that directs viewers to visit a particular online destination and/or enter lead information.

To learn more about the benefits of video

A full-service real estate digital marketing agency and an incubator for forward-thinking industry techniques, Bigeye has developed countless creative uses for promotional video. Contact us today and let us show you all the ways that you can boost conversion rates with video.

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Apartment Marketing Solutions Through Programmatic Media Buying

Apartment complex owners who want to cut their marketing budget while strategically targeting their advertising are turning to programmatic media buying.

Programmatic Media Buying Explained

Do you remember how difficult comparative shopping and informational research used to be before the Internet? If so, you certainly know the incredible value of software algorithms and data analysis.

In short, when you search for something online, you are letting state-of-the-art technology do most of the work for you, thereby making your search far easier, faster, and more efficient. Online searches can also help you focus your efforts in the most fruitful areas and save you a tremendous amount of money.

Programmatic media buying works much the same way in the world of Internet advertising. While traditional manual methods of purchasing online ads is both time-consuming and labor intensive, programmatic media buying employs automated processes to executive targeted purchases across a wide spectrum of digital channels that include desktop/laptop, tablet, mobile, connected TV, and outdoor digital media formats.

Programmatic media buying involves the use of a particular type of software called a demand-side platform (DSP), which allows agencies and advertisers to buy media inventory across a multiple channels. Because the automated DSP purchasing process is so fast, it can sort through incredibly large amounts of digital advertising options to target the exact right consumer at precisely the right time.

Through a DSP, marketers can also buy media inventory at an exceptionally good price. This is because programmatic media buying works through automated platforms that employ cost effective processes such as real-time bidding (RTB). Also called “open auction,” RTB sells media inventory to the highest bidder, allowing marketers to target the most viable consumers at rates that are often far below average market value.

The Popularity of Programmatic Media Buying

Considering the tremendous amount of work and lack of efficiency that go hand in hand with the traditional media buying process, more and more agencies and advertisers are benefiting from the speed, ease, and cost-effective benefits of programmatic media buying. In fact, trusted industry news outlets that range from Ad Age to  eMarketer have identified programmatic media buying as an essential component in the future of marketing.

In fact, eMarketing projects a considerable increase in programmatic media buying over the next year alone. According to this research, roughly 58 percent of live video and video-on-demand ad spending occurred as a result of programmatic media buying processes in 2019. By 2020, however, this figure will jump to approximately 80 percent.

Programmatic Media Buying for Apartment Marketing

As the number of advertisers using programmatic media buying continues to rise, companies across a wide range of business sectors and markets must leverage the benefits of this technology if they wish to remain competitive.

The unique characteristics of apartment marketing make programmatic media buying particularly valuable within this industry. In particular, apartment marketers stand to benefit from the highly targeted nature of programmatic media buying.

Since only a small percentage of the general public will be interested in renting any specific apartment unit at any specific time, multifamily residential marketers absolutely love programmatic media buying’s ability to reach out to an exact audience base that is severely restricted according to geography (where a prospective renter lives) and demographics (age, gender, income, etc.).  Programmatic media buying can even target digital media users according to their unique personal interests and daily behaviors.

Using a Qualified Marketing Agency for Your Programmatic Media Buying

A July 16 article by the independent news outlet Target Marketing has determined that nearly 47 percent of advertisers are now performing programmatic media buying in-house. However, article author Lina Lugova recommends that advertisers coordinate their programmatic media buying through a qualified and specialized marketing agency for a number of important reasons.

In particular, forward-thinking marketing agencies that were able to predict the tremendous value of programmatic media buying have employed the best and brightest of industry professionals with a depth programmatic skill, knowledge, and experience. These agencies are also well connected with multiple leading online traffic platforms and resources, enabling them to negotiate the absolute best prices for media inventory.

Contact Bigeye Today

Want to learn more about programmatic media buying and the apartment marketing solutions that it provides? An agency that has earned a widespread reputation for innovative thinking, Bigeye specializes in leveraging state-of-the-art technology to boost your bottom line. A skilled and knowledgeable Bigeye representative is standing by to explain how programmatic media buying can set you apart from your closest competitors.

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