2022 Multifamily Marketing Ideas
Experts share best tips for harnessing the power of online marketing.
Multifamily Insiders held another of its Webinar Wednesday series of virtual conferences on Dec. 15. Courtney Patterson, senior director of marketing at Northwood Ravin, led the “Rock your 2022 with this Marketing and Leasing Power-Round of Ideas” webinar.
The “Rock the 2022” webinar was sponsored by remote performance management software Leonardo247 and by RentCafe.com, which provides marketing services to drive qualified traffic to apartment communities.
Patterson viewed next year as a time for multifamily companies to re-evaluate everything, from attracting new prospects and renters to retaining current residents and ensuring the satisfaction of their own employees. Some of the ideas she explored included virtual leasing, several types of virtual tours and unique marketing ideas such as using QR codes and posting videos on social media.
Virtual leasing can take much of the burden off onsite leasing teams by using chat bots to communicate with prospective renters.
“You want to allow a conversation to get started and keep it going,” Patterson said. “A good chat bot will help with that.”
She noted that marketing teams should turn to a provider that focuses solely on chat bots, and that the bots must be able to communicate with potential renters in other languages, particularly Spanish.
Virtual tours allow prospective renters to view apartment units online from any location, without the hassle of having to arrange a guided tour with the leasing team. These can include pre-recorded video tours, which are one of the most inexpensive options. Patterson pointed out that marketing teams should ensure the person leading the virtual tour uses their hands to point out features as they are talking and offers real-time commentary.
“It’s OK if the commentary is not perfect,” she said. “People want authenticity, not a used car salesman with a script.”
Virtual and real-time virtual staging are two other forms of virtual tours that allow prospective renters to see for themselves what actual apartment units look like, with and without furniture. With virtual staging tours, prospects can toggle between furnished and unfurnished views. Real-time virtual staging gives renters the ability to select furniture to place around the apartment. Patterson said real-time virtual staging allows marketing teams to overcome design and décor objections a renter might have by showing how their big dining room table would fit in the apartment.
Patterson hopes that augmented reality tours will become feasible once the technology evolves. They would offer prospective renters an enhanced version of real physical walkthroughs using digital visual elements, sound or other sensory stimuli.
“It’s a pie in the sky dream,” she admitted. “What I see next is scanning the building to demonstrate what the view would look like from the apartments and what the amenities look like without physically being there.”
She suggested that marketing teams can help drive traffic to their websites through QR codes, which is code used for storing URLs or other information for reading by a smartphone camera. QR codes made a return to relevance after smartphones removed a barrier to entry by giving people the ability to scan a code without having to download an app.
“It’s much harder to ask a prospect or anyone to type in the name of a property,” Patterson said. “Now they open the camera, scan the QR code and get taken to a website. Any time you put a URL on something, add a QR code.”
The codes also allow marketing teams to track email- and flyer-based marketing campaigns to understand the efficacy of their outreach.
Social Media Mode
When it comes to reaching Gen Z renters, she recommended identifying and partnering with a social media influencer. Influencers are content creators with a built-in social media following on any number of sites such as Instagram, TikTok and others. Patterson said an onsite property team should be able to identify a renter at their building who is an influencer by searching Instagram.
“Gen Z starts researching a choice up to six months in advance, especially a big one,” she said. “They do so much research to make sure they are making the right choice.”
If the lease-up crew needs help getting people to their building, marketing teams can turn to posting celebrity videos on social media. Patterson suggested having the celebrity portray a character that lives in the building. The character should be based on area demographics but noted that nurses and nerds would be her first choice.
Posting content such as celebrity videos and property tours on TikTok and Instagram gives marketing teams access to analytics to track views. Patterson recommended posting videos that leverage trending filters and topics. The analytics that sites such as Google and YouTube offer provide the most objective way to measure how they are doing.
Marketing teams should also make resident satisfaction a priority by holding what Patterson called resident-only “Wow” events. These can include karaoke nights, luaus, carnivals, holiday parties, marketplace events featuring local artists and craftsman, board game and booze nights, and more. The building might also offer pet training classes for residents. According to Patterson, around 70 percent of renters have pets, and about 73 percent of those have dogs.
“Buildings would benefit from having well-behaved dogs on site,” she said. “They would also be saving on damage charges from untrained pets.”