NAA Special Report: Optimizing Mobile Marketing Efforts

Mobile is magic but remember to drive traffic back to the website

By Diana Mosher, Editorial Director

Denver—Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a mobile phone? Whether your apartment community’s target leasing demographic is Millennials or Baby Boomers, the majority of your prospects most likely have a smartphone. This always-accessible device shapes how and what they buy and that includes leasing decisions.

In “Mobile-First Marketing: Small Screen, Big Results,” at the 2014 National Apartment Association’s Education Conference & Exposition in Denver, Mark Juleen, vice president of marketing for J.C. Hart Company, Inc. and Mike Whaling, founder of 30 Lines, shared ideas for converting today’s prospective mobile renters into a new residents.

“It’s not just a matter of smashing [website] content down so it will fit on a mobile device,” said Whaling. Instead, develop a screen agnostic approach to marketing. Make sure you’re on board with “responsive design” meaning that you’ve built a website that can shift to fit the device (tablet, various types of phones, website).

“The website still remains a critical piece,” said Juleen. “All mobile channels lead back to the website.” So do everything you can to build and optimize your web presence. Keep the website design simple with a strong call to action. Then complement these efforts with mobile.

What are people doing on mobile devices and what are they expecting to find? Be in tune with mobile behaviors. Give the mobile consumer the specific information they want to have about your apartment communities. Mobility enables local marketing which allows you to create separate marketing campaigns for mobile users using keywords on Google.

Keep in mind that the best mobile marketing strategies create a short path to conversion. Make it easy to share information about your apartments between mobile users. Your content should be usable on any device. And for best results include more than one call to action since it’s harder to act on a mobile device.

Also remember that it’s not your choice how consumers search for you. So incorporate local listings. Use Google Places, Yelp, and 4 Square. People will be using these to search for you.

Social is going visual. Go where the customers are and show your brand’s personality. Find people who will advocate for you. Think in visuals, and let others build presence for you. Your apartment brand(s) can get social with:

• Photos (Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest);

• Video (YouTube, Vimeo, Tout (real-time mobile video publishing); and

• Audio (podcasts, BlogTalkRadio).

You can also use mobile tools such as SMS, custom URLs, and QR codes to create a strong call to action for your static ads. Get them to take an action like call, email, text, like, get directions. The objective here is to have your prospects and renters share, check in, and/or like.

Don’t measure the success of your company’s social media strategy by how many Facebook posts are being placed. Instead, the outcome should be whether you’re getting them to interact with you. It should be as easy as possible to contact you—a pop-up on your website provides an easy prompt to take this next action. Email is still the preferred method of contact. According to Whaling and Juleen, it’s here to stay. Everyone uses it.

Track success with Google Analytics. Have the team ask themselves, “Is our website getting people to take action?”

And, bottom line, never forget that if you’re not on top of customer service, a top-notch marketing campaign isn’t going to have much impact in the long run.