(MultiFamilyBiz.com Article) — In the digital age, marketing has made a giant shift, which has barged through the business world as a whole.
For businesses, it’s no longer only about solely controlling the “in-store,” or in the case of the multifamily housing industry, the “in-person” experience. Thanks to major technological shifts, we have to concern ourselves with more than just getting our website online. We also need to remain aware of our brand’s image, in addition to the experience that the brand conveys on mobile, desktop, social media, and LoT devices.
With modern burdens such as large student loans and a stagnant job market, younger generations of renters do not seem to be rushing towards home ownership anytime soon. Therefore, we need to cater our marketing tactics to the dominant rental market, Gen-Y and Gen-Z, who seem to be renting for much longer periods of time than previous generations.
Here are some powerful ways to break through the digital clutter, capture the attention of your consumer, and persuade them to act.
As marketers, we all know that data is our lifeblood. We need quantitative information to tell us who’s buying what, when, why, and what messaging is most effective for them. Smartphones have become huge repositories of information on an individual’s interests, tastes, and preferences. Marketers can easily tap into this information that allows them to target certain audiences.
Along with this fresh well of information, mobile devices have created new expectations among this contemporary breed of consumers, who expect seamless, uninterrupted access to services and conveniences with the swipe of a finger. Many companies feel significant strain to rapidly develop their product and/or service – and with good reason.
But before you even attempt to innovate your product and/or service, you must successfully execute a responsive website impacts conversion rates. For every one second delay in page speed, you could see seven percent fewer conversions and a sixteen percent decrease in customer satisfaction. For example, when Amazon decreased their page speed by one second, it resulted in a two percent increase in conversion rates, which means more profit for the company.
Multifamily housing businesses who do not respond efficiently to mobile trends are missing out on possible sales opportunities. In providing an exceptional mobile experience, you must deliver the tools your residents need to transact business anywhere and anytime.
Have Something to Say
Other than mobile causing major rifts in the world of marketing, content has also taken this industry and countless others by storm. Many property owners and operators have come to learn that content marketing is the real driving force behind marketing your apartment community.
Content marketing for apartments is a breath of fresh air in a stifled, hot room full of old, boring marketing tactics. Why is content marketing so different? Content marketing is not focused on selling, but on communicating effectively with customers and prospects. The idea is to create content that will support your business, educate the consumer, and allow you to stand out among your competitors. Creating high-impact content has proven valuable to promote customer engagement, foster brand awareness, and enhance your online presence. Content marketing can assist in generating leads, and ultimately, acquiring customers. With today’s consumers making traditional marketing methods irrelevant, content marketing has become “in vogue” – the new, popular, and effective strategy for creating inbound traffic.
Content marketers can use data harvested from mobile usage to offer more relevant messages in their campaigns. Both your marketing website and social media platforms have the ability to capture data from visitors as well including their age, region, education level, job position, and the device they’re using. When consumers read personalized content, they should have the feeling you know what they want.
Be Social and App-Friendly
Social media allows us to form a closer connection with the consumer. This is not atypical in the age of technology. Just look at celebrities on Twitter, for example. You will see big stars such as Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga tweet back to their followers frequently, opening new lines of communication between fan and superstar that have never been possible before now.
It’s the same in the business world. Social media channels provide us with a personable way to communicate with a prospect or resident one-on-one. This is particularly important in our industry, where customer service dictates our success in gaining and retaining a resident. Many industry outsiders may believe our job is done once the lease is signed, but we know that could not be further from the truth. From their first inquiry to their move-out date, we must follow the entire resident lifecycle consistently. Resident satisfaction is of utmost importance, because even when a resident leaves your community, word of mouth is a powerful way of advertising. Online reviews have only amplified this fact.
Younger generations – such as Generation Z – quickly adapt to new social networks through the latest, exciting apps. In fact, there has been a 90 percent increase in the time spent in mobile apps since 2013. Users discover new apps from their friends, family, and colleagues, as well as through search engines, TV, websites, or simply by browsing the app store.
If you apply this knowledge to our industry, you will realize that we must go beyond organic posts on Facebook to connect with the emerging group of renters. Begin your research as soon as possible. Start by monitoring the App Store or the Google Play Store, searching for up-and-coming social media apps. Right now, Snapchat and Instagram hold the attention of Generation Z as well as many Millennials.
Invest in Virtual Reality
Renters now have the potential to virtually experience an apartment community as if they were truly present, wandering through floor plans, exploring amenities and common spaces, and getting an overall feel for a community in ways they were never able to before. If you think about it, the experience that virtual reality provides for residents can only be replicated if they were actually at the community in person.
But it’s not just off-site tours that can be improved by virtual reality; on-site tours can be revamped as well. For example, if your property gives a particularly long tour or if you happen to be swamped with appointments or walk-ins that day, you can utilize the virtual reality device you have on hand to keep the prospect occupied. This could also eliminate time you spend on the actual tour as well, freeing up your schedule for other prospective renters.
There has been a consistent rise in demand for the 3-D interactive tours. Believe it or not, apartment listings with 3-D tours receive 49 percent more inquiries from potential residents than listings without such tours.
In using responsive UX design catered toward mobile, social media, content marketing, and virtual reality, you should be able to leverage your community, attract prospect leads, and gain new residents.