Multifamily marketing FAQs: Agency experts tackle your questions

Apr 26, 2023

Neon question mark surrounded by futuristic multifamily buildings

Recently, we had the chance to pitch three of our agency experts some of your most frequently asked questions about multifamily marketing.

Meet Michael Madigan, Kim Marquez and Jessica Luckey, marketing specialists representing the three pillars of REACH: strategic, creative and search.

Headshots of Michael Madigan, Kim Marquez and Jessica Luckey

Michael, Kim and Luckey tackled seven of the same questions from different perspectives, giving us a lot to think about when it comes to creating a holistic multifamily marketing strategy.

Keep reading to explore all of their answers or jump to the question that interests you by clicking on it below!

How do I measure success in multifamily marketing?

Kim: Digital curb appeal. Your success is visible when you have a website that represents a visually appealing brand and makes prospects interested in the information you have to offer. 

Luckey: Once you have a brand presence online, you’re able to track interactions with it to measure success. In search marketing, we measure success in terms of bounce rate, leads, leases and cost per click. And to Kim’s point, having a super appealing website will positively affect your engagement rates and lower your bounce rates.

If a prospect stays on the site, plays around with the marketing features and engages in multiple pages, it will increase their time on screen. We aim to have a bounce rate between 20% and 40%, that tells us our site is engaging and prospects are finding what they’re looking for.  

On top of bounce rate, leads and leases are a clear indication of success. And at the end of the day that’s why we do what we do.

Michael: Strategically, many of us think about occupancy and generating the most rental income possible. A big thing our team looks at with Marketing IQ is your return on investment when it comes to advertising sources. Which ones are giving you the best return on your advertising dollars and being the most efficient? 

What are common mistakes multifamily marketers make?

Kim: One thing we see is when a company doesn’t have a strong, consistent brand. It doesn’t need to be a companywide brand in every case, but you should have something that consistently and accurately represents a property and highlights how it meets renters’ needs. You should have consistency across all advertising platforms.

Luckey: Not doing SEO or accepting that it’s an ongoing process. It’s not a set it and forget it system. Ongoing SEO is the secret to outperforming your competitors.

To get the best results, you have to constantly make updates, adjust optimizations, revise SEO tags, check image alt tags and more. This helps Google to recognize you are legitimate business in your market. 

Michael: It’s pretty common to see brands that haven’t set up digital lead tracking. Maybe they only have phone number and email tracking set up, but they don’t know where online traffic is really coming from. We’ve seen where a company doesn’t have organic search tracking and just has everything come in attributed to property website. But then you don’t know what was direct, paid, etc.

Basically, not tracking the results of SEO is a big mistake that could lead to you spending more on paid marketing sources than you need to.

How can I lease more apartments?

Kim: From a creative standpoint, my top tip is to use bold calls to action that stand out on the page. It’s important to lead prospects to actionable pages like floor plans, contact us and especially online applications. Make it easy for users to know where to go, then prospects will be more likely to convert

Luckey: I agree. I also think having a great SEO strategy paired with fresh photos, an updated website and a good lead management system helps make it easier for your friendly staff to seal the deal. 

How do you pick the best advertising sources for apartment marketers?

Michael: We look to quantify best advertising sources by looking at multiple metrics and comparing them apples to apples.

  • Quantity: Prospects and move-ins by source. 
  • Quality: Conversion rate, cost per lease, cost per prospect and return on ad spend — commonly referred to as ROAS — looking at how much the lease generated compared the cost of the source. 
  • Contribution: Finally, we look at contribution to the journey. Did the source generate awareness as well as bring in a quantity of prospects?

Luckey: If you’re looking for surefire results and you have the budget, PPC allows for branded keyword searches, outbidding competitors, bidding on your own brand for insurance, negative key word searches, brand awareness. It’s really the fast track to brand awareness and immediate success if you need to fill vacancies in the near term. 

Which is better: company-level or property-level branding?

Kim: When it comes to multifamily marketing, generally, prospects and residents don’t care too much about “brand” loyalty, or in this case, looking to stay with a particular property management company.

A common mistake we see, especially with companies that are new to our industry, is that they try to replicate the kind of marketing that we see in the hospitality industry. When it comes to hotels, it’s generally standard to see consistency across all locations. But we’re not marketing hotels here, we’re marketing apartments, and more importantly, somebody’s future home.

It’s obviously a plus if you’ve had a good experience with a property management company and they happen to manage more properties where you are looking to move. But in the end, prospects are going to be looking for more property-specific features such as location, floor plans and amenities. So ultimately, I think there is a huge benefit to focusing on property-level branding.

Should I be using SEO and PPC?

Luckey: SEO and PPC work together like a well-oiled machine. PPC gets your name in front of people, and SEO, although it may be a slower process, creates authority when done correctly, generating long-term results. 

It’s important to remember that renters use both. When we track prospect interactions, we often see that a first touch came from a PPC ad. But then, when they come back to convert, they go through an organic source because they already know your property’s name from their previous ad interaction.

Michael: REACH did a case study about apartment advertising sources. We studied leads and leases from 212 properties across the U.S. over a period of three months. The goal was to see how marketing sources in our industry compare: SEO, PPC and ILSs. SEO yielded the highest average quantity of leads for the lowest cost and was present in the most leasing journeys.

I would argue that anything you can do to help your SEO is beneficial for the long run, including PPC. Anything you can do to make Google happy is a good idea.

What is your favorite marketing feature that RentCafe offers?

Luckey: I’m a fan of our floor plan assistant, local area marketing map and nudge marketing features.

Michael: I really like the guided tours and schedule a tour options. These are more like half marketing feature, half operational. It can be one of the highest converting features on your website!

Just recently, we looked at 113 properties and over 4,500 move-ins, examining the touchpoints and how those renters interacted with the property websites. Guided tours outperformed all other touchpoints, increasing conversion rate from around 5% to around 9%.

Kim: From a user experience perspective, I like that interactive property maps provide a visual of the whole property. They allow prospects to see the location of the unit that they are looking to rent.

Thanks for the insights, team! Catch these experts and many more in our monthly OutREACH Webcasts. Check your inbox for an invite if you’re a RentCafe client.

Do you have any marketing questions that you want a fresh perspective on? Let us know, and we’ll see about getting them answered!

Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives is the manager of marketing content at Yardi. She leads content initiatives for REACH by RentCafe. Writing may be her first love, but data is a close second. Geneva is based in Santa Barbara, California.

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