How apartment marketers can highlight their communities to prospective residents has, thankfully, improved tremendously from those newspaper classifieds-type days of lore.
Yet even with new-age digital marketing tools such as community websites displaying great visual content, digital advertising platforms, and (dare we say it!) 'metaverses,' multifamily marketers must always overcome latent challenges to effectively play their part in reducing vacancy and maximizing revenue.
Let's discuss five challenges we see affecting multifamily marketers in 2023 and how best to overcome them.
1. Not enough marketing personnel to manage big projects for multiple apartment communities.
Staffing issues are pervasive in all multifamily areas, seriously affecting the limited number of marketers who manage multiple campaigns for multiple apartment communities.
Because conditions change frequently, it's becoming almost impossible for these marketers to promptly make suitable, proactive adjustments when addressing vacancy or demand changes in every community under their watch.
That's just one pressure point for apartment marketers when hiring help is hard. The other most apparent example is all the tasks that add up alongside big projects like new apartment constructions or property management transitions.
Naturally, there needs to be more hours to fulfill all the requirements expected of someone in that apartment marketing role today.
Solution: Adopt automated apartment marketing tools that free up time for tasks that matter most.
Several marketing automation tools can now complete time-consuming tasks more effectively than humans can in seconds. It would be wise for apartment marketers to adopt these new technologies in 2023 and earn back the valuable time they need to carry out their most essential duties.
A specific example of reliable marketing automation technology that frees up massive amounts of staff time is RentVision's predictive digital advertising solution.
Our ads strategy utilizes each community's data to understand the precise timing of when demand changes will occur before they happen. The algorithm then automatically adjusts ad spending on high-quality and targeted campaigns at both the floorplan and bedroom levels, ensuring that a community gets the right amount of traffic it needs at the right time to maintain the occupancy target.
2. Prospective residents take fewer in-person tours in their apartment search.
Cataclysmic data from Zillow's 2022 Consumer Housing Trends report states that almost 25% of renters forewent an in-person tour, while 40% only took one before signing a lease.
That apartment shoppers are taking fewer in-person tours in their search means they're becoming more comfortable using digital options available today, meaning communities without dedicated websites or virtual touring options showing the inside of their units will now be in a seriously disadvantaged position to attract new tenants.
In 2023 and the future, building a web presence for an apartment community that includes a website with high-quality visual content and digital ads will be essential to inviting more prospective residents to consider signing leases site unseen at that community.
Solution: Multifamily marketers should include walkthrough video tours and floorplan-specific content on an apartment website.
If fewer apartment shoppers are taking tours, it's imperative to give them the best depiction of an apartment community on its website. We've found that nothing achieves this better than when apartment websites include walkthrough video tours and specific pages dedicated to each floorplan in a community.
Walkthrough video tours engage with prospective residents and let them see the inside of units in a format that everyone quickly understands: hit the video's play button, and they can start taking a self-guided tour using whatever device they want from the comfort of their couch.
The next step is to feature those walkthrough video tours on floorplan-specific pages displaying relevant photos, amenity information, rent prices, and availability. Remember, every future resident knows how many bedrooms and bathrooms they'll need before they rent, so it would be best to separate floorplan content on an apartment website as that makes it easier for them to find all they need about the exact floorplan fitting their predetermined needs.
Consider this: not only are walkthrough video tours and floorplan-specific pages beneficial to the growing majority of prospective residents who feel more comfortable signing leases without taking in-person tours, but they're also practical marketing tools that enable communities to pre-lease units and stay ahead of ongoing vacancy.
3. The relationship among an apartment community's marketing performance, rent prices, and revenue doesn't exist.
While rents have soared astronomically to record-breaking levels for nearly every market of multifamily housing in the U.S. over the past couple of years, economic forecasters at Yardi Matrix are suggesting that 'broad declines or stagnation in average asking rents' will take place in the second half of 2023 and continue into 2024.
So, multifamily marketers should expect rent trends to change this year, which will undoubtedly affect demand and leasing activity.
Yet many multifamily operators unknowingly disregard the relationship between marketing and rent prices and how both ultimately impact a community's bottom-line revenue.
Getting rent prices correct is one thing, but in most cases, pricing decisions are beyond the purview of the marketing staff. However, no apartment marketing strategy can overcome lousy prices.
Solution: Use key apartment marketing analytics to diagnose and solve performance issues.
With market rents on a path to dwindle, the best thing an apartment marketer can do in 2023 is to emphasize measuring the performance of their marketing strategy, which will help diagnose and solve issues, specifically if pricing is potentially hurting their communities' leasing capability.
Check out our whitepaper 'Earn More Leases And Save Money Using These 23 Apartment Marketing Metrics’ as a guide.
Applying and mastering informative apartment marketing metrics will show if there's a break along a typical prospective resident's leasing journey that causes them not to sign a lease. Additionally, it's helpful for those marketers who face the seemingly pervasive multifamily issue of accurate lead and lease attribution—which we'll dive into further next.
4. Accurate lead and lease attribution continues to evade multifamily marketers.
Lacking the proper set-up or tools to accurately trace each lead or lease to its original marketing source has been challenging the multifamily industry for many years.
Continuing to operate blindly without knowledge of which marketing sources produce the best quality leads seems more problematic in 2023 and beyond. It could lead to further unnecessary spending on marketing channels that generate many leads but ultimately few leases. Or it will prevent marketers from confidently diagnosing and solving previously unforeseen issues regarding their community's marketing, leasing, and revenue (as alluded to earlier).
Solution: Add phone and email tracking software to a community's marketing plan.
While this is only a start, phone call and email tracking software are among the most effective methods of attributing leads and leases.
This blog details how these tracking softwares work, but to paraphrase: they assign a unique local phone number (or email) to each marketing source, and anytime a prospect calls it, the software redirects that call to the community's leasing office. The software then records which marketing source was attributed to that phone call (or email). Marketers can use this data to count how many leads and leases each source generates within a specific period, which will be valuable as they assess their strategy, cut underperforming marketing channels, and fund more of their budgets toward ones that work as intended.
5. Leasing Agents Dealing With Too Many Bad Leads From Underperforming Marketing Sources.
Reiterating multifamily staffing issues from earlier, leasing agents also feel the pinch—although in ways they often cannot control.
They have to guide prospective residents through the leasing process, which coincides with the role of an apartment marketer in generating leads for leasing agents.
When attending multifamily conferences in 2022, a persistent problem many operators brought to our attention was that they had too many leads. Part of the reason had to do with the excessive demand for apartments. Still, the problem mainly contributed to leasing agents overworking and wasting valuable time on more leads who were never likely to sign a lease in their communities.
As marketers directly contribute to developing leads for their apartment community, they must ensure that most prospects their leasing agents deal with are more ready to rent than average.
Solution: Track lead-to-lease conversation rates for every marketing source.
Using marketing sources that produce many leads that typically won't sign a lease is detrimental to the leasing staff. (Internet Listing Services frequently have this result, and cost a premium too, which is why we believe those sources should face the most scrutiny first.) Again, with tools like phone tracking software, marketers can count how many leads and leases each of their marketing sources generate.
With that data, marketers should feel compelled to cut sources that don't contribute to leases and redistribute those costs towards sources that work instead. The indirect result of these measures will mean that leasing staff will deal with better leads who are more ready to rent (which will be fewer leads than normal, but that's the point). And when leasing agents interact more with prospective residents intently interested in their community, they'll be better positioned to close more frequently and regain confidence and excitement in their role. Win-win-win.
There are five primary challenges we foresee apartment marketers dealing with in 2023:
- Not enough marketing personnel to manage big projects for multiple apartment communities.
- Prospective residents take fewer in-person tours in their apartment search.
- The relationship among an apartment community's marketing performance, rent prices, and revenue doesn't exist.
- Accurate lead and lease attribution continue to evade multifamily marketers.
- Leasing agents dealing with too many bad leads from underperforming marketing sources.
The good news is that these challenges are solvable with a partnership with RentVision. Schedule a demo to discover more about our dynamic apartment marketing system.