Sorting through all the various apartment marketing companies out there and selecting the right one for your apartment community is a difficult and time-consuming process.
Not only are you trying to find a company to assist you in highlighting your apartments and generating leads for your leasing staff, but also one you can trust to handle arguably one of the most important parts of your community's operation.
To help, here's what you should look for when selecting an apartment marketing company:
1. Do they make frequent changes to improve their marketing services?
Rather than choosing an apartment marketing company just to fix an immediate need, try to find one that's constantly updating its services instead, as that means your marketing plan would continuously improve and sustain future success as well. Otherwise you'll be wasting money on marketing services that won't be valuable to you a year from now, and have to repeat the same process all over again.
2. Do they specialize in marketing for apartments?
If a marketing company focuses on multiple different industries, you will never get the best product for your apartment community. To get the best results, the marketing company you choose to partner with should only focus on apartments and specifically the multifamily industry. They understand your audience and the challenges you face with changes in occupancy, which matters when you establish a marketing plan together.
3. What is their customer service structure?
Will you be assigned with a dedicated person on your account that's readily available to help you whenever you need it, or are you just directed to put in customer service requests? Knowing this before you select an apartment marketing company helps you avoid a scenario where you need to make a change now (like make an advertisement for a rent special) but don't hear back from someone for more than 24 hours.
4. What is the size of the company?
Knowing this also helps you understand more about an apartment marketing company's capacity to serve your needs timely and effectively. It's not that employee count is a dealbreaker—there are pros and cons working with both small and large companies—but it does make an impact on you, the client.
5. What is the onboarding process like?
The last thing anyone wants to deal with after taking all that time to research and select an apartment marketing company to work with is to have to wait months for that company's services to actually kick-in. No apartment community can withstand changes in demand and seasonality as it also waits for a new website, digital advertisements, or other marketing items to get designed and developed. Any onboarding process takes some time, but it shouldn't take months and months. The company you choose to partner with should have an efficient onboarding process that is well-defined by milestones and frequent check-ins, so that you can stay updated with the progress being made.
6. Do they offer a free trial?
Check out this excellent LinkedIn post from Patrick Antrim about multifamily pilot programs. The conversation in it highlights some of the challenges (and general fatigue) that comes with choosing and applying any outside vendor services to your apartment communities. Free trials eliminate a lot of that headache and risk that comes with partnering with an apartment marketing company. It takes less work to roll out their services to just one or two of your communities, and you can verify if those services are right for you with actual data. Always try to do a free trial if offered.
7. Is their goal to build your brand or get you leases?
This last thing is critical. The sole focus on any apartment marketing strategy should be to drive leases. It is not about building a brand or getting as many eyeballs on your communities as possible. A lot of marketing companies, whether they focus on apartments or not, tend to cater their services to achieve the latter. Your apartments aren't for everyone, but you do have a target audience of prospective residents interested in them because they fit their needs. You need to select a marketing company that understands how to get your apartments in front of those individuals, as well as help them convert from great leads to leases—the ultimate purpose of any apartment marketing plan.
Choosing an apartment marketing company to work with is not a decision to rush—even if you're in the midst of a marketing or occupancy issue that needs to be addressed immediately. You need to focus on the long-term outlook and goals of your community as you do your research.
Thankfully, you're in control during this phase of the selection process and can choose to dive into the nitty-gritty about different apartment marketing companies. Schedule demonstrations, make phone calls, and do your due diligence here. Hopefully this blog is a starting point to help you get started as you interact with potential apartment marketing companies.