Online marketing is pivotal for apartment communities because every prospective resident can complete their entire search on just a computer or smartphone. But simply having a dedicated community website, or listings on services like Apartments.com, doesn't automatically help you sign more leases if you don't have a method of driving visitors to them.
That is what digital advertisements do. They're like an engine that powers your entire online marketing presence, and most importantly, they give you greater leverage over your demand. Here's why every apartment community should use digital ads:
1. Digital ads increase awareness about your apartment community and generate more traffic to your website.
When someone searches for your apartments on Google, what will they find? Are any of the links at the top of the search engine results page associated with you? The answer, of course, should be yes.
There are two methods to advance your community's ranking in an online search—organically, or by paying for it. The organic approach is done through search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is really complex, but essentially this means ensuring that your website loads quickly, is easy to navigate, features high-quality original content, and has the right keywords so that it earns a higher website ranking.
But community websites with great SEO can't deliver more awareness alone. They need to be paired with paid ads in order to ensure they're gaining the most visibility possible in an online search. Digital ads make it even easier for your prospective residents to find you, thus generating more traffic to your website.
The ideal outcome for when you search your own apartments is that both the first (paid) and second (organic) links go to your website.
2. You're able to target the right audience with your digital ads.
Again, how will prospective residents who are actually interested in your apartments be able to find you online if you're not actively directing them to your website?
An important aspect of digital ads is that not only do they create more awareness of your apartments, they also give you the ability to place ads in front of the right people.
One method of doing this is by bidding on the keywords directly associated with your community (your name, location, floorplans, etc.), so when an interested prospect performs a Google search of your community, your website is the featured link.
A digital ad targeted towards the right people will result in more qualified traffic being directed to your website.
3. It's easy to evaluate how your digital ads are performing.
One of the setbacks from traditional advertisements (newspaper classifieds, billboards, magazines, etc.) was never being able to know if those ads were actually working.
That's no longer an issue with digital advertising since all of it takes place online, giving marketers the advantages of analyzing performance in real time, as well as the flexibility to make needed adjustments.
Google, for example, provides you with its comprehensive Analytics platform that allows you to track key metrics like cost-per-click, bounce rate, conversions, and more, to ensure you're receiving the right return on your investment.
At RentVision, we developed a new metric called Cost Per Minute to see how ads are performing. It looks closely at Time On Site (or average session duration) to determine if your digital ads are doing as expected. The longer a person stays on your website, the more likely it is they'll reach out to your leasing office. If visitors coming to your site leave it right away, it means that perhaps your ads aren't targeting the right audience, or that your site isn't great.
4. You can adjust how much you're spending on digital ads anytime you want.
This is the most important reason why your apartment community should have digital ads. You're in total control of your budget with digital ads, and you can decide how much impact you want them to have by proportioning your ad spend appropriately. This means that every apartment community can afford digital ads because there's no fixed price.
Let's say you currently have six of your units sitting vacant, which is costing you thousands per month in lost revenue. Digital ads combat this issue. By simply increasing your ad spend, you can generate more traffic to your website and fulfill the demand needed to fill those vacancies.
Or, say your occupancy is really strong and you only have one or two units available. Why would you be spending money on your digital ads at the same rate as you did when you had six units needing to be filled? This would be an instance where it's better to decrease your spend and save money, because you're not in need of traffic.
Now that is leveraging your demand.
Digital advertisements allow you to generate more demand when it's needed, and save marketing dollars when it's not.
When you're facing more vacancies than what you'd like, digital ads can be utilized to bring more awareness to your apartments by driving more of the right people to your community's website. You can track their success, and make changes as needed. And most importantly, you can control their impact by changing your ad spend when necessary.
There's many more benefits to digital advertising, all of which we describe for you in our Ebook The RentVision Guide to Digital Advertising for Apartment Communities. Learn more about different types of digital ads and campaigns, reaching your target audience, how to create ads that deliver results, and setting an ad budget by downloading your copy today.