A difficult challenge property management companies have to face after acquiring an apartment community is transitioning their marketing in a timely manner. It could take months to fully complete all of the work that needs to be done in order to get the website, media content, walkthrough video tours, digital advertising, and all other systems in place at the newly acquired property.
That is why it's important for companies who are actively buying apartment communities to develop a strategic launch process for transitioning their marketing to these properties in an efficient and repeatable manner.
Though this may be a shameless plug, in this blog we're going to go over all the steps within RentVision's launch process so that you have a sense for the timeline and events that must occur post-acquisition to ensure a seamless marketing transition in 3 months or less. Regardless whether you partner with us or not, many of the same things we do for our clients after they've acquired a property are the same steps you'll need to take, too.
Week 1: Information Gathering
After initiating an introductory kick-off meeting with your property management team and ours, the first onboarding task required of you would be to complete a 20-minute pre-launch survey. It provides us with the basic information about the apartment community you’ve acquired, including unit count, floorplans, and amenities. Additionally, through the survey we are able to obtain key contact information, as well as access to that community’s Google My Business profile.
We also take the time to discuss and evaluate that community’s existing marketing strategy so we can begin to tailor a plan built specifically for your transition.
Weeks 2-10: Visual Content
Our next priority focuses squarely on gathering and editing the visual content needed to build a new website for that community. Our Scheduling Coordinator will get in touch with you to learn your availability and arrange a date to schedule a media shoot. You will be tasked with providing us the unit numbers you’ve selected to be featured and made ready for the shoot, as well as a site map so that we know where the clubhouse and other amenities are located and can better assess the amount of content we’ll need to capture.
On shoot day, a member of RentVision’s professional media team will travel directly to the community to produce photos and videos of its exteriors, amenities, and floorplans. For most communities, the shoot will only take a day. For larger properties it may take an additional day. All of those details will be worked out in advance of the media producers’ arrival.
Before they arrive, it’s critical that you take the time to walk the property and ensure everything is ready to go and appears to be in great shape. We’ll provide you with a pre-shoot preparation checklist to help you know all that you can do to ensure the community is ready. Think of it this way—however your units and amenities look on the day filming occurs is how they’ll look for the next 10,000-plus virtual showings so it is important to be ready!
Sample of RentVision’s preparation checklist for clients prior to photo and video shoots.
Afterwards, our in-house editors will immediately begin to enhance that content so that it fully highlights the community’s units and amenities for potential residents who view them online. These photos and videos will play a major role in turning your website into a lease-generating machine as prospective residents can view your units from the comfort of their couch.
Weeks 3-12: Website Creation
Once the media content is edited and the launch survey is complete, the key essentials are in hand for us to begin building the community website. Part of this process includes uploading the correct sizing of the photos and videos so that the website loads quickly, which plays a significant role in determining a user’s onsite page experience. We also provide the detailed work of search engine optimization (SEO), including adding title tags, header tags, and keywords, as well as accurately labeling each image with alternative text.
During this time we’ll also connect the site to Google Analytics, which will be pivotal towards measuring web traffic and, later, helping us determine the community’s unique seasonality.
Finally, we’ll optimize the Google My Business listing and ensure all of the information and media content there is up to date and accurate and linked to your community website.
Weeks 4-10: Tracking & Integration
This time is set aside to execute and verify integration of your property management software to the website as it’s being built, as well as set up tracking numbers for your various lead sources.
For the integration process, you would be required to provide us access to the resident and application portals from your property management software so that we can connect them to your website. Having integration set up with your website is imperative; not only does it show real-time availability and, if applicable, pricing of units, but also will help us easily track your leasing performance and other key metrics that are necessary to measure.
Additionally, we will place lead tracking numbers on each marketing source. A feature of our predictive marketing system is that it pulls every new lease from your property management software and searches their phone number(s) and email(s) to find which marketing sources generated the original lead. Properly attributing leases to marketing sources makes it easier for you to identify where most of your leads came from, and evaluate if a marketing source is delivering the amount and quality of leads to your website and leasing office you need, ensuring you are continually spending your dollars on the right sources.
Weeks 9-11: Marketing Strategy
The last tasks required before launch focus primarily on establishing a marketing strategy for the apartment community you’ve acquired. During this time, our team will create Google search and display campaigns and, if necessary, Facebook display campaigns. We will then optimize both your keyword and campaign bid strategies to ensure that your ads are successful.
Developing a post-acquisition launch process like ours will help ensure you're able to fully transition your marketing in a timely manner. The payoff of having a website with walkthrough video tours and floorplan-specific content, as well as digital advertisements, in place just weeks after taking over an apartment community is huge. You will have everything in place to start attracting potential residents and improve occupancy—a huge win for your property management company's bottom line.
For more helpful information about acquiring apartment communities, download The Complete Guide To A Multifamily Property Management Transition ebook by completing the form below.