Nothing causes more stress for those within the multifamily industry than when an apartment community's occupancy falls below target—and has stayed there for a long time.
A common response to low occupancy has been to throw out everything that was done beforehand, and hope that dramatic adjustments will turn things around.
Reactionary decisions tend to make an occupancy problem worse. Instead of trying to find a quick-fix solution, you must be able to identify what’s causing the problem. This will better equip you to make smarter adjustments that actually work.
The first culprit hurting your community's occupancy may be your apartment marketing strategy, which we'll focus on in this initial installment of a three-part blog series about diagnosing the cause of lower occupancy rates.
If your answer is “no” to any of the next three questions, you have an apartment marketing problem that's hurting your community's occupancy.
Are You Getting Enough Leads?
When you're needing to occupy more units, you need more people who are actively looking to rent an apartment to be interested in yours.
That's why you need to ask yourself if you're getting enough of these interested prospects, or leads, coming from each one of your marketing sources.
Your apartment community’s website should be your main lead-to-lease generator. But it cannot perform the essential work of converting leads to showings and, ultimately, leases, if you're not getting enough of your interested prospects to it.
You can drive more prospects to your website through paid marketing sources like digital advertising campaigns from Google and Facebook, or you could rely on an Internet Listing Service (ILS) like Apartments.com. However, paid advertising campaigns are limited when you're relying on a static budget. If your occupancy is struggling, it's really beneficial to increase your marketing spend.
Whichever sources you use, you need to be able to accurately measure their effectiveness in getting more leads to your website. Simply put, fewer leads means a lower chance of earning leases.
Are Your Leads Actually Good?
Once you've evaluated each of your marketing sources and their lead counts, the next step is to determine if the leads you are getting are actually good.
It's really easy to generate leads—especially if you're using one or more ILSs along with any digital ad campaigns. But if you're in desperate need of leases because your occupancy is struggling, you need to be able to generate more qualified leads—or the leads that are the most ready to sign a lease and live in your apartments.
You might be tempted to think that simply turning on digital ads or increasing your package subscription on an ILS will attract more of those great prospects who are ready to convert to leases. In reality, you'd simply be wasting money (when revenue is already tight) hoping for that to happen without actually having a marketing strategy that targets these qualified individuals.
Download and read The RentVision Guide To Digital Advertising
For Apartment Communities to learn more about how to deploy
an effective and affordable marketing strategy that will drive
more qualified leads to your leasing office.
To know if the leads you're currently getting are actually good, we'd recommend tracking these two metrics for each marketing source:
- Lead-To-Lease Conversions. At the end of the day, you don't care about leads. You care about leases. To truly know how each source is performing, you should track how many leases each source generated. It's easy to do this with call/email tracking software, but you can manually do this by simply referring each lease back to its original marketing source.
- Cost Per Minute. Typically, higher qualified leads spend more time browsing your website. That's why we use this metric to understand if the leads coming from each marketing source are the types of leads you want. Cost Per Minute combines the cost of the ad campaign (or source) and divides it by average session duration on the website. The lower the Cost Per Minute of a specific source, the more it's generating qualified leads and cutting down on your cost-per-lease. This blog post goes into more detail about how to use Cost Per Minute.
Video: Cost Per Minute-A Digital Ad Metric Built For Apartment Marketers
Is Your Website Converting Your Leads To Leases?
As mentioned earlier, your primary marketing source is your community website because it's there where your leads convert to leases.
Any amount of highly qualified traffic, however, will not overcome a bad website. Qualified prospects will leave it and find another apartment community who has a website that's helpful and shows them the inside of the floorplan they most want to see.
Think of this way: your website (and apartment marketing presence in general) should focus on keeping attention rather than getting attention. You will get and keep a prospective resident's attention when your apartment's website has floorplan-specific pages or walkthrough video tours. Both are key features we'd recommend adding to build your website into a lease-generating machine.
The more a prospective resident is able to engage with those things on your website, the more likely it is that they will ultimately reach out and either call the leasing office or schedule a showing. The 1-2 punch of having highly qualified traffic converting to leads on your website is exactly what you need when your occupancy has persistently struggled.
Do You Have An Apartment Marketing Problem? RentVision Can Help.
If you've answered “no” to any of the questions proposed above, your apartment marketing strategy is definitely getting in the way of your ability to achieve and sustain higher occupancy.
RentVision can help. Our dynamic apartment marketing system combines virtual content (like walkthrough video tours), predictive digital advertisements that automatically adjust spend based on your Future Occupancy, community websites featuring floorplan-specific content, and more.
Together, it delivers leads exactly when you need them (and saves you money when you don't). Persistently low occupancy ceases to exist when your marketing system actually knows when vacancy is going to hit and reacts before it becomes a problem.
That sounds a lot less stressful, right?! Schedule a demo to learn more about how RentVision can help you overcome your marketing problem.