Summer leasing season can be hectic. The success of your team during peak leasing season will largely determine your performance over the entire fiscal year. A good leasing season sets you up for a stable, profitable year. A poor leasing season will have you scrambling for months and could lead to difficult conversations with ownership.
So, how do you set yourself up for a successful summer? One important aspect of navigating leasing season is having a marketing strategy that is effective, but also dynamic. Your community’s stability can change dramatically from day-to-day because so many units are vacating and then being occupied. A community that looks vulnerable on a Monday may be in a strong position by Thursday or Friday. Therefore, a marketing strategy that helps you increase demand quickly, but also allows you to scale back in order to save money is a non-negotiable.
In this blog, we will talk about three aspects of a dynamic marketing strategy that are perfect for summer.
Choose your low advertising budget.
The low-end of your budget is what you will use if things go better than expected. If you lease up quickly and are sitting at or above your desired occupancy, you’ll want to spend less on advertising since you do not actually need a large number of leads.
You should still have some amount in your ad budget because you will still want to run defensive ads to protect your brand name on search engines. You may also want to continue running your competitor ads to stay in the game, but you can significantly scale back what you are spending. Typically, a $200–$500/month budget is a great minimum budget because it will keep your essential ads running, but will not place a huge financial burden on the property.
Choose your high advertising budget.
Your maximum budget is what you will use when you need to maximize your demand in order to lease units more quickly. We recommend being aggressive with your maximum budget because ultimately, it is still cheaper to spend money on Google Ads than vacant units for several months.
We often recommend a maximum budget of $1,500/month, though obviously, that can change a great deal depending on the community, city, etc. Many of our lease up communities are spending upwards of $5,000/mo, so the strategy can be truly unique to you.
That being said, you will hit a point of diminishing returns with your ad spend. This is because there will only be so many people who are a good fit for your community. So, while Google will always gladly accept your marketing dollars, ,you will eventually run out of valuable places to advertise.
Select your specials and incentives.
If you create specials or incentives in the middle of a vacancy crunch, you’re going to produce bad specials because you’re establishing them in the heat of the moment and are reacting instead of planning ahead.
To avoid that mistake, make a plan for what your incentives and specials will be and how you will advertise those to increase their effectiveness. This could mean debating where to advertise the special. For instance, will the special be advertised on the website’s homepage or will you build Google Ads campaigns around a certain special? Determine this strategy ahead of time to get the best results.
One final marketing strategy to keep in mind is that offering floorplan-specific specials are much better than offering community-wide specials. Why is that? Because most of the time, your vacancy is constrained to one or two floorplans, rather than all of them. In that case, setting a community special costs you unnecessary money. It is far better to set floorplan-specific specials because these are going to be far more likely to address your actual vacancy issues.
The key to navigating peak leasing season is having a strategy ahead of time with a marketing plan that is flexible enough to adapt as conditions change. If you can implement the suggestions offered in this blog, you will be well-positioned to handle the challenges that come with this time of year.