Taking into account the current state of the multifamily industry, it's easy to assume these two truths:
- Many property management companies have purchased one or more apartment communities over the past year, as a record-breaking $335 billion was spent on purchasing multifamily properties in 2021.
- Many are also currently building or just opened new apartment communities, with about 426,000 new units coming to the market in 2022.
This brings to the forefront the value of scalable apartment marketing practices, where it's easy to transfer your marketing strategy to an existing apartment community you've just purchased, or implement it towards a new one you're opening.
If you've discovered this to be more challenging than you may have calculated, one or more of these five things could be hindering your apartment marketing strategy and keeping it from being scalable:
1. Your marketing team is constantly dealing with a vacancy crisis.
This happens when there's a major disconnect between management and marketing teams inside property management companies. There are plenty of decisions that managers can make, such as allowing leases to expire on the last day of the month, that invoke persistent vacancy problems for the marketing team.
Without an automated plan in place for dealing with vacancy, small issues within a particular floorplan's performance won't be discovered or addressed in time to prevent them from becoming community-wide problems.
As a result, marketing teams are constantly attempting to resolve vacancies with strategies they believe might solve the problem instead of with ones they know will solve the problem.
When you're buying an existing property, you want to be able to quickly identify and fix any lingering vacancy issues. In a lease-up, you're starting out with 100% vacancy and need leases fast. You don't have time to deal with figuring out how to establish marketing tactics that mitigate the risk of vacancy. You just want a strategy that works and can be applied to every situation. That is the definition of scalable apartment marketing.
2. Your rent is way too high.
When your rent is set much higher than market rate, it forces your marketing team to solve a problem it has no control over.
As rent is an occupancy driver, expensive prices will certainly eliminate your apartments from many prospective residents' searches—regardless of how well your marketing is performing.
In order to be scalable, you need a revenue management system that sets accurate rent at the precise time. This will help your marketing team as it won't have to take excessive measures like spending more on digital ads or upgrading membership levels on Internet Listing Services to generate the demand that overcomes your high rent. It can simply focus on addressing small vacancy issues in particular floorplans instead.
3. Your websites aren't updated.
A few multifamily operators we've talked to spent thousands of dollars for someone to design their apartment's website, only to never hear from that person again once the new website was completed. And worse, many have repeated this same cycle every few years because they needed to update the website's design again.
That’s completely frustrating and unscalable.
Whether buying or developing an apartment community, you can't sit and wait months for an outside developer to design a website. You need your website live as soon as possible so that you can create awareness for your apartments and get in front of more prospective residents.
Additionally, if no one is updating your current website, how can you highlight and bring more attention to the floorplans that are struggling the most with vacancy? You want and need to be able to quickly make changes when necessary.
4. You've got too many vendors.
The same anxieties that occur when you're dealing with an unresponsive or slow website developer can be applied when dealing with many other vendors.
The fact is, when you rely on others outside of your company for just about everything in marketing—someone for the website, another for the media content, yet another for digital ads—nothing is ever done according to your timeline. If you have an immediate need, you're always at the mercy of your vendors' and their time, and considering that they may have many other clients, you'll rarely be their top priority.
This persistently leaves you stuck in a situation you can't control, and you can't afford to deal with a ton of vendors that slow things down as you're transitioning your marketing to an existing property, or establishing it with a new one.
It's much more scalable when you have one marketing vendor who can handle all of your needs in a time frame that works best for you.
5. You have no idea how to assess marketing performance.
You can't build a scalable marketing strategy if you can't see or trust how your marketing is actually performing.
You may feel good in certain situations because your property management software is telling you that your occupancy is strong, but you don't have access to any marketing analytics that show you exactly where your leads or leases came from, or how much is being spent to generate them. You're left to assume that your high occupancy indicates that whatever is happening with your marketing is working.
When vacancy problems arise, then, the logical conclusion for many operators is that something's wrong with their marketing, too. They waste time trying to solve their assumed marketing issues rather than focusing on addressing the root issues causing their vacancy, which may or may not be marketing related.
A better, more scalable approach is to combine property performance with marketing performance so that you can understand how and when one impacts the other. This, in turn, will give you a clear understanding of how your marketing is driving your occupancy, and will prompt you to make smarter decisions when vacancy arises instead of reactionary ones.
RentVision's apartment marketing system was designed with scalability in mind, so that we can help clients succeed across all apartment communities in their portfolios.
It accurately detects any upcoming vacancy issues at the floorplan or bedroom levels first, which means our clients' marketing teams can instantly correct and put an end to small vacancy problems, preventing them from becoming big vacancy problems.
Plus, they won't ever have to wait for needed updates to occur on their website. Our system knows when vacancies will occur and automatically changes the featured floorplans. It also knows how much is spent on digital advertisements specifically for those floorplans and adjusts ad spend automatically so they receive more traffic when it is needed most.
We've systemized our onboarding process to get everything set-up, including a full community website with walkthrough video tours and floorplan-specific content, for new clients in under 3 months. The same process may only take a few weeks for existing clients.
Whether they're buying or building, they know their marketing strategy is much more scalable because it can be quickly implemented in both situations. As current multifamily indicators show, there are many other companies who could benefit from a scalable marketing system like RentVision's, too.