Most multifamily industry professionals agree that apartment marketing should be dynamic rather than static.
Although we can agree on the effectiveness of a dynamic strategy, it can be daunting to implement for multiple reasons. You may be worried about straying away from the ‘norm’, wasting unnecessary marketing dollars, or failing in front of your boss.
In today’s blog, we will explain how you can move from thinking a dynamic strategy is a good idea to actually adopting such a strategy at your community. If you can answer the three simple diagnostic questions listed in this blog, then you will be well on your way to defining a sustainable, effective marketing solution for your community.
What kind of property do you have?
Different communities have different supply and demand, budgets, and renters. For many c-class properties, you don’t need an astronomical advertising budget to hit your desired amount of leads. We have seen communities of this type hit their goals spending as little as $50/month on Google Ads.
In other cases, particularly with luxury lease-ups, you must spend much more than $50/month. We advise our clients who are marketing for luxury lease-ups to spend between $2,500–$5,000/month on Google Ads.
Why the disparity? C-class properties often have longer resident durations because people appreciate the lower price point—resulting in lower vacancy and need. We’ve also seen these types of properties work with local organizations to help people find housing. This helps promote brand awareness while simultaneously filling vacant units.
Luxury properties, in contrast, are highly competitive because many new developments are luxury properties. This results in higher competition within the digital advertising space and drives the cost of Google and Facebook ads up. However, we see an incredible ROI when it comes to Google ads—making the investment well worth it.
What is your minimum and maximum ad budget?
Second, you can define what you want to spend during slow months and what you want to spend during busy months ahead of time, which will save you time and keep you from feeling pressure down the road.
Identifying the best minimum and maximum ad budgets requires both research and thought. You don’t want to be determining ad budgets while simultaneously dealing with the stress of peak leasing season. Think through the issue ahead of time and then when it’s time to make a decision, you can simply refer to your prior work and make it quickly and with minimal arguments within the team.
Though every community is different, in many cases we recommend a minimum spend of around $300–$500/month. This will give you enough money to defend your community’s name on Google with a small amount left over for more broad campaigns that target keywords such as your competitors’ names or ‘apartments in (city, state)’.
During busier leasing months or times when your lead needs are greater, we often see communities settle in at a maximum budget of around $1,000–$1,500/month. This allows you to defend your brand successfully, but also gives you enough left over to hit some of the more general search terms for your area, and perhaps, even branch out into Facebook or multiple competitor targeting campaigns.
Where are you spending your money currently?
Finally, one of the most common objections we hear to this idea is that communities can’t simply discover hundreds or thousands of extra marketing dollars in their budget.
We get it. You’ve got a competitive market, tight ad budget, and you can’t just throw money around at every marketing channel that might bring in leads. But that isn’t what we’re proposing.
Asking, “Where will I get an extra $500/month (or any other amount)?” is the wrong question. It assumes that all of your current marketing spend is locked-in and essential to your community’s success.
Quite often that is not true.
In our experience, you’re far better off spending $2,000/month on Google Ads than you would be spending the same with an ILS. Therefore, we recommend testing the waters before jumping headfirst to give you time to acclimate and adjust your ads. For example, begin by taking $500 from that ILS and put it towards Google. Make sure you track the ROI for each marketing source—it’s crucial.
Track metrics such as number of phone calls generated by Google Ads, time spent on site, average cost-per-lead, etc. Adjust your campaigns by pausing low-performing campaigns, and practice with new ones. Once you discover the effectiveness of Google and optimize your campaigns, begin transferring more and more of your marketing budget towards your PPC ads.
Dynamic marketing will probably never be as simple as the old method of “set it and forget it.” It can’t be, because it is meant to be directly responsive to constantly changing vacancy numbers.
However, this doesn’t need to be a cause for frustration or uncertainty. If you are able to define your needs and what you plan to spend, then many of the big-picture questions are already answered. All that is left is the ordinary work of making small adjustments on a week-to-week basis in line with your current leasing needs.
The good news is, this kind of adaptive marketing strategy is going to position you to navigate high vacancy seasons far more effectively than previous methods. This strategy eliminates panicky fire drill seasons when vacancy spikes and no one knows what to do. A little extra effort on the day-to-day side of things will save you a great deal of extra effort (and stress) when things get busier.