You know you need to be online. You put your rentals on all the big sites and Craigslist, of course. But what's the next-level stuff? What are the tactics most property managers aren't using that can help more tenants find and interact with
your listings online?
It's time to treat your online strategy like your business is in the e-commerce game—because it is.
Online Marketing Tactics to Attract Tenants
Businesses that only sell online have a unique perspective that most brick-and-mortar businesses (like apartment complexes) don't tend to have. They live and die by their online leads, studying consumer behavior and optimizing every last interaction. Managing a property probably doesn't feel very similar to an online store, but the lost opportunities are exactly the same.
Here are five little-known ways to improve your online presence and capture more leads in the process.
1. Make Your Blog a Community Resource
A blog isn't just for your own announcements (like new rentals), it's primarily for you to demonstrate the kind of value you provide to your community.
Create community resource pages around the kinds of topics that your target residents care about so they find you through organic search.
Write articles about what's happening in the neighborhood and invite your tenants to contribute.
Listing and describing schools, restaurants, community events, and fun things to do and see around town can greatly improve your site's visibility in search results as new residents are exploring your part of town.
What's more, a very practical checklist of items new residents may need, from DMV info to links to public transportation options, could not only bring new prospects straight to your page at the moment they need you most, but it also shows them that you take care of the details.
Think about the questions and issues renters face when moving to a new area or neighborhood. Write about those consistently, and you'll see your website traffic and leads increase.
2. Use Facebook Audiences to Target Your Messages
If you're regularly sharing useful information to your blog and resource pages, you should also be sharing it to your Facebook account. Merely sharing your content (intermixed with property listings) isn't likely to drive a lot of traffic to your site, however. Most posts by businesses aren't seen by 90% of their followers unless you turn those posts into ads and "boost" them for a few dollars.
Gaining that kind of reach on-demand is kind of amazing, but just because more people can see your content, doesn't mean it's useful to them.
Facebook's real power for any business is its capacity to target groups of users with hyper-specific detail. From age and occupation to locality, recent interests, and even life events you can target Facebook users who represent the type of people who tend to rent your apartments.
3. Share a Special Lead Magnet Resource Renters Will Love
"Lead magnets" are highly useful resources that site visitors find so compelling, they want to give you their email to gain access. It's a good deal, really. They get free insider advice, and you get their email so you can keep your property top of mind, right in their inbox. What's a topic for a lead magnet, you ask?
How about, "The 10 Questions Every Renter Should Ask Before Signing a Lease."
Or, "Your Landlord is Checking Your Background. Are You Checking His? Here's How."
Be the one to give the low down on renting in your area and prospects will love you for it. Check out these handy insights from Digital Marketer on how to build a lead magnet, and your marketing will never be the same. Once you get a prospect's email, you'll need to follow up, nurture the relationship, and share special offers through an email marketing cycle that can continue for weeks and even months.
4. Use the Facebook Pixel to Retarget Users After They Visit Your Site
No self-respecting digital marketer puts up a blog post or an ad and calls it a day.
Most new prospects need to be exposed to your brand several times before they're ready to make a decision. In fact, with just one exposure, they may not even remember you!
Now, you get bonus points if you already have a lead magnet new website visitors can sign up for and give you their email in return (see above). Even if you do, however, most visitors won't sign up for anything.
That's where the Facebook Pixel comes in.
This handy little code snippet hangs out on your site and records every Facebook user who visits. Then, after they've left and are back on Facebook, you can send them special follow-up reminders to come back and see you again, take advantage of your current special... whatever you like.
5. Remarket to Website Visitors Through Google, Too
We're really starting to multiply the times prospective renters will see your property. Exciting, right? In addition to retargeting Facebook users by showing them more ads on Facebook, you can do the same thing with Google, only all over the internet. Google calls it"remarketing," but it works pretty much the same way. A short code snippet placed on your website allows Google to follow users after they leave your site and can show them ads on most of the other sites they visit.
While setting up a Google remarketing campaign with Adwords is a little more involved, you can test it out with a limited budget and you don't even have to know how to design an ad—Google has an ad builder right in Adwords. Simply follow the prompts to upload text and images, and Google makes good-looking ads that work on every page where they appear!
Bonus Tip: Shoot Professional Listing Videos
This may not be "little-known" to property managers, but it certainly is under-utilized.
Photos are necessary, but videos change the game. You already know showings are time-consuming, so even though a professionally shot and edited video may cost a little more than photos, the extra expense is a wise investment for two reasons.
First, video lets the 'looky-loos' gather the info they need without wasting your time.
Second, the truly hot prospects can get even more excited by feeling like they've already walked through the property before they even call you.
Studies show that video is impacting marketing (including real estate), in many significant ways, and can even increase landing page conversion rates by 80%! How would that change your rental rate if 80% more of your site visitors applied to rent one of your apartments?
Little-Known, Big Impact
The real lesson here is not the tactics you know about, but the tactics you actually implement that make all the difference.
If you learn not to assume prospects will find your building even if they can't find you online, you'll treat every lead like it's precious—like it needs nurturing and repeat exposures over time—something most property managers never do.
You can do all the same things as every other apartment complex out there and hope that your listings stand above the competition, that your property is on the right street, or closer to the right address...
Or, you can take a few of these extra steps and leave your competition in the dust.