Follow the Renter

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Making Property Marketing Simple

With the migration of the apartment search almost entirely to online venues, multifamily property managers are increasingly pulled in many directions for marketing: paid ads, social media, search engine marketing and optimization, and directories. The pressure to derive the highest possible return from every possible strategy often means that resources get spread too thin, while still falling short of ROI goals. As you make these spending decisions, it’s important to prioritize how your potential renters find their way to your properties. That’s why, instead of parsing your marketing costs between ads, SEO, and social media consultants, we suggest optimizing your spend to match the renter’s journey.

Here’s how most renters approach the apartment searching process:

1. A Basic Search

Renters start by scouting out their options through a bit of online research, visiting several ILSs to get a breadth of available properties and neighborhoods.

This early in a renter’s search, it’s incredibly expensive and inefficient to compete at the level of ILS SEO. Instead of attempting to beat their search rankings, invest in multiple ILSs to give your properties maximum visibility to renters early on in their search. Secondarily, focus on your localized SEO and double-check the citations for your properties to ensure that any renter searching directly for your property will quickly find it at the top of their search results, complete with the correct contact information.

2. Filters on an ILS (or Two)

Once they’ve surveyed the rental market, renters narrow their focus. The #1 most-used filter is cost. Beyond that, they typically zero in on a number of basic priorities — size, location, number of bathrooms — before moving on to more specialized amenities: Is there in-unit laundry? Is heat included? How many parking spots are there? ABODO lists 16 amenity filters, which makes it easy for renters to customize their search.

Initially, renters think in terms of the individual apartment, not the management company. But if the apartment listing doesn’t match the reality, they’ll be less likely to trust the rest of your listings. That’s why it’s important to keep your listings accurate and up to date, with high-resolution photos and error-free availability. Our expanded customer service team can help you with these aspects of the user experience.

3. Property Research

By this point, a renter has narrowed his or her list down to a few units, spread across a few properties. Now’s the time that they compare you to your competitors on a community or building level, which means that now is the time they’re Googling your company name, looking for reviews of your properties. Before, they were evaluating your apartments as potential homes. Now, they’re looking at you as a potential landlord.

Now is when your investments in SEO and SEM will pay off. Make sure you’ve identified the right keywords for your properties, so that your name comes up when renters search for not only your you, but for your competitors as well. And keep an eye on your ratings and reviews on websites like Yelp, Facebook, Google reviews, and ReviewMyLandlord.com. Make sure that the first page of search results is full of positive (and real) reviews that don’t sound like they were written by a robot or a relative.

If a renter is still with you at this point, they’ll start poking around your website. Be sure it’s accurate, intuitive, and easily navigated. The more professional photos, the better. And although you don’t need to list every single apartment in your property on your site, a potential renter should be able to easily view general information on your properties. It goes without saying that it should be a cinch to find contact information or schedule a showing.

As a multifamily manager, it can be easy to forget that renters begin their search not with management companies, or even the communities you’ve built, but with the apartments themselves. As you allocate your resources and hone a strategy, it’s important to remember that a renter starts small, with what’s between the four walls of their dream apartment, before zooming out for the bigger picture of your company and its goals. By focusing first on the search experience, you can better anticipate renters’ needs — and be well on your way to turning them into leads.

 
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