It’s 2020, and prospective renters are overwhelmingly searching for their next apartment online. It seems like only a few years ago when apartment marketers began talking about the day when digital marketing would take its rightful place at the heart of multifamily marketing strategy. That day is here.
But as the online apartment marketplace flourishes, it has also grown increasingly complex in both scale and strategy. Gone are the days when a property manager could update a handful of internet listing services with available units and call it good. Today’s digital marketers must master multiple platforms, deliver consistent branding across dozens of websites, and measure absolutely everything in order to adjust marketing spend. Keeping up with constantly changing requirements for Google My Business, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and dozens of ILS sites is no easy task, especially when you’re also working to manage the implications of in-person tours and leasing processes in a world that has made the shift to virtual for nearly every transaction.
The Need for Automation
As you might expect, the key to managing increasingly complex technology problems often lies in finding the right tech tools. Digital marketing dashboards and reporting mechanisms can help automate repetitive tasks, monitor and update various platforms to keep branding and property information consistent, and evaluate which lead sources are most effective so that resources can be allocated where they will do the most good.
Horizon Realty Advisors began testing Entrata’s Marketing Strategy Hub earlier this year to do just that. “The most attractive part out of the gate was automating the syndications to Google My Business and those sorts of listings,” said Emmett Maki, Horizon’s digital marketing manager. “Checking those little boxes for every single one of our properties would be too time-consuming.”
In addition to the integrations that automate updates to property and unit listings, digital marketers need visibility into lead source performance. Online marketplaces are replete with data, so finding ways to make sense of the metrics and, more importantly, translate them into strategic business decisions is imperative. If the same digital marketing system can do both, all the better.
“The reporting in the Marketing Strategy Hub is an added bonus, because it helps us focus on metrics in a way we didn’t think about before,” said Maki. “We like the focus on conversions and looking at leads from a prior period while considering the completion percentage. It’s a smart approach.”
Implementation & Beyond
Finally, when deciding to introduce new technologies into your marketing processes, the amount of work needed to operate and maintain the tool cannot be ignored. The best technology solutions take work off your plate, rather than adding more to your to-do list.
Maki described Entrata’s Marketing Strategy Hub handoff. “Everything was covered in the initial kickoff call, then we subscribed the properties that were participating,” he said. “That was all the instruction we needed to get everything up and running. The setup is all very straightforward.”
You want a technology provider that is readily available during set-up, can consult on an ongoing basis. But you don’t want to be constantly on the phone with support to make small tweaks or implement new strategies. Platforms that put the power in the users’ hands to adjust marketing automations as circumstances change provide the greatest value.
“The main value of the platform is knowing that we don’t have to double-check these things, or worry whether the tracking numbers are right,” said Maki. “The feed lets us see what is happening. That’s super valuable and covers a lot of bases that our properties don’t have the time to do.”
Entrata includes the Marketing Strategy Hub in its Digital Marketing Bundle. However, the Marketing Strategy Hub can also be used as a stand-alone product as a cost-friendly tool to help you manage integrations, track leads, and make the best decisions on how to spend your marketing dollars.