The digital marketing strategy for some apartment operators begins and ends with the ILS. But that really shouldn’t even qualify as a strategy considering everyone uses an ILS to some degree – and it leaves a lot on the table.
Sure, ILS listings are effective for attracting some of the traffic at the top of the funnel when prospects first begin their apartment search. But ILSs aren’t very helpful later in the search process when you’re competing with other communities in your neighborhood to close a lease.
The most effective owner/operators combine SEO with pay-per- click and social advertising to fill their communities in a more rapid – and more consistent – fashion. Marketing strategies that integrate sophisticated digital efforts can be a little overwhelming for newer marketers. But considering consumers absorb the majority of their content online, digital marketing is a must.
As you have probably already entered the digital marketing arena in some respects, here are a few less intimidating ideas to increase your digital presence:
Incorporate a call to action: Call to action is a buzz phrase that has stood the test
of time in advertising from the early print days to today’s sophisticated digital
world, but it’s often forgotten. Incorporating a clear and prominent call to action
entices prospective renters to take action on the messages they read on your ads.
With a single click or tap, users can access a community website, take advantage of a
move-in special or sign a lease online. It will instantly guide the user to the desired
action. A call to action that is effectively crafted will grab the attention of the
prospective renter and lead them further into the funnel.
Drive traffic to your community site: When reaching prospective renters, one of
the primary objectives is to give them a sneak peek of your communities. What
better way than to guide them to your community site, where you control the
message? This can be accomplished with a strong SEO keyword strategy, effective
website optimization (make sure it’s not slow or malfunctioning in any capacity or
prospects will move on) and social media posts that redirect traffic to the site.
External and relevant content, such as inclusions in industry and local media
articles, press releases and blog posts can help drive traffic, as well, and promote
Define your target demographic: The more you know about your target renter in
a specific market, the more effectively you can reach them. Gathering info on their
quantitative qualities – age, income, location, professional field – is a solid start, but
apartment operators can take it a step further. Diagnosing the psychographics of a
submarket’s prospective renters – concepts such as ambitions, priorities, interests
and challenges – provides a sharper picture of the demographic. Digital strategies
then can be tailored accordingly.
Digital marketing can be an intensive and technical process, but it can be done in
steps. Utilizing the tips above will provide a solid start for entering the realm, and
the digital strategy can be cultivated from there. It will also deliver a distinct
advantage over those who refuse to look beyond the ILS.