In any community, there are likely to be quite a few apartment complexes and there probably aren't too many differences between each one. One bedroom apartments, two bedroom apartments . . . maybe a community pool. How can one apartment complex really distinguish itself from all the others and get rented at a quicker pace? As with any business, the answer is...marketing! Apartment rental marketing is important if you want to fill vacancies fast and attract premium renters. It's all about getting the word out and clearly defining what makes your apartment complex different, and better, from all the others.
If you're in charge of apartment rental marketing, you may be looking for some tips and new strategies that you haven't tried before. In this market, it's a good idea to rely on solid marketing techniques and also test out new ones to see what works in your area. From corporate outreach to social marketing, there are many ways to approach apartment rental marketing.
Determine a Marketing Message
The first thing to do is to come up with an apartment rental marketing message and figure out what makes your apartment complex different. Is it close to schools, parks, or a popular landmark? Are the rooms larger than average? What kinds of amenities are offered? Do you allow pets? When someone rents one of your apartments, what do they get that they can't get somewhere else? Your marketing message should clearly set your properties apart from others in the area. Keep in mind that just because you think a certain feature is commonplace, it can still be sold as a benefit. Even something simple like air conditioning, a dish washer, or covered parking can help to paint a picture of the many luxurious amenities available. The most important thing is to focus on the positive attributes for someone who rents at your property.
One of the easiest aspects of apartment rental marketing is to establish a presence online. Unlike printed materials, once the site is built the cost to maintain it and use it as a marketing tool every day is minimal. You can post pictures of the apartments and any extra amenities in the complex such as a common pool or BBQ area. Also include floor plans and, of course, information about available listings. You might even think about providing information about the community you're in as many people who are looking to rent may be relocating from another city. By serving as resource during their move, it stands to reason that your apartment complex will be top of mind when they're ready to move in. A website does take a bit of work to get set up, but once it's up it is easy to update and make changes. It also becomes an invaluable source of information for prospective renters and current renters. A website is also a critical hub of the marketing plan because you'll want to include your website for additional information, no matter what other types of marketing you do.
It's hard to talk about marketing strategies without mentioning social media. While social media hasn't exactly proven itself to be a reliable direct marketing channel, it may still make the difference when you're trying to get an apartment rented. First, of course social media can be used to promote available rentals within your complex. Create a Facebook page or Twitter account and as the page gains friends and followers it makes it easy to quickly send out a notification of recent openings. You can also advertise promotions or distribute important information that current residents should know. The idea is to begin to create a community of residents online. Not only does this create a greater sense of loyalty among the current renters, it may also convince prospective renters that this is a community they want to be a part of. Creating a blog and promoting it through social media is relatively similar, although it allows you to provide more in-depth information. Blog posts can be about the housing market in general, things going on in the community, renting information, and really anything you think the residents may find interesting. The more people you bring in, the more likely you will have an interested renter when you need him.
Other ideas for apartment rental marketing include reaching out to local companies. Companies often need to relocate employees, or need a long term rental for a contract employee. You can even provide a discount or free gift to the employees of certain companies if someone they refer rents from you. It may also be possible to entice companies with free advertising in your welcome binder for new residents. By creating these relationships, your apartment complex becomes the rental unit of choice. When you meet with individual companies, make sure you bring information about your location, or locations, in a professional binder. You may be tempted to just grab a couple brochures, but that's what your competitors are doing. For a few extra dollars, your business will stand out from the crowd. Plus, it's a lot easier for brochures to end up in the trash, but a professional binder full of useful information may become a reference for years to come.
Depending on the apartment complex and the surrounding community, there are plenty of creative ways to approach apartment rental marketing. The goal is to get a positive message about your location in front of as many different people as possible. For example, if your rentals allow pets, you might try partnering with a local animal adoption agency and sponsor an adopt-a-pet day. Not only may this bring in prospective renters who are also animal lovers and will appreciate your stance on man's best friend, it may also increase the number of renters you have who own a pet, which means increased pet deposits and an influx of cash. You can also sponsor locator luncheons where you invite members of the community who specialize in placing people who are relocating to your city. Next time they have a client looking for rentals in the city, who do you think they'll remember?
Whether you're sticking with the strategies you know, or testing out some big, out of the box ideas, make sure to track your response and costs. Depending on how you track success, determine your return on investment (ROI) by dividing the cost by the response you received. At the end of a campaign, or at least once a month, assess whether or not the time and money spent on a particular strategy paid off. You may even find that some of your more expensive ventures ended up bringing in more tenants, dollar for dollar. Determine which marketing activities were most successful and then figure out if you can expand on them.
Finding the right marketing mix is a bit of science and a bit of luck. Just keep trying new ideas and growing the proven techniques. With a solid approach to apartment rental marketing, you'll ensure a low vacancy rate and a high caliber renter for years to come.