- Listings are now a true hub for renters to get information on your property, and a tool to help you save on resources elsewhere.
- Ad campaigns that target too broad of an audience can lead to overspend.
- Investing in a few high-quality visuals heighten brand value while driving results.
Whether you’re in the thick of budget season, or it’s just time to take a fresh look at costs, marketing plays a big part of the final plan. This can be an exciting part of the process because of the sheer number of tools and options available. Yet, it can be challenging and time consuming to finalize a comprehensive marketing & ad budget, determine how each tactic contributes to NOI and find the best fit options to reach new goals.
Our new series “Money, Effort, Time: Building a better property marketing budget” is here to help you avoid common roadblocks when developing a final plan. In this first part, we’ll talk about three ways to save marketing and advertising spend:
- Cost efficient audience targeting
- Optimized listings and digital presence
- Get long term value of quality visual assets
We’ll guide you through each one.
Drive down ad spend with more refined targeting
Upping high-quality lead traffic is possible with first-party data and multifamily-focused ad targeting.
Are you getting value out of your ad budget? The clearest way to tell is by the number of converted leads that come from ad traffic. Your property’s search, social and display ads can be powerful drivers of brand awareness. But if your team is able to attribute signed leases to the quality leads that come in from your ad campaigns, you can prove even more value to other stakeholders involved in the budget process.
Upping high-quality lead traffic is possible with first-party data and multifamily-focused ad targeting. These two factors also yield the most cost savings in your ad budget.
Ad campaigns that target too broad of an audience can lead to overspend. Many multifamily teams cast a wide net when creating their audience lists. This is easy to do when creating lists from scratch, because FHA regulations restrict properties from targeting audiences using age, gender, ZIP code, cultural identity, or any options related to protected characteristics.
That changes when you are able to target audiences who are actively searching for apartments in your market. Instead of building an audience from scratch, multifamily-efficient ads can leverage first-party data from marketplaces like Rent.com and ApartmentGuide.com. These solutions identify in-market renters and display a property’s ads to those audiences only. This also alleviates the need for extra hours spent by property teams to master ad platforms, create ads and refine targeting all while attending to their other tasks.
Maximize your listing investment by anticipating renter needs
The more helpful your marketplace listing is for renters, the more likely they will book a tour just from information on the listing alone. Converting prospective renters to tours faster gives you an advantage over competing properties and will ultimately increase the ROI of your marketing campaigns.
Many prospective renters go to listings to hear from other residents via online reviews/ratings, “walk around” the property with video and 3D touring, get answers to common questions, and set up the first call or in-person tour with a leasing agent. Being ready for those use cases will ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. The great news is that many of these features are often included in Rent.’s standard listing plan—from complimentary photo shoots to tenant screening and tour scheduling integrations.
View your listings as that true hub for information on your property, and a tool to help you save on resources elsewhere. Here are some key questions to ask while you’re optimizing your current listings:
- Can the average renter get all information needed from this listing to confidently sign up for a tour?
- Do visuals and touring options on my listings reflect the ideal quality we aim for onsite and in other marketing channels?
- Are there automated tools and features on my listing that will help my onsite team (automated tour scheduling, sufficient lead forms, critical policy notes and information)?
Converting more high-quality leads directly from your listings will save on budget needed for other tactics in your marketing plan. This will give your team wiggle room to invest in more enhanced solutions to reach new audiences, drive efficiency in other areas or focus on other marketing items in your dream sheet.
Get long-term value out of a few outstanding graphics and visuals
Investing in a few high-quality visuals heightens brand value while driving results. In a webinar on optimizing property marketing for the changing market, Max Morales from The Cornerstone Group and Jessica Dinin from The Bainbridge Companies talked about the importance of brand value and having a few high-quality visuals.
Even having three to five high-quality images that show the best of your community can elevate your marketing tactics and design. Max recommends that properties maintain consistency and use these images across the property website, listings, ads, brochures, etc. This not only reinforces your property brand, but allows you to use a few assets for multiple purposes—saving budget and time.
"It all depends on your budget, first and foremost. I would definitely recommend having three to five images that you will post up everywhere…Utilizing those images on your social media, all your digital platforms, and all of your advertisements whether it be digital, print or [otherwise]."
Also consider how you want to invest in more engaging content like videos and virtual tours. Key questions to ask would be:
- How do our graphics and visuals compare with competing properties in the area?
- Did units with 3D tours drive more in-person tour bookings, lead form fills, or even lead-to-lease conversion?
- Did performance on the listing site increase after higher quality photos, video content or 3D tours were included?
- Are there areas I can reuse these images/videos across my marketing tactics (emails, social media, property site, listings, ads, etc.)?
With the increasingly digital rental experience, these tactics have proven to drive higher lead-to-lease conversion. Looking at your property’s past results or researching how other properties are performing can help you determine how much value your property can get over the long term.
Next steps – make your marketing dream sheet a reality.
Even if your immediate team is in full agreement with next steps, getting buy-in from corporate stakeholders and other departments is also crucial to turning your plan into action. It also requires tangible proof, whether that’s last year’s results, projected cost, or expected ROI (return on investment).
By building out a budget that takes into account the quality of leads you’ll receive and the long-term return from your digital marketing investments, you’re that much closer to enjoying the results of your savings.