How to Get The Most Out of Your Apartment Marketing Budget

Alex Middel
March 9, 2017

Are you constantly maxing out your apartment marketing budget? Or worse, are you spending your entire budget with nothing to show for it?

Every property management company has the goal of attracting new renters for the lowest cost possible in order to maximize profits. No matter how successful your properties are, no company is above optimizing their budget.

By making a few changes to your strategy, you can get more out of your apartment marketing budget, no matter how big or small it is. Read on to find out how.

How to get the most out of your Apartment Marketing Budget

It’s Not Just For Small Budgets

Whenever you read articles about how to stretch an apartment marketing budget, it typically assumes you’re working with a small budget. However, even apartment marketers with large budgets can benefit from being smarter about how they spend their money.

It’s not just about what size your marketing budget is, it’s about how you spend it. A classic example of this theory in action is Dollar Shave Club.

The shaving subscription box company received $1 million in financing in the early stages. They could have easily spent a large portion of that on marketing. However, they decided to be a bit more strategic and spent just $4,500 on a YouTube video that ended up going viral and earned them over 12,000 new customers in just two days.

Dollar Shave Club proved that more money is not always the answer. They were able to turn that small investment into a multi-million dollar company that’s a leader in its category. Every business can benefit from stretching their marketing budget, regardless of size.

6 Ways to Get More From Your Apartment Marketing Budget

While you may not have the viral success of Dollar Shave Club, you can still get much more out of your budget than you think. Here are six ways to get the most out of your apartment marketing budget.

1. Invest in Social Media

There’s a reason we’re putting this one first on the list. It works. Ninety-two percent of brands report that they see positive results from social. This is largely due to the fact that we’ve seen a significant shift over the past decade in the way consumers shop, including how they find apartments. Social media plays a key role in the buying process, so apartment marketers have to adjust.

According to a recent study, it looks like marketers are definitely buying into the power of social media. Social media spend is predicted to increase from 10% to 20% by 2021.

 social media spend

As you can see in the table above, B2C companies in particular plan on investing much more heavily in social media in the next five years. So apartment marketers need to be ready.

Aside from being able to reach renters where they spend a large chunk of their time each day, social media is affordable for any budget. If you have a budget for advertising, you can experiment with social media ads. If you’re on a smaller budget, you can dedicate more time to engaging with users organically on social instead. You can design your social media efforts to fit your needs.

2. Follow Up With Your Leads

If you’re capturing leads from your website, walk-ins or other avenues, make sure your team is following up with them. A whopping 44% of sales people give up on leads after one follow-up. And the average sales person only makes two attempts to reach out to a prospect.

But here’s the kicker, and the reason why a lack of follow-ups is blowing your budget. Eighty percent of sales require five follow-ups to close. That means if your leasing agents and sales team are taking a one-and-done approach, they’re most likely giving up too early.

This is particularly important for apartment marketers that are acquiring a lot of leads that aren’t resulting in new leases. While your first thought might be to increase your budget to get more leads, instead, think about how you can close more of the leads you’re already getting.

Perfect your lead-to-lease process and you’ll get much more out of your existing budget.

3. Analyze What’s Working

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.” While it’s usually used for self-improvement and career development advice, the saying also applies to business.

Instead of looking at the areas in your marketing budget that you’re lacking in, focus on the areas you’re seeing the most success. Then double down.

For instance, if you’re running multiple Facebook Advertising campaigns and notice some ads are severely underperforming, stop them. Don’t worry about trying to make changes to improve their performance. Instead, look at your top performers and allocate more money towards the winners, or try to replicate their results.

4. Survey Tenants & Lost Leads

Don’t work in isolation. You could have glaring holes in your marketing strategy that you’re unaware of because you’re making decisions based on your own analytics and assumptions. However, one of your most valuable resources that you may be overlooking is your tenants. That’s where surveys come in handy.

Surveys will help you get more from your apartment marketing budget by exposing what you’re doing most effectively. There are a few ways to get creative with surveys, beyond the generic “how would you rate your service?” questions. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Survey website visitors: There are several software companies like Qualaroo or SurveyMonkey that allow you to survey website visitors while they’re on your site. Use this as an opportunity to get to know how people view your site and what you can improve.
  • Ask tenants how they found you: This simple question can unlock very helpful insights into which channels are generating the highest quality leads. Since apartment marketers often get leads from several sources, and leads may have multiple touch points, the more details you can get about how people hear about your property, the better.
  • Ask lost leads why they didn’t choose you: You can still get value from a lead even if they don’t sign a lease. Find out why they chose not to rent. It could be something you can improve on in the future to make sure you don’t lose more leads for the same reason.

Try not to go survey crazy though. There’s a fine line between gaining helpful information and annoying people. CheckMarket did some research into how to get the most out of surveys. Here are a couple important takeaways.

First, make sure your surveys can be completed in less than 15 minutes. Ideally, they should be much shorter.

 survey completion time statistics

Also, send your survey invites during the weekdays if you want more responses.

 best days to send customer surveys

 best time and day to send customer surveys

If you’ve never experimented with surveys, give it a try. You might be surprised by your findings.

5. Adjust for Seasonality

Does your apartment marketing budget change depending on the season? If not, you could be throwing money away unnecessarily.

Most apartment hunters prefer to move during the warmer months. So there’s generally a surge in people looking for new apartments during the spring and summer. But once it gets into the fall and winter, new leases start to slow down.

 best time of year to rent

So you could spend the same amount of money in August as you do in November and see completely different results since there’s less demand in November.

A smart move would be to decrease your budget during your off-seasons, and put that extra money towards your busier months when people are more likely to rent. Not only will it save you from wasting money on campaigns that were likely not going to work anyways, but during those busier months you’ll have a lot more competition. So having extra money to spend will be helpful.

6. Hire Professional Apartment Marketers

Last but definitely not least, consider hiring experienced apartment marketers who know how to get the most out of your budget. There are a few advantages of outsourcing your apartment marketing rather than trying to do it all alone.

For one, it takes out a lot of the guess work. Apartment marketing agencies like AM Digital have worked with several clients in the multifamily industry and understand the ins and outs of how to reach tenants. When you’re doing everything in-house, the process of learning what works and what doesn’t can be expensive and time-consuming. Which brings us to the next point.

Working with an apartment marketing agency saves you time. Remember what we said earlier about focusing on your strengths? If apartment marketing isn’t one of your core competencies, why not invest in a specialist instead? That way you can focus on managing your properties, renter retention and everything else on the long list of responsibilities that will help improve your business and increase your bottom line.

Above all else, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that everything is being taken care of correctly. Running apartment marketing campaigns requires a combination of creative and technical skills that can take years to master.

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