7 Reasons Your Apartment Marketing Isn't Working

Alex Middel
March 1, 2017

Sometimes, no matter how much time, effort and money you put into getting new renters, it seems like you’re not getting results.

You feel like you’re doing everything right, but for some reason it’s just not working.

Realizing there’s a problem is important.

But what’s even more important is understanding why your marketing isn’t working.

Is it bad copywriting?

Too much competition?

Or maybe you’re spending your marketing budget in the wrong places.

If you’ve been struggling to drive new leads, here are seven possible reasons your apartment marketing isn’t working.

New call-to-action

1. Your Campaigns Aren’t Targeted

There’s a saying that goes “when you try to reach everyone, you reach no one.” The meaning behind it is that broad marketing messages don’t speak to any particular group of consumers. So people feel unconnected to your brand since they can’t identify with it.

Who’s your ideal renter? If your answer is everybody, it’s time to consider narrowing it down a bit. Having a target renter or buyer persona will help you create more effective messaging and targeted campaigns.

Instead of taking a shotgun approach with your marketing, create your persona first. This tool from HubSpot is a good place to start.


After you have your persona and know who you’re trying to reach, tailor your ads, content and other marketing materials towards that renter. That means speaking to the specific problems and issues of your persona, rather than relying on generic marketing messages.

2. You Don’t Track Anything

If you’re not tracking your efforts, there’s no way of telling what’s working and what’s not. At AM Digital, we’re huge proponents of analytics and tracking everything possible.

When it comes to online marketing, the smallest change can make the biggest difference, positively or negatively. So it’s important to have records of any changes you make to your website, and track every campaign. The more detailed the better. When you’re able to see what specific keywords and pages are resulting in the most leads, it’s a lot easier to make improvements.

Google Analytics is a great free tool to get started with tracking. You can see exactly how people are getting to your website, what pages they’re visiting and a laundry list of other important metrics that’ll give you a clearer picture of what’s working and what’s not.

If you want to go beyond basic metrics like high-level traffic views, consider hiring an agency that’s experienced in setting up and measuring funnels. Tracking should be one of your main priorities if your current apartment marketing efforts aren’t paying off.

3. You’re Not on Social Media

Social media marketing is crucial for any business, and the multifamily industry is no exception. Why is social media so important? For starters, 78% of the U.S. has at least one social media profile.

 percentage of americans with social profiles

Plus, your potential renters spend a significant amount of time on social. Social media makes up 30% of the time people spend online. To put that in perspective, the average person will spend five years and four months of their entire lifetime on social media, making it the second most time consuming daily activity.

 total time spent on daily activities

Considering the amount of time your future tenant is spending on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, you’d be crazy not to get active on these platforms. Unfortunately, a large chunk of apartment marketers have refused to change with the times and are feeling it in their pockets as a result.

Modern apartment marketers are investing in Facebook advertising, building an Instagram presence and using other social channels because they know that’s where their audience’s attention is.

4. You Website Isn’t Built to Convert

Do you use your website as a brochure to show off your apartment community, or as a lead generating machine? For many apartment marketers, it’s the former.

If you want to start generating more leads online, your number one priority needs to be getting your website to convert. We wrote an entire guide on conversion rate optimization that’s a must-read for every apartment marketer.

Your website is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal because it’s often the first impression potential renters have of your company. Instead of using your site simply to display information, focus on getting it to convert traffic into leads.

The North Water Apartments website is a good example of how to use your website to generate leads, while still giving prospects the information they want.

The very first item on the homepage is a lead generation form. If people want more information, they can click on the menu on the left. But the main focus of the page is the apartment search form.

 north water apartments

When you scroll down slightly, there’s information and another form on the left-hand side.

 north water apartments 2

Take a page from North Water’s book and organize your website to get visitors to take action, rather than just browsing around.

5. People Can’t Find Your Site

We mentioned the importance of optimizing your website for conversions, but you also need to optimize it for search engines. Ninety-three percent of online experiences begin with search engines. Phone Books and paper apartment guides are old news. When people are looking for products or services, including apartments, they turn to Google.

In order to take advantage of this traffic, you need to:

  • Identify relevant keywords your target renter uses.
  • Create content targeting those keywords.
  • Make sure your site is able to be properly crawled by search engines.
  • Get other sites to link to you

Your goal should be to rank within the top five search results because they get 67% of all the clicks. Ranking on the second page is almost the same as not ranking at all since 75% of internet users don’t scroll past the first page of search results.

Read through our seven key SEO principles every apartment marketer needs to know for more detailed tips to optimize your site. We’re also here to help with your apartment marketing SEO.

6. You Have Negative Reviews

Here’s an often overlooked setback that can completely ruin your apartment marketing efforts. No matter how beautiful your website is or how much you spend on paid advertising, it’s extremely difficult to overcome bad reviews.

According to a survey from Bright Local, 91% of consumers read online reviews to determine whether a business is good or bad. What will apartment hunters see when they look up reviews of your property?

 bright local online reviews survey

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t necessarily need five-star reviews for people to trust your business. Eighty-seven percent of people say that a business needs a rating of 3-5 stars to consider using them. That means as long as your reviews aren’t below average (three stars) you’re not completely out of the running.

 average rating needed for consumers

Lastly, the most influential reviews for consumers are the most recent ones. Seventy-three percent of consumers find reviews older than three months to be irrelevant.

 recent online reviews matter most

Use these tips get a consistent stream of positive reviews, particularly if your company has negative reviews that are years old:

  • Ask tenants to leave a review within 30 days of moving in. That way they won’t forget and the experience will be fresh in their mind.
  • Do everything within reason to keep your tenants happy. All it takes is one bad incident to get a one-star review.
  • Encourage tenants to review you on Google or Yelp, because 63% of people look for reviews on search engines. Google and Yelp are two of the most common review sites to show up in search results.
  • Send reminders to leave an online review for long-time tenants. Since they’ve stayed in your community for a while, they likely enjoy their living situation and would be willing to give you a positive review.

Last but definitely not least, don’t buy fake reviews. Not only is it dishonest, but it also looks bad on your company if you get caught.

7. Your Competitors Are Outdoing You

The multifamily industry is competitive, particularly in larger cities. Sometimes the problem isn’t that your apartment marketing is bad, it’s just that your competitors are doing something better. Luckily this is a fairly simple fix.

Start by doing some competitive research. You can use a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to get a behind-the-scenes look at what your competitors are doing. You’ll be able to see what keywords they’re targeting organically and through paid ads. Look for any gaps between what they’re targeting and what you’re targeting, then see if you can fill in that space.

You can also do a visual inspection of their website. Pay attention to their messaging, blog posts, design, social media accounts and any other channels they’re using to market their apartments.

A word of caution. You don’t want to directly copy what they’re doing. Your goal is to get an idea of what’s working, and find ways to incorporate into your own strategy.

Down But Not Out

Just because your apartment marketing isn’t hitting the heights you expected right now, doesn’t mean it’s time to call it quits.

Simply make adjustments based on the tips above and give it time.

Not every campaign will be a success, and the same tactics won’t work for every company.

It’s all about testing and iterating to find the sweet spot.


New call-to-action


You May Also Like

These Stories on Strategy

Subscribe by Email