digital strategy

Promoting your rental property today

A digital marketing guide for apartment owners and managers
Monday, June 6, 2016
by the RentSeeker.ca Team

It’s all been said before: To succeed in this modern marketplace, rental property managers need to embrace social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. They also require a professional quality website, and their property ads to be posted on sites like RentSeeker.ca, Kijiji and Craigslist.

But what about all those new apps and platforms that keep popping up? Is it necessary to leap into yet another unknown digital space?

To help landlords navigate their digital journeys, the team at RentSeeker.ca has rounded up today’s top marketing tools, promising all those who embrace them an edge in the online marketing game.

Making it snappy

Snapchat is the latest and greatest app to have  captured the Millennial hordes. So popular, in fact, that it has over 100 million daily active users with 71 per cent of those falling into the 18 to 34 age range.

“Even if your audience doesn’t fall in that demographic, Snapchat is becoming a vital part of global marketing strategies,” says Kate Talbot of Social Media Examiner. “It is perfect for real-time social media marketing because it can give the audience direct access to live events, product launches, trade shows or one-of-a-kind events.”

For the property management industry, Snapchat is a great way to showcase newly renovated suites, cover tenant appreciation events and give your audience a behind-the-scenes peek at your culture. “Snapchat gets your audience excited because you’re providing a different, more authentic view of what’s going on,” explains Talbot.

In other words, Snapchat helps to humanize your brand.

PPC and SEO

When it comes to marketing your brand online, there are two very important acronyms that need to be embraced: PPC and SEO.

According to Google, PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of Internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows you to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a related keyword. For example, you could bid on the keywords “Apartments for Rent in Toronto,” and when someone searches for that (or closely related) terms in Google, your ad could appear near the top of the page.

“Every time our ad is clicked, sending a visitor to our website, we have to pay the search engine a small fee,” says Larry Kim of WordStream. “When PPC is working correctly, the fee is trivial, because the visit is worth more than what you pay for it.”

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and is a way to organically determine where your site and its content will appear in search engine results. If your site has a blog (and it should), using keywords that you know your target audiences will be looking for is a great way to get yourself a higher ranking in search results. When creating content on your site, always add keywords that are relevant to not just the content you’re posting, but your business in general.

Remember, however, that SEO isn’t always going to guarantee that you will be one of the top search results on Google, especially in a competitive marketplace. That’s where PPC comes in to give you a little helping hand.

Re-marketing

Have you ever visited a website to look at purchasing a product, only to see an ad for that very same item on Facebook just a few hours later? This is called re-marketing and it’s a great way to help business owners reconnect with potential buyers as they continue to browse the web.

Often, people will start the “soft-search” for an apartment months before they are ready to actually make the plunge. Re-marketing allows companies to stay top-of-mind with the potential tenants who have visited their website days, weeks and sometimes even months down the road. Essentially, it’s a way of saying that we are there when you are ready to reach out to us.

Video marketing

The property industry is tailor-made for video marketing. From virtual suite tours to staff and tenant profiles, optimizing your video marketing strategy is vital.

“Video marketing is the next big thing in business. In fact, it’s not the next big thing in business because that implies it’s coming. It’s here right now and there’s no getting away from it,” says AJ Agrawal of Forbes. “If you haven’t started to build your video marketing strategy, chances are you are falling behind your competitors.”

Having a main corporate video, as well as individual videos showcasing each property, is a great way to create visual messages and give prospective renters insight into your company and brand. Videos also build credibility while establishing your web presence, because, lest we forget, videos are highly valued and ranked on search engines.

Going paperless

Finally, if you haven’t gone paperless yet, now is the time to do so. Not only does it save an untold amount of trees and appeal to the environmentally conscious nature of Millennial renters, it makes life easier for your employees.

“I noticed that our property managers were constantly travelling to our various locations — Toronto, Hamilton, Tillsonburg and so-on — to get the lease applications, confirm their approval and process them,” says Brian Turpin, Greenwin Inc.’s Director of IT. “Subsequently, there was also the issue of where are these documents being stored and who’s keeping track of them.”

The solution? Take them online. From rental applications to service requests, the mountains of paperwork required to run a property can be given the electronic treatment. In Greenwin’s case, they were able to take the vast majority of the paperwork they would deal with and filter it through an app for their tenants called MyGreenwin.

“The MyGreenwin app (powered by PropertyVista)  gives us the distinct advantage of being able to track and respond to our tenants’ requests in real-time,” Turpin says. “They can log in to pay their rent, log a service request or send us messages of a non-urgent nature.”

There isn’t one simple key to success when it comes to marketing your business in the 21st century. But by thinking outside of the box and expanding your reach, you’ll be well on your way to helping people find you – right when they need you.

And like all marketing and operational strategies, “sticking with the game plan” is key to success. Some ideas will perform better than others in specific markets, while others may take a bit more time to adopt. The key is to maintain the strategy you’ve decided on, and ensure the company and your customers  maintain a clear and consistent message.

Here is a great video from Yolo Media Group, a Toronto-based marketing agency, offering varying opinions on which marketing strategies work and why. The final message explains that it’s not one single component, but a syncronized approach using various platforms, that will ultimately serve as the key to a successful overall strategy!

RentSeeker.ca is Canada’s Leading Apartment Finder and Real Estate Marketing Company. Visit us at: www.RentSeeker.ca  or e-mail us at Hello@RentSeeker.ca!

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