Multifamily marketers are constantly challenged to stay ahead of the curve. This is extremely difficult to do in the digital world. We were recently offered some insight in a survey conducted by Multifamily Insiders, Statisfacts, and G5 that shows just what leaders in Multifamily marketing think they will need to compete in the near future.
Many of the trends revealed in this survey are to be expected:
- Multifamily marketers realize that mobile is the new method of digital discovery
- There is a focus on Yelp, Google+, and Paid Search to bring in more leads
- Communication with prospects and residents through social networks is increasing in importance
- Online reviews are having an increasingly strong influence in decision making
There were a few other trends, however, that are a bit more surprising:
- Despite the fact that leads from a property’s website have a conversion rate three to four times higher than those from an ILS (Internet Listing Services), there is little perceived change in the usage of ILSs for lead generation.
- There is a decreased interest in Craigslist, while there is an increase in usage of Facebook to generate leads (an important trend to watch because many marketers only think of Facebook for social communication versus demand generation).
- Prospects are now using multiple platforms to engage, including text messaging which has an expectation of an immediate response.
Breaking it Down into Sites, Search, and Social
- Multifamily marketers predict a rise in opening lines of communication with prospects and residents through social media channels and text messaging.
- Renters are looking forward to moving their interactions to mobile, including online rent payments, and the use of tablets during tours and leasing.
- With the shift to mobile, marketers recognize the importance of paid search, which “owns” approximately 70% of the smartphone screen.
- The importance of online reviews will drive marketers to fully claim and leverage Google+ and Yelp pages to establish a positive online reputation.
- Facebook will grow in importance for online advertising in addition to its current use for social communication.
The Trend That’s Fast Approaching
Multifamily marketers appear to be maintaining their current spend levels with ILSs. At G5, our Multifamily customers have indicated that leads that come from property websites convert at a higher rate than leads from an ILS. This makes sense. When you use an ILS you are listed side by side your competitors, unable to show additional content for engagement, and aren’t always able to showcase your properties in the way you know sells them best. In contrast, a strong digital marketing strategy that integrates your sites, search, and social efforts will drive more qualified leads with a significantly higher conversion rate.
Digital marketing is becoming increasingly complicated because your prospects are using multiple platforms to engage with you. With mobile technology they have instant access to more knowledge than ever before, and they have more power because they can tell the world about the experiences that they have had with your properties – both good and bad. It is important to have a digital marketing strategy that anticipates these trends in Multifamily marketing.
- As the importance of social reviews grows, don’t forget to tap into the selling power of your fans by building a strong advocacy program.
With those things in mind, here are the key takeaways:
- You need to be able to reach your prospects across their online journeys – which means that you need a best-in-class solution that integrates and leverages sites, search, and social.
- As you build your digital marketing strategy, consider whether your investment in ILSs is paying off. Chances are, you could reduce your spend while receiving more qualified leads.