The digital landscape is shifting at a rapid pace, one that necessitates online Multifamily marketers to evolve with it immediately, or risk forever catching up with new trends. A crucial part in this marketing evolution is the dissemination of information on the Internet. Now, the power is at the consumer's fingertips with myriad reviews and recommendations available to inform them and enable decision-making long before seeing a property for the first time. This new phase of marketing is called the "Zero Moment of Truth," and it has become a must-know for any marketing or search engine optimization specialist.
The marketing process is three-fold: Stimulus, shelf and experience, (the latter two sometimes referred to as "First Moment of Truth" or "FMOT" and "Second Moment of Truth" or "SMOT," respectively). ZMOT fits in between stimulus and shelf, stimulus being the initial product pitch, and shelf being the first physical encounter; think a property listing on Craigslist and then visiting the property itself. It used to be typical that a consumer would make a decision to purchase upon FMOT; however, in modern marketing, a consumer has the tools and capabilities to have reached a decision long before the encounter. ZMOT is the research that any consumer is apt to do, but even more so with the breadth of information readily available thanks to search engines, review sites and word-of-mouth on social media. A Google study found consumers in 2011 used twice as many sources as they did a year prior, and 84 percent said ZMOT shaped purchasing decision.
Now, there's nothing stopping a dissatisfied resident from posting a potentially damaging review, and then a prospect coming across it in a search. But just as the Internet is a tool for those searching for a rental property, it is a tool for owners and operators - and that's the crux of winning ZMOT.
Tracking search query trends and common questions consumers ask by way of online metrics is a must for improving search results. Keywords like "apartment" are important, but so is researching related keywords or phrases to optimize for. "Apartment for rent in" and "pet-friendly apartments to rent in" are both examples of how planning for associated words and phrases can impact winning ZMOT by getting prospects to notice your property first.
Properties can even go further by utilizing social media to connect with customers at ZMOT. Word-of-mouth has always been important, but now with Twitter and Facebook able to connect users across the globe, it's not a stretch to see someone in Los Angeles ask a person from Grand Rapids where the best place is to live. By using social media, businesses can track what questions apartment-seekers are asking, even ask the prospects themselves, and plan accordingly. Engaging consumers with fresh and exciting content, like video, has always been important, but again, it is made more so because of the ability to connect with prospects while they are making decisions.
Brought to you by G5, the leading provider of Digital Experience Management (DXM) software and services in the property management sector