As the final quarter of 2018 comes to a close, it is time to look ahead to your 2019 marketing strategy. The first step in doing so is to evaluate industry trends that are driving competition in rental markets.

Business has been good across industries – Multifamily, Senior Living, and Self Storage – which means competition is fiercer than ever. And that means more companies are leveraging digital marketing as a way to drive down operating costs. The cost of online marketing is much lower than offline – plus it can be managed all in one place. Not only does it give you immediate feedback and insight into the performance of your campaigns, it is also necessary to connect with your target customer at every stage of the buyer’s complicated journey. Today, we are living in the age of assistance, and with 75 percent of searches being performed on mobile devices, your business has to be present across digital channels if you want to leave a lasting impression.

Build Your Plan

As you start planning your 2019 Marketing Strategy, there are several factors you need to think about.

What are your goals?

Starting with goals gives you a framework and helps you prioritize marketing tactics and ideas. Do you want to build awareness for your brand? Generate more leads? Increase rent renewals? It’s OK to start broad, but avoid putting your goals in terms of tactics (i.e. start using social media) and instead ask why the tactic may benefit your property (i.e. builds brand awareness and engagement).

Look at your calendar.

Are there key events in 2019 that you need to keep in mind? Is a new property opening this year? Do you normally experience a summer rush in May or June?

What’s your budget?

Knowing your budget will determine the marketing tactics available to you and where to focus your spend. Allocate a monthly budget based on major calendar events and to align to your goals. If you have a major property opening in May, then you might want to set the budget higher in the timeframe leading up to and following the opening. You don’t necessarily need a line item for every single thing in your budget, but if you anticipate a major purchase this year, be sure to include that.

How will you measure success?

Look back at your goals. What do you want to accomplish and what can you measure to know that it’s working? If your goal is to build awareness for your brand, you might be interested in how many people visit your website, the number of followers on social media channels, the number of clicks on ads, and the cost per click on ads. If your goal is to build customer loyalty and engagement, then you might measure star ratings, social engagement, or views of your blog. Think of your metrics in terms of each stage in your customer’s journey. For simplicity, you might be interested in the number of people who visit your website, call or fill out a form online, or sign leases.

Key Strategies for 2019  

Choose an advertising strategy to meet your goals.

Digital advertising is highly effective at driving traffic to your website and converting that traffic into leads. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution to digital advertising – different ad formats benefit different strategies and different goals.

Looking for brand awareness? Display and social media campaigns get different eyes on your property, and you can dial in your ads to match the wants and needs of your target audience. Need to drive more leads? Paid search is your best bet. To connect with customers who may be further along in the customer journey, your digital tactics should include remarketing and video ads.  

Make marketing work for you.

Reaching your marketing goals is easier when you know which channels to focus on.

  • Your website: Focus on SEO strategies to generate more organic (i.e. free) traffic to your website. The list of considerations for both on- and off-page SEO is long, but you can start simple by identifying the key words you want to rank for and make sure they are included in your copy, meta description, and title tags. G5 has more than a decade of experience in optimizing website performance, and we have a dedicated SEO team that builds and maintains strong SEO strategies for our clients.
  • Business listings: At a minimum, you should update your Google My Business listing and claim your Yelp Business Page. More than 80 percent of people read online reviews prior to making a buying decision, so be sure you manage the reviews on both GMB and Yelp to help build confidence in your brand.  
  • Digital advertising: Build your digital campaign strategy to target your customers with the right message at the right time. Digital advertising can be a daunting and time-consuming process, so work with a partner with experience in your business that can deliver stronger campaign results. G5 Digital Advertising streamlines campaigns through automation, allowing us to spend more time on strategy, analytics, and optimizing campaigns.
  • Content marketing: Content marketing continues to be a driver in activating brand awareness and loyalty online. Creating original content gives customers a reason to find you, share with their friends, and learn about your business on a more personal level. As a best practice, content should be 80 percent helpful or informative and 20 percent promotional.

Focus on performance.

More than 90 percent of people conduct research online when making a purchase decision, and more than 75 percent of people will not look past the first page in search results. Not being found in the top search results means being invisible online to potential customers. SEO is key to driving high-quality organic traffic to your website.

An important consideration for search rankings is the speed of your website. Research indicates that 53 percent of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Those extra seconds could be costing you valuable leads – and money. Over 90 percent of G5’s mobile websites load in less than 3 seconds and 60 percent load in less than 1 second. For our customers, this improved website speed on mobile means improved marketing efficiency, fewer bounces to competitor websites, and more leads.

G5 in 2019

At G5, we are also looking ahead to 2019. In the coming year, you can expect:

  • Dynamic digital advertising with real-time pricing and real-time availability to drive more pre-qualified leads to you. These campaigns will be run on your actual inventory, resulting in more accurate information in ads to target the right people at the right time.
  • Better insights through reporting. The Intelligent Marketing Cloud features reporting built specifically to address the needs of marketers in real estate verticals. This streamlined reporting will provide finer granularity for analysis.
  • Advanced analytics that tell you which ads are delivering the most qualified leads. We will be using AI to develop channel optimization based on the actual performance of your campaigns.

Want more great recommendations for your 2019 marketing strategy? Contact G5 today to learn more.