When it comes to your property’s digital marketing strategy, there’s no getting around it – data matters. Having an approach based on the right data can make the difference in keeping vacancy rates low.

Let’s start with some recent numbers. Based on research by Reis, the national vacancy rate increased in the third quarter this year to 4.5 percent, up from 4.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016. The report also indicates new construction numbers and vacancy rates will continue to rise in the future.

So how do you stay ahead of a potentially unstable market? It begins with a plan rooted in data-driven decisions that stays up to date on the latest digital marketing truths.

For Your Potential Residents, it’s a Mobile World

According to TechCrunch, there were 2.6 billion smartphone users globally two years ago. By 2020, there will be 6.1 billion. In the U.S., search volume for “apartments for rent” has increased by 125 percent year over year in the third quarter this year, and it happens more often on mobile devices than on a desktop computer. With that in mind, make the user experience a good one through responsive design on your website and advertisements, so no matter the device your customers are using, the screen and content will automatically adjust.

If your website lacks this important capability, users are more likely to have a poor experience with your brand. This will mean fewer leads and leases. Make sure your website responds appropriately across all devices and is loading fast for your audience.

SEO Matters

Let’s imagine your property has an incredible website that is optimized for the user experience. It’s easy to navigate and find information quickly, the photos are high quality and perfectly represent your community, and the messaging is consistent. None of it will matter if potential residents can’t find you on search.

Studies have shown that SEO can have a better ROI than traditional forms of marketing such as TV and print ads. According to HubSpot, 54 percent more leads are generated by inbound marketing than outbound. Like any other marketing method, SEO isn’t a magic equation that automatically cures vacancy issues, but it does provide visibility, web traffic, a high ROI, credibility, and insight into customer behavior.

When people search for a place to live, you want to appear as high in the search engine rankings as possible because you want to capture as much organic traffic as possible. Any time someone types in a search query and lands on your website from the search engine results pages (SERPs), you’re receiving organic search traffic.

Most searchers never go past the first or second page of Google, though, which is why those top spots in the search results are so coveted. Based on research by ProtoFuse, less than 10 percent of people continue their search past the first page.

Also, there is a certain amount of value in simply appearing in search results for terms directly related to your property. There are roughly 20 digital touchpoints on the multifamily customer journey, which gives you plenty of opportunities to be found by potential residents. Most people don’t just simply search once and click on some websites. Instead, they search, click on select websites, edit their search terms, search again, click on some websites, further hone their search terms, search again, etc.

If your website can continually appear in all of these search results, then you are gaining more impressions with each potential customer. Chances are very good they will eventually click through to your website, and since you continually displayed in all search results, they will trust you even more.

Clear Branding Converts

To effectively reach and convert leads online, you need to establish a clear brand identity that builds trust and loyalty with your customer base. Your brand is the foundation of your entire marketing strategy. It’s what drives your messaging, communicates your value proposition, and defines your place in the local market.

According to research by Boardview, 65 percent of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals have updated their personas within the last six months.Without an understanding of your target personas, increasing leads can be difficult, especially if your competition has a straightforward, attractive brand message and identity designed for conversion. Make sure your brand is clear and consistent so you don’t lose potential residents.

Don’t Forget About Digital Advertising

Data from Google shows there was an increase of 68 percent in digital ads clicks for multifamily properties during the third quarter, and 59 percent of all clicks were on a mobile device. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because marketing has always been about location, so you should be focusing more resources on connecting with people online. Digital technology gives you a breadth of new tools, which allows you to be more focused and strategic. Digital advertising simply makes sense if you want more visibility with prospects.

Did you know paid listings own 100 percent of mobile screen real estate above the fold? If you want to be seen, only PPC advertising can put your brand name and content in front of potential residents at every stage of the buying cycle. Because social advertising is still new to the Multifamily industry, cost per click is low, making it an easy advantage to leverage for your business. Facebook offers flexible ad options that allow you to segment by geographic location, demographics, interests, and more.

And since many forms of digital advertising are “opt-in”— from customers who have shown an online interest in searching for apartments or townhomes — you know your outreach is going to people who want your information.

Strategic Partners, Smarter Marketing

If you’re wondering how you can leverage SEO, user behavior, branding, and digital advertising to increase your occupancy, you’ve already taken the first step to smarter marketing.

Contact G5 to learn more about strategic partnerships for effective digital marketing. Our experienced team understands the unique challenges of the multifamily industry, and we can tailor a digital solution to fit your needs.