As budgeting season approaches, it’s common to face some unique challenges. When allocating resources for your apartment marketing, there are key services and strategies that should be incorporated into your budget to attract and retain residents.
Common Challenges of Apartment Marketing Budgeting
Developing a marketing budget for a community can be a daunting task, especially due to the competitive nature of the real estate market and the need to connect with potential residents. Here are some common challenges you might face during the process:
- Understanding your specific market’s needs: Having an awareness of local trends, rental rates, and resident demographics is crucial for effective marketing. When done right, this research process can be time-consuming and require trusted resources.
- Prioritizing your online presence: In today’s digital era, an effective online presence — including a well-written and user-friendly website — is a must. Building and maintaining these digital assets for your community requires intentional budgetary allocation.
- Determining your campaign spend: How much should your community spend on digital ad campaigns to be competitive and successful? Analyzing historical data, platform averages, market changes, and industry benchmarks are essential in creating a media spend plan.
Key Marketing Services to Include in Your Budget
To make the most of your apartment marketing budget, we recommend considering the following key services and strategies.
Identity foundation: Brand guides and message maps are an important step to ensure your brand’s consistency and longevity. These elements can be used to develop print marketing, videos, social media posts, and other creative collateral, all which highlight the unique features and benefits of your community.
SEO: Optimize your website and online listings for local search to ensure potential residents can easily find your apartments when they search for rentals in your area. With budget set aside to cover ongoing SEO monitoring and maintenance, you will continue to improve keyword rankings.
Digital advertising: Allocate a portion of your budget for online advertising. This is the quickest way to help boost visibility and drive traffic to your website. A few digital campaigns that we recommend prioritizing include:
- Google Ads: We recommend paid text and display ads on Google networks due to the ability to reach a wide, targeted audience actively searching for products or services while offering precise budget control and measurable results, making it a cost-effective and data-driven marketing strategy.
- Facebook and Instagram: This allows you to tap into two popular social media platforms across all ages, reaching a vast and engaged audience with diverse ad formats.
Programmatic advertising: This strategy includes a mix of options, such as geofencing, keyword-level behavior, remarketing, and audience retargeting. This is one of the best ways to reach a detailed target audience.
- YouTube advertising: YouTube campaigns target users through pre-roll video ads on relevant YouTube channels using extensive demographic, topic, and contextual targeting options. With TrueView ads, you can reach potential customers when they watch or search for videos on YouTube — and only pay when they show interest.
- Additional: Depending on your target audience, you might also want to consider TikTok, Spotify, and Bing advertising opportunities.
Reputation management: There are several compelling reasons to consider investing a portion of your budget into reputation management services. More and more consumers seek online reviews before making important decisions, especially ones about their future housing. A community’s reputation can be easily tarnished or enhanced through the various online channels, so it’s imperative to actively manage and protect your reputation. A negative reputation can be financially devastating, leading to decreased leasing, potential legal fees, and PR damage control expenses. A positive one, on the other hand, can foster trust among customers; attract potential residents, partners, and investors; and lead to improved employee morale and retention. One additional perk? Positive reviews can help lower marketing costs as satisfied customers often become loyal brand ambassadors.
Marketing Trends for Smart Budgeting in 2024
A robust budget plan should prioritize data analytics to stay competitive while also fostering creativity and innovation within the marketing plan. This involves reserving funds for tried-and-true strategies as well as allocating resources for emerging trends. When planning for 2024, here are some top trends you’ll want to leave room for:
- AI marketing: AI-powered technologies are expected to continue to develop and become an essential part of marketing plans. The ability of AI to analyze data, discover actionable insights, automate tasks, and drive targeted advertising will increase campaign efficiency and effectiveness.
- Short-form videos: Short-form video channels, such as TikTok and Instagram, are trending up in most industries but not yet commonly used for apartment marketing. With the rise of user-generated content (UGC), a 20- to 30-second resident testimonial or virtual tour can aid in better visibility in the market and standing out from competitors.
- First-party data: With the rise of stricter privacy regulations, acquiring first-party data will allow for strategic targeting while remaining compliant. Building this into the marketing strategy will support accuracy and reliability, which can lead to a higher ROI.
- Video streaming and connected TV: While this has been a common trend for the past few years, continued momentum is expected. As consumers increasingly embrace streaming platforms, it will be important to reach viewers through over-the-top (OTT) advertising with programmatic targeting and data-driven insights.
Budgeting for your community’s marketing efforts requires a tailored approach that accounts for the industry’s unique challenges and opportunities. It’s important to start the process early and trust your marketing partner to help you address the stressors of budgeting and ensure you incorporate key services into your plan. This will effectively and efficiently maximize visibility and appeal in the competitive rental market. A well-structured apartment marketing budget is an investment in the long-term success and profitability of your portfolio.