In the beginning of 2020, the state of marketing was moving forward as usual within the housing industry. Traditional print collateral was catching the attention of targeted demographics, in-person tours were thriving, leases were being signed, move-in plans were being made — and then COVID-19 hit and changed just about everything. Universities closed, jobs were lost, and marketing strategies that could pretty much always be counted on came to a halt, from student and multifamily housing to senior living communities.
However, there is a silver lining when it comes to how the housing industry can still reach prospects while navigating the nation’s new normal environment. All it takes is some creativity, a marketing mindset adjustment, and an appreciation for how a more digitally focused approach can work in your favor.
When classrooms were bustling with activity, it was easy to create an eye-catching flyer to be handed out to eager college students looking for off-campus housing. If someone stopped by your multifamily community looking for a new place to live, giving them a high-end sales sheet about your stunning amenities was an impressive touch.
Although person-to-person contact is now limited, the great thing is you can still have dynamic-looking marketing materials, but it will need to shift to a digital format. Traditional pieces such as a brochure, a flyer, and a sales sheet still can beautifully convey floor plans, amenities, and other offerings of your stand-out community via a PDF file that can easily be emailed to someone.
Virtual Tour Experience
Perhaps one of the most sudden-shift aspects that affected the housing industry was the regular accessibility of on-site tours. Prior to the pandemic, walk-ins were welcome. But now that a different reality is here, tours have shifted to a virtual experience — and “experience” is the key word for how successful this opportunity can be for you. Replacing in-person communication by utilizing technology tools, such as FaceTime, 3-D tour software, videos, and more, creates a personal interactive experience from the comfort of one’s home, which is a great way to be introduced to your community. If done well and done memorably, you can make someone feel right at home before they even move in.
Don’t forget to make sure the verbiage on your website and social media channels reflects that you’re offering virtual tours. Website banners and posts on Instagram and Facebook are unique opportunities to invite people to tour online. Of course, make sure all social links are working correctly!
Mobile Website Experience
Traditional print materials and your website work in tandem to create a strong brand presence for your community. However, now that there’s a heavier online emphasis, it’s a good time to make sure your website is mobile friendly, especially because there’s an increase in using phone and tablet devices for online searches, including housing. Keep these things in mind:
- Text should be legible on a mobile device (consider font size and contrast).
- Optimize for speed by using responsive images and image compression to reduce file sizes.
- Make sure buttons and links are large enough to click with a finger.
Remember, a quality, easy-to-use, and fast mobile-friendly website can convert a random search into a prospect lead — and the more, the better.
Get SEO in Check
To help keep your brand at the top of the list when searching for housing, your SEO strategy/SEO-focused content needs to be front and center, especially now that people have more time on their hands to hunt for the perfect place to call home. Do some research with a keyword tool such as SEMrush or Google Ads Keyword Planner to find out the top target keywords you need to be using, and implement it naturally throughout your website.
For example, if you have an apartment website that doesn’t have the word “apartment” within the page copy, page title, or meta descriptions, you’re going to have a difficult time ranking well for those related search queries. To read more about beneficial SEO tips and tricks, click here.