Spring ushers in the sense of rejuvenation and reminds us that something new is just right around the corner. In some cases, this something “new” may be a home or apartment. As we approach the prime leasing season (April-August), understanding the modern renter’s journey and having an effective multi-pronged marketing campaign can make or break your property’s ability to convert quality leads into signed leases.
So, what does the modern renter’s journey look like, and how can you maximize this leasing season to increase your property’s occupancy? Let’s dive in.
The renter’s journey is not a linear path; everyone is different, making search engines like Google a prime starting point for a broad search. A recent RentPath Renter Survey revealed more than half of renters begin looking for their new home using a search engine.¹ It’s very uncommon for a renter to start the process of finding a new home by searching your property by name (only 14%) unless it’s through word of mouth.¹ At which point, you’ll need to take into consideration how you’re managing your online reputation, but we’ll come back to that.
The survey also revealed 98% of renters use an internet listing service (ILS) during their search, and not only that, but they use an average of four during their journey.¹ The typical renter spends three months searching for their new home. This brief timeline means you need to be interacting with prospective renters frequently and often.
To do this, you need a robust digital toolbelt that helps to seamlessly manage your pay-per-click (PPC) and social media campaigns. Sound expensive? It’s not! Utilizing PPC campaigns is a cost-effective way to generate more leads, given you only pay for when someone engages with your ads. Additionally, using broad search terms in your property’s listing is key to getting in front of more eyeballs. But your goal is not to generate just any leads – you are looking for qualified, serious renters. One of the best ways to target qualified leads is by working with advertising partners that can help you identify the most appropriate terms based on your targeted renter without busting your budget through “trial and error.”
Another critical step is updating your property listings regularly with new specials and photos. 45% of renters surveyed who are looking to move in the next 60 days indicated they seek rent discounts, incentives, and fee waivers from prospective landlords.² With RentPath’s ILS advertising solution, listings with a move-in deal or a recent price drop receive prominent badging and visibility.
Now that you have the renter’s attention, what’s the next step in the lead-to-lease process?
Driving renters to your website is only half the battle. Ensuring you maintain your community’s or property’s online reputation can also be a key deciding factor for renters. When current tenants express complaints via social media or online reviews, responding quickly is a must.
One Kingsley survey found 79% of renters decided not to visit a community based on negative reviews found online.³ This survey also found 45% of prospective renters review a property’s social media pages when searching for an apartment.³
There are various tools you can deploy to manage and track your online presence; however, the tool you choose needs to be all-encompassing. Relying on too many platforms to manage your digital existence can not only be time-consuming and expensive but also lead to inconsistent communications. This Spring, look for a tool that can view your online presence at a glance – across social media pages and review websites – and allows you to develop and schedule content all in the same place.
For instance, our Community Reputation PRO (CRPRO) solution can monitor review sites and respond to your reviews, so you don’t have to, saving you time and resources. Our US-based team of professional writers are well-versed in fair-housing compliance. They craft personalized responses to your online reviews and create custom, hyper-local content for your social channels. Not to mention, with our CRPRO dashboard, you can access an up-to-date snapshot of your communities’ online health*, monitor all new reviews and ratings across all major sites, view images posted on multiple sites, and even get current reputation data on your top five local competitors.
Modern renters require modern solutions. It is a renter’s market right now, and the timing has never been better for you to do a little rejuvenation of your marketing strategy.
*Requires separate subscription packages per property.
¹RentPath Renter Survey, October 2018
²RentPath Renter Survey, COVID-19 Impacts, June-July 2020
³Kingsley, 2020 Apartment resident preferences report