Sharpening the Focus: Lead Generation in a Down Market

Lead Generation

When the market is hot, leads seem to generate themselves. Many apartment marketers have experienced that luxury over the past few years.

Now that a downturn might be looming, lead generation could become much more difficult. You might be tempted to revert to methods that worked in the past, but there are no guarantees they’ll be relevant today.

When lead generation tactics stall, you’ll need to expand your reach without wasting too much time on unqualified renters.  Here are some lead generation approaches to consider:

  • New email lists. Don’t grab just any email list off the internet. The vast majority of these lists are filled with unqualified prospective renters and bad information. You’ll also risk getting blacklisted as a spammer if you use them. In fact, according to economist Heather Morgan, 99 percent of cold emails are deleted immediately.  Instead, consider asking for email sponsorships, like LeadMail from RentPath. Email sponsorships allow you to reach a portion of a company’s lead database with your own marketing message. LeadMail allows you to reach prospective renters who have shown interest in communities like yours.  Use tactics like these to reach new renters with messages that are relevant to them.
  • Reinvigorate referral programs with current residents. According to a New York Times study, 65 percent of new business comes from referrals. A similar Nielsen study found that 83 percent of people trust referrals from people they know. Your best source of new leads is your current resident base. Launch a campaign that incentivizes them to tell their friends, peers, and colleagues about your community. These referrals will most likely be highly qualified, as most people spend time with people in a similar demographic. They often have the same incomes, lifestyles, and apartment housing needs. And since your residents are generating the referral, the leads will be predisposed to a positive opinion of your communities. 
  • Guerrilla marketing. Get outside of your communities and into nearby neighborhoods. By participating in local festivals, charity events, parades, youth sports tournaments and other community events you can expand your reach naturally and make connections with more prospective renters. You may generate some unqualified prospects, but you’ll increase brand awareness, which may lead to other qualified prospects.
  • Get creative. If your community is pet-friendly, consider advertising at local animal shelters. If your demographic is made up of foodies, review Top 10 lists for restaurants in the area and create cross-promotional partnerships. The opportunities to promote your community brands without spending a lot of money are endless if you think outside of the traditional advertising box.

The downturn hasn’t hit in full force yet, but according to several market forecasts, it could soon be on the way. It’s inevitable that the market will eventually have its ripples. The ideas above will help you prepare and improve your generation strategy before it happens.