If you’re having occupancy troubles at some of your communities, it’s worth determining whether your digital marketing strategy is part of the problem. Low occupancy numbers don’t necessarily indicate your strategy is bad. After all, vacancies can be high at certain developments for various reasons, including having strong competition or a newly constructed building to lease up. Or perhaps you're rebranding or solving a reputation issue. Your digital marketing strategy may not have caused these problems, but it can certainly help you overcome them.
When you’re facing low occupancy, it’s important to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your digital marketing strategy. If you emphasize your strengths and work on your weaknesses, you may end up getting more leads and filling up your occupancy without investing in anything else.
As you evaluate your digital strategy, pay special attention to the following five areas. Resolving a weakness in one could help you quickly find the right residents.
1. Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You might have excellent advertisements, great deals, and a fantastic-looking website, but none of it will be effective if you rank low on Google. Potential residents won't spend time trying to find you, especially if your competition catches their attention first.
Great SEO will help move your website and ads higher up on the search engine results page, ensuring that leads discover you. Getting a high ranking through SEO can be a powerful way to gain residents: It generates traffic to your website and spreads awareness of your brand almost effortlessly. This increase in attention will also increase the impact of investments in other areas, like brand identity. They build on each other. You can’t have great marketing without great SEO.
2. Provide Current and Accurate Information
Providing correct information might sound like a no-brainer, but it's actually a challenge for many businesses online. You’re not just dealing with your website alone. Your information, particularly your name, address, and phone number, should be correctly listed on all popular sites, from directories like Yelp or ApartmentRatings.com to social media such as Facebook. If leads can't find you on such well-known sites, they might doubt whether you're worth looking into.
Various websites may also post information about your property without your awareness. If you check some online listings of your properties—referred to as “citations”—you may be surprised to discover inaccurate or inconsistent information. Even a small mistake can cause you to lose leads that call the wrong number or look up the wrong address. That’s why it’s important to check and correct your online citations, either by yourself or through a digital marketing company. And it doesn’t stop there: Often, citations revert to incorrect information and need to be tended to on an ongoing basis
3. Adapt to the Latest User Behavior
The majority of users are now browsing the Internet on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. Recent research has shown that, in fact, 51% of Internet browsing takes place on mobile devices, and that percentage increases every year.
Browsing on vertical screens is now common, if not expected. Remember to take this behavior into account as you design your website and advertisements. For example, your website should be responsive, automatically adjusting the design and content to fit the device your customers are using. If your website lacks this important capability, users will generally have a poor experience, which could result in fewer leads—and leases—for you.
In addition to browsing on mobile devices, users are increasingly showing a preference for video content. According to Search Engine Land, online traffic for videos is projected to grow to 80% of all traffic in the next few years. YouTube alone receives more than 30 million visitors every day. In other words, if you’re not active on YouTube, you’re missing out on a huge source of traffic. Producing videos could bring you many more leads while also strengthening your brand and reputation.
4. Clarify Your Brand Identity
To effectively reach and convert leads online, you need to have a clear picture of your brand identity. It’s the foundation of all your online marketing, from your website and blog to your social media profile.
To clarify your brand identity, first think about who your ideal resident is and why. Imagine details such as their age, lifestyle, income level, and interests—known as demographic and psychographic data. Then, evaluate how your brand would appeal to this ideal resident. Would they find your visual identity attractive? Do you have the right combination of colors, logo, and overall design? Would your community’s features and services appeal to them? your content and brand voice?
Take the time to identify clear answers to these questions. Otherwise, increasing your leads could be difficult, especially if your competition has a straightforward, attractive brand message and identity to present to potential leads. Know what your ideal resident is looking for, and then consider what you can do to make your property irresistible.
5. Invest in Your Reputation
Your brand identity and services determine part of your reputation, but not all of it. The other part relies on your residents’ feedback and comments online. Leads will use these reviews to judge and compare you with your competition, so negative reviews—or a lack of reviews—could be a problem when you’re trying to fill occupancy.
One way to offset the negative impact of bad reviews is to get involved in the conversation. Respond to every review, both positive and negative, and check your reviews daily for new comments. This involvement gives you more control over your reputation. You can address problems, take negative conversations off-line, and build relationships with residents who may advocate for you.
Engaging with online reviews creates a positive view of your business by showing leads and current residents that you’re listening and that you care about their concerns.
These five strategies will not only help increase your leads and fill occupancy quickly, but will also help you maintain that high occupancy. After all, getting more leads isn’t your only goal: You want to make sure those leads convert into satisfied, long-term residents.