As millennials continue to drive the rental market, Gen Z is poised to rally the market fresh on their heels. And as younger renters continue to flood the rental pool, marketing campaigns that reach them where they are have become increasingly critical to overall leasing and renewal success.
Traditional, one-off marketing tactics are no longer effective in reaching this demographic.
Consider this: Not a single Internet listing service is more popular with renters today than it was in 2012, according to a recent study by J Turner Research, "Marketing to Different Generations: Emerging Online Language and Lifestyle Trends." Gone are the days of relying on marketing practices simply because “that’s what you’ve always done”: Nowadays, it’s essential to use a variety of media.
Sell a Sense of Community
Ultimately, millennials want to connect emotionally to a property and feel a sense of community; this is what helps build loyalty. Establishing that loyalty is what leads to increased leasing and renewal rates and, eventually, increased rent rates.
The marketing process begins before prospective residents ever step foot inside a property. While having over-the-top-amenities is nice, it’s not the only thing that's going to get prospects through the door.
Leverage Technology/Integrated Marketing
Innovation is taking the industry to a new place and technology is driving first impressions. But many organizations employ a variety of tactics that keep marketing teams busy—each treated individually and not as a cohesive, coordinated effort. This kind of broad stroke—or shotgun marketing approach—doesn’t allow an organization to see measurable results from its efforts.
The proven, most effective way to reach millennials is through integrated, content-driven marketing that leverages traditional tactics, along with technology to share the same, consistent message across numerous channels.
How do you do that? Here are five tips:
1. Outline what success looks like to your organization.
An integrated marketing approach requires a laser focus: The content, design, and offer all need to be relevant to your specific goal. Define clear business objectives that you want your marketing efforts to meet. For example, is your goal to launch a new property into the market? sign new leases? retain current residents?
2. Develop a strong offer—with a deadline.
Offers can make or break a marketing campaign. The mistake properties make all too often is outlining five different offers for one event. This causes sensory overload and can lead a prospect to lose interest quickly.
Instead, develop an offer specific to your campaign theme that’s date driven. Outlining a strong offer that expires in a specific time frame is proven to drive more responses than an offer a customer knows is always going to be provided. “Sign a lease by X date and you’ll receive $500 off your first month’s rent. Offer expires at midnight on X date, so don’t miss out on this great deal.” You get the idea—keep it simple and set an expiration date.
3. Create marketing pieces that share the same look, feel, and messaging.
Creativity shouldn’t come from chaos. If your business objective is to renew leases, for example, leveraging the voice of current tenants as brand ambassadors for your property can be very successful. But it can’t be a one-off tactic. Sharing videos via e-mail to current residents, and more broadly on social media, and having supportive signage, print collateral, and social media tidbits to reinforce the campaign message will ultimately drive renewal rates. Digital ads can also be utilized for a specific time period to test your message and offer, and adjusted until results are achieved.
Keep your theme consistent throughout every piece in the market at a time—in both content and design.
4. Include a clear call to action.
Make it clear to your readers what action you'd like them to take—“RSVP for our grand opening event”; "sign up"; "schedule a tour"; and so on. Keep it simple.
We often see properties miss an opportunity by not including a clear call to action in their marketing pieces, ads, landing pages, and social media posts. Or, staff members include multiple offers with multiple calls to action, making it unclear to the potential or current resident what he or she should even respond to.
Remember, if someone is taking the time to read more about your property, nine times out of 10 they want to come in for a tour, see your latest offers, view floor plans and amenities, or attend your event. Make it easy for them to do so.
5. Track results.
Knowing how people are responding gives you the ability to set response actions for your key staff members to follow up with leads, and/or change your offers and messaging to better speak to the customer's needs. Ultimately, knowing exactly what's effective in driving warm leads enables you to make the most efficient choices regarding marketing time and spend.