Data in the form of posts, emails, and texts are now coming in through multiple fire hoses, making it even harder to think about your company’s websites, social media accounts, and lead generating web tools. And yet you must consider these approachs as there is no going back to the good old days. The increasing complexity of the marketplace behooves developers and builders to constantly ask what’s next or, better yet, what’s first? Here’s a list of 10 things to keep in mind about the current state of the digital marketing arts.

1. Going Mobile

Makes sure your websites work well and look good on a phone. If your website or websites have not been search engine optimized and formatted to perform on mobile devices, that should be priority one. Everybody’s statistics indicate what we already know—accessing the web from a mobile device is far outpacing the idea of people searching on desktop computers.

2. More Science Than Art

Big data has taken a lot of the art out of website design and substituted it with science that helps developers figure out how to funnel the sales leads into your pocket. Make adjustments as needed. “As a data-driven company, we’ve used heat mapping, A/B testing, and more to determine the exact placement of buttons and calls to action on every website to drive the most engagement," says Angie Schons, senior vice president of customer operations and services with G5, a digital marketing company based in Bend, Ore.

Angie Schons, senior vice president of customer operations and services, G5
Courtesy G5 Angie Schons, senior vice president of customer operations and services, G5

3. Keep It Fresh

Utilize the science, but don’t lose site of the human factor. Robots are efficient, but humans are still attracted to shiny objects and trendy colors. Schons points to web design trends that include hand-drawn illustrations, big bold text, and contrasting color schemes. In addition to building sites from scratch, most firms also offer fine-tuning services. When turning a critical eye to web efforts, make sure you are in compliance with Fair Housing Act and web accessibility requirements.

4. Know Your Channels

Think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as different channels. Who is watching those channels, who are you trying to reach, and what is your message? “The first thing we do is connect with the customer to understand their business goals,” says Schons. “Are they trying to drive leads? Generate awareness? Build trust? Unlike traditional forms of digital advertising, which are omnipresent across the web, social media advertising only targets users and accounts on the specific social media platform you choose to advertise on.”

5. Consider the Class

The type of property that you are trying to fill should also be considered when making digital marketing decisions. G5’s 2019 State of the Industry Report provides an example of a Class B property in the Brighton submarket of Denver. According to the report, that kind of property “is not likely to have a huge need for a demand-generating tactic like brand awareness, but that doesn’t mean it should be turned off or ignored. Instead, the strategy should shift largely toward demand acquisition tactics, like paid search (pay per click) to capture the pre-existing demand in the Denver marketplace. This strategy ensures that you are capturing the most efficient leads, driving down the cost-per-lead, and making it easier to fill vacancies.”

6. Multifamily Likes Facebook

If you’re trying to reach prospects, or current residents, Schon prefers one channel over the others. “We’ve found Facebook in particular to be highly effective at engaging multifamily residents and prospects. Instagram is also great for multifamily, but success is highly dependent on posting rich visual content and video, which some companies have a hard time producing on their own,” she says. Facebook casts a wide net with 2.4 billion users, but it can be dialed down into specific location targeting. Schon doesn’t favor Twitter due to its fast-scrolling, transitory nature. She recommends LinkedIn for B2B campaigns as opposed to B2C.

7. Start Small

Funding an ad campaign on social media doesn’t need to cost a fortune, especially if you’re experimenting. “We don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all minimum budget for social media advertising but recommend spending at least $200 per month to generate the most efficient return on investment,” says Schons. “Using a proprietary, data-driven budget recommendation tool, we advise on minimum, conservative, and aggressive budgets that are specific to the property, market, and business goals our clients are trying to achieve.”

8. Check Your Work

Throwing money at a problem sometime works, but using analytics to see what kind of response you’re getting is a more logical approach. As you might expect there’s a variety of tools and apps for that. “By combining analytics from multiple sources across the web, we give customers insight into their performance,” says Schons. “We can tell you which digital advertising campaigns down to the keyword level gave you the best results.” Comparing the marketing numbers with occupancy rates and net rental income should tell the tale.

9. Fresh Recruits

Besides filling buildings with happy tenants, the online social media universe can also be tapped for your staffing needs. G5’s report states, “Although not often considered a primary recruiting channel, digital ads can be used to supplement your efforts. Social media ads offer companies the benefit of targeting career seekers by location, job title, and field of study in order to find the most qualified candidates.”

10. Speed and Robots

According to data compiled by Google, a one-second delay in spooling up your site can reduce your conversion rate by up to 20%. If you don’t know how to make your site more responsive, find somebody who can. Finally, in case you haven’t heard, the robot takeover has begun in the terms of chatbots on websites. According to research from PSFK Labs, customers are four times more likely to prefer using the chat function over speaking to a human. If they are set up correctly, chatbots can qualify leads on your website, replace lead forms, book meetings and tours, and pass detailed questions on to a staff person.