When the conversation surrounding your new multifamily development is quiet enough to hear a pin drop, filling unit vacancies can become an uphill battle. To generate interest in your property, you need to get the public talking from the moment you decide to break ground. We scoured the internet and came up with some of the best tactics to ignite and sustain a community-wide conversation that will have people lining up to live in your facility.
Lay marketing groundwork
At its core, creating a conversation about your multifamily development is all about marketing. Here are some basics to check off your list before doing anything else.
Define your target market
Who do you want as tenants? Are they young professionals? Are they in the market for affordable housing? Are they military personnel? Defining who will live in your building will focus all of your future efforts.
Create a strong brand
If your building is part of a real estate development company’s portfolio, you already have a leg up in the branding department.
When you’re starting from scratch, developing a strong brand for your development is critical. Work with a professional designer to create a logo, a simple website, and basic marketing materials like brochures.
Generate word of mouth
Even in the digital age, word of mouth marketing is far too powerful to ignore. Use these strategies to get people excited about your development.
Treat your employees well
Your employees go home at the end of the day raving about you and the new development they’re working on. The can help you get the word out.
Wrap construction site in graphics
You don’t want people driving by your construction site and thinking to themselves, “What’s going on there?” Unfortunately, when all people see is a chain link fence, some “hard hats required” signs, and heavy equipment, everything else is left to the imagination.
Wrap the perimeter of the site in graphics with your logo, the name of your development, and when it’s set to start leasing. ”What’s going on there?” will turn into, “Hey, I know someone looking for a place!”
Host an open house
Erin O’Rilley, Property Manager at FirstService Residential, suggests inviting potential tenants to an open house to give people an idea of what it’s like to live in your building. Offer food, drinks, and tours. Hosting an event on your turf is sure to prompt questions, and hopefully, leads.
Offer referral rewards
When you’re ready to start filling units, a referral rewards program is a great way to gain momentum. Try offering current tenants half off a month’s rent to refer a friend. Not only will your tenant be happy to save some cash, but according to a study by Nielsen, people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. If you’re worried about the financial aspect of referral programs, fear not. Research shows that the reward amounts don’t really matter.
Consider an over-the-top, free service
Dog walkers. Yoga classes. Dry cleaning. Put the word “free” in front of any of these services and you have an excellent differentiator. You can even offset some of the extra expenses by factoring the cost of free services into rent.
Practice traditional marketing and community outreach
Brochures, conferences, and networking events are still around for a reason — they work!
Post flyers in local businesses
Real estate consultant Theresa Bradley-Banta says to market where your target renters hang out. Some places like coffee shops, restaurants, and breweries will allow you to post flyers, a relatively low-cost way to land qualified leads. You can also use the opportunity to chat up the owners and employees, establishing rapport and deepening your connection with the local business community.
Connect with Local Media
Reach out to local radio and TV stations about about advertising opportunities. A reporter might produce a story about your development. A radio station might offer you a spot or an interview on a morning show. Any way you cut it, connecting with “traditional” media channels is a tried and true way to reach a huge audience.
Participate in local business events
Local business events like small business fairs, networking luncheons, and community leader conferences are fantastic opportunities for making new connections and nurturing existing ones. Becoming an active and willing participant in the local business community will help you gain a positive reputation with the people who matter most — the public!
Sponsor local teams
Local sports teams are always looking for sponsors, and real estate developers can fit the bill perfectly. For example, if your target renters are the younger crowd, check out sponsorship opportunities for your local kickball or roller derby team. If you want families to move in, check if little league or a dance squad needs some backing. Seeing your logo on jerseys and posters around town will build brand awareness, which is critical no matter where you are in the development process.
Participate in college housing fairs
Entering into the student housing space? You’re in luck! Many universities host fairs to welcome new students and help them get acclimated. Local credit unions, sororities and fraternities, and housing providers can all gather to advertise their offerings. These college fairs are ripe opportunities and can result in crazy lead generation. You’ll earn extra brownie points with the students if you bring along some freebies, too!
Leverage your online presence
With constant access to the internet, people are online now more than ever. Paying even a small amount of attention to your online presence can land you on people’s radar.
Create a Google My Business page
Google processes over 40,000 search queries per second. So when people google your development (yes, “google” is an official verb), you should make sure all the information that pops up is complete and accurate. Setting up a Google My Business page allows you to add your website, address, phone number, photos, and leasing office hours. You can also use Google My Business to interact with reviews. The best part? It’s free.
Use social media
Social media is also free — take advantage of it! Getting social is an excellent way to start a conversation, especially among Millennial renters. All it takes is an awesome Instagram picture, an engaging Tweet, a hilarious Snapchat video, or a 5-star Facebook review to get your audience abuzz about your development.
Optimize your listings
Once leasing time rolls around, the excitement about a new building going up might slow a little. Engage potential renters by optimizing your online listings.
Commission 3D renderings of floor plans
Exhibiting floor plans on your website and listings is a huge step towards getting potential renters to visit your building. Posting simple, blueprint-style drawings on your site is a great start.
But if you want to go a step further, for a few hundred dollars each, you can score colorful 3D renderings of your floor plans. These lifelike graphics give future tenants an idea of the building materials, fixtures, and paint colors to expect. Plus, if your renderings include staging furniture, interested renters will get an even better sense of the space.
Take great photos
Great photography can make all the difference in creating a first (and lasting) impression. In fact, statistics show that real estate listings with professional photos received 138% more clicks than comparable properties in the area. You don’t have to limit photography to units, either. Create an extra “wow” factor by staging your exterior areas and star amenities for a photo op. You can even up the ante and record videos as well!
Make applying easy
If it’s not easy for potential tenants to apply for a lease online, the chances of them inquiring can decrease. Do yourself a favor and make applying as easy as filling out a name, email, and phone number. Then you can follow up and request further information to complete credit and background checks.
Use creative language
Don’t fall into the vanilla “3 bed, 2 bath” language in your listings. Add a little flair! Replace standard language with something like: “Welcome to your new home! Our spacious three bedroom, two bathroom units include a master suite, walk-in closets, and a kitchen fit for a chef.” Accentuating your building’s strong points in descriptions is a low-effort, high-reward way to get people thinking about living there.
Highlight amenity benefits
Highlighting your amenities will get future tenants giddy with excitement and also familiarize them with the true value-add your property offers. For example, if you decided to install a bank of package lockers, you could say something like, “At The Views, you can rest assured that your deliveries, including meal kits and groceries, are stored safely. All tenants can enjoy free, 24/7 access to package deliveries by using our state-of-the-art locker system.”
Installing package lockers are a sure way to get people talking about your building. Set up a time to see which package delivery solution is right for you!