Marketing Channels Making Digital Waves

Get a sneak preview of the Apartmentalize session about marketing and its costs.

4 minute read

Finding the best channels to stir up interest from prospects and capture qualified leads is always one of the most important goals for multifamily marketing teams. In 2024, this quest has gained greater importance as many marketers must obtain the same results with stagnant or shrinking budgets and a more competitive market. Owners and operators have naturally shifted to cost-cutting measures among slowing rent growth followed by a steep increase in the multifamily housing supply. 

To spend their marketing dollars efficiently, marketers are directing their campaigns through the channels that will produce the best results, while simultaneously testing new channels. To avoid wiping out when heading toward their goals, it helps to understand what the tried-and-true channels are and which of the up-and-coming options offer the best return on investment. Social media channels are gaining a foothold as the place to start an apartment search, particularly among the younger generations that make up the bulk of renters, as a way to interact and experience a community. 

"Finding the best channels to stir up interest from prospects and capture qualified leads is paramount for multifamily marketing teams. In 2024, this goal has gained even greater importance as marketers face stagnant or shrinking budgets and a more competitive market,” says Kim Boland, Director of Digital Marketing at Morgan Properties. “With cost-cutting measures in place, efficient spending is crucial. Marketers must navigate their campaigns through the most effective channels. Understanding both the reliable standbys and promising new options is key to avoiding missteps and increasing conversion rates." 

The Constant Currents
Property websites and internet listing services (ILS) are stalwarts in multifamily marketing. These platforms are the go-to for renters when considering their next home, and they're looking for a wealth of information on potential communities. The best choice for an ILS is one that allows marketers to offer a complete picture of the community, including available units, floor plans, transparent pricing and more. In addition, the ILS should allow visitors to schedule a tour directly and offer a look at the surrounding neighborhood providing extra context and information that renters are seeking. 

"Channels for marketing are continually evolving, but the classics still remain popular among apartment hunters,” explains Boland. “These are the stops on the prospect journey where they begin to drill down to the communities that fit their lifestyle. As such, it’s critical to provide a comprehensive and detailed view of the community and be transparent about costs and fees. Without this knowledge, prospects will likely move on to other communities.” 

When it comes to property websites, an immersive experience is ideal for giving future renters a clear picture of what the community will be like. Like the ILS, it should be feature-rich and offer prospects an opportunity to make first contact with the leasing team as well as schedule from the site. Chatbots are ideal for answering initial questions and showing available units. 

“There is an evolution happening in multifamily websites. And if you aren’t focused on your property sites, you should be,” says Boland. “Property websites must be as useful and intuitive as other services like flights and online retailing. This will build more loyalty and satisfaction and gain trust among residents.” 

The Wave Makers of Digital Marketing
In 2024, marketers are looking to invest more in artificial intelligence (AI), search/PPC and paid social media, according to a study by Rent. While AI is not a channel, it's a necessary time-saving tool for any marketing team. Keeping track of the ROI and success of each campaign is better accomplished with AI, which can offer a more complete and up-to-date data analysis. It’s also helpful for handling mundane marketing tasks, freeing up teams to focus on more critical items. 

The study also revealed that 57% of renters view information about apartments or homes for rent on social media, which is increasing as a preference for renters aged 18-44. Social media is sometimes the first impression apartment hunters get about a community. It’s important to have a consistent message across all channels to connect with the target audience. When budgets are tight, search/PPC can be an excellent avenue for controlling costs. 

“Social media channels are more frequently the first-time prospects will encounter a community, so the property needs to provide engaging content on each social platform that will stop visitors from scrolling,” says Boland. “Younger renters also crave authenticity, so marketing campaigns, whether posts or video, have to possess this quality.” 

Geofencing and digital display advertising are yet another emerging channel for hyper-targeting audiences. The ability to zero in on these leads becomes more important when marketing budgets are shrinking. These tools reduce the chance of receiving unqualified leads, which will consume the valuable time of leasing teams.  

Multifamily marketers will experience much smoother sailing in 2024, and beyond, by exploring what they have to work with, who their audience is and what channels are most effective to achieve their marketing and leasing goals. 

Take a Deeper Dive
Boland will be on the Apartmentalize session panel, “Surf’s Up! Marketing Channels Making the Biggest Waves,” Wednesday, June 19 in Philadelphia. 

Kevin Juhasz is a Content Manager at LinnellTaylor Marketing