Last modified on August 15th, 2023
By Brittany Benz
Effective brand marketing has never been more critical for property management companies than it is today. Because nearly every industry has embraced digital transformation over the last several years, prospective residents now expect the same experiences from property management companies.
To stand out from the competition, you need to prioritize your digital marketing efforts by building a strong digital presence through your website, social media, listing sites, and ratings and review sites. This approach can help your property get seen by naturally showing up where prospective renters are searching for their next home online while boosting your brand’s reputation, credibility, and trustworthiness.
Read on to learn which digital marketing efforts your business should focus on first to attract more leads this leasing season and beyond.
1.) Use your website to make a great first digital impression
According to the 2022 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report, 84% of renters surveyed said they visited property or management company websites when searching for their most recent home. This makes your website undeniably one of the most important pieces of your entire property management marketing mix.
In order to make the best first digital impression with prospects, your website must have a few key best practices in place:
- Make it accessible for all: To avoid potential liability, your website should pass ADA compliance and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines requirements. Property management software features like AudioEye, an accessibility platform within AppFolio can assist you in making your website digitally accessible and in line with commonly accepted accessibility standards.
- Focus on the mobile experience: More than half of all website visits today are done on a mobile device. A mobile-friendly website is essential since the likelihood is high that your prospects are researching you while they’re on the go.
- Speed up your site: When it comes to website load speed, faster is always better. Not only can slow load times hurt your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and make your site less findable, Google research also shows that the risk of losing prospects almost triples when a page takes three seconds or longer to load.
While the above best practices are a great start and foundational elements for success, use this helpful checklist to optimize all aspects of your website to its fullest.
2.) Create listings that stand out
The details of your available listings can be a make-or-break for prospective residents, so ensure each one includes high-quality, up-to-date, and helpful information, including:
- Use professional photography: While it’s possible to get great photos on a mobile device, it’s best to hire a trained photographer instead. They know the best angles to take pictures from, and they can light the space appropriately so every unit will look its best.
- Create detailed descriptions: Be sure to include all critical details, such as unit size and rental costs. In addition, add extra information that can help prospects make a decision faster, such as the floor the unit is located on, included amenities, and available move-in dates. AI tools, like Marketing Descriptions in AppFolio Property Manager can autogenerate detailed and professional descriptions for your units, saving your team time and ensuring consistency.
- Include virtual and 3D showings: Add 3D tours, video walkthroughs, or virtual tour options to accommodate prospects who aren’t able to meet in person or for those who are “just browsing” but not yet serious about scheduling an in-person visit.
3.) Increase visibility by posting vacancies to third-party listing sites
Your website may be the ultimate source of information for your business and one of the most valuable resources in your digital marketing mix, but prospective residents aren’t just visiting property management websites to research their next home.
To increase the likelihood of being found by prospective residents, regularly post your available units and listings on top listing sites such as Zillow, Apartments.com, and Trulia. By showing up where your audiences are already searching, your property can reach their consideration set faster and give prospects the ability to quickly compare your listings with others they’re looking at, too.
Just like the available listings that go on your website, every vacancy posting should have the same high-quality, helpful, and up-to-date content — especially if you want to stand out from the rest of the competition.
4.) Leverage social media and ratings and reviews
Besides your website, renters look closely at social media sites during their home search. According to the 2022 NMHC/GraceHill Renter Preferences Survey Report, 40% of renters visited the property management company’s social media accounts when searching for their most recent rental home.
Keep your social media presence active on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by regularly posting updates, blog articles, and photos and responding to followers’ comments. Don’t just post about sales specials or vacancy alerts — instead, help prospects envision what it’s like to live at your properties by reposting content from current residents, giving a glimpse into community life, and spotlighting on-site associates and teams.
Finally, because word of mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, create and maintain a presence on review sites like Yelp or Google Business Profile. Make the time to respond to every review — even the negative ones — so people see you’re trustworthy and care about your residents.
Next steps: Scale your digital marketing efforts to create a bigger impact
When it comes to building credibility and helping your property management business stand out, a strong online brand presence is paramount. Start building yours by following the best practices listed above.
To learn more about how you can attract more leads this leasing season, download this guide.