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Community Marketing

Community Marketing

Learn more about the Strategies of Marketing Today

Strategies for Marketing a New Community in High-Supply Markets

Preparing to open a new community involves a lengthy task list for multifamily owners and operators. However, the ultimate determinant of a community’s success is its ongoing marketing plan, which should be in place long before the doors open. This year, as record supply is scheduled to deliver, having an effective marketing strategy is even more critical.

With new apartments emerging in cities like Austin, Denver, Huntsville, Miami, and Raleigh, multifamily marketers must understand the lifestyle individuals seek and the upgraded amenities they desire.

Leading up to preleasing and opening, Angelina DeWitt, director of marketing at The Habitat Co., based in Chicago, emphasizes, “Highlighting the envisioned community life is crucial. It's about showing potential residents why our property is their best choice amid a sea of new options.”

 

Know Your Market and the Target Lifestyle

When crafting a marketing plan, it’s essential to understand the area, culture, and targeted lifestyle. Ashlee Friedmann, managing director at FirstService Residential New York’s multifamily rental division, states, “You need to know the area, what is needed, what people expect, and what the competition offers. Without understanding why people are drawn to a property, your marketing campaign may miss the mark.”

James Love, vice president of marketing and brand at Draper and Kramer, concurs, adding, “It’s about uncovering and understanding the targeted lifestyle of your market and ensuring that lifestyle is reflected in the brand, creative elements (photography, videography), décor, amenities, and service level. Crucially, all of this needs to be communicated online with a quick, impactful user experience to draw in the market.”

Build the Experience Online

Establishing the essence of a new community online before construction is complete can set the tone for what’s to come. Habitat’s strategy includes targeted storytelling. DeWitt explains, “We craft narratives that highlight the unique attributes of each property, engaging prospective residents by illustrating the distinct lifestyle and advantages our property and its surrounding community offer.”

This strategy is supported by campaigns leveraging SEO, search engine marketing, and strategic internet listing services, along with interactive preleasing efforts. DeWitt says, “From hard hat tours to behind-the-scenes social media content, we offer an inside look to build excitement and anticipation. We also use drone videography to capture progress videos for promotion on social media and our websites.”

Similarly, Kim Boland, director of digital marketing at Morgan Properties, notes, “Digital marketing has become central, with a shift towards online advertising, social media marketing, and SEO. We use digital platforms to connect with potential renters, utilizing targeted advertising campaigns and social media channels to effectively showcase our properties and amenities.”

Love adds, “Once the first units are ready, launching a strong online ad campaign is the best way to start building a new pipeline.”

Embrace Local Partners

In a new market, multifamily operators can benefit from partnerships with local businesses. Friedmann explains, “Understanding the location and leveraging the area to attract people is crucial. Creating unique opportunities with local businesses, offering exclusive deals for tenants, and highlighting the surrounding area’s value helps potential renters see the benefits of moving there.”

DeWitt agrees, adding, “By collaborating with local businesses, we integrate our properties into the community, creating a buzz that attracts residents looking for an integrated community experience.” She also highlights the importance of working with local press to feature the properties and their community contributions through press releases.

 

Create Awareness Through Social Media

As preleasing approaches, building awareness of the new community is essential to create a list of prospective renters and identify the audience for progress updates. Love says, “Visibility is critical when starting at zero occupancy. While social media may not be the most viable lead source for stabilized properties, it’s excellent for introducing a new property and brand to a new market. We often start campaigning as soon as construction begins to build awareness and excitement.”

Boland emphasizes, “Personalization has become a key focus in our marketing efforts. We tailor content and experiences to meet renters’ unique needs and preferences, using data analytics and customer relationship management tools to deliver personalized marketing messages, offers, and recommendations, enhancing engagement and conversion rates.”

Friedmann adds, “Our leasing agents use standard sources like StreetEasy to showcase availability, but we are seeing real results on social media, especially Instagram, where you can geofence content and target engagement. Social media’s visual nature can showcase a building’s beauty and often serves as the first glimpse people have inside the property, prompting them to set up tours.”

Make Leasing Easy

Once targeted messages reach potential renters, it’s important to make the leasing process highly visible and straightforward. Love notes, “In addition to offering great packages of finishes and amenities, making the shopping process simple and accessible is vital. Providing a comprehensive online experience of the building allows prospects to shop on their terms. Offering self-guided tours takes it a step further. Retargeting ads to interested prospects is also crucial.”

All agree that enabling prospective residents to experience a property online is essential, given the trend towards start-to-finish online leasing. Love states, “More sight-unseen rentals are trending. People are busier than ever, and technology now allows you to get nearly the full sense of the community before setting foot inside.”

For those who prefer in-person leasing, DeWitt highlights the importance of experiential marketing with grand openings and memorable open houses. She says, “To stand out in a competitive landscape, we focus on creating memorable experiences through innovative open houses and virtual and drone tours. These methods not only showcase our properties but also engage potential residents on a deeper level.”