Multifamily Marketing Trends That Never Go Out of Style

What are the marketing basics that work for you, year after year?

It’s a new year so your inbox and news feed are over flowing with trend articles. Heck we are publishing an entire series about multifamily marketing trends right now. It covers what’s coming, how that effects staffing and what we are looking forward to most. But what about the marketing basics?

The start of the New Year is also the time that I clean out my closet. There are some trends in there that should never see the light of day again! And then there are some ‘workhorse’ pieces that I have had for years. The super basic pieces that are incredibly flattering and never go out of style.

I think our marketing strategy is a lot like my closet. Sure I could fill my closet with all the latest trends, but if I don’t have the basic building blocks, my strategy is going to be a hot mess. But let’s be honest, who wants to flip through a fashion magazine of women wearing the same old basic outfits? No one. You want to see those aspirational outfits that fit every curve of the model and when you are done drooling, at some point you wonder, where would she actually wear that?

So it feels like a bit of risk to write about the old tried and true basics that are powering our marketing strategy…who would want to ready about the basics? It took a couple of weeks to get past the vanity of worrying about readership numbers and just share what works. Everyday. Every Year.


  1. Set your specific intention


With every marketing strategy or campaign, my team is required to set the same framework.

  1. What is the final outcome goal we are deploying this strategy to achieve? {Have a building 45% preleased at ribbon cutting}
  2. What micro indications will we have that the campaign is effective or ineffective? {Traffic to the website, # of applications, etc.}
  3. What tasks need to be done in order to achieve those micro indications and who is responsible for each task getting completed?

I was floored by the effect this framework had on our team’s overall efficiency and focus. Most importantly, I find that we are just crushing our goals. Everyone knows why we are doing what we are doing and what we are expecting to achieve.


  1. Decide on your metrics

So, this one was harder for me than I really think it needed to be. We, as marketers, have access to so much information now, that it’s hard not to want to analyze every number. For me, my aha moment came when I finally mastered trend #1. It was understanding that if my outcome goal is achieved, and my performance indicators are on track, then I need to be a little less concerned with what I call, ‘the ten dollar metrics.’


What falls into the $10 metrics? The attributed traffic source. I’ve had to let this one go. I discuss it a little bit in an article from earlier this year, but what I’ve come to appreciate is the full breadth of our customer’s buying journey. The number of different influencers that finally lead them to a buying decision cannot be wrapped up in a neat linear attribution model.   That doesn’t mean I’m throwing advertising dollars around like a wild woman. What it does mean is if I am looking to increase traffic to the website and I deploy a social ad campaign and traffic to the website increases {Micro indication} I’m not going to be concerned if the traffic attribution doesn’t directly correlate to that social ad. If that was the only change I made, I’m going to consider it a success.


Dangerous mindset? Perhaps. I’m not suggesting you adopt that laissez faire attitude. I’m suggesting that you decide on what metrics you actually care about and don’t consume your day trying to analyze Every. Single. Number.


  1. Follow up

I know. Old boring basic. And yet so few of us get it right….why is that? Part of it stems from the sometimes-disconnected marketing, operations, and training teams. I see these gorgeous websites that have four or five different calls to action. {Schedule a tour, more information, join waitlist, apply now}   But when that contact inquiry is submitted to your property management lead dashboard of choice, can your leasing agent tell which button was clicked? Do they know if the customer clicked the schedule a tour vs. more information? In a lot of cases I’m guessing {or hoping} not based on the fact that when we shopped properties, we got the exact same quick response back.


I don’t blame the leasing agent for this. I see this as a disconnect between the marketing team that designed the website and the ops team that handles software and integrations. Did they talk to each other about the different types of leads that would be coming in and that those inquires should be flagged for different responses? Probably not. So the leasing team is trained to send the quick response out in a timely manner without truly addressing that customer’s needs. And in a lot of cases, that’s it. One and done form letter. Maybe, if you have a really good leasing agent, there’s a follow up phone call or a second email and then that lead is muted as ‘unresponsive’.   Back in the old days we had a phrase, Buy or die. That’s a little much, but as recent as last year the statistic still stated that 80% of the sales went to the company that followed up 8 or more times. EIGHT. Your leasing agent would probably fall off their chair if you told them that was the requirement….they don’t have time for that…which leads me into trend number four….


  1. Email

You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Drip campaigns are my favorite for a number of reasons. The number one reason is because THEY WORK. Email isn’t sexy. I hear people all the time saying email is dead. I just don’t see that in the metrics. Our email leads convert at over double the rate of any other lead source.

Customers on your email list have already shown some level of interest in your product. You need to show that you are interested in having them as a customer.

My second reason for being an email evangelist is that it takes the pressure off your leasing agents. You can create a series of follow up emails for your prospective buyers that delivers all the pertinent information and consistently ask for a tour or an application or whatever you want the next step buying journey to be. The customer can opt out at any time. The great part is, your email automation campaign, doesn’t get nervous about sending that email. It doesn’t worry that it’s ‘bugging’ the customer. It doesn’t freak out because ‘it has nothing to say’. {PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one who get’s these excuses from my leasing team.} Email works and it will continue to be my go-to strategy regardless of what other sparkly trends come along!


So there you have it, the marketing basics I think everyone should have in their closet. The best part is, these basics can be paired with any new trend that comes along to create dynamic campaigns for you in 2016!

One final Thought

I found this quote the other day and think it sums up everything perfectly.  We are in the business of people.



Think I missed some must have basics? Comment below or give me a shout on Twitter @Apartmentalist.

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