As Easy as 1-2-3 Apartment Lease Up Marketing Plan

By |2019-07-17T10:58:37-04:00July 17th, 2019|

When it comes to needing new multifamily communities, the market shows no signs of slowing down. Despite over 427,000 new apartments being built in 2018, there is still a gap and need for over 4.6 million new apartments by 2030. That means there will be no slowing of new construction, and continued growth of competition with all of these new starts.

So how does an onsite team stand out and succeed in such a saturated market? To start, you need a foolproof apartment lease up marketing plan in place! 

First things first, what is a lease up? A community is in “lease up” the second they start trying to lease and fill units in their building. The pre-leasing period typically starts during construction before there is really much to show at the building, then the lease up continues until the occupancy rate for the community hits the desired level — typically 90%. Lease ups are the critical time when communities work on signing as many leases as possible as quickly as possible. Lease ups are so critical to the success of communities because it not only is building the cashflow and impacting the NOI of the investment, but it many times factors into the financing and longevity of the community as well.

There’s a lot more we could cover just on the ins and outs of lease ups, but this post is meant to focus on the marketing plan. You can learn more about the ins and outs of lease ups here.

Back to the topic at hand — lease up marketing plans! One of the most key and critical items that need to be on every lease up checklist is a well-thought out apartment lease up marketing plan. Designing such a plan may seem hard since, technically, the community is not quite ready to show off in all its glory, but it doesn’t need to be and there are lots of ways to build your audience and create buy-in (and conversion) from day 1. 

Let’s dive into it! Here are some quick and easy thoughts, guidelines, tips and tricks to help you design a marketing plan that works and converts for any apartment community that is actively pre-leasing or in lease up!

Step One:  Understanding Who the Residents Will Be

In any marketing plan, the absolute first step is to know your audience. In this case, who are the prospective residents that you will be looking to reach for your community? Understanding who they are, what is important to them, and where you can reach them will impact every decision from here forward. Going deeper than just who they are and actually focusing on what matters to them, where they shop, and how they behave online will allow your marketing efforts to be where they are and providing the type of content they are looking to consume. Are you marketing apartments to Millennials? Great! What’s important to this demographic? Use that information when determining the best marketing ideas for your apartment lease ups. 

If you don’t get this piece right and are targeting an audience that can’t afford your rent, isn’t interested in the amenities that you offer, doesn’t have the desire to live where you are located, or any other myriad of variables, you’ll not only struggle with conversion, but, even if leads do convert to leases, they likely will not be happy residents that renew. It all starts with who and why. 

Step Two: Attracting Your Desired Audience

Now that you know who your target audience of prospective residents are, and what they are looking for, you can start working on your plan for how you’ll attract them to your community. And by “to your community”, we mean to your community website or lead channels to then convert into inbound leads. You can no longer expect that drop-in traffic and physical site visits are the goal outcome or expectation for your prospective residents any longer. You can read more about converting your traffic without physical traffic here.

We digress…

Your apartment lease up marketing plan should include tactics that meet your target audience where they are. Are they online? Where? Social media? What channels? What time of day? Are they local or moving from out-of-state, or even out-of-country? 

Any of the apartment marketing ideas you implement must be tailored to the broadest specific audience that you can create. If your audience are affluent and either travel a lot or could be moving from elsewhere, maybe try some creative ads at the airport. If your audience is predominantly Millennials or Gen Z, look for creative ways to use digital media to meet these digital natives where they are with social ads, online event invites, and more. 

Step Three: Give Your Audience What They’re Looking For

You can produce the best apartment marketing content ever created, but if your audience isn’t looking for it or engaging with that type of content, then it’s all for naught. Even if you have your audience completely honed in and know exactly where to meet that audience and when, you can still miss attracting and converting them if you aren’t delivering the type of content they are engaging with or searching for. This is why developing and executing on an apartment lease up marketing plan can be such a challenge.

When you’re first kicking off pre-leasing, it can be really tough to develop content that you feel will be engaging, capture attention, and show your space in a positive way. Construction is messy! One quote from a prospective resident that converted during pre-leasing for a Realync client summed it up best: 

“We live in an HGTV world. People understand construction and want to be a part of the process!”

Don’t shy away from creating videos and providing an inside look into your community even well before it’s finished. Shoot quick, 30-60 second video updates showcasing the progress on the pool or that the cabinets are going in. Or do a timelapse of the crew installing the feature wall in the lobby. All of this content is gold on social media or for sending out to your lead list. Being real and transparent throughout the entire process builds trust, transparency, and buy-in. 

A lot of times, your audience is simply looking to have a space to ask questions and learn more as well without having to instantly set up time for a call or in person tour. Meeting your audience where they are means providing space for them to learn more without strings attached. Set up live video open houses where you walk your building and answer questions or post / send videos answering the top 5 questions received that week. It’s all about engaging with your audience and making them feel like a part of the community even before they are. 


We mentioned a lot of video related options in that last section. While Realync is multifamily’s only video leasing solution and has proven invaluable for pre-leasing and lease up communities across the country, we talk about video so heavily because video is the type of content that people are engaging with, searching for, and converting from. 

59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text (Wordstream)

Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to just 10% when read via text (Insivia)

Social media posts with video get 48% more views than posts without (HubSpot)

Videos on social media generate 1200% more shares than text and image content combined (G2Crowd)

As you can see, video works! So while there are a lot of different channels and content strategies that do need to be a part of your apartment lease up marketing plan, video absolutely needs to be one of them. And when it comes to streamlining things and making your plan as simple and easy to implement as possible, no video platform has proven easier to use and find ROI with than Realync

If you want to learn more about what we’ve seen prove successful for apartment lease up marketing plans or want to get started with videos of your own, email sales@realync.com. We’re here to help! 

Until next time…keep it real! 

About the Author:

I was fortunate enough to flip my first house the Summer before Senior year in high school and ever since real estate and entrepreneurship have been my passions. I get to live out both of those passions every day by helping real estate professionals from around the world market, advertise, lease, and sell their properties and spaces in new, innovative ways using video.