Buy a newspaper ad. Find space in a magazine. Host an open house or two on the weekends. Put some flyers or business cards in popular coffee spots in the neighborhood. Make sure the community is listed on popular multifamily websites.

Sound familiar? These are some of the most common ways multifamily communities are and have been marketing themselves. And, many times, these methods do work…well enough. Because of that, these strategies can become crutches for many leasing agents and communities. They use them, again and again, but what happens when your team expects higher returns or more success?

The economy and renter demographic have been changing. Leasing agents and community managers need to start thinking beyond solely what has worked in the past. Considering the competition is likely also using these exact strategies, it’s time for communities and multifamily marketing professionals to find new and different ways to promote themselves, differentiate from the competition, and find the success they are looking for.

Below are some creative multifamily marketing strategies to help any community stand out, garner attention online, and, more importantly, keep the attention that will eventually lead to a new resident.

Think Video…

Video is quickly becoming one of the strongest marketing tactics in nearly any industry. It has been shown to have a 135% greater organic reach than simple, still photos. Real estate in particular is seeing the results good video can have. According to “The Digital House Hunt,” a combined study from Google and NAR, 85 percent of buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video. Homes listed with video get four times the inquiries of homes listed without video. Offering videos of units as well as amenities, the staff, the neighborhood, and more can attract the interest of potential local renters as well as those looking to make a longer distance home decision.

…Then Think Beyond Video

While traditional marketing videos are great, today’s renter demographics tend to want a more genuine feel. They gravitate towards reality over production-quality. So, what can provide a better experience than a slick, produced video, particularly for the highly sought after Millennial demographic? A live video tour. Going live with your target audience online allows potential residents to truly experience your community and the surrounding area while interfacing with the onsite team, building relationships, having their questions answered, and more. Live = real. You can’t photoshop live video. It can also help avoid unwanted surprises during the closing process with potential residents. For example, a potential renter will be much more understanding if they see and know about some construction currently going on versus being completely surprised by it when they visit in person or move in without any prior knowledge of it. Live video creates a person-to-person trust and fosters relationship beyond what any static photos or polished production video could achieve.

Creative Email Marketing

Speaking of video, that same Google study mentioned above found that including video in emails doubles the click-through rate and reduces opt-outs by 75 percent. That much improvement on your email campaigns could equal a LOT of new prospects. So be creative with your email marketing. Have a specific message you want to convey? Record a quick video to embed into the campaign and see what success you can drive with it. One creative way to make video work in your emails is to offer a video of your leasing team talking about the current renovations the property is undergoing and offering the subscriber an opportunity to schedule a personal tour or invite them to be a part of an upcoming virtual open house that you’ll be hosting. If someone is subscribed to your email list, that means they are already interested in learning more about your property, so take advantage of that interest. Showcase your space, showcase your team, showcase your neighborhood. More than anything, make the process as easy and impactful as possible. In addition, work to make your email marketing as personalized as possible. Nothing is more powerful than engaging a potential new resident by name and providing catered, personalized, authentic content for them.

Effective Social Media

If your community isn’t already using social media, then IT IS TIME. Social media can offer a way to not only showcase your property and provide information to prospective residents, but it’s also a means of interacting with new / current residents as well. Have current residents that love your community? Have them shout their praises of the property on social media. Hosting a community event? Showcase it online for followers to see what it could be like for them to live at your property. Social media is becoming an increasingly preferred method for communication with Millennials. A recent Goldman Sachs report showed that 38% of Millennials actually prefer communicating with a company or brand via social media to any other channel. Leasing agents and properties can’t afford to ignore that.

While there are any number of ways leasing agents and multifamily marketers can advertise and market to prospective residents, these are a few of the current most effective ways to work smarter using technology. Thanks to today’s marketing technology, finding and connecting with prospects is easier than ever. However, it’s important to use that reach effectively. Otherwise you may as well just post another newspaper ad…

Until next time…keep it real!