Research Strategies for Multifamily
Before you can start any sort of marketing or advertising campaign for your community, you need to know your audience. Who is your renter? What are they into? Are they pet lovers, runners, both?
Today, you need to know more about your targets than their basic demographic information. Knowing their likes, dislikes, tastes, lifestyle, where they are online and their interests gives you the ability to craft creative and powerful messages that break through digital clutter and compel them to take an action — like visiting your website and eventually signing a lease. But, in order to learn about your audience, you need to do some serious research.
Cardinal Management Group’s director of marketing and avid researcher, Michael Huereque, recommends spending time every day researching and learning about your audience — and all the different, evolving avenues to reach them.
“I’m always worried about not doing enough research,” he said. “It’s a constant balancing act between executing, implementing and researching. People need to do the research, they need to do the strategic planning and not just chase the next big thing. They need to understand their demographic 1,000 percent. Do at least an hour a day, or else your tools will become dull.”
To help keep your tools sharp and create the right messages to reach renters, here are four research strategies you should start using now.
Make use of market reports, surveys and any other data you can get your hands on
The first step in researching any market is reviewing a market survey or market report. These are typically used by acquisitions or when selling to a new client. But, they are chock full of important marketing demographic information such as top employers, local household incomes and competition. It’s a great way to get the lay of the land and start making plans for advertising and marketing a community. If you find out who the top employers are, you can personalize your digital campaign messaging to those specific employees. You need to talk to your prospects in a language they can understand. Knowing a few basic facts can help you customize your messaging to different groups in new and different ways and connect with them on a personalized and meaningful level.
Run a competitive analysis
There are dozens of tools to help you run an analysis of your competition’s traffic and keywords. You just need to find one that fits your budget (some are free) and makes sense to you and your team. The goal of this research is to learn your targets’ search behavior and how it changes over time. If they are frequently searching for apartments for rent over the summer and not at all during winter, then you can push your campaigns in the summer and dial back in the winter. The trick is, you need to run more than one search term. Think 10, 15 or even 20 search terms to track and test. Then, as you run your digital campaigns you can see how they are performing against your competitors. And, you can tweak and adjust your messaging to ensure your advertising dollars are having the biggest impact.
Dive deep into analytics
Google, Facebook, Twitter … they all offer analytics that give you an enormous amount of information about your audience. Look at the demographic information, but also look at affinity groups and create messaging specific to them. If someone likes to work out, you can create messaging around that by including a plug for your fantastic gym. These types of messages, compared to hard-sell messages such as “Now Renting 30% Off!” connect with audiences on a personal level.
Make it your job to find the next big thing
That may sound a little counterintuitive (shiny object syndrome and all), but as a marketer, it’s your job to keep up on what is new in the marketing world. Is there a new app that could help you reach renters? Is there a new website that your renters are talking about? The only way you can keep up with all the new in marketing is to read, read, read. Blogs like Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and Convince and Convert are great places to keep up on trends. Watch other industries as well — check out how retailers are managing their social channels or how hotels are using PPC. Instead of swiping left the next time you get an email you don’t want, think of it as a research opportunity: Take a minute to read it and consider how they are targeting you. Is there anything you can learn? If you find a new tool that looks promising, run a 30-day test. It doesn’t usually require a large monetary investment, and it will pay dividends if you find a powerful channel before your competition.