In 2020, the share of consumers who used the internet to search for a new place to live increased to an all-time high of 97 percent, according to National Association of Realtors research. With that in mind, speaking the same language as your potential buyers or renters is key to attracting them to your property and, eventually, convincing them to sign a lease contract.
The first thing you need to do when marketing your multifamily property online is to put yourself in the prospects’ shoes. What are they searching for? How are they searching for it? Depending on the answers, you can pick the right keywords for improving your online marketing strategy.
CATER TO YOUR AUDIENCE’S INTENT
Choosing the best keywords means optimizing your content for search intent. Think about your prospects’ purpose when searching online: Are they looking for general information? Do they want to visit a specific website? Have they already decided they want to rent or buy an apartment, or are they simply doing some research to see what’s out there?
According to Yoast, a website optimization company, four types of search intent are most commonly used on Google: informational, navigational, transactional and commercial. For example, people looking to close a deal—or those having a transactional intent—will search using words like “buy” or “on sale,” while those only hunting for general data will most likely include “best ways to” or “how to” in their online search. So who are you aiming at?
TARGET KEYWORD PHRASES
When doing Google searches, an increasing number of people type in sentences or questions. That’s how so-called “long-tail keywords” became extremely popular. Prospective renters don’t just search for “apartments for rent.” Most likely, they’ll type in something like “two-bedroom, pet-friendly apartments for rent.” These days, potential residents tend to be very specific as far as the search intent is concerned. So if your property is indeed accepting pets, you should definitely market that.
USE HYPER-LOCAL KEYWORDS
In the real estate industry, location is one of the most important aspects a prospect considers when choosing a place to live. People will almost always include a city or metro name when searching for an apartment. Keywords such as “Boston apartments” or “apartments to rent in downtown Boston” are likely to earn higher search traffic than any generic keywords.
Using hyper-local keywords is paramount for your business. The consumers’ growing need for hyper-local content even aroused Facebook’s interest. Earlier this year, the social network launched “Businesses Nearby,” a feature meant to allow consumers to see the latest posts from businesses within a certain geographic radius.
TAKE A SNEAK PEEK AT THE COMPETITION
If you’re not sure how to choose your keywords, you can always look at what your competitors are doing. Simply type their domain name into the Keyword Planner and see what comes up. The Keyword Planner is a free tool offered by Google, which tells you exactly what people search for. This way, you will be able to pick keywords in a strategic way and Google will consider your website relevant when a prospective resident uses the search engine to find an apartment..
Speaking of competition, SOCi recently released a special industry report that ranks the top property management companies in local digital marketing. The software company wanted to see which firms were dominating their local markets, so they performed an audit on a sample of several companies’ properties and how they rank across Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp. Bozzuto Management, Avalon Bay Communities and Equity Residential were the top three multifamily companies in digital marketing across the markets they are active in. Their online visibility wins them most leases and helps them retain residents.
Today, the great majority of real estate marketers know that SEO is among the most cost-effective business strategies. When done right, marketing campaigns can cost very little—but if search engine optimization is not your thing, you can always hire a specialized SEO team to work their magic.
These tips only skim the surface of what property managers can do to market their apartments. Relevant content, along with eye-catching visuals, are also critical to rank high in Google searches.