Part 2: How the Pandemic is Changing Multifamily Marketing
The coronavirus has wrecked havoc on our daily lives. A simple handshake is no longer common. The gentle kiss from a love one is now distantly transmitted through wires to a LCD screen.
Within multifamily housing, leasing apartments has shifted overnight. The industry once lived off of great curb appeal, pricing, and a killer sales team to reach financial milestones.
Today, relationships are now built one byte at a time.
Re-imagining the Customer Experience
The traditional customer journey has been disrupted by the rapid deployment of technology. Most prospects don’t just randomly walk by apartments, instantly apply, and walk out with apartment keys. The shopping experience happens way before the prospect walks within the front door. Google reports that 83% of shoppers research online before going into a store. Moreover, consumers watch time for shopping-related videos has increased by 5X. Thus there is a shift from traditional focus on curb appeal, drive-by, and resident word of mouth to needing to add a substantial online presence.
Customer’s now are impacted by the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). Nowadays, that learning can happen from a laptop, mobile device, PlayStation, or any other device. G5, a multifamily SaaS company, states an online prospect researches approximately 22 days before making an inquiry. Thus, digital marketing has become more important to reach customers while they are weighing decisions about apartments – especially with the limitations the coronavirus presents to businesses.
Furthermore, digital marketing isn’t just about marketing for a single interaction such as running a single ad for all online interactions. Today, reaching the customer at various stages prior to walking in the door is essential in a competitive landscape. In hotly contested markets, such as Baltimore and Washington DC, there are only so many customers to go around. Working within the corporate office, I was able to see multiple apartments within a 5 mile radius contacting the same prospects over and over. That means there is more supply than demand, and the market is currently too saturated with apartments.
With this in mind, there are a couple of stages to carefully consider as the customer shifts through various decision making criteria:
- Problem awareness – gaining knowledge that a problem exists.
- Solution awareness – learning that a solution is available.
- Solution comparison – comparing alternatives and weighing wants and needs.
With the winter months lying ahead and customer mobility slowing, it is essential to deliver to deliver varying messages at pre-decision touchpoints to nurture the customer.
For example, running digital ads while the prospect is in the problem awareness stage could see significant results with a generic zip code targeting strategy around the apartment’s location or reverse engineering ads to target feeder locations (ala think student housing feeder locations). Another occurrence could include running remarketing ads explaining the apartment’s secret sauce to reach prospects that are weighing apartment options. Brand awareness matters to help separate in a competitive landscape. [STAT]
In a previous video, I discussed how customers want a personalized experience with a brand. It’s no longer a time to merely state mission, vision, and values without showing what they mean. With opinions being so strong and widely available, the internet is now being pioneered with tribal behavior.
“How companies treat workers during pandemic could define their brand ‘for decades’,” says Mark Cuban. Your digital marketing efforts will be vetted with and against important moments such as the coronavirus, and #BlackLivesMatter or #MeToo Movements.
In order to help better manage relationships with various online communities, SoLoMo is a resourceful perspective. Venture Capitalists Mary Meeker and John Doerr, describe SoLoMo as an acronym for social, local, and mobile. The graph above shows how the world uses technology to be a digitally connected environment while looking to answer today’s leading questions.
While today many of the questions surface around human rights, tomorrow’s questions may focus upon the metamorphous of a digital economy that is being driven by artificial intelligence along with the advancement of entrepreneurship.
Thus, does your digital marketing include a means to stay connected within your tribe?
Seth Godin defines a tribe as “any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.” Two takeaways from his book, Tribes:
“1. Build a tribe by communicating a message and stories that are new and exciting.
2. Look for opportunities to make positive change, instead of sheepishly following an outdated plan.”
So, what does this look like in everyday business?
Every Wednesday, the team at The Residences at Oella Mill create posts highlighting local businesses. If you live within the town of Ellicott City, its great resource to learn of businesses located right in your backyard. As a prospect, you gain a personalized experience of the people running the apartment community, the local amenities of the area, and learn of the local business owners.
As the multifamily industry continues to streamline processes, the internet will continue to play an important role in maintaining relationships. In the end, you will find it extremely difficult to be within the customer’s final decision when you were never considered from the beginning.
Be sure to stay connected with Part 3: Pandemic Marketing Tools Checklist. Here we will discuss hacks to help with digital marketing.
Also if you missed it, check out my post Part 1: How the Housing Crisis Changed Multifamily Housing.
Comizzzle is not just a digital marketing agency, its a company that helps everyday people to reach their goals. This company was once an idea floating around on Google Plus to now helping small businesses become successful with online marketing.
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