Digital Marketing Trends to Watch
By Ashley Tyndall
In order for multifamily professionals to be successful, they must approach their target residents where they are. In the past, this meant placing billboards on their routes to work or advertisements on apartment search sites. As technology has radically evolved, digital marketing has changed the way companies must work in order to keep appealing to target residents.
Digital marketing trends that apartment communities and developers should be aware of include the growth of augmented reality, live videos, increased personalization, and native advertising. A company that is willing to evolve with the development of technology will always stay ahead of the game.
Keep your strategy relevant by adopting some of these forms of digital marketing:
Chatbots are the small chat windows that pop up at the bottom of a web page, offer assistance, and answer questions. Some people choose to interact with these bots, while others ignore them. But not for long. Chatbots gain intelligence with each interaction they have, making them more effective because they remember the user’s needs. They also give the company time that may have been previously spent answering customers’ concerns.
Chatbots are effective in marketing because they help promote your apartments, gain resident insight, personalize your brand and community, and increase engagement. They give your web page a humanlike interaction that customers would not get otherwise.
As chatbots gain traction in the digital marketing community, they will become increasingly effective, and more customers will use them. Rather than potential and current residents having to rely solely on leasing offices and manual messaging, chatbots will be able to quickly answer questions that they have, allowing you to gather more accurate data about your residents.
Did you know the video streaming market is projected to hit $184.3 billion by 2027? Internet users watched 1.1 billion hours of live video in 2019, which means that you can reach a large portion of the market by using live videos. Videos consistently draw more engagement with followers than any other form of content. The best sites to use for live videos are Facebook and YouTube because videos can be viewed even after the live streaming has ended. Live videos are an effective and engaging way to show off resident-exclusive events, grand openings, or other celebrations that bring excitement to your brand.
Live videos invite your followers to see and be part of what you are all about, letting them get to know the faces behind the brand. And while live videos are a fun way to interact with your audience, they can also be used to provide information about upcoming events, specials, or new properties in the works.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
Augmented and virtual reality are technologies that are continually on the rise. From virtual tours of apartments to games such as “Pokemon Go,” augmented reality has a lot of potential in increasing your brand awareness and engaging residents. Augmented reality and virtual reality offer consumers a chance to interact with the world around them without leaving the comfort of their homes, which is an idea that marketers need to capitalize on.
The idea of virtual reality was introduced to consumers through smart technology that can be brought into their home. Both of these advancements make marketing efforts more impactful, and allow the consumer to interact with your brand in exciting ways they have not been able to before.
In the multifamily industry, augmented reality and virtual reality can be used to display property renderings and allow customers to interact with them before construction begins. You can create a virtual tour for people who may not live close by or are simply browsing options, allowing them to explore floor plans and amenities without the travel. The opportunities with augmented reality and virtual reality are endless, allowing for creative digital marketing campaigns and features that appeal to target residents.
Native advertising, while considered an older method, is proving to be useful once again with the rise of technology. Although consumers may use ad blockers and avoid everyday ads, native advertising blurs the lines between advertising and nonadvertising content, appearing less promotional and more as a casual nod to the brand and how it can benefit consumers.
Some examples of native advertising include sponsored ads on Facebook and Instagram or product placement. The native ad should be able to fit in with the host’s media if your company's logo is removed. This strategy builds your brand's credibility and trustworthiness because you’re not bombarding your target resident with promotional content. Instead, you’re leading them to your site organically and building the relationship. In 2021, it will become crucial to take advantage of sponsorships on social media and other platforms in order to maintain and grow your target audience.
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is complex and advanced, making it similar to augmented reality and virtual reality. AI is redefining the customer experience, but is a concept that apartment marketers have to experiment with. Developers and properties that are willing to accept the challenge of adopting AI will see great payoffs in the future. AI can be applied in many ways, and has been used to build websites, to segment customers, and to automate Big Data.
While AI is an expensive and time-consuming addition to your company, it has the ability to greatly improve your apartment marketing efforts and results. A strong AI strategy can lead to more cost-effective campaigns, as AI can gather and process large amounts of data quickly, allowing you to develop marketing material more easily. More effective apartment marketing items will result in more leads, and eventually more customers. Your target audience will be able to relate to specific material, which will aid in building a long-term relationship with residents.
Meet Your Residents Where They Already Are
If you are able to adopt some, or all, of these forms of digital marketing, you can expect to see greater returns on your strategy. Multifamily development is back on the rise, and great customer service is one of the main factors residents look for in a community. By using digital strategies such as chatbots, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, or live videos, you will be better positioned to reach your audience in a variety of ways.