One of the biggest challenges of property management is dealing with vacancies. When one or several of your units are vacant, revenue is severely limited. Prevention with long-term tenants is an ideal situation. But no matter how loyal your tenants are, vacancies will happen.
So the question becomes: how do you fill vacancies as quickly as possible? The answer is simple, right? Just make many people aware.
But how? Paid search marketing can be a highly effective way to connect with a large number of individuals precisely at the time that they are looking for a new apartment. But done the wrong way, paid search marketing can be costly and ineffective.
So, is it right for your properties? And if so, how can you make it profitable?
In order to decide whether search marketing is right for you, two important things must be in place first:
A Technically Sound Website
This is the prospective tenant’s first impression of your property. Make sure that it is simple for them to navigate the site and find what they are looking for. And have fast load times. People are impatient. They want to easily find what they are looking for in seconds. Seconds, not minutes. If they click on your ad, but find your site clunky or slow, they will leave immediately. This leads to wasted dollars. Ways to make it easy for them to find what they want for is through a sophisticated filtering system or search capability. For example, allow your prospects to filter by location, price, number of bedrooms, etc. Without finding what they want fast, they are bound to leave. So before you spend time and resources building a PPC campaign, make sure you have a user-friendly site.
An Attractive And Informative Site
Again, this is your property’s first impression, and maybe the only chance for your property. So show it off! Include visually appealing photos or videos of your units. Make sure the photos or videos are high resolution and clear, no blurry shots! Invest in quality photographs or videos, whether that means buying a great camera or hiring a professional photographer. Either way, these photos maybe the only time a prospect sees your property, so make their potential new home look awesome!
Also, include relevant and attractive content about the property. For example, list property amenities like washer/dryer in unit, proximity to popular locations, and parking if applicable. Include any differentiators about the property. This will help sell the unit beyond what a picture can capture.
Do you have these two items in place? Then search marketing may be right for you, and here are a few key items to know before getting started:
Create A Locally Targeted Campaign
Google is international. Without proper campaign configuration, you could be accidentally targeting people halfway around the world with your paid search marketing efforts. Or even if you correctly target the U.S., you may be accidentally targeting the entire country rather than your local community.
But Google and the other search engines offer great location-based targeting capabilities, which will allow you to target your specific local audience. Location-based targeting can be done at many levels, including country, state, city, or even zip code. You can even identify an address and define the radius from that point for your target market, whether one mile or ten from your building’s location. If you know your tenants most often come from certain cities or zip codes, you can specify to Google to show your ads only in these specific locations.
Targeted Keyword Set
Set up different campaigns in your paid search account for broad terms like “apartments” and more targeted terms like “one bedroom apartment in santa barbara.” Many people will search on the broad terms, but this will include some unqualified traffic and those seeking a different type of apartment than perhaps what you are currently offering. Your campaign with targeted keywords will help you connect with more qualified apartment seekers, yet the volume of searches will likely be much lower than for broad terms. It’s the combination of getting in front of broad term searchers and targeted term searchers that will provide your paid search campaign with a powerful one-two punch.
Note, if you are in a major metropolitan area such as NYC, Chicago or San Francisco, allocating too much budget to broad terms may exhaust your budget rather quickly. Depending on your location, you may need to overweight your targeted terms campaign. And in the case that your targeted terms are providing more than enough leads for you, you may want to pause your broad terms campaign altogether to ensure your campaign is performing efficiently.
In the end, search marketing can be a powerful tool to increase visibility for your properties. Just make sure to optimize your campaigns across both broad and targeted terms, directing prospective tenants to a technically sound and attractive site.