While there’s no such thing as a “leasing season,” some months during the year are busier than others. Specifically, the summer months tend to be particularly popular for new leases due to the warmer weather they offer and because moving at that time better aligns with students’ school schedules.
The reality is that it’s a challenge to find residents for rentals during the winter months.
Fortunately, some apartment marketing tactics can set you up to get future residents throughout the year. In this article, we discuss the peak times for renting and give you a list of 10 powerful apartment marketing tactics to help you get residents during all 12 months.
When is the best time to find residents?
Peak rental season occurs during June, July, and August. In fact, 60% of people prefer moving during the summertime due to the better weather and the fact that parents won’t have to disrupt their children’s school year. College students also prefer to sign a lease before the school year starts, and graduates look for their next apartment during the post-graduation summer months.
On the other hand, winter (December, January, and February) is the least popular time to sign a lease since, in many areas, the weather makes moving difficult. This makes the late spring and summer months the ideal time to find new residents. Considering this, the best time to find prospective residents is during the summer months. However, with the right strategies, you can also find residents during slower seasons.
Should you approach marketing differently during slower vs. busier months?
It’s best to approach leasing with the same marketing tactics regardless of the time of year—but simply increase your efforts during slower months.
The best way to do this is to implement a mixture of time-sensitive and evergreen marketing tactics.
- Time-sensitive marketing: These tactics boost tenancy within a limited time period. They’re great for quickly attracting residents but can be expensive. For example, you might invest in an apartment advertising campaign that runs for one month. The ads will attract potential leads, but once the campaign is over, the impact ends as well.
- Evergreen marketing: These are long-term marketing tactics that don’t expire and can be sustained for multiple years. Examples include producing SEO-optimized content, running paid ads, and social media marketing.
Combining these tactics throughout the year and honing in on time-sensitive strategies during the months you want to boost interest in your properties typically brings the highest return on investment.
8 Evergreen marketing strategies
Here are some of the top apartment marketing ideas you can implement to help you get residents during high-traffic weeks and prepare you for the slower times of the year. Here are some evergreen strategies you can implement throughout the year:
1. Invest in a local SEO strategy
Suppose you want your website or apartment listings to appear at the top of Google when potential residents search for local rentals. In that case, you should invest in local search engine optimization (SEO). SEO includes long-term strategies that can help improve your website’s visibility on popular search engines like Google and Bing.
Your SEO strategy could include blogs targeting specific keywords that serve as a reliable source of information. Examples of topics to explore can be tips on how to find an apartment or get an application approved.
You should also ensure that your web pages, including your home page, about page, and services pages, are optimized for relevant keywords.
For example, if you have multiple apartments in Echo Park, Los Angeles, you could use keywords such as “apartments for rent in Echo Park” and “Echo Park Los Angeles apartments.”
2. Optimize your Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile appears on the right-hand side of Google whenever someone searches for your business (or businesses related to yours).
Claim your listing and ensure all the essential information—including your phone number, email address, web address, photos, and links—is accurate.
Again, this is a long-term strategy to ensure prospective residents can easily find your business when searching online. The good news is that you only have to set this up once and update it in the future if specific information changes.
3. Use social media marketing for your community
Social media content is a great way to engage your community and build a reputation for your company.
You can post:
- Rental market updates
- Events happening in your community
- High-quality videos or photos of the inside of your units
- Behind-the-scenes activities
Since short-form video is becoming more popular in the marketing industry, it’s a good idea to incorporate this into your social media strategy. The more shares, likes, and comments you get, the more the word about your apartments and community will spread.
Pro tip: An advanced way to approach social media marketing is to monitor your competitors’ social media profiles and see what types of content their followers respond to. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and instead, use their content as inspiration to create your own.
4. Organize events at your properties
Do your residents feel like they’re a valuable part of your community? If not, you may be missing out on getting many new ones due to word-of-mouth referrals.
Organize monthly community events and allow your residents to bring guests to them. As a result, these guests will get a chance to mingle with your current residents. They’ll also get a sense of how nice your properties are.
5. Ask your community for reviews
Reviews, which are an important part of reputation management, are one of the most effective ways to get new residents. This is because many potential residents trust and rely on reviews from social media or review sites when deciding where to live.
However, having reviews isn’t enough. You must also respond to them to thank each person for their review and address concerns from previous residents. If people see reviews being ignored by the team, that may be interpreted as a lack of support.
6. Market available units in advance
Residents tend to start apartment hunting months in advance.
As such, you’ll want to have the data on your available and upcoming units, including their location, features, and images, posted online. Post these images on your social media platforms to help possible residents narrow down their search.
If you don’t have any images of the properties yet (since they’re still under construction), you could post updated pictures of floor plans or 3D renderings of the units so that the prospect has a good idea of what the apartment will look like.
You could also include a “notify me” or “email me” button on your website if prospective residents wish to be notified once a floor plan becomes available. That way, they can sign the lease early on.
7. Create resident referral programs
Motivate your residents to refer your apartments to friends or family members by giving them an incentive. Determine what would motivate them to do this.
Here are some incentive ideas:
- Discounted rent
- Gift cards
- Google Home gadgets, such as Smart Speakers
Once you create the program, share it with your residents in your community app or via email. Another option is to post it on social media to get new residents.
8. List your apartments on real estate sites
Many potential residents search for apartments on real estate listing sites.
The great thing about doing this is that these people are often ready to rent. This makes these sites an excellent tool to get residents whenever an apartment becomes available.
Realtor.com has an excellent program where you can list your apartments and have leads delivered straight to you every month. Partnering with Realtor.com means your properties will be put in front of millions of people. In fact, our site receives an average of 72 million monthly visits, which can help provide more visibility to available rentals.
Time-sensitive marketing strategies
In addition to evergreen efforts, implement more time-sensitive strategies during slower months to attract the people who are searching for a new apartment.
1. Offer moving incentives
Offer moving or renewal incentives to help you stand out in competitive markets. For example, offer the first month free, bundle extra amenities, or provide free parking to improve your chances of getting current and prospective residents to sign the lease.
Another great incentive you could provide is rent specials. Realtor.com allows its partners to indicate whether they’re offering these, so apartment hunters using this filter will know that they’re getting a better deal than they typically would.
These incentives aim to give residents a reason to move in now versus later. They are a particularly great way to get residents during slower times since you can choose to only offer them during winter months.
2. Run social media and PPC apartment advertising campaigns
Once you have a great organic social media presence, start running social media ads on your available listings. Since you already have an existing following, social media ads will help you reach an active and engaged audience.
Ads are also great for reaching similar people to your current residents. You can do this by creating marketing campaigns that target similar demographics.
Additionally, run PPC or Google ads that’ll show your properties on the first page of Google when apartment hunters search for apartments in your area.
This is a great way to capture hot leads who are ready to rent.
How marketing available apartments
Now that you know the top apartment marketing strategies, here are some tips you can follow to get started:
- Set your budget
Determine how much you can realistically spend on marketing.
The best way to do this is to talk to your Chief Financial Officer or financial department to determine your gross or estimated revenue. As of March 2023, companies attribute around 12% of their overall budget to marketing.
2. Create a marketing plan
After determining your budget, consider which of the methods mentioned above you’d like to use. To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
- How fast do you need residents? Running ad campaigns and partnering with real estate sites are your best bet if you’re rushing to get residents.
- Which methods will bring the highest return on investment? While many evergreen marketing strategies don’t bring immediate results, they offer the best long-term results. For example, having blog posts with relevant keywords on your site could attract organic traffic for years.
3. Delegate tasks
After creating your marketing plan, you may need to hire additional staff members. For example, if you choose to go with advertising, you could hire a social media advertising expert to help you get the most out of your ad campaigns.
You can also delegate tasks to your existing marketing team, such as creating marketing materials for your website and social media channels.