With the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation developing quickly, we believe it’s important to acknowledge the temporary impact that is going to occur for the apartment market. Many of our clients have already begun having conversations around the adjustments that may need to be made in order to continue leasing efforts during a time when the average consumer is not leaving their house. This is not the time for marketing to continue as usual, but rather a time for us to make the necessary short-term adjustments.
Do people still need apartments? Yes! From a brief survey of a handful of properties, what we’re seeing so far in the market is that some properties are packed with prospect tours and others are not active at all. It’s highly location influenced based on where “hotspots” are occurring.
Regardless, more people than ever are working from home now, which means they have extra time on their hands to browse for apartments. So, here is the Uncomn take on marketing during the coronavirus.
With all of the confusion and uncertainty occurring, we find that it is best practice for brands to jump in front of the situation. We recommend giving your tenants peace of mind by sharing with them all of the steps your team is taking to ensure the safety of the community.
Here are a few of the resources we recommend sharing with your community:
- CDC’s Staying Safe Recommendations
- What To Do If You Are Sick
- Stopping Coronavirus Spread
- List of urgent cares in your area
- Community contact information
Aside from those resources, residents are looking for assurance that your team is doing everything they can to mitigate the spread of the illness such as sanitizing gym equipment, adding hand sanitizing dispensers, and implementing social distancing for your concierge, maintenance, and leasing staff.
Sending a notice like this to your residents is an important step to ensure your community stays calm and feels confident at home.
Social Media Awareness
Having a good strategy means knowing when to stay silent just as much as it means knowing what to post and when. Unless you are a medical professional, Uncomn recommends your community treads lightly with the content you decide to post during this time. This means we need to rethink when and what we post on our social media. Now is not the time to be sharing the beautiful posts we prepped in advance.
A prime example is the “Around the Block” content the Uncomn team posts for our properties. This regularly scheduled content provides our residents with an insider’s scoop into all of the events, restaurants, shows, and activities that you can do in the neighborhood. If our social media team was tone-deaf and continued to post about these outings, our residents would think their community was out of touch. Instead, we are shifting our strategy to things residents can do for a good time at home!
During COVID-19, shift your posting strategy to incorporate the following:
- Best books to read
- Great movies to watch
- Netflix and Hulu shows to binge
- Restaurants open for delivery
- Postmates and UberEats specials
- At-home workouts
The list goes on and on, but the new strategy is… don’t be tone-deaf.
In a normal market, apartment prospects are likely to visit a website 5 times before touring. In the world with coronavirus, people are likely to spend more time online and visit websites more frequently before deciding to make contact. This is prime time for you to update your website content.
Of course, budgets are also more important now, so the changes we are recommending are cost-effective and lead generating.
Adding and Updating Banners
If your website doesn’t have them, it’s time to get them! Regardless of whether your website is a template or custom-built, there are tools out there that you can implement immediately. We recommend a program called JustUno.
If you already have banners built into your website, use them to tell prospects that your leasing office is still open or offer virtual tours.
If you’re an Uncomn client, your website likely already has a virtual tour implemented. Now is the time to up-train your leasing team on how to use it and best practices about when to give a tour via screen share.
Add Chat and Chatbots
Don’t let interested website visitors getaway. In 2020, regardless of coronavirus, using chat on your website is an incredible way to engage, qualify, and convert apartment prospects.
Responding faster = more leads
Why? In today’s fast-paced world, if you don’t respond to your lead fast enough, you’re going to lose them to your competitors. If they don’t get in touch immediately, they’re going right back to Google or Apartments.com to click on the next apartment building. Based on data from Drift, companies that responded in ten minutes compared to five minutes saw a 400% decrease in the odds of qualifying that lead.
So, if you want to be qualifying leads, there’s simply no other way to do it as fast as an instant live chat.
Not to mention, your prospects are stuck at home right now with nothing to do but work, binge Netflix, and eat their stockpile of food… so now is the perfect time to initiate the conversation.
As long as open rates remain high and unsubscribe rates stay low, email is still a key way to reach your customers. If your property is considering increasing concessions over the next few months, this is a great way to communicate that.
Uncomn often includes the Around the Block series and other property events, both on-site and off-site, in email marketing. Therefore, we will begin including a disclaimer regarding COVID-19 to all resident and prospect emails that include leasing office open hours and recent developments.
Here’s a disclaimer from one of our favorite foodie blogs to model your disclaimer after:
Need help implementing these strategies? Uncomn’s team of marketers, social media gurus and developers have you covered. Contact us today to get started.