Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference Recap 2022

Martin: All right, welcome back to the multifamily podcast with Ron and Martin. Today’s episode we’ll be highlighting apartment SEOs time at Aims. The apartment innovation and marketing conference in sunny Huntington Beach, California. We’re talking about Jam packed sessions around all aspects of digital marketing around the multifamily industry. But before we dive in what’s been going on Ron, how was your trip to Mexico?

Ronn: Mexico was great. It was right after Aims. So, I needed a break from get away from the getaway.

Martin: I love it. I love it. So no getting back to aim. Apartment SEO. This was a great time exhibiting there. Do you want to talk about our experiences there and also maybe the after party that we put together?

Ronn: Yeah, so the best part about Aim this year was obviously the time of year, it obviously is great to welcome people to California, which is our home state. So, it’s always like our industry gets to come on to our own backyard and get to see and connect with people, especially after the pandemic. The great thing about Aim, I think this year was that we were all ready to get back and going. I know they did it last, I believe it was October. But I felt like it was back to normal, if you will. This may. And the other thing is I know that because there was a lot of the open after parties. And everybody was just so excited to connect. There were people that were trying to get to our party, we were able to help co-host a really fun luau over at Tanner’s and you know, just a hop, skip and a jump. So, people were definitely like mingling out there. A lot of good synergies talking about business, on and off the tradeshow floor. So that was really cool. But you know, what I was really excited about is the fact that even though we’ve been exhibiting at aim before, this is the first time that we were able to get a discussion and you were able to talk about SEO strategies, your competition and competitors don’t want you to know about. So, speak on that. Martin. I think everybody could appreciate some of what you talked about. It was in the breakfast roundtable. Right. So, what was that experience like?

Martin: Yeah, so it was the breakfast roundtable discussion. It was early in the morning, nine o’clock. It was on a Tuesday. Everyone had their fun Monday night. So, I was wondering, you know how many people would actually show up to this event in the morning for breakfast, but surprisingly, I was there 15 minutes early, right before it began, I was able to pick the first table, the best table right there, set up shop. And after a while people started showing up, we had a good mix of CEOs, property managers, even nonprofits that help with when people leave apartments, they sometimes leave food and stuff like that. And so, they actually help give that supplies and those things to people that may be needed. So a good mix of people, we even had people standing around the booth, standing around the table as well. Just learning about some of these SEO strategies, I covered nine of them. I’m gonna highlight three of the SEO strategies in this podcast, and then I’m gonna link in the show notes. I’ll link to the presentation so you guys could actually go to multifamily podcast.com and download it for the aim episode for episode three, you’ll have a link to the download there. But the three SEO strategies that I want to cover here, barnacle SEO strategy, the social citation strategy and the high impact SEO strategy. So, the first strategy, barnacle SEO, we’re using large websites, we’re talking YouTube, we’re talking SlideShare, LinkedIn, and these domains are very powerful and domain authority. So even if your website can’t rank for, say, DTLA apartments, if you use the barnacle SEO strategy by creating a YouTube channel, and you create videos, really small snippet videos, around specific keywords, you can actually use the power of YouTube, the power of SlideShare. You know, video is YouTube SlideShare has presentations and PDFs. So, you can actually rank multiple pieces of content with Google’s universal search engine and give you more of a competitive edge. And so that’s why they call it the barnacle SEO strategy, like a super like a giant whale in the ocean. That’s like the website, the giant website and the barnacle attaches to the well. And so, you are the barnacle. And so, by attaching to that domain authority, you’re able to rise in the rankings for specific keywords. So that’s the fun one.

Social citation strategy. A lot of people are used to your conventional citations, these have to, you know, yelp.com, local.com, these are what we call structured citations. They were websites built to be a directory, whereas a social citation strategy, you’re going to want to create a YouTube account, you could create a SlideShare account as well. But the difference between this is when you create the social post, whatever information and content you put in there, just make sure you include your name, address, phone number and website to your community. And what that’s going to do is that’s going to actually give you a social citation. And it’s going to give you a little bit more in your marketing because a lot of your competitors won’t have that, a lot of your competitors will have Google business profile. They’re going to have local.com, yelps.com some of these smaller ones, but they’re not going to have like a YouTube citation or SlideShare citation. And by doing that in Google Maps, that’s gonna give you more, more impact there, and so you should get stronger rankings. Next is the high impact SEO strategy. Of course, everyone wants to rank for a say if you’re in downtown LA DTLA apartments is a good example that is a high volume, very competitive keyword. So, with the high impact SEO strategy, we always say to focus on the longtail first and while you’re focusing on the longtail you’re building up authority for those small tails, which is like a DTLA apartments. But until then, you can use a high impact SEO strategy to do DTLA Apartments for Rent, DTLA apartments with a washer and dryer DTLA apartment, pet friendly DTLA apartments. And so, by focusing on these longtail keywords, in your content, strategy, maybe even building micro pages around very strong keywords that you really do want to focus on. By creating that information architecture, Google will reward you with better ranking for those longtail keywords, and it’ll build more value for the short tail keywords and give you more traffic overall. So again, we’ll make sure to attach the presentation so you guys can download and get online SEO strategies. And if you have any questions about any of them, you can feel free to reach out to us via our contact form. And we’ll be happy to review together and made me check out a marketing analysis as well. So, Ron, there were some pretty good stats from the sessions we wanted to highlight for our viewers today about the winner’s journey and how it’s been evolving. Shall we dive into some of the stats?

Ronn: Yeah, of course. Actually, I just want to say I always.

Martin: No worries.

Ronn: busy, busy. Happy Friday. Sorry about that. I wanted to first congratulate you obviously love hearing you speak and I’m seriously writing notes down because I couldn’t make that morning session. But in senior notice, and hearing you talk, I just I’m always learning something. And because our name is apartment SEO, I would only hope that you have the best steps to share. So, thanks for doing that. But yeah, when it came to the renter’s journey, the cool thing is the average research phase for renters now is about three weeks across multiple marketing channels. Renters are some. The interesting stat that I discovered while there is that wrenches are somewhat more and more invisible, while they research, even though there’s all these multiple marketing channels are more invisible. They’re also more informed, though due to obviously the multiple marketing channels. So, they’re deep dive in a little bit more. What’s cool is they’re taking 70% more time to research before they call you. And again, because they have so many options. I don’t know if, I should have turned off my stuff. But the cool thing is you can make the invisible visible by stitching together the renter’s journey for insights using a customer data platform to track which is like ad networks, for example, like Google, Facebook, Bing, Google Search Council, GBP Google business profile, the various review sites that are out there. And of course, Google Analytics and property management software companies, the call tracking out there, CRMs that are out there. So, what stats do you have to share Martin when it comes to this?

Martin: So, across the multifamily industry, the most transactional leads calls come from Google business profile with that being 44.6% of you know, all transactional leads. Next is organic Google Search. This was in at about 33.9%. And then you had a combination for digital ads, which includes Google ads, Facebook, meta-ads, and Bing Ads were coming in at 27.4%. And that was across all multifamily industries on the particular study that was taken, even management companies got in the game here. So, most influential marketing channels for these specific marketing channels. For these specific marketing companies, or for this property management companies Olympus property for Google Business Profile accounted for 50.6% of their leads coming in from Google business profile, and then Carter Hastin, and rainwater for organic Google search. They were at 40.6% and 39.6% of their traffic coming from organic Google search. Next, we had an NE property management and for their Google ads and digital Ads campaigns that accounted for 57.4%. So, as you can see here, I mean, it’s just crazy how much traffic by just making sure you have a good Google business profile, a good organic SEO strategy and a good digital ad strategy that is really the trifecta to really ignite the amount of traffic that we can bring into communities. So next, I think we should dive in, what are actually, we are actually looking for Ron.

Ronn: So, we noted that renters are looking for washing dryer in the unit, which I think we could all agree right, the convenience, air conditioning, how funny I guess there’s some markets that definitely don’t have air conditioning. We’re from Southern California, so we can’t live without it. soundproof walls I think I could appreciate that, especially now that we’re doing podcasts from home that would be helpful, literally, high speed and, of course, again, we’re working remotely in zooms all day. I’m sure a lot of the wrenches are Well, garbage disposal, I thought that was an interesting one. And then walk in closet. Community features, this is a great one reliable cell service, I know that whenever I’ve lived to buy a home, you walk in the house, you got to make sure you have the good cell coverage, you know, with or without Wi Fi, secure 24/7 package that’s a newer one over the last decade plus, where they want to make sure that they have, they can get their packages, their hashtag, Amazon, swimming pool controlled access, non-smoking building. And that’s interesting one, more and more. And a fitness center, of course. And the interesting thing that I wanted to share too is the stats like 12% of people towards zero apartments, meaning sight unseen. We were talking earlier prepping for this and one of our employees, he bought a house recently sight unseen in a whole different state. So, it is possible. Yeah. All online, 35% of them toward one to two apartments, which seems about right, but a very competing 32% toward three to four apartments. So, I think that that’s pretty much identify as like the today’s renter experience. And I think that that is it’s huge. The other thing is that renters are engaging a lot more on Google Business Profile more than ever, and that’s about 44.6 qualified calls overall. So, yeah, GBP, GMB, whatever it’s called they’re on it. So, we got to make sure that we’re staying on top of it ourselves as marketers. So, Martin, what are some ways our listeners can enhance their digital marketing campaigns around all of these powerful stats?

Martin: Yeah, so first and foremost, your website, you need to amplify your content. So, it’s not just good enough anymore, just putting a mansion apartment in your city. And having a few mentions there, you really need to develop a deep content strategy, each page on your website, you need to tell Google exactly what it’s about. From the title tag meta description, h1 to the deep content, I mean, we’d like to have homepage content of about 200, 300 plus words, I know sometimes our clients’ websites can get pretty image heavy. So just be cautious of that with the load times and how fast it takes to load up, three seconds or less is where you want to be and expanding upon the longtail keyword strategy. Again, you know, use these washer and dryer unit air conditioning, everything that people are actually searching for, the renters are wanting to find you need to have these mentioned on your website and have a robust content strategy around it. So, anything that you really want to emphasize really needs to be promoted on the website, on the FAQ section of your website, even Google Business Profile by putting that in the Google post and improving your knowledge graph as well. So your website, your Google business profile, all of that is going to be tied together, your GDP is looking at your website and getting information the same way people on Google business profile are looking at your reviews, they’re looking at the responses, they’re looking at the q&a. And they’re looking at, you know, they can pretty much see all the information they need before they even go to your website. And then next is utilizing digital ads, connecting your Google ads campaign to your location extension for Google business profile, to have them connect and have proper attribution. And also taking advantage of any kind of outside, you know, Facebook, meta-ads, those tend to be very powerful as well, they have a robust amount of different campaigns to offer, and having them together. Even YouTube ads, even though Google ads is one thing, it’s still part of the YouTube Ad since Google owns YouTube. That’s another one I don’t want to forget to mention. You need to have a mix of all three of this different type of campaigns to really ignite the amount of traffic that you need to get your communities and get that qualified traffic, you really need to get to lease up your communities. So, Ron, what was your biggest takeaway takeaways from aim for 2022?

Ronn: Those are powerful. By the way, thanks for sharing those because that is a great way to quantify not only what renters are looking for, but how to incorporate them into your marketing. That’s what we look for all day, every day. So yeah, some of my takeaways, I’m glad you asked that question. I know you have some to share, this is probably the part that I love. I’m most excited to share. For those that couldn’t make it to aim. There’s a lot of talk, obviously, in our industry, in digital marketing in particular. And the one that that I spoke for, caught my attention is the continual lead to lease journey. But more importantly, the lead nurturing process, I think, from us as marketing partners, to the frontline leasing team and what resources they have available, because of the multi channels out there. It definitely, but it confuses things. There’s just there’s a lot of noise out there. There’s a lot of channels, there’s a lot of leads coming in, right. And making sure that through the journey, through the prospects journey, that the makes it obviously to the frontline for leasing to get through, but also do they have the resources available to be able to nurture those leads and to close the deal? Right. So that one I still it’s been alive and well for many years, decades, if you will. You would think that with the technology that we have our fingertips, it’s like a done deal, but because the invisible part of the journey We really just need to highlight it. So that one spoke to me a lot. The other one is virtually same process. Obviously, the pandemic, I bring that up a lot, because I have had so many takeaways and aha moments from that alone, just as a business owner, and just new ways to do business. So, I think the pandemic forced our industry to adapt to those new ways of doing business. And virtual leasing was definitely one of them, probably one of the first ones like March, April 2020. It’s like, do we close our doors? Or how can we still rent apartments, and we found out that people as we saw earlier, 12%, are willing to rent an apartment without even seeing it. So, the sight unseen journey is going to continue, I believe, selecting a new home virtually is going to continue, I think, with a lot of our content providers out there, like SCP 360, and other great partners that do a lot of visual media. It’s possible, right? 360 tours, all of the above. But what processes as an? What processes will we keep as an industry is the biggest question I still have? And what processes do we still need to perfect? And I think there are many processes to perfect to really make it the new way of doing business in digital marketing, but also in digital leasing, if you will, I still believe by the way, for those that work on site like I used to, they still need that on site, touch feel, you know, like that love? So.

Martin: we’re in the people business?

Ronn: Exactly. Yes. Yeah. Especially once they move in or right before they move, and they want to know, like, did I rent from a place that I like, or just an apartment that I liked? So that one is very, I have so many questions myself, we as a company are looking into what is our position in helping that virtual leasing process in making that renter went from invisible to visible. So definitely want to keep my eye on that one. The other thing is lead contribution. It’s a huge topic now in a multi touch attribution model, and how we can continue to lead this charge again as an agency but also as an industry. I believe through more AI tech, more better, more and better reporting, to reveal more of that invisible wrenches journey is what I mentioned earlier. So, and then tick tock of course, I feel it this was very open and alive topic both on the floor off the floor, even at like our networking events that we did. That was the buzz and one of the agencies did a great job on what it took to do it. And but I think it kind of quite gave more questions of for our industries and PMCs they are excited about it, is the buzz that I have heard. But I believe that they’re scratching their heads still questioning, like, how do we further define our own strategy? And how it can impact obviously, the prospects journey, but also listing ROI, like is it worth it? For the time it takes, and you know, it seems easy and fast. And you know, we love TikTok and for all of that as viewers, but the back end of creating them? Is it worth it as an industry so again, something that we even as an agency are looking into as well, to help assist guide and or do for our industry? And that’s a huge topic. So, I won’t go more into that. But I know you have more takeaways on that in particular Martin from TikTok video. So, what are your take aways?

Martin: I mean, you remember, we were watching the TikTok session, and they broke it down really good, you know how to go about starting from, you know, zero to hero.

Ronn: Exactly.

Martin: They talked about the time it took to make those TikToks you know, the hours it took to make each TikTok, the day of recording, the day of recording and all the different aspects and different technologies you need to use to put the TikTok together. It does it is a time process and so it can take a lot of time. And so even though one of my biggest takeaways was how video platforms like TikTok and YouTube are highly underutilized in the multifamily industry. And if performing TikTok and taking the time to create and edit video is too much than YouTube ads is a great way to create a cinematic video, you know, one time work with a you know, a great provider which you know, we know tons of great you know, local multifamily video providers, you can take that one cinematic video, splice it up into smaller videos that you can use on YouTube ads for Bumper ads, or long form video ads. By using YouTube ads, your brand is more likely to get more brand searches to your Google business profile as well. So, the combination is very powerful. Plus, as the average cost per click for search campaigns rise, which for multifamily I’d say is still pretty cheap, you know between a couple bucks to five bucks if you’re really in a competitive niche, whereas other outside multifamily industries could you know attorneys and stuff could be like 30, 60 plus dollars. So, we still have a really good, but the prices will still rise over time. So, to combat that by having a YouTube ads strategy now you can help bring your average cost per click even lower than it is now while we’re you know, search becomes more and more popular, YouTube ads is still the underdog which you can get a great cost per click and in great amount of traffic and really just bring the non-qualified to, you know, tenants that you need overall. So sorry about that. That’s my dog in the background. So, I think this is it. We’re wrapping it up for today. Please contact us if you have any topic ideas or questions multifamily podcast.com And of course get your free marketing analysis at apartment seo.com as well. So, until then, Ronn, it was great talking with you and catching up.

Ronn: Likewise.

Martin: All right bye.

Ronn: Thank you so much. Bye.