Real estate was not immune to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the industry pivoted quickly to operate in a digital-only landscape, with most businesses adopting new methods to connect with customers and reach new ones.
At Landmark Properties, we’re keeping several best “pandemic practices” that not only helped us retain our footing as a leader in real estate development but also helped meet our current and prospective residents in a more flexible and intentional way.
Here are four proven digital marketing techniques every property should use to be competitive in a post-COVID world:
Virtual and Self-Guided Tours – Landmark used virtual tours before COVID-19, but as everything shifted online during the pandemic, we made it as easy as possible for potential residents to tour our properties virtually. Our new visitor management system provides remote access for self-guided on-site tours as well. For safety, potential residents must register online to request a self-guided tour. Within minutes, they receive tour instructions and a QR code that grants them access to specific parts of the building for their tour. The QR code is unique and only works for a limited time. We’re piloting self-guided tours at 11 Landmark properties.
New Property Landing Pages – During the lease-up period for newly developed properties, we previously relied on in-person events to build excitement. When public events were canceled, we turned to online landing pages to direct prospective residents to social media channels, where we hosted virtual events. The central hub for each property built excitement, not only for the events, but for the new communities as well.
Chat Widgets and Text Messaging – The current student generation rarely makes phone calls. To meet current and potential residents where they are, we’ve added a chat widget across our entire Landmark portfolio. This allows every single property to have conversation in real time during office hours in a way that’s comfortable for students. On the back end, property managers can see each time someone visits the website. If the office is closed, we have a matrix of prompts to help people get the information they need in that moment. Since some of our residents are international students, this helps them connect with our properties no matter the time difference. We also use text messaging in a similar way, even offering rent specials via text.
Social Media – As one of the largest student housing providers in the U.S., we understand the desires and perceptions of students. We use social media to create genuine connections and community for our residents, despite the physical limitations of being together. Last year, Landmark received a “Best Social Media Campaign Award” from Student Housing Business, and we pride ourselves on using our social channels to make a big impact on students. We also have a very active student influencer campaign to help build brand awareness and competition.
The business world learned many lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some measures may have been momentary fixes to an unprecedented situation, the real estate industry was challenged to think outside the box to reach current and prospective customers. Let’s continue this innovative trend with digital marketing techniques aimed at meeting people exactly where they are – in authentic and strategic ways.
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