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June 23, 2023

How to Build Your Online Reputation for Lease-ups

With these five tips, learn how to market and manage the online reputation of a new multifamily lease-up property.

When it comes to marketing lease-up properties, the road to success begins long before opening day. While establishing an online presence is crucial for success in any business endeavor, it holds particularly true for property lease-ups, where the marketing strategy takes on a whole new level of complexity. 

Marketing for lease-ups differs significantly from marketing for mature locations. First off, marketing lease-ups typically starts nine months before the property officially opens. This means that in many cases (particularly for new construction lease-ups) the property in question does not have a physical address. Second, due to the prolonged timeline and aggressive goals, lease-up marketing budgets tend to be 5x larger than when marketing an established property. 

Quickly implementing a marketing strategy that can effectively build a trustworthy brand from scratch is critical to the future stabilization of your community. 

From creating an appealing website to leveraging video content to soliciting reviews, we've compiled a list of key tactics you can use to boost your visibility, attract a wider audience and position your property as a desirable choice in the market, even before doors open.

5 tactics to boost visibility of your lease-up property:

1. Utilize Video Content

2. Leverage Social Media

3. Focus on Your Splash Page

4. Centralize Your Marketing Strategy

5. Commit to Your Reputation Management Strategy

 

1. Utilize Video Content:

Video is personable, engaging for residents, and can go a long way in building your community’s reputation as a great place to live. Therefore, focus your efforts on including as much video content in your marketing as possible. 

With video content, you can create an immersive experience that goes beyond static images and descriptions. By showcasing your new property through video, you provide potential residents with a virtual lens into the unique features and essence of your community. This not only piques their interest but helps build trust and confidence in your development. 

Essentially, videos present an opportunity to highlight the amenities, interior design, and overall lifestyle residents can expect when choosing your community. Whether it’s showcasing the state-of-the-art fitness center, the inviting outdoor spaces, or the stylishly designed apartments, video content serves as a compelling platform to captivate and draw in prospects.

How Widewail Can Help: Invite Video gives you full control and flexibility over how you generate and use video content. Post virtual tours of your community on your website, Google Business Profile (GBP), or social media platforms. Share hardhat previews of the property under construction or tour testimonials from prospects who have visited. Further, use video to highlight key features of your community and the surrounding area that make your property stand out (i.e. new restaurants, partnerships, parks, etc.)

Even something as simple as a “coming soon” splash page for your website featuring walkarounds or construction updates will give your community more credibility to prospects. 

 

2. Leverage Social Media: 

During the lease-up period of a new property, it’s your job to build a brand, launch a website and eventually open your doors to new residents. 

With countless platforms fighting for our attention online, a successful lease-up needs a strong social media presence. 

Post frequent updates about your community’s construction or new amenities, or share a video of a virtual tour of one of the units. Interested parties will follow along as they conduct their housing search. 

Feeling like they have an exclusive window into the development process creates a tie to the brand that may persuade prospects to move in once the property is ready.

Further, keeping your social media pages fresh with content makes your community seem more inviting and trustworthy to those potentially learning about your community for the first time. 

*Tip: Visual search is on the rise. 40% of young people go to TikTok or Instagram when conducting a search. TikTok has evolved into a new way to discover information, vacation spots, products, and even apartment communities. As you work to establish your lease-up’s online presence, it’s worth looking into how other communities in your area use TikTok. If these communities are very active, consider launching a similar video strategy to stay competitive and to be seen first by prospective residents. 

 

3. Focus on Your Splash Page:

While SEO and ranking on Google are usually at the forefront of any marketing strategy, they aren’t always the top priority for new buildings.

One of the biggest challenges in marketing a lease-up is the fact that Google Business Profile verification is a process that requires both time and a physical address. While you can read more about the intricacies of verifying your GBP here, the best way to get started on creating your brand footprint early is through your splash page on your website.  

Your splash page serves as your central brand community landing page. Without a GBP, it’s the pillar of your marketing strategy during the months before you have a physical address or a review list on Google.

Even without a GBP, you can still solicit and collect reviews from anyone who interacts with your community. Ask potential residents, people working on the property, and members of your team to share their feedback and post it directly on your website. Leverage social proof to quickly establish authority and brand identity for your lease-up. 

How Widewail Can Help: Easily send review requests via SMS with Invite. This tool is a simple and automated way to get more reviews for your community and build anticipation for your grand opening. Any positive content surrounding your up-and-coming community works toward creating a brand narrative. The more reviews you have, the more enticing your property will be to prospects. 

 

4. Centralize Your Marketing Strategy:

Operators who have a consistent brand identity across multiple communities have the advantage and opportunity to leverage brand familiarity. 

If you manage multiple communities, curate review and video content from those to validate the quality and authenticity of your lease-ups. Prospective residents trust the voice of your current residents the most. Naturally, they will look to your other associated properties to gain a sense of how issues are managed across the board and gauge whether or not they can envision themselves living there. 

How Widewail Can Help: Your previous online interactions could mean the difference between a signed lease and a lost one. People are naturally risk averse, and the online resident feedback about your other properties shows how much you value your residents. Before making any life-changing decisions (such as where to live) people want confirmation that any concerns they have will be addressed. They can find affirmations in examples from other communities associated with your management company.

By addressing resident feedback publicly on your GBP, and actively taking the time to respond to reviews, you’re giving prospects a glimpse into your management style. You’re also laying the groundwork for trust. Learn more about how review response can strengthen your reputation here

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5. Commit to Your Reputation Management Strategy: 

As mentioned previously, lease-ups and SEO don’t always align with the marketing plan. SEO takes time, a website with domain authority, and an established GBP, and these can get lost in the process of launching a new property. 

However, committing to your lease-up reputation management strategy as soon as possible lends itself perfectly to getting more reviews and giving your community a leg up to build on the SEO over time.

We discovered this path to success in a recent case study of a Widewail customer’s new community: 

As soon as this lease-up's GBP was verified and ready to go, Widewail integrated with their property management system and started requesting reviews. We turned on both “tour” and “move-in” tags, being the most applicable to lease-ups.

In just 2 months, this lease up property received 66 new reviews on their GBP. 

As you can see, the ratings were great across the board. The new and prospective residents are happy. It’s a brand-new apartment community, and feedback like this shows prospects that this location is a great place to live. 

Committing to an assertive reputation management strategy right off the bat is a great way to get reviews and establish trust for your new community. It also serves as an opportunity to create a long-term brand footprint. 

In conclusion, by committing to your reputation management strategy early on and focusing your marketing efforts on your online presence, you have a better chance of ensuring success for your lease-ups in the long run.  

From engaging video content that brings properties to life, to leveraging the power of social media and your website to better reach prospects, each tactic you employ plays a vital role in cultivating a strong online reputation for your lease-ups. The more you focus on making the most out of the lease-up process, the more stabilized your community will be on opening day.

Learn how the #1 Trust Marketing Platform can centralize your communities'  reputation management strategies. Request a Demo

Emily Keenan

Originally from Scarborough, Maine, I moved to Vermont after graduating from St. Lawrence University, where I received my BA in English and Spanish. I have always been interested in writing and communication, which is what initially drew me to the Review Response Specialist position at Widewail. In my spare time, I can be found reading, playing electric guitar, or strolling/biking around one of Burlington’s many scenic trails. I always welcome the opportunity to talk about my work, and invite anyone with questions or comments to reach out or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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