May 22, 2020

posted by: LWS
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How to Maximize NOI with an End-to-End Lease Up Marketing Strategy

The saying goes… "build it and they will come". But in real estate, there are no guarantees. That's why a great lease up marketing strategy is integral to the success of leasing your new development and creating a thriving community. In this constantly changing landscape we're living in, effectively marketing your new build is the key to hitting your optimal occupancy within your given timelines. However, many property owners and operators often wonder what the true value of an end-to-end lease up marketing strategy is, and what it entails. 

We'll cover three key areas to help you and your team better understand the benefits of investing in a comprehensive lease up marketing program:

  • Defining lease up marketing and its function
  • What a lease up marketing strategy involves
  • The value of investing in lease up marketing services 

Let's get started...

What is lease up marketing and what purpose does it serve? 

Before we get into the details around the value of launching a robust lease up marketing strategy, let's quickly review: What is a lease up?

A lease up is the time period for a newly available property to attract tenants and reach stabilized occupancy. 

In other words, a lease up is the critical time when communities work on signing as many leases as possible to fill vacancies in a new building before construction is complete. 

Having an effective lease up marketing plan during this period can be the lynchpin of success for longevity and NOI (Net Operating Income: A calculation used to analyze the profitability of income-generating real estate investments) of your community. During the pre-construction phase, a lease up marketing strategy is how you will generate leads. If you can't generate inbound leads and interest in your community, you won't be able to fill it with qualified residents. 

This is one of the many reasons why having an experienced lease up marketing partner that caters to your team, your community, and your desired demographic is so important. 

What does a lease up marketing strategy look like? 

Although each project is unique, there are a few major themes to consider before rolling out your lease up marketing program. 

  1. Detail your apartment marketing goals and leasing goals. These can be anything from obtaining 90% occupancy or increasing lead conversion through your website by 10%. Goals should be individual to your multifamily community and they should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely).
  2. Follow up your goal setting with an implementation plan and schedule for your lease up timeline. A lease up timeline can vary, but usually a new construction community is anywhere from 6 to 18 months. During that time, you will need to develop milestones to hit along the lease up path, such as: timing for key construction milestones, getting fully staffed, building the community website, executing all marketing ideas (branding/naming the property) at various phases of the lease up, and more.

Lease ups are a complex business, and it's difficult enough to sign a lease before unit delivery, which is why having a dedicated team to ensure your marketing is in lock step at every stage of the process is critical to your success.

The value of an end-to-end lease up marketing partner

A good lease up marketing plan can be one of the most important ways to ensure your property is appealing to and reaching the proper audience. By hiring a dedicated lease up marketing partner you can trust that when renters are looking online for apartments, not only are you at the top of search engine results and ILS (Internet Listing Sites), but through consistent branding and messaging, your project stands out from the competition.

A sound lease up marketing partner knows that for you to maximize net operating income (NOI), your branding and advertising must be impactful in order to attract and convert high quality leads, and interest in your project. In turn, greater demand will allow you to maximize your rent rates and your overall NOI.

Here are some of the key reasons why investing in an end-to-end lease up marketing partner can help you maximize NOI:

  • Creates cohesive branding and messaging
    • Successful branding helps establish a connection between your property and the community that will house it, even before construction is complete. A misfire with your branding can set your entire strategy off from the get-go and create a disconnect between your target market and your project. By working with a dedicated team of lease up marketing experts, you ensure this never happens, and your branding is impactful at every stage.
  • Drives leads and prospective tenants
    • If you want to go after the highest possible rents, the best possible tenants and lease-up in the fastest possible way, having a professionally designed website during pre-lease and construction is essential. The right lease up partner will have expert web designers and digital marketers to help you grow your targeted list of prospective renters from right within your website.
  • Optimizes marketing and advertising spend
    • A well strategized and professionally managed Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign using Google AdWords and advertising on top-tier ILS' (Zumper/Padmapper, Kijiji, RentBoard etc.), are cost-effective ways to drive highly targeted traffic to your website. However, without a proper digital strategist in place you may end up throwing money out the window, so selecting a vendor that has experience in handling PPC and ILS for lease-ups is key.
  • Helps manage your time
    • By creating an end-to-end lease up strategy you can better manage your budget and time by setting goals throughout each development phase. As your project nears launch, you will already have the foundation for your marketing (branding, website, advertising, etc.) laid out, allowing you to focus on filling units immediately.
  • Sets you apart from the competition 
    • Now, more than ever, accommodating prospective residents who need to ask questions and learn more about your property, but are unable to visit in-person is vital. As you make your way through the construction process, having a versatile partner who can add updates such as online booking or virtual touring options to your website and your ads, will put your team and your community front and center, and will help you stand out from the competition.
  • Keeps your project top of mind
    • A solid lease up marketing partner will help you develop ongoing content and messaging. Putting in a new rooftop deck? Making progress on an indoor pool? Maybe you're even installing an art piece, and have a cool time lapse video. Emails and retargeting ads with new updates will help you avoid over serving the same information and keeps you top of mind with prospects.

To see some of the specific tactics we use to support our lease up client programs, check out, "The Key Components of a Sound Lease Up Marketing Strategy."

In Conclusion 

There's no one-size fits all template for executing a successful lease up marketing program, but by beginning the process early, and consulting with knowledgeable lease up marketing experts, you can ensure that your branding and messaging are tailored to your specific audience. Additionally, as we enter a hyper digital-era in rentals and leasing, it's more important than ever to have a distinct online presence to meet your lease up marketing goals. By investing in a lease up marketing partner, you can ensure that you are on track and hitting your goals every step of the way.