LWS Rental Market Update No. 1 (COVID-19): Rental Demand Appears to Hold Steady
On behalf of everyone at Landlord Web Solutions (LWS), we want to reach out again with the hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We are a data-driven company, and right now, the data shows that it is crucial to flatten the curve of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
We also have an obligation to use our data and expertise to help our multifamily clients weather the storm, so, during this time, we'll be publishing content to help you navigate your way through these unchartered territories.
That brings us to our first order of business. We'd like to share a few early indicators and tips to help you make the best marketing and advertising decisions for your property portfolio throughout this time.
According to Forbes, businesses that keep their marketing machines humming and healthy during a situation similar to the one we find ourselves in typically come out on top. The key is to look towards marketing as a way to stabilize your operations and reduce risk to the top and the bottom line. In order to do this, here are three key areas for you to consider:
1) ILS leads in Canada remain steady. So far, on a month-over-month basis (Feb 2020 vs Mar 2020), we've seen an 18.27% increase in the average number of ILS leads each property has received on our platform per day, which can be attributed to the season we're in. On an annual basis (Feb/Mar 2020 vs Feb/Mar 2019), that number is slightly down (18.27% vs 20.32%) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The monthly average sample size used to determine these percentages was over a quarter-million leads. As we continue to monitor the data, we will provide ongoing updates and notable trends in the insights we acquire.
2) Reconfigure your ads. As your company develops its plan for navigating the situation, you should ensure this message is being conveyed in your advertising. Instead of going radio-silent, use your advertising effectively to inform tenants and prospects of policy changes and updates.
- In your digital ads, like Google Search and Display ads, ILS ads, and organic and paid social media posts, put your COVID-19 strategy into your ad copy.
- In your Google Display Ads, use strategic retargeting to provide prospects and tenants with updated information on the steps your company is taking.
- Use email marketing to send messages to prospects directly to their inboxes, as it gives you complete control over who receives your message and when. This is especially important as you update your policies on in-person tours, for example, and will continue to be useful in the upcoming months when move-ins and -outs resume.
- Update your negative keywords to ensure you're not bringing traffic to your website that is looking for crisis-related information.
If you haven't already, reach out to your digital account manager to ensure your messaging is up to date and that you have all of the right tools at your disposal.
3) Use virtual leasing strategies. Once you've optimized your ad spend to generate high-quality prospective tenants, the next best thing, besides conducting a physical tour, is to build out your "wait-list." Consider adding "virtual touring" to your website to host your showings. Virtual tours will allow you to continue attracting prospects to your rentals now, while offering an effective solution for your business all-year-round, not just as a temporary measure.
Eventually, business will return to normal levels, which means there could be a rush of activity, including an increase in vacancy notices from those that delayed during the crisis. The key is to be ready for it. Be smart, don't panic, and find workarounds that make this process as frictionless as possible.
The bottom line: Right now, it's difficult not to react to your gut instincts, but by looking at the early ILS data, we hope you can make more informed strategic decisions that are considerate of the bigger and long term picture. As we continue to observe the data more closely, we'll be able to reveal insights that will enable you to be as productive as possible, and reduce the impact on your property portfolio.
Oh, and one more thing...Thank you for your business, and as always, stay healthy!
Explore more of our updates and resources for COVID-19 here.