This is the fourth article in a five-part series that examines how to "rehab, rebuild and rebrand" your multifamily community through marketing: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Simply put, marketing success requires capturing the attention of your prospect. The tools for accomplishing this can involve social media, SEO, blog posts, banner ads and more.

Having an optimized website and a mobile strategy in place is also important. Costly tools, such as newspapers and printed guides, have become dinosaurs from the past, but leveraging search engines like Google will be important to your online presence.

With Google owning 69 percent of the search engine market, having a handle on how to rank on Google can be pretty darn important. Their algorithms can change and outdate this information tomorrow (sorry), but right now we'll provide a little snippet of how you are found online.

In-house marketing teams can offer you a less expensive, more targeted platform for marketing your community. Google offers targeted, cost-efficient tools to allow you to reach and create new renters for your communities.

Let's take a look at the three major Google products.

Google+ Local

This is Google's version of the Yellow Pages. The information is pulled from your website, review sites and content from users like your current residents. All of the information is meshed together to push the content to multiple sources for the Google Search, Google Maps, Google+ network and mobile devices.

The great thing is the Google+ Local tool is free and social. Having an optimized Google+ Local page allows the complete search in Google and mobile devices to deliver a streamlined message. Search engine optimization (SEO) is so important.

Google SEO

SEO takes time, and it's also complicated. There are a lot of analytics that go into the ranking to classify the quality and popularity of your content.

Over 90 percent of apartments (and most other important things in life) are researched online. Typically, more than 50 percent of searchers go to the first-page results — especially the top 3-5. Here are some of the top considerations for rankings.

  • Keyword phrases — If you were searching for your own website, what keyword phrase would you type into Google for each page? Try to stick to one subject per page, and stick to one keyword phrase per page.
  • Density — One of the things Google looks for when it catalogs pages is the density of the keyword usage. In other words, how often the keyword occurs.
  • Name your pages — Give your pages a descriptive name with the <title> attribute. The Title tags, H1, H2 are vital to Google site crawling.
  • Links — One of the biggest factors Google looks at is the hyperlink. Google looks at links both to and from your website.
  • Social networking — Social networking sites can be a good way to promote a website, but it is unclear how much it will affect your rank directly. Google+ promotion may have the most impact. You may find a great deal of your traffic comes from social networks be sure to make your content social friendly. Add images and give your content interesting titles.

SEO is free to the masses. You simply need to know how to use it, which involves valuable time. Google's algorithm analyzes many factors to determine rankings.

SEO is a long-term engagement. Companies that claim you can be No. 1 on Google overnight aren't truthful. You won't gain top search engine rankings overnight but you can make great strides using Google AdWords.

Google AdWords

Google Adwords offers you the ability to feature your community right above or alongside the organic search engine results. Pushing the ad to the top of the page. Google claims an expected 75 percent increase in search traffic with paid search ads.

AdWords benefits include being seen by customers at the moment they're searching on Google for "Apartments in XYZ." Your ads are sent to customers in certain countries, regions or cities or within a set distance from your community. You're found on Google when users are searching for the things that you offer.

Signing up for Google AdWords is free. You only pay when someone clicks your ad to visit your website, or calls you. In other words, when your advertising is working.

You set your own budget, so your costs will depend on what you are trying to accomplish with your advertising. Some businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars a month, and others are comfortable investing several hundred.


It's popular with a huge selection of apartments that are available now. But, you can list too many times in one day and be considered a spammer. Use a posting schedule.

Your objective should be to get people off Craigslist and onto your website. This link should be your main call to action. Your site might have a walk-through video or floorplans they can't see when they are on Craigslist. Give them a reason to follow your link and capture their attention.


It's a great social tool for building relationships with your current tenants, but it's a social tool, not a prospecting tool.

People love to see others having a good time. Facebook can be a great way to showcase the "fun" and community impact your apartments might have. Use Facebook to build a sense of community.