This is the fifth 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

Your website is a leasing tool. It should be attractive, effective and functional. Having your own website helps in the search engine rankings. But, once you get people to your site, how do you keep them there?

Effective sites have 4 important features

Visual content: People process visuals much faster than text — in fact 60,000 times faster. But, quality of the content is oh so critical. Using your smartphone isn't the best way to capture your cascading pool. Hire and use professional photographers for a better return on your investment. After all, you've done a lot of work to get people to your site, now you want to keep them looking. Also, don't forget to include a "call to action" button, that prompts your prospects to call, email or visit your property.

Unit-specific content: Renters want to see and know about where they are going to live. A great pool and awesome pet park is cool, but what about their specific floorplan's kitchen, bedroom or bath? What can you highlight in a photo to make it pop? In the age of "instant gratification," people want photos, reviews and videos. Without these, they're moving on to the next option. Instead of stock photos, use actual photos of nicely decorated models or tenant apartments.

Responsive Web design: Mobile usage is on the rise. It's a given fact that people use their smartphones for most everything they previously did on their computers. They are especially effective for research on the go, and finding an apartment on a phone is no exception.

Video tours: Viewers are 85 percent more likely to buy after watching a product video. A 2014 MarketingSherpa report shows viewers spend 100 percent more time on pages with videos. Walkthrough video tours are the best. You gain a 24/7 virtual leasing agent that can give full tours anytime. Virtual tours also save leasing staff time by prequalifying those who are really interested in visiting in person. Video tours are also easy ways to remind people of your community property managers can remind prospects via a link, pushing your community to top of mind awareness,

Nontechnical marketing tips

1. Meet and interact with your tenants. Surveys and emails are good, but talking to your tenants can be valuable.

2. Pilot new ideas in a small way, survey your tenants experience to see if this is a value-add or if it's a bust.

3. Word-of-mouth marketing is a great way to increase lease-ups, and giving your tenants discounts on their rent for bringing in new tenants can be effective.

In conclusion, property owners and managers have a huge role to play in the life of a resident. You are managing people's lives. How you respond to this role can make or break your community's success.

From small 15-unit communities to large multiphase communities, owners and managers can share in the success when each aspect of the apartment life cycle is considered. Enjoy!