As technology continues to evolve, it’s no surprise that the way apartment communities are marketed has changed drastically. Most attribute this wave of new development to the modern consumer, who knows what they want and expects the result to be effortless and instantaneous. Marketers face a particular type of challenge with this advancement: not only is your audience now tougher to please, but with the onslaught of information that now surrounds them, they are also harder to reach.
With unfiltered access to a wealth of information, your target audience now indulges their curiosity on a daily basis — often Googling any inquiry under the sun, from budget-friendly, efficient cars to the best type of manual toothbrush. No query is too small, and even if consumers aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for, they turn to search engines to help them fill in the blanks. These curiosities translate into micro-moments, or opportunities for the most elite of marketing teams to reach consumers despite the oversaturation of online content.
A micro-moment, as defined by Google, “occurs when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.” Google breaks down these moments into multiple categories, but only three are relevant to your sales funnel: I Want-to-Know Moments, I Want-to-Go Moments, and I Want-to-Buy Moments. These three micro-moments are game changers for businesses looking to secure clientele. Here is how this concept applies to multifamily communities.
I Want-to-Know Moments
Whether it’d be something as urgent as a doctor’s phone number or a less critical — but still important — inquiry of where to get the best tacos in the area, we can all recall a time when we wanted to know something and expected an answer right away. Since the introduction of smartphones, we’ve become increasingly prone to turn to our handheld devices to answer all of our burning questions. These instances are defined as I Want-to-Know Moments, and they are one of the most common micro-moments digital marketers come across in the search landscape — not to mention one of the most influential in shaping search intent as we know it today.
Because consumers are constantly looking for answers, and search engines base their optimization practices on locating them, it’s important to keep your marketing website up-to-date with current and relevant information. Like any consumer, prospects searching for apartment homes turn to the web for information about your property before taking the next step, whether it’s a phone call or an in-person tour. Therefore, take the time to ensure that your website includes all necessary information such as floor plan options, amenities offered, pet policies, and more. If you’re able to answer your searcher’s questions, you will establish trust not only with potential leads, but also with search engines.
I Want-to-Go Moments
Take a second to consider how many times you’ve picked up your smartphone to map out your route to the next destination. You’ve done this quite a few times, haven’t you? If so, you can count yourself among many smartphone users, who turn to their mobile devices to find local places to shop, eat, and entertain themselves. Terms like “near me,” “closest,” and “nearby” are becoming increasingly common among the billions of Google search queries every month. In fact, 82 percent of smartphone shoppers conduct “near me” searches. These instances are known as I Want-to-Go Moments and occur when consumers utilize their smartphones to find nearby goods, services, events, and businesses—your apartment community included.
This micro-moment extends beyond the I Want-to-Know Moment because consumers are becoming more proactive in their decision-making, rather than simply searching for preliminary information. Because these moments occur in the blink of an eye, brands — like your multifamily property — need to be at the ready with location-specific marketing tactics. It’s completely up to you how you choose to approach sharing your message — but whether you utilize social media, search engine ads, or a well-structured Google My Business listing, you must provide a frictionless experience for searching prospects in order to propel them to the next step of the purchasing, or in our case, leasing, process.
I Want-To-Buy Moments
Your prospect has conducted thorough research online before visiting your community in-person, and now, we’ve reached the deciding moment — the one you’ve been waiting for. Once the user reaches this part of the buyer’s journey — the I Want-to-Buy Moment — they will either make or break the transaction you’ve been working towards. And because 72 percent of e-commerce will take place on a mobile device by 2021, the I Want-to-Buy Moment can occur anywhere, at home, at work, or even while traveling.
Consumers constantly turn to search engines when deliberating the I Want-to-Buy Moment. It’s your objective to drive prospects towards making a final decision in this moment. A good way to stay ahead of the curve is to fuel your review section on sites such as Google My Business and Facebook. Paid ads are another great strategy to keep your viewer’s eye on the target — which is you, in case you didn’t catch that. Finally, you must ensure that all processes moving the transaction along are seamless; otherwise, you risk losing the prospect during this crucial micro-moment.
You’re already aware that your marketing strategy should include great content and proactive sales tactics. What you may not realize, is that the lead-to-lease process is largely influenced by I Want-to-Know, I Want-to-Go, and I Want-to-Buy micro-moments. By understanding what your prospective resident needs during each moment, you may better capitalize on the natural flow of the sales process and convert leads to residents at higher rates.
Kerry W. Kirby is a global entrepreneur, technology innovator, philanthropist, and the founder of 365 Connect, an award-winning technology firm within the multifamily housing industry. Over the course of his career, Kerry has been the recipient of an array of highly acclaimed awards, including the esteemed Louisiana Governor's Technology Award. He has been named to the Silicon Bayou 100 List of most influential entrepreneurs for nine consecutive years and has received a prestigious Titan Entrepreneur Award for his technological achievements. An acclaimed speaker, author, and award-winning podcaster, Kerry has appeared on the BBC Digital Planet program, NPR News, and various media platforms and outlets. He has contributed to an array of articles and studies on the convergence of technology in the rental housing industry.
Kerry serves on the Board of Advisors of Rainbow, a national nonprofit organization that provides service-enriched housing programs for affordable housing communities across the country, as well as the Board of Advisors of the Multifamily Women’s Summit, an event that allows women to strengthen their expertise, influence, and professional network in the multifamily housing industry. He is Chair of Technology Initiatives for the Multifamily Innovation Advisory Council, a private, members only group focused on assisting owners and operators of multifamily communities identify pain points and explore innovative solutions that will drive change across the industry.