Want to know more about reaching young and first-time renters? See our related article, Gen Z Renters: How Property Managers Can Get To Them First
Did you know that many young and first-time renters report an estimated attention span of just 8 seconds? These young renters are often referred to as Gen Z. Millennials are still currently your largest cohort of renters overall, but by 2030, there will be 55 million members of Gen Z in the U.S. That will make them one of the largest renting groups in the country.
So far, we’ve shared two important insights:
- Many of your renters are young people
- Young people have short attention spans
Let’s put all this together. Now is the time to capture the (fleeting) attention of young and first-time renters. After all, they’ll likely be responsible for much of your income — if they’re not already. Here are some marketing tips you can use to reach them and retain their business.
1. Prioritize search engine marketing
Millennials and Gen Z grew up being able to find information on the internet in seconds flat. Now that almost everyone has a smartphone, the standards for fast, accurate search results are higher than ever.
And guess what?
Every participant said they tend to click on paid ads or one of the top four organic results in a search engine. That means Gen Z doesn’t care so much who tells them the information, as long as they get what they’re looking for.
This is good news for you because it means any property management business can get placed in those coveted top spots through a combination of PPC ads and SEO strategy.
So which is better, paid results or organic traffic?
The truth is you need both paid leads and organic traffic achieved by boosting your SEO. The former is the fastest way to get clicks, but a good organic strategy helps ensure success in the long run. (It’s also more affordable.)
To keep exploring our source material on this subject, check out Gen Z: Online Search Behavior.
2. Make sure your properties are on every major ILS
No one wants to jump from site to site to find what they want, and young renters are no different. In fact, 97% of Gen Z use an ILS to find rental housing. That’s great news for housing providers who already use online property management software such as Yardi Breeze, which includes access to syndicated listing sites like RentCafe.com.
3. Gather online property reviews
Reviews are a huge part of online culture (and the buying lifecycle). That means young and first-time renters are going to be all over your reviews when deciding on a property. According to the 2021 REACH by RentCafe Gen Z Renter Survey, 65% of participants consider online ratings and reviews always or most of the time.
Promoting your reviews is an important part of reputation management. It involves:
- Surveying tenants
- Responding to reviews (even negative ones)
- Flagging spam and false reviews
- Seeing every tenant response as a marketing opportunity or chance to repair a relationship (which again becomes a marketing opportunity)
Related article: How To Get Positive Property Reviews
4. Know where young & first-time renters are in their journey
Many first-time renters are tiptoeing into their search for an apartment. In fact, 37% are unsure of their interests or are looking at housing “just for fun.” Only 29% know the apartment size, price, location and amenities they want.
This leads us to two conclusions:
- Young renters are starting their apartment search early in life
- They’re still at the top of the marketing funnel (the awareness stage)
Their buying cycle could be longer, so property managers need to capture their attention early and often.
5. Create video content of different lengths
Millennials and Gen Z love video content, but they don’t watch a single video for long. Your message needs to come through in less than a minute — even as little as 15 seconds.
Need help? Check out our amazing 3-step plan to make property marketing videos.
The good news is that you don’t have to make a bunch of videos at once. A 1-minute video could easily become three pieces of “micro” content. By chopping it up, you end up with:
- The full video
- A 30-second version that hits the main points
- A 15-second version that grabs their attention
Use the shorter version to direct interested viewers to the longer one. This is a strategy used by others in real estate who understand how to reach Gen Z. “We’ll start with a 15-second video that links to our website, where we have a one-minute video that lives there.” That’s according to Garin Hamburger, Senior Director of National Property Management for Cushman & Wakefield. “When they are already engaged and want to learn more, they will be more inclined to watch a little bit longer of a video.”
The possibilities are endless. You could even record a much longer, five-minute video, then break it down into several short videos. All that makes for great social media content too!
6. Use a combination of professional & homemade marketing
Professionally created videos are ideal for highlighting your physical property. A professional videographer or photographer will capture the best angles, arrangements, lighting and editing techniques to make your property look its best.
On the other hand, homemade video clips are great for showcasing the experience renters will have in your community. Without the gloss and refinement of a pro, you can actually look more appealing. You’ll give prospects a more authentic look at your community, which helps establish trust with your brand.
Pro tip: The RentCafe survey found that 69% of Gen Z participants prefer to see a mix of professional and homemade videos.
7. Do your research on Gen Z
We’ll end this article in a place that may feel like the beginning. For quite some time, millennials have been the marketing focus for many businesses. That torch is being passed to Gen Z. They’re similar to millennials in many ways. Younger millennials — and all of Gen Z — grew up with the internet, and they’re deeply familiar with it. One way to think of it is that Gen Z is advancing trends that started with millennials.
Here are a few basic facts about Gen Z as of 2021:
- They were born between 1996-2012
- There are 67 million in the U.S.
- They’ll make up 30% of the workforce by 2023
And a few other identifying factors:
- Social media is their primary mode of communication
- Diversity and societal change matter deeply to them
- 81% aspire to be leaders in the future
To learn more about this growing demographic, check out Gen Z: An Important Introduction.
Before we go, a quick reminder
This article provides plenty of generalizations backed by statistics, but keep in mind not all young and first-time renters are alike. Don’t make assumptions about the individuals you meet. However, do prepare your marketing and retention strategies with the latest trends and technology in mind. Now go get ‘em!