Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Effective Apartment Marketing Plan

Kristi Stevens

12 minutes read

As a landlord or property manager, you never want to have vacant units. Yet, it doesn't matter how great your apartment building is. There will inevitably come a time when a tenant moves out, leaving you with an empty apartment collecting dust (and not collecting rent).

When that happens, you’ll need a marketing strategy to boost leads and find new, prospective tenants.

There are many ways to market an apartment complex both offline and online. In addition to the traditional methods that property managers have been using for years, modern marketing innovations are even more effective in marketing multifamily housing.

Here is your step-by-step guide to creating an effective apartment marketing plan. From putting up signs to posting your apartments on rental websites.

Offline Marketing Strategies

The best marketers know how to attract attention, and some of the most traditional marketing methods still work.  

For decades, real estate pros have been marketing apartment buildings with the same-old strategies:

  • Billboards
  • Construction signage
  • Grand opening banners
  • Open houses
  • Sponsoring local business events
  • Posting print ads in local papers
  • Hosting local activities with giveaways
  • Distributing marketing materials (i.e., flyers & postcards)

These are all great methods to use that can help you to reach a wide and varied audience of prospective residents. 

These Old School Techniques Have Flaws, Too!

Unfortunately, traditional marketing methods are lacking in one key area:

They don’t always attract the type of renters you’re looking for.

To find great new tenants, you’ll need to market your apartment to people that can afford your prices and are willing to pay for the amenities you offer.

There’s still a time and a place for traditional, offline marketing tactics. But in an increasingly digital world, you can employ some new strategies that can actually save you time and money. Or even benefit your current tenants, like splurging on open floor plan renovations with your extra funding.

It starts with creating a digital marketing campaign online.

A robust online marketing plan will help you attract the tenants you want and funnel out the ones you don’t.

In addition, it allows you to cast a wider net and reach out to more potential renters. Confining traditional marketing techniques to your community will only reach locals.

Also see: The Complete Guide to Virtual Property Management

Online Marketing Strategies

There’s more to marketing an apartment online than just posting a few ads on Facebook and hoping for bites. And while that can certainly be a component of your marketing strategy, there are many other things you can try that are much more effective. 

Boost Online Leads by Driving More Visitors to Your Website

Online marketing for apartment complexes

Before you start marketing your apartment online, you’ll need to identify your target audience clearly. Once you do that, you’ll want to create all of your online content specifically for that audience. For example, if you're in the college housing niche, blog articles about retiring at 65 won't convert leads.

Here are our go-to strategies for driving web visitors to your site:

Pay-Per-Click Ads

One way to generate interest in your vacant apartment is to post pay-per-click (or PPC ads) through Google Ads or Facebook Ads. This is an inexpensive and effective way to target the people searching for apartments exactly like yours.

But since you’re charged for every ad click, targeting your ideal tenant with the right keywords can keep your ROI in check.

Organic Traffic Via Facebook & Instagram

You can also post unpaid notices on social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram. It's possible to grow organic social traffic through social networks. But that's as long as your content resonates with your audience and your audience finds it valuable.

For example, boosting Facebook posts about the ten best restaurants in the community. Or posting an Instagram video featuring apartment decor tips.

Traditional Rental Websites

As with any product you attempt to sell online, the first step in getting sales (or, in this case, leases) is to make your product visible and valuable to your target customer. To do that, you’ll need to clearly identify the outlets where your customer is shopping for your product. 

And when customers shop for apartments, they often turn to websites such as

By posting your apartment on a rental website, you immediately give it more exposure to people who are already shopping for a new place to live. This also expands your pool of potential renters. After all, you can connect with locals as well as out-of-state tenants that may be looking to relocate to your city or town.

But you can’t just post a few shoddy pictures and a generic description. There are thousands upon thousands of rental listings online, so you need to make sure yours stands out.

SEO is Key

One way to make your apartment stand out and get noticed is to make sure your listing follows SEO guidelines. This includes:

  • Creating a strong article title, title tag, and meta description
  • Including relevant keywords that are realistic for your apartment to rank for
  • Structuring your website content in the proper format
  • Creating content that matches search intent (if you have an on-site blog)
  • Optimizing your apartment listing on various publisher sites posts their own SEO tips on their blog to help you generate a better listing. Their content includes how to create effective title tags and what details to include in your description

By writing a description with SEO in mind, your listing can attract the right attention and generate interest in your building.


Another way to drive more visitors to your website is to start blogging. Some blog topics to consider include articles about:

  • Apartment organization (or interior decorating)
  • Local business and restaurant reviews
  • Guides to shopping your city
  • Upcoming community events
  • Ranked lists (best local walking trails, gyms, shopping centers, etc.)
  • Upcoming sports tournaments 

The benefits of offering people in your geographic area information that they find valuable are two-fold. You can increase brand awareness and turn casual readers into potential new tenants.

Convert Web Visitors Into Leads and Into Leases

To keep occupancy rates high, you’ll need to get renters excited about your place. But they can’t just be any renters — they have to be the right ones.

On your website, include an easy sign-up form that potential tenants can fill out. That form should include some basic questions asking about:

  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Amenities
  • Floor space
  • Price range (or budget)

If you have apartments in several cities and towns, dedicating landing pages to each can simplify the outreach marketing process.

It’s also important to get an idea of how long they want their lease to be. For example, if your building is in a college town, you may have students looking to rent for one semester. On the other hand, you may prefer to rent to older adults or families with children looking to rent for several years in a row.

Your sign-up form should also make it easy to schedule apartment tours and offer tenants the option to do an in-person or virtual tour.

The more information you can gather from a tenant, the easier it will be to convert site visitors into actual leads and actual leases.

Find Tenants That Want Longer Leases

When someone shows interest in leasing one of your apartments, the first step is to know if you can meet their needs. It can be time-consuming to show a new apartment to dozens of different renters regularly. It's especially tiresome when you learn after the fact that it's out of their price range or doesn't have all the amenities they require.

Or even worse: they were only looking for decorating ideas!

Save yourself time and money by gathering as much information as you can upfront. That way, you can focus on the leads whose needs you can accommodate. If you have a large pool of potential applicants, you can even be a bit more selective and focus only on tenants that want longer leases.

Outside the Box Marketing Ideas That Your Competitors Probably Aren’t Doing

Person evaluating creative apartment marketing ideas

There are various other unique marketing ideas that you can do to set yourself apart from the competition and get tenants into your units. Here are a few additional ways (both online and offline) to generate leads for your apartment building:

Find Leads Through Referrals

Happy tenants make excellent brand ambassadors. And you can encourage them to spread the word about vacancies by setting up a referral program.

Offer tenants a finder’s fee, a gift card, or a discount on rent if they refer tenants that end up signing leases. If they’re enjoying living in your building, they just may know someone else who would be a good fit.

And who doesn't want their best friend as a neighbor? 

Advertise on Specialty Sites

If you rent apartments in a college town, check with your local university to see if their website has an off-campus housing search. This is a great way to attract graduate students and older students who want to be close to campus without living in a dorm.

The University of Pennsylvania, UC San Diego, and Ohio State University are just a few of the many universities with online portals for students searching for off-campus housing. Many university websites have also partnered with for the same reason!

Optimize Your Business on Online Directories

Update your online presence across all online business directories, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Google My Business. Ensure every listing has a detailed description of your building and describes the floor plans and amenities you offer. Attaching high-resolution images that show your units at their best can also wow prospective tenants!

You should also verify that your business contact information is the same across all directories. That includes the NAP acronym: name, address, and phone number! You can even ask your current tenants to leave testimonials, feedback, and reviews of what it's actually like to live in your building.  

Partner With Local, Like-Minded Companies

By partnering with certain local companies with the type of clients you're looking to rent to, you can boost leads and help promote a local business at the same time.

Moving companies make great partners. After all, you’re looking for people to move in and they’re looking for people to move! Set up a partnership program with a local mover.  You can offer discounts if a new tenant uses that mover and they can offer a discount to people moving into your complex.

If you’re renting pet-friendly apartments, local animal shelters are also great places to advertise. Ask your local shelter if you can leave brochures or pamphlets at their adoption sites. Or see if there is an opportunity to sponsor an adoption event or fundraising event.

How LeaseLeads Can Impact Your Marketing Efforts

Apartment marketing with LeaseLeads

Leasing agents need to be readily available to field tenant questions, follow up on leads, and give apartment tours. And while you can’t work 24 hours a day, there is a way to provide some of your services around the clock: 


This cutting-edge digital tool is your answer to:

Converting Visitors to Leads

LeaseLeads creates a 24/7 virtual leasing agent on your website that makes it easy for tenants to find the exact apartment they’re looking for.

Start by uploading short videos of your amenities, floor plans, and more via your LeaseLeads portal. From there, these videos are added to an interactive chat widget on your site that gives your next tenant exactly what they’re searching for.

LeaseLeads will:

  • Learn what potential tenants are looking for (bedrooms, floor plans)
  • Schedule virtual or in-person tours
  • Guide potential residents to the right floor plan (fitted with their top-priority amenities)
  • Send potential tenants to fill out an application to become your next resident

With LeaseLeads, tenants can submit applications directly to the landlord or property manager! You can log into your email in the morning and find applications waiting for you.

LeaseLeads has three goals: make your job easy, keep tenants in your apartment, and keep occupancy rates high.

Integrating With Your Other Leasing Software

LeaseLeads also integrates with rent and management software programs, like Yardi, Entrata, and Rent Café.

When a tenant books a virtual or in-person tour, LeaseLeads sends email reminders and puts the appointment into your software. When a tenant shows interest in a particular floor plan, the platform takes tally on their move-in date, budget, and desired amenities.

It’s also fully customizable, so you can upload your own videos and select your own styling options to reflect your building and brand.

Regardless of the demographics of your target audience, LeaseLeads makes it easy to connect with potential tenants around the clock.

We also send leads directly to your portal, rather than through some default email that requires you to upload leads and data manually, a mind-numbing task. It's a time saver and a 24/7 sales tool — two valuable benefits for hard-working property managers and landlords that run large complexes and apartment communities.


There are many apartment marketing ideas that you can use to attract tenants and generate interest in your property. And making a 24/7 leasing agent available is one of the best tools you can use.

For more information on creating your around-the-clock leasing agent, schedule a demo with LeaseLeads now.

Kristi Stevens

Content strategist - My mission is to fuel the growth of the multi-family industry by crafting impactful blog content and innovative solutions.


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