23rd Feb 2023|BTR & Asset Management|

Why Is Brand And Marketing So Important In Build To Rent Developments?

The build to rent market is growing at a speed unlike any other property sector in the UK today. Not only has the sector achieved its best growth for the fourth year running, but 70 per cent of institutional investors see themselves being active in the BTR market in the next five years. However, the build to rent sector is still relatively new, with many developers still being unsure of the optimal approach they should take when bringing their schemes to market, especially with regards to branding and marketing. Targeting renters in a new way to form part of new or existing communities is key to branding and marketing your build to rent developments and deviates from the techniques typically used to bring PRS schemes to market, which is precisely what we’ll be looking at in this blog. After all, marketing can make or break your build to rent development’s image and reputation, which can in turn hinder your ability to run a profitable and successful unit that your tenants love to live in.

The Pre-Launch Period

Your BTR marketing journey begins prior to launch – this is the time to drum up interest and anticipation for your development by providing exciting ‘sneak previews’ of your development and create a recognisable brand identity. With the BTR property market becoming increasingly popular, it is vital that you dedicate your time to creating a distinctive brand during your pre-launch period to grab the attention of the best potential tenants.

Finding The Right Tenants

Speaking of potential tenants, if you utilise your BTR marketing correctly you can appeal to a specific demographic of tenants by placing emphasis on specific amenities or aspects of your development that would be of benefit to specific people. The latest research indicates that certain tenants want different things from their build to rent developments. For example, younger tenants are more likely to gravitate towards developments with more social-based and health-related amenities such as on-site gymnasiums, communal working facilities, and a roster of social events. Larger families are more focused on outdoor spaces to spend time with their loved ones, and easily accessible vehicle parking for day trips and commuting. If you are looking to appeal to students or post-graduates, marketing your BTR or PBSA development as an ultra-convenient place to stay that can ease them into a life of independence may be the best route. On the other hand, if your development charges high rents and you wish to attract high-earning tenants, you should focus your marketing on amenities that reduce the burden on your tenants – on site cleaners, gymnasiums, concierges and pet-sitting services will be useful to these individuals, especially if their job is demanding and they are looking for ways to make their everyday life easier.

Better Branding

Once you know what your ideal tenant is like, you can position your branding to effectively appeal to this demographic. However, branding your development goes far beyond making the occasional social media posts about how great your amenities are, or how innovative your development’s structure is. Your brand needs to be instantly recognisable – of course you will need a clear and concise logo, memorable name and distinctive colour scheme that will stand the test of time. But beyond this, your branding should be centred around the aspirational goals of your potential tenants, and how living at your development can help them achieve these goals. By connecting your initial research regarding what your ideal tenant aspires to have in their home and the lifestyle they desire to lead with your core branding message, you will be able to succinctly convey that your BTR development would make the perfect home that can fit the needs of your potential tenants. Beyond the recognisable aesthetics of your development, your branding should involve a specific set of values that form the basis of your USP – whether you’re branding yourself as the latest carbon neutral scheme or the ultimate destination for pet owners. Whichever avenue you choose, make sure it helps you stand out in what is swiftly becoming a saturated market.

The Let-Up Period

Once your development is constructed and is live on the market, your brand awareness and marketing strategy is more important than ever. This is the time where you’ll want to achieve maximum exposure and begin to convert interested parties into paying tenants, so your marketing strategy should be targeted towards getting potential tenants over the finish line to sign their AST’s.

Achieving Maximum Exposure

Ultimately, nobody will be interested in renting at your development if they don’t know it exists, which is why exposure is so important. This goes beyond merely listing your rental units on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, but adopting a multi-channel marketing strategy to optimise the number of potential tenants that see your advertisements. As mentioned before, certain forms of marketing can help you appeal to certain demographics – younger tenants are more likely to use platforms such as Instagram to view relevant content, whereas older tenants and those with families may be more likely to go directly into branch to talk to a property professional directly. As such, paid digital advertisements may be best for developers looking for tenants that are students or young professionals, whereas those offering larger units for families or older residents may do better to provide physical brochures to be handed out in-branch.

Targeted email marketing campaigns are also beneficial for targeting the most viable potential tenants on your database and contacting them at the most appropriate intervals to increase brand awareness and encourage them to consider a viewing at your development. Lastly, making sure your development site itself stands out is vitally important – when commuters, locals and visitors walk past your newly built development, there is a huge opportunity for you to market your BTR scheme directly to them. Large ‘coming soon’ signage and on-site information points are great ways to market your BTR to those who are already local and potentially looking for a place to move to. Even if passers by are not looking to move, on-site advertising creates a fantastic talking point for those who pass by, encouraging word of mouth marketing.

Linking Marketing With Sales

By bringing your marketing and sales teams closer together, you will be able to accurately track what aspects of your ongoing marketing campaign are most effective, thereby allowing you to focus on the most impactful strategies. If your or your partner’s sales and lettings teams are able to determine where your most valuable enquiries are coming from, this will directly inform your marketing strategy when moving forward, allowing you to understand the best marketing avenues you can take to reach your ideal tenants. That way, you’ll be able to convert more clicks and enquiries into real, paying tenants.

The Retention Period

Once you are fully in the swing of things and your build to rent development has hit the ground running, it is important to keep up this long term momentum in the ‘retention period’. Although build to rent developments foster a greater sense of community that can keep tenants in situ for longer periods of time, the nature of rental units means that your tenants will likely choose to terminate their tenancy to move elsewhere at some point in the future. It is therefore important that your development maintains its stellar reputation for years to come to keep attracting tenants and avoid the dreaded rental void period.

The Value Of Reputation

The reputation of both developer and brand is important for ensuring that your development remains appealing far beyond the initial launch period. This means keeping up with your digital marketing campaigns, ensuring that your amenities remain high quality, and trying your best to ensure that your tenant’s time at your development is as pleasurable as possible. With over 115,000 BTR units currently in planning, it is important that yours remains competitive on the rental market to increase the length of your existing tenancies, reduce churn, and to organically create demand.

Word Of Mouth

We all care about brand and inherently know the value of impressive branding, but word of mouth is much more powerful – and it’s free. Beyond boosting brand awareness and reputation, word of mouth is a fantastic form of organic marketing that sees existing tenants recommend their rental complex to friends, family and colleagues, encouraging them to consider moving into it themselves. Customer advocacy is an exceptionally effective method of developing trust between developers and prospective tenants, with the valuable first hand experience of existing tenants being used to drum up interest in your BTR development. Evidence also suggests that word of mouth recommendations secure five times more sales than traditional paid advertisements. Tenants are able to give extremely valuable recommendations based upon their lived experience, and can spread this positive message to their peers who are more than likely part of the same tenant demographic, making them ideal potential tenants for any vacant units.

However, customer advocacy can be detrimental to your business if your tenants have a poor experience at your development, with negative word of mouth spreading just as far as positive recommendations. With social media comments sections being easy to post on and access, and 83 per cent of consumers reading Google reviews prior to moving forward with a purchase, accessing the opinions of tenants and visitors within build to rent developments has never been simpler. It is therefore imperative that you are proactive in reacting to tenant feedback to ensure that you harness the power of word of mouth marketing and boost your development’s reputation.

A Better Way To BTR

VICI by Centrick offer a comprehensive BTR consultancy service and platform that can transform the way you market and subsequently operate your development. From our data-driven outreach stages, to our streamlined onboarding service, to our detailed reviews that allow you to continually assess how well your build to rent developments are performing – we’re here with you each and every step of the way. Whether your development is at the pre-launch, let-up or retention stage, contact VICI using the form below to find out how our innovative platform can amplify your marketing strategy:

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