Alliance Residential Marketing Focus: Keywords Not Ruling the Day

We focus on our audience: People.

For us, the biggest focus isn’t a trend, rather, it’s a focus on people. Specifically: Current and potential residents and the emotional journey they take from the moment they realize a move is in order to when they sign a lease and ultimately, renew it.

In the frenzy to drive leads and leases, it’s tempting to go with your gut, grasp at the tactics that have “always worked” and measure the value of design and content based on personal preferences and what your operators or owners like. Marketers should not succumb to that pressure of just getting it done, without asking, “Who are we trying to reach? What does that person want?”

And we’ve had to find ways to do it without losing time. That means getting our arms around customer data, regional nuances portfolio-wide, ROI and integrating our creative, digital and strategy teams into one machine.

But asking someone to call your apartment “home” is an immensely human process—it can take as long as three months and the search involves multiple people within the renter’s sphere. It’s not linear, it involves excitement, fear, frustration, happiness, relief — every emotion possible. It involves realizing that people are functioning in a time-poor, information-rich world. And therein lies the opportunity for marketing: To recognize that and respond. To realize it’s no longer business as usual where you create a beautiful a-frame, prop it outside and hope for a drive-by.

Natural search: Meet the need

Natural search, (the way people look for information versus the way we think they look for information) and how we respond has always been a focus. Google has made us keenly aware that when someone’s looking for answers (even online), our answers have to “meet the need.” That’s the acid test. But determining success with regard to voice search without a visual aid requires a slightly different approach. And there’s no room to answer with excessively long or detailed content — again, it’s about answering the question succinctly and correctly. It all goes back to the person — the human who is looking for answers — and their lifestyle (it’s safe to assume they’re busy and that they predominantly search via mobile, for starters). We’re constantly making sure everything we do in the digital ad realm meets these standards of natural language.

Are keywords still ruling the day? Nope.

In a word, nope. If you’re focusing on keywords, you’re still creating content for search engines and not the end user (that person, a human being, there they are again). Think they’re one and the same? They’re certainly getting closer. But people want meaning and context and people don’t go about searching for information by stuffing their questions or speech full of keywords. We’ve always said that “Content isn’t King, context is.” Sure, there’s basic onsite and content optimization to be done, but again, our focus is on the person, not the keyword. We focus on giving the person what they want in the language they can digest and understand.

Social media: How are real people using it?

Our approach to social media is similar to the way we approach all marketing in that we’ve worked to understand how real people use it when they want to engage with our property brands via this medium. Social media, probably more so than any other type of media, is part of every stage of the customer journey and can be impactful, so it’s critical to “get it right.” That means the right amount of listening, content and engagement.

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