Real Estate Industry

How Common optimizes paid marketing for higher quality leads and better occupancy

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Common’s tech-enabled approach to property operations and management — from marketing to maintenance requests to renewals — allows us to lease up buildings quickly, create a more positive experience for our residents, and generate higher returns for our partners. Our strategy, while unique, comes from the combined knowledge of our team, who leverage their decades of experience and expertise across industries to build a better kind of multifamily property manager.

Jaya Paliwal is Common’s Director of Growth Marketing. Jaya has over a decade of marketing experience across media groups and agency roles, and recently spent 10 years at Travelzoo, where she led member acquisition efforts. We spoke to Jaya about Common’s approach to growth marketing, current marketing trends in the real estate industry, and how her past work informs her current approach to Common’s growth.

Can you tell us more about your experience before you came to Common?

I studied mathematics, and while I liked it, professional opportunities in math felt too theoretical for me. I found I was more interested in applied mathematics, specifically within marketing. I started in Email Marketing in the education vertical at The Princeton Review.

I then moved over to subscription marketing within the financial vertical at TheStreet.com, where we led various marketing campaigns focused on free trials vs. paid trials. This allowed me to use my mathematical skills to evaluate marketing campaigns based on various trials (30 day free trial vs. 60 day free trial).

After 4 years there, I joined 360i with the intent of getting agency experience under my belt to ensure that I knew how to oversee and manage an agency in my future career. I was able to work on their largest account, NBC Universal, which was rewarding, demanding, and educational.

I then moved back over to the client side in the travel industry where I spent almost 10 years at Travelzoo growing within the marketing group and ultimately leading member acquisition efforts. Travelzoo is a global internet media company that publishes exclusive offers and experiences for its members.

My goal as Director of Member Acquisition was to diversify our marketing spend in an effort to acquire high quality members to the Travelzoo member base. I committed to optimizing channel performance, grow revenue, and acquire new members. I managed multi-million dollar marketing budgets across several marketing mediums while piloting new emerging technologies, resulting in efficiently acquiring millions of incremental members to Travelzoo.

How would you describe your current role and responsibilities?

At Common, I manage the growth marketing efforts by optimizing existing campaigns and creating new digital campaigns, all in an effort to meet monthly leasing goals. Alongside paid advertisement, I also oversee our email marketing program to ensure that we are carefully (and thoughtfully) communicating with our leads acquired at the top of the funnel. This includes drip, transactional, and promotional campaigns within email.

One of my central focuses is ensuring that the team has an analytical approach by gathering the appropriate full funnel data in an effort to isolate areas of opportunity and customizing marketing campaigns accordingly. Paid marketing to acquire leads sits at the top of this funnel.

It’s imperative that we’re evaluating leads through a full funnel approach (lead → tour scheduled → tour held → app) and recognizing areas of optimization as well as high quality marketing mediums. By using this data, our team is able to push and pull levers based on vacancies while being as cost efficient as possible.

What are the challenges of marketing multifamily residential and how does Common meet them?

The biggest challenge is intent. People don’t just pick up and move when they feel like it. We have to show the right home to the right person at the right time. It’s challenging to find this niche audience on many marketing platforms. While it’s important to continue to test new areas, Common thoughtfully focuses on controlling that we do have.

For example, Search Engine Marketing (aka SEM) is a marketing medium that allows us to target people that are looking to move, which neighborhood they’re looking to move to, etc. based on their search term. We buy terms that allow us to isolate this audience and deliver an ad for the appropriate home. We focus on getting high quality efficient leads from SEM, but it’s also important to customize the email marketing once the lead is acquired.

How does the travel industry compare to multifamily in terms of marketing strategy?

There is more of a spontaneity with travel, and a larger conversion with an “inspirational” approach. You can show a beautiful picture of an overwater bungalow with an affordable price tag and literally inspire someone to pull the trigger and purchase a luxury vacation even though they had no intention to do so.

Multifamily residential requires intent and of course, timing. Considerations such as lease lengths, the commute to work, etc. all impact where a potential renter may want to move. While we can leverage an inspirational approach within multifamily residential and certainly with the beautiful homes that Common operates, it’s a much lower conversion rate from simply seeing an ad to immediately renting an apartment.

What’s your favorite part about the work day? The most challenging part?

My favorite part is the communication and collaboration with the team. Since I’ve started, we have put processes in place to allow us to be more proactive instead of reactive. These processes allow us to identify which homes need the most help in terms of lead volume, lead quality, or overall awareness in order to meet occupancy goals. Working as a team, we’re able to maintain occupancy at existing buildings and lease up new buildings faster with more qualified renters.

The most challenging (and the most exciting!) part is Common’s full funnel approach to marketing and leasing. The incremental leads from paid marketing are at the top of the funnel, but the “quality” of the leads (when they’re moving, what their budget is, etc.) needs to be considered in order for the bottom of the funnel to be successful.

While it may be exciting to get thousands of leads, we have to take into account what percentage of them will book a tour, complete their tour, apply, and eventually become a Common member. Pushing and pulling these levers for volume and quality can be a challenge on both the top and bottom of the funnel.

What have you been able to bring from your past roles and experiences into your role at Common?

I’ve been a performance marketer for so many years and have been able to certainly bring a lot of preexisting relationships with vendors to my role in an effort to diversify our growth marketing efforts.

I have been in the industry long enough to understand the algorithms within SEM, social, programmatic, and beyond. This allows me to have a more modest marketing approach to incorporate a “learning” period for our campaigns.

An example of this might be creating a bit of brand awareness for a campaign prior to marketing the units in a building. This way, we have already seen learnings and are ready to market, and when the home opens, we can begin with a campaign that sees a lower cost per applicant and a higher lead volume.

What is the biggest trend you’re seeing in real estate advertising right now?

There are two central trends I’m seeing in real estate advertising. The first is leveraging content marketing, i.e. sharing information about the neighborhood and local businesses, proximity to parks and trains, etc.

The second is personalization within email marketing. The opportunity to connect with a lead should be thoughtful from the top to the bottom of the funnel. The initial emails should be in line with the landing page they submitted their lead. The continued communication should be responsive to their user experience and personal preferences. The cadence with leasing specialists (bottom of funnel) should be consistent and personalized based on interaction with leasing specialists.

If you could live in any Common home (in any city), which one would you choose and why?

5800 Harold by Common! The weather in LA is great and the building is beautiful!

If you’re interested in partnering with Common to generate leads and increase occupancy for your building, visit our partners page.

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