The tools and tactics used for affordable housing marketing can be similar to those used for marketing to conventional housing communities. But they cater to a different audience. Instead of ignoring demographic differences, affordable housing organizations should examine how these differences might help shape and target their marketing efforts.
Mobile-Friendliness is More Important than Ever Before
Your target market should dictate how you frame and broadcast your mission. Knowing their habits, interests, and capabilities are all important in successfully connecting to your audience.
First, you need to get online users to pay attention. Then, you need to deliver on their expectations for easy-to-understand information. For both steps, the usability of your website is hugely important. Your current website might work fine on a desktop cmputer, but consider the following statistics:
- 77% of Americans now own a smartphone. (Pew, 2017)
- Since 2015, there has been a 12-point increase in smartphone ownership among households earning less than $30,000 per year: 64% of these lower-income Americans now own a smartphone. (Pew, 2017)
- 44% of Americans have used their phone to look up real estate listings or other information about a place to live. Lower income and “smartphone-dependent” users are especially likely to use their phone for job and employment resources. (Pew, 2015)
In light of these developments, every affordable housing organization should have a mobile-responsive website. Aside from the usability benefits, mobile-first marketing is best practice for social media integration and brand management. Focusing on mobile users also allows for highly geotargeted ad campaigns, and helps with Search Engine Optimization (so more people can find you online).
By sticking with an old, clunky website, affordable housing marketers are leaving a ton of opportunity on the table. Organizations that lean into demographic shifts by investing in mobile-first marketing will have more success connecting with their target audience in years to come.
Great Websites Also Make for Better Education
Community education is a necessary step for affordable housing organizations looking to help out a neighborhood. You might need to connect with local partners, dispel fears and stereotypes about affordable housing renters, or informing those renters about their rights.
All community education relies on effective communication. And a clean, easy-to-use website is a game-changer on this front. By giving a good first impression and promoting the legitimacy of an organization, a website can bring people together and set the tone for a community’s support for changes in their neighborhood.
Diversify How You Tell Your Story
To build on educational efforts & broaden their impact, affordable housing groups can pursue public relations campaigns or featured stories in the press. These tactics can be doable with an old-school marketing strategy.
But to meet the needs of an increasingly digital audience, awareness goals are best met by investing in a blog, social media growth, and multimedia storytelling. These tactics will boost organic search traffic on your website, increase your reputability in the affordable housing space, and make it easier for your target market to find your website.
Again, having a solid website is critical to leveraging these marketing efforts into organizational growth. From capturing contact info to courting community partners to impressing the media, it all comes back to having a website you can be proud of.