Crafting Connections: Using Personas in Marketing Multi-family Developments

By Phase 3
February 29, 2024


One of the basic rules of successful real estate marketing is to know your target audience. By understanding the challenges, likes, dislikes, and goals of the people most likely to be looking for an apartment building or housing development like yours, you can engage in more meaningful and personalized interactions. This helps foster trust and loyalty.

One of the basic rules of successful real estate marketing is to know your target audience. By understanding the challenges, likes, dislikes, and goals of the people most likely to be looking for an apartment building or housing development like yours, you can engage in more meaningful and personalized interactions. This helps foster trust and loyalty.  

We first wrote about real estate personas in a 2019 post. If it’s been that long since you looked at your buyers, it’s time to update your personas. Today, in many markets, competition has become even more fierce. You can't turn a corner without seeing a new apartment complex under construction. Yet, all multi-family developments offer essentially the same things. It's marketing that differentiates them. Knowing your target personas gives you a competitive edge. When you know your audience better than your competitors, you can provide solutions more effectively. You can also position your real estate offerings as the preferred choice.

This is especially critical for multi-family communities where your target audience will vary depending on the unit. Your amenities may be the same, but your customer's needs and preferences are completely different. A personalized approach, driven by comprehensive target personas, enhances customer experiences and more closed deals.


What are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are semi-fictional profiles of ideal customers based on market research, customer insights, and data analysis. With detailed buyer personas, real estate marketers can better target specific audience segments. Buyer personas typically include demographic information, behaviors, preferences, goals, challenges, and other relevant details that help shape marketing and sales strategies.

For example, if one of your buyer personas values energy efficiency, you can highlight eco-friendly features in your property listings. If another persona seeks a family-friendly neighborhood, listings may emphasize nearby schools and parks.

By leveraging buyer personas, you can create more impactful and relevant marketing campaigns. This increases the likelihood of attracting and converting potential residents.


Elements of Buyer Persona

A buyer's persona is based on demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data. While the specific components may vary, here are typical elements of a comprehensive buyer persona.


Demographic Information

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Family Size
  • Location/Neighborhood
  • Urban or Suburban Preference

Psychographic Factors

  • Lifestyle: Hobbies, interests, and lifestyle choices that influence housing preferences.
  • Values: Personal beliefs and values that impact housing decisions.
  • Personality Traits: Characteristics that influence decision-making and preferences.

Behavorial Characteristics 

  • Online Shopping Behavior: How the buyer uses online resources in the home-search process.
  • Communication Preferences: Preferred channels of communication and engagement.
  • Decision-Making Process: The steps involved in their decision-making process.

Financial Considerations

  • Budget: The range of lease prices the buyer is considering.

Property Features and Preferences

  • Must-Have Features: Non-negotiable features the buyer is looking for in a property.
  • Nice-to-Have Features: Desirable but not essential features.

Communication Style

  • Preferred Communication Style/Cadence: Whether the buyer prefers detailed information, concise summaries, or visual content.
  • Preferred Contact Methods: Channels of communication preferred by the buyer.

Overall, the goal is to be as specific as possible in these personas. Developing a crystal-clear profile of who your audiences are will help you know how to differentiate your property.

How to Create Buyer Personas

Here's a step-by-step guide to developing useful and impactful buyer personas.


Conduct Market Research 

  • Understand the local real estate market, economic conditions, and demographic trends.
  • Identify income distribution patterns and housing preferences in the target area.
  • If possible, interview potential residents to gain insights into their needs, concerns, and preferences.

Analyze Existing Customer Data  

  • Review your existing database to identify common traits and characteristics.
  • Analyze their purchase history, engagement patterns, and feedback to uncover insights about your potential buyers.
  • Review customer feedback to uncover what they love about your communities and what elements you may need to address or highlight.

Research Competitors  

  • Analyze your competitors' marketing materials, content, and communications to identify their target personas. Examine the characteristics, needs, and preferences they focus on in their messaging.
  • Investigate how competitors position their buildings in the market. Identify the unique value propositions, features, and benefits they emphasize to attract specific audience segments.
  • Explore customer reviews and feedback about your competitors. Understand what customers appreciate and criticize about their offerings.

Collaborate with Stakeholders  

  • Engage with property managers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to gain insights and refine persona profiles.
  • Foster collaboration to ensure a holistic understanding of the target audience.


Next Steps 

With your buyer personas complete, the next step is to build marketing strategies that appeal to each segment. Remember that your goal is to highlight why your community is far superior to the one down the street, no matter the price. That being said, the best real estate marketing strategies focus on lifestyle. Instead of directly targeting wealth or income levels, focus on promoting a certain lifestyle and unique experiences in your community. For example, some buyers may seek a family-oriented community with playgrounds and activities, while others may respond to a convenience-based community with easy access to shopping and services.


Case Study - Greystar Marchon  

In a historic urban pocket of Atlanta crowded with apartment communities, a new transit-oriented mid-rise apartment building needed a brand identity. It needed to align with the area's unique energy and history. Of course, we also needed to set the community apart from competitors.

The project was part of a local initiative to increase public transit ridership. One-third of the apartment units were designated workforce housing, making them ideal for a broad mix of Atlantans.

Phase 3 wanted to tap into the spirit of connection unique to the property. In that spirit, we named the property Marchon, inspired by MLK's historic 1965 speech, "Our God is Marching On." Marchon has a unique energy and momentum that became the foundation for a bold, colorful, and unique brand identity that stands out in a sea of sameness.




Using the detailed buyer personas we developed for Marchon, we built a marketing campaign focusing on inclusive imagery and language. We portrayed residents from various backgrounds, professions, and age groups enjoying the community's benefits. The campaign emphasized the value and quality of the apartments. It showcased the unique features, craftsmanship, and attention to detail that make the community unique. For more information about Marchon, here is our extend case study. 


Creating buyer personas for real estate is a time-consuming process, but fortunately, our team has the skills, experience, and tools to support your marketing and sales teams with professional persona development. If you’d like to put personas to work for your multi-family property but don’t know where to start, Phase 3 is here to help. Contact us today.