The Victorian phrase “as safe as houses” well surmises the security of the housing market as, whether they are buying or renting, people will always need somewhere to live. But whilst the foundations of the property market might be relatively stable, the consumers that buy-in to this market are an evolving generation. Now the next generation of renter is coming of age.
Formally known as Generation Z, this demographic cohort represents those born roughly between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s. These digital natives, many of whom have grown up with a smartphone in their hands, were estimated in a 2018 study by MNI Targeted Media to reach up to 40% of all consumers by 2020. As digital trends accelerated during COVID, it is more important than ever that your agents consider how to target the next generation of renters. So, here are six ways you can do just that.
1. Define your brand
Everything starts with your brand. How you present yourself and your services to Generation Z will be a big determinant in whether they choose you when looking for their next home. Being able to attract the attention of Gen Z, and progressing it, is vital. One widely reported statistic is that Generation Z has a attention span of approximately 8 seconds, but others argue that it is really more of an 8-second filter – having grown up surrounded by the flow of digital information, Generation Z are much more adept at filtering out irrelevant information. These incoming renters want to feel that your agency understands and responds to their needs, and that means being clear about what you can offer to Generation Z renters.
2. Optimise social media
Generation Z is perennially engaged with the digital world and spend more time on social media than any other generation before them, devoting just under 3 hours per day to their favourite platforms. Their preferences are also changing, and according to Hootsuite they are most likely to engage with brands foremost on YouTube (24%), followed by Instagram (17%) and Facebook (16%). Advertising your services on these platforms will likely grab the most attention among this demographic. Want to make a winning move? Posting videos and ads on these platforms will grab more attention than traditional means.
3. Use targeted messaging
One of the vital questions to ask Generation Z renters is “what are they looking for in a home”? Many of this generation entering the workforce and looking to rent have different priorities, values and needs than generations before. As an example, some of the most-searched criteria for Generation Z are high-speed internet and proximity to gyms or leisure centres. So, when it comes to advertising a property or room for rent, aim to emphasize the attributes that will more likely catch the interest of Generation Z renters.
4. Think smart about mobile
Generation Z are all about smartphones – 98% own one – and they are innate experts at using their phone for research and communication. One UK survey found that over 54% of Generation Z consumers use their phones to engage with content on average 5.9 hours per day, and they are more likely to use their phone to look for a property than a laptop or tablet. Therefore, making sure your website is mobile-friendly is crucial, in both how it looks and how it performs (remember that 8-second attention span?) You should also consider taking advantage of mobile push notifications to send our property alerts if they are subscribed to your mailing list. Finally, if you can invest in a mobile app for your services then all the better, portals like Zoopla and Rightmove use theirs to great effect by allowing prospective tenants to set alerts when properties matching their requirements pop up – you can do the same for properties you list.
5. But sharpen email marketing
Social media and mobile engagement may be the primary channels of engagement for Generation Z, but that does not mean you should let your email marketing slip. Email marketing definitely still works – 58% of Generation Z check their email multiple times a day, but perhaps more importantly, 66.9% receive 20 emails or less a day, which means that there might be less competition for your emails than on other platforms.
6. Finally, be authentic
Generation Z values brand authenticity. This last one holds true for all engagement, but it is particularly important for Generation Z. This generation also trusts online reviews more than any other generation before them. One such survey by RentCafe found that the 30% of Generation Z participants consider reviews and ratings in their rental research, more than any other generation before them. This swings back to brand but creating a great reputation for yourself as both reliable and in touch with the requirements of Generation Z will help your agency attract the next generation of renters.