Gregory Duff
I work for a company that consistently uses mystery shops. It's not a bad process but many of the qu...
Great blog, Brittney. As we get better at our jobs, that means that it is easy to fall into the tra...

Training Trivia

Incorporating social media into your marketing and resident retention efforts is good practice for all student communities.

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Apartment Marketing

- Blog posts tagged in Apartment Marketing

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
The Millennial Generation, otherwise known as Generation Y, is made up of those between the ages of 25-34. This group is known for having strong preferences and opinions, plenty of ambition, and a ‘sky's the limit’ mentality when it comes to their abilities. They are very tech-savvy, impatient at times, and are always ‘connected’ via their smartphones or tablets.   These days, millennials are more flexible than ever, seeking out careers across the country or even internationally. Partially due to the sluggish (but improving) economy, young people feel the need to take any good professional opportunity they can, even if it means packing up and moving away from their families. Because of this, millennials are choosing to rent apartments more than ever. It’s important that this group is able to pack up and move at a moment’s notice, so renting is more practical for this stage in their lives.   Making Your Community Millennial-Friendly   As a property manager, it is great news for you to know that there’s an entire generation that is actively seeking out a place to rent. Millennials are a unique group, though, so there are a few things you should know in order to appeal to them. They are dubbed the “Generation of Choice” because of their unrelenting demand for choice in all aspects of their lives. Here are the Four “C’s” that explain this Generation of Choice:   (Ad) Choice - You should advertise your community where this generation spends a lot of their time...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
It's that time of year again. Yes, football is back! (And now it's on your phone.) And so is budget season. When it comes to budgeting for your marketing spend, digital likely makes up a big part of your playbook. A vast majority of shoppers are starting their searches online, often checking 10 or more different sources before choosing to do business with you. So you better have a strong presence there, and it better be the kind of message you want your potential customers to see. With digital, it can be tough to know whether this year's tools and trends will still be hot -- and worth your investment -- next year. Do you need a mobile app? Is Facebook on its way out? Hasn't email been pronounced dead each of the past 14 years? What can we do to get more out of our website? Of course, I can't make any promises about what the future holds, but here are some of the places our team is looking at as the most important areas to focus on in the year ahead: 1. Mobile How would you feel if 30% or more of your customers received a poor customer experience the moment they walked through your door? Not good, right? Well, if your website isn't mobile-friendly, that's exactly what you're doing to your online customers. (Google prefers websites that implement responsive design, so I'd recommend starting there.) What about that mobile app? If you can find a way to deliver...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 48 hours, you know that Miley Cyrus was a featured performer on the VMA's and performed some unusual material. And while people all over the country - well, actually the world - are questioning her performance (myself included), let's take a moment to look at it solely from an apartment marketing perspective, okay? 1. Miley's like a property that is undergoing renovation. Her old reputation as Hannah Montana, a Walt Disney creation, wasn't about to continue to sell in today's pop music economy. She's outgrown the wig wearing, double life persona who sang such bubble gum pop as "The Hoedown Throwdown" and "Best of Both Worlds". She's got to tear down the clubhouse, throw out the white appliances and put in finishes that will SELL to the audience that buys today's pop music. Much like we are creating apartments that sell to the 25-34 demographic.  2. The old marketing campaign has to go. Just like many of us are tossing print in lots of markets (and no, this isn't a discussion of print -vs- online), Miley has to create a campaign that makes people TALK. She's gone totally social with her marketing. And her latest performance garnered 4.5 MILLION Twitter mentions, at a rate of 306,100 TWP (Tweets Per Minute). I'd say that's successful, wouldn't you? 3. She's got other people talking about her 'product'. Much like our beloved Resident Referral, Miley's got people talking. I just typed "Miley Cyrus VMA" into Google and received 449,000,000...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Craigslist is free, and more of your apartment marketing peers are using it than ever before. Successful Craigslist posts are easier than you might think -- they start with being comprehensive and correct. First, how's your title? Superlatives like SPECTACULAR APARTMENT! don't mean much unless they're accompanied by selling points like new kitchens, dogs welcome or free utilities. Next, get the most from Craigslist by filling in the extra data they ask for, like location, laundry, street parking and bed/bath information. Add photos manually, even if your posting tool includes them. This takes time, but it helps you highlight the features renters are looking for, and makes it easier for them to find you with Craigslist search tools. Proof your ad once. Twice. Then again. Are there spelling or formatting errors? Did you include a phone number? Finally, go to Craigslist and manually search for your post. Don't rely on your posting tool to tell you it's live -- that doesn't necessarily mean it's visible on the site. If it's there, great; check for stray spelling or html errors. But if you can't find it, delete your post and try again with a different ad or from a different account. If it still doesn't appear, you may need to re-think your posting strategy -- and that's the subject of next month's post....

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Ask yourself, are you really marketing to your customer? Or are you like most of us and unknowingly marketing to yourself? It’s a tough distinction for some of us to grasp. All too often, our marketing pieces talk about our company, our brand. You might be wondering, what is wrong with that? The problem is that it doesn’t give your potential customer the WIFM in the few seconds that they’re looking at your advertising materials. The, “What’s In It For Me” factor. We often don’t really consider what our customers’ needs are when we are working on headlines, copy, emails, etc. Our advertising materials go on about the features of our product, not the benefits. The features, though important to us, definitely aren’t the focus of our customer. Think about your customer and what’s important to them. They want to know the benefits to them, the WIFM. “Our community is gated” “Our offices are spacious” “Our landscaping is remarkable.” These are the features of your property. Why not change the focus from features to the benefits to your customer? “Our community is gated” becomes “Controlled access for your convenience” “Our offices are spacious” becomes “Wow your clients with your huge office” “Our landscaping is remarkable” becomes “Enjoy nature as you walk around your beautiful new community” If you find it hard to change that way of thinking, sit down with a piece of paper and write down all the features of your property or your community. Then next to them, write...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
  Sometimes technology and the Internet can seem like a constantly morphing wild beast you just can’t seem to catch. You’re busy making sure apartments are occupied, accounts balanced, staff well-trained. Keeping up with the latest technology tweaks or Google’s latest algorithm changes isn’t at the top of your priority list. Nor should it be. However, when it comes to your websites, Responsive is a word you should know. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is still fairly new, only beginning to gain mainstream traction in late 2012. RWD is the solution to the ever-expanding arsenal of devices that are able to browse the Internet.  There are no longer standard screen sizes. It’s the exact opposite. A device seems to be created every day to fill the screen size gap between two existing devices! At its most basic, Responsive Web Design is what it sounds like: your website literally responds to the width of the browser. This means that if you resize your Firefox or Chrome browser window on your desktop, a RWD site will adapt, photos will resize, text and other blocks may change location to respond to the height and width change. In the very recent past, most sites had a desktop site and a mobile site, literally two different websites that had to be separately built and maintained. And then any screen sizes in between (smart phones, iPad and other tablets) were just left hanging, sometimes being served the desktop, sometimes the mobile, depending on the developer and the site...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Let’s cut to the chase. Every apartment community has a "loser" apartment. Yes, there is a little voice in each one of us—the sales, marketing, and trainer voice that says, “Find the beauty and turn the negative into a positive,” but deep down we know it is the “loser”—right? This is a picture of an apartment community located in Coral Springs, Florida. It’s not just any community, but one where I learned two of my most valuable leasing lessons:  1. It’s Not for You—It’s for Them 2. Stop the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Yes, lurking below the palm trees and their beauty was the “loser” apartment. It was the one with the “story”—they all have one. It was the victim of an eviction and was left in shambles. The owner chose not to replace the carpet due to all of the lost revenue. When I entered the picture it had been vacant over 90 days. I know what you are thinking—but he wasn’t thinking that way. BIO: Apartment # 711 · Peach carpet that had been dyed too many times · Stench of dog urine · Facing toward the “landfill” winds Does this sound familiar? This apartment had become the joke of the office, but to me it was a challenge and an opportunity to shine! I jumped in the golf cart with my “sparkle bucket” and headed to the apartment with great anticipation—then reality hit me—or maybe it was the aroma. I was not giving up! The stakes were high and...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Last week, Facebook announced their new app, Facebook Home. Facebook Home, in short is the takeover of your home screen for Android devices. Instead of the wallpaper picture of your pet, spouse, kids or favorite vacation spot, you will see a steady stream of pictures, status updates and notifications called Cover Feed.This is HUGE in the evolution of apps. Like what the iPad did to the tablet market HUGE. Right now, if you want to check your Facebook status, you "open" your app. You don't have to open Facebook Home, it's always on. 5 Reasons Facebook Home Could Change The Game For Apps - Developers will build similar apps to be your "home" app. There will be great competition to be in that home app space; i.e giveaways, prizes, etc to get consumers to download their app. Marketers will get more impression time if the app is always on. App developers may charge more for you to advertise on Facebook Home-like apps. For apps like Facebook Home, developers have even more opportunity to keep you in the app. For Facebook, I assume, this is all a ploy to become king of search, replacing Google in search, little by little. I personally think Facebook Home is going to spark an app revolution. Android users, prepare for the takeover. IOS users, sit and wait on the app to be approved by Apple. Blackberry users... well never mind. -sh     ...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing

Have you seen those videos featuring Southwest Airlines flight attendants doing their pre-flight instructions in VERY untraditional ways? Here is a link to one of their videos. One of my favorite video series are the ones that IBM produced called “The Art of the Sale.” This is what happens when “The Office” meets corporate video. Here is the link to a video.   Before I ever set foot on a Southwest airplane I had already “fallen in love” with their brand and their company, because of the reputation they’ve developed through videos like these. I was even more suprised to see the IBM videos, and it made me like them even more; especially since I always imagine IBM to be like stuffy business folks in extra pressed white dress shirts all sitting around a corporate conference room table. It was refreshing to see a different side of IBM.   What does this have to do with you?   You can harness the same power of video to reach new clients or to strengthen the bond you have with your existing ones.   Let me explain further...   When I managed a community I decided to create videos with an inexpensive Flip camera, inexpensive (even free) editing software and some creativity. What we did was to make short (usually 30 second to one minute) videos that we uploaded to YouTube. We then put the links in our Craiglist ads to try and make our postings a little “stickier.”   Obviously, you're not...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing

The best Super Bowl commercial and leasing…what do that have in common? Only everything! The commercial voted as the best by the millions of Super Bowl watchers, the Budweiser Clydesdale spot, didn’t show one drop of beer, not one word was spoken, yet it ranked in the top spot by viewers. Why? It created emotion. The 60 second spot created more emotion than any other ad in the 4+ hour sports spectacular. The tear jerker ad showed the bond between the young colt and his trainer, the progression of the bond as the colt grew up, moved away to his Budweiser destiny, in the end, the separation and then the uniting of the two. Simply a true, sweet, story creating emotions. Emotional selling works. It works for beer, and it works in leasing apartments. And in my opinion, you have a head start with someone’s home in the forefront. An apartment home is much more emotional than say…beer. So why not get a little emotional with your apartments, someone’s soon to be home? Get vested, start caring and watch the leases pour in.  Now, please pass the tissues...  ...