Love this! And it's a great time of year for this kind of post.
Excellent addition, Jen! Asking for the opportunity ties closely with being your advocate - it is im...

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 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...  ...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
b2ap3_thumbnail_article-1267117675638-087732D4000005DC-220098_636x318.jpgJust this month, Safari celebrated its 10 year anniversary as Apple Inc.’s landmark web browser for the Mac operating system. Since it was first released in 2002, Safari has taken over an admirable 13 to 15 percent of the U.S. market, through its use of products like Apple’s MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. But overall, Internet Explorer (IE) has managed to sustain its 13-year reign as America’s most widely used web browser.* However, when you narrow-in on web traffic to apartment websites, these distinctions do not hold true. The people who are visiting apartment websites display a far different manner than the average web surfer. In addition to this month being Safari’s 10th Birthday, it is also the month that Safari surpassed Internet Explorer as the most used browser by visitors to ProspectPortal. Of the approximately 7 million visitors to apartment websites we monitored over 30 days, 30% were on Safari compared to 28% on Internet Explorer. Okay, granted, it’s only a 2% difference. But looking at a cross section of apartment website traffic, it’s largely defiant of national averages. This brings up a lot of questions about who prospects are, how they’re discovering multifamily communities online, and what this means for the future of multifamily technology. Apple, P.C., and Overdone StereotypesIf you weren’t aware of it before, the elite phenomenon that is the Mac user was strongly communicated when Apple launched its “Get a Mac” campaign with a series of “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials from 2006 to 2010,...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
b2ap3_thumbnail_house-key.pngWelcome to a brand new year and brand new apartment marketing and resident retention ideas!  I think today's idea spans the gap between apartment marketing and resident retention, which I think is an interesting option.  It is also similar to a move-in gift in nature.  The general idea is having a unique key design for your residents when they move in.  It will obviously be more expensive than a standard key, but that's really a bad comparison, as it doesn't strictly serve the same purpose.  Yes, the keys both open the apartment door, but like I mentioned, the branded or unique key option is meant to make an impact like a move-in gift.  It is a conversation starter with their friends, and a reminder each time they unlock their door to the unique element of your community.  Here is an example of a uniquely-shaped key and a branded key: When thinking of it from a move-in gift concept, what do you think?...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
I attended “Prioritizing Lead Channels and Maximizing on Marketing Spend” session at the NMHC OpTech Conference, and came away with many insights I thought you all would enjoy. Ø Virginia Love, Waterton Residential:  Growing importance of tracking the visit set ratio.  This is the percent of leads that turn into a visit.  With all the discussion on cost per lead versus cost per lease, it’s interesting to see Virginia placing emphasis on this midpoint metric. Ø Lynette Hegeman, Gables Residential:  Gables finds that prospects use 5 to 7 sources to find an apartment. Ø When discussing which lead source gets “credit”, Israel Carunungan of Greystar cares most about the lead source that ultimately converts, while Virginia and Josh McDonald of Holland Residential give credit to the first source of the lead. Ø Josh noted an industry survey that reported 37% of prospect leads were not even followed up on! Ø On the subject of effectiveness of different types of leads, Virginia said that phone leads were most effective in converting to a visit, followed by online chat, and lastly email.  However, email leads were the quickest to convert, and email leads converted 4 times better if the community called the prospect rather than emailing back. Ø Josh noted that 8% of visits were attributed to mobile lead sources in 2011, but jumped to 25% in 2012.  Additionally, mobile SEM is seeing extremely strong returns with 13% of spend resulting in 33% of results. Ø Virginia shared her strong results with RentMineOnline,...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
  In Part One of this series, I encouraged those looking at starting a social media program for their communities to see if they had the right people in place to do the job right. The next step to consider is whether you have the TIME to do the job right. In other words, simply creating a Facebook page, uploading pictures from your last resident event, and writing a post to let everyone know that rent is late after the third is NOT enough. Did you know that 42% of people who complain to a company via social media channels expect a response within one hour?* According to this same survey 32% of customers expected a response within 30 minutes! Finally, did you know that 57% of people who contacted a business expected the same response time even if the company was contacted after business hours or on the weekends. People view social media very differently than other channels of communication. Social media is seen as a more accessible, organic, vibrant and interactive form of communication with a company than email or writing a letter. Social media is, well, social, so people expect that it will be like an ongoing conversation. And for many people, it is! Think about it, do you ever see anyone standing in a line anymore (especially at Starbucks) who doesn’t have their phone in hand, texting, surfing, tweeting or posting? We love the technology because it is instant! We’re instant with friends and family . ....

Posted by on in Resident Retention
Keeping all of your residents happy is the goal of every property manager, but this realistically is impossible. Often residents end up going through negative experiences whether it is by mistakes made by employees, something wrong with their apartment, or sometimes just bad management decisions—yours or someone else’s. Upset residents are quite capable of rapidly spreading the word and tarnishing the reputation of a community. Regardless of the reason, the reputation of your community can go sour when something negative is posted on an apartment review site and it becomes instantly visible in search engine results. According to the 2012 Managing Customer Experience Survey, there is a correlation between actual delivery of customer experiences and impact on brand reputation and strength. I was inspired to write this blog while returning home from a recent trip to Branson, Missouri. This is a true story of a management team that is focused on turning around their bad  reputation and making lemonade out of sour lemons!  1. Sifting Through the Mess Our family decided to start a new Thanksgiving tradition this year. Our plan was to load up into our motorhome and head for Silver Dollar City, in Branson, Missouri. The kids were really excited about the idea of enjoying the rides and the attractions at the “Old Time Christmas” festival. I was charged with locating the “perfect” campground. We had a long list of “must haves,” such as an indoor pool, free shuttle to Silver Dollar City, playground, etc. After an hour of research, I realized we had one option that fit all of...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
  Driving to work this morning the dust bowl analogy popped into my head as I reflected on the last few years in this industry.  We all felt it in one way or another.  The question remains though is that has the dust settled for us and can we see our path or process clear enough to move forward? Social media hit us just like the dust bowl.  It kind of came out of nowhere and many of us were very unprepared.  We could not tell night from day.  It made many of our business decisions very hazy and confusing.  There was so much discussion (dust) flying all over the place that it left us searching for anyone or anything that would provide a solution and a process to get through the storm and to focus on our business in general. I do believe the dust is settling.  There are far less Twitter debates.  The blog article versus blog article approach has petered out.  I have not had an apartment community “friend” me in quite some time.  There are far less opinions and a lot more action from my perspective.  It appears that the apartment industry has a solid footing and really understands that we have just been provided tools that are there to facilitate what we all want….a solid business model. So that brings us to the next question.  What’s next?  I was reading an old prediction post I wrote from back in 2010 and it gave me some great...