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I truly agree with this post. If you are looking to invest in real estate but don't know how to anal...

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Open ended questions are helpful tools leading up to a close. Which of the following is an open ended question?

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239748405 [{"id":"206","title":"Do you like apartment 1215?","votes":"0","pct":"0.00","type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"207","title":"When did you want to move in?","votes":"0","pct":"0.00","type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"208","title":"Is this within your budget?","votes":"1","pct":"16.67","type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"209","title":"What do you think of the open floorplan?","votes":"5","pct":"83.33","type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"] sbar 200 200 /polls/vote/77-open-ended-questions-are-helpful-tools-leading-up-to-a-close-which-of-the-following-is-an-open-ended-question No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...
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Apartment Marketing

- Blog posts tagged in Apartment Marketing

Posted by on in Property Management

As a long-time renter, I have been through many apartment showings in various countries throughout my life. Despite the fact that I have never been a leasing agent, I have a good feel for what works and what doesn't. For the most part, a rental unit will sell itself. The renter usually has an idea of what they like and what they don't. The goal of the leasing agent should be to determine a potential client's requirements and then provide options that meet or exceed those expectations. Personally, I don't like a heavy sales pitch, and from my experience, good leasing agents avoid the hard sell tactics.

Over the years, I have encountered a fair number of agents that really push a property to the point of appearing almost desperate. It made me wonder what might be wrong with the unit or the complex as a whole. To be fair, some properties are just easier to sell than others. Buildings in great locations and newly constructed apartments with quality amenities can attract renters by word-of-mouth, or, by curb appeal alone. For older, less maintained buildings and complexes that are in less-desirable neighborhoods, it can be a more difficult process to get the units leased.

Posted by on in Property Management
Where are your leads coming from?Listen in on the conversations of today’s multifamily housing industry marketers and you’re bound to be blitzed by buzz words such as “lead generation,” “social engagement,” “mobile marketing,” “website conversion” and “protecting my brand.” Multifamily housing marketing is at the forefront of the technological revolution happening in the world today because it is relies heavily on all forms of communication—the more people reached the better. Today’s fragmentation and proliferation of communication channels is mind-boggling at times.  There is a virtual explosion of options to reach your target audience that allow you to engage socially, generate leads and convert those leads to leases while building your community brand.   So how do we keep pace with this marketing revolution and not fall behind? How do we make sure we are not wasting money on tactics that don’t work? And most importantly, how do we measure the effectiveness of our marketing strategies?   A vital element to answering these questions is the process of tracking marketing sources. Simple tracking efforts are a quick and easy way to continuously gauge marketing effectiveness through snapshot measurements. The encouraging news is that there are a host of unbiased resources available that make this important effort manageable. This includes assigning a unique tracking phone number to all your marketing sources, which allows you to review, without bias, the volume of marketing leads generated by each source.  You can also contact a third-party company that will manage this process for you.  If you are not quite ready to...

Posted by on in Property Management
Call them what you will—Millennials, Gen Y, Generation Next or Echo Boomers—they are all descriptors for the next generation of renters hitting the multifamily housing industry. A key characteristic of this demographic (who were born between 1982 and 1995 and are either the children or grandchildren of Baby Boomers) is that they are the most informed prospects that you have likely ever encountered. These potential renters are approximately 80 million strong, range in age from 16-29 and are highly educated as well as technologically savvy. Before stepping foot on your actual property, they will already have a good idea of what it looks like from photos and videos online—some of which have been posted by prior or current renters, some of them possibly posted by your company. Members of this next generation know the amenities your community offers, how much rent will cost them each month and they have unprecedented access to communication with your past and present residents via various social media avenues like Facebook and Twitter. They will most likely find out about your property through the Internet by using a laptop, iPad or Android, Web-enabled mobile device like an iPhone, and even more likely, a combination of all of the above. When they come to visit, they will have specific questions based on all of the information they have gathered, and they will want amenities and features that are quite a departure from your current, standard apartment fare like Wi-Fi, cathedral ceilings, limited floor plan options and possibly...

Posted by on in Property Management
Up until a few weeks ago, we had no competition in social. Our community dominated the Twittersphere. Enter our biggest competitor. A recent change of management brought forth a more social staff. Tweets are now going out and, this time, they’re not just recycled from Facebook. After almost 2 years of research, I’ve discovered that most of our residents are using Twitter regularly so we’ve scaled back the Facebook and beefed up the Twitter. Increasing Occupancy via Twitter Mind Control starts with three ‘R’s.  This post offers insight into new mind control methods you can use in both conventional and student focused housing markets. Part 1 of the 'Increase Occupancy via Twitter Mind Control' series (seen here) will show how to search for relevant posts in your area, but it doesn’t quite go deep enough. To maintain our position as top dog, we’ve had to think outside the box. Now included in our daily searches are local events such as New Student Orientations.  You may be asking – OK, so what do I do with them once I find them? A careful balance of engagable posts, that’s what. Retweets - A ‘Retweet’ is Twitter’s version of the share button. Clicking ‘Retweet’ directly copies a user post and sends it out to your followers. It also generates a notification to the user you quoted, but the text is small so while this type of engagement is sought after by many, it’s not the most effective. Replies - Replying to a Tweet will also...

Posted by on in Property Management
If you’re an admin of a brand’s Facebook Business Page, you are relied upon to be the social media “wizard” behind the curtain that is your brand. Some brands promote transparency between their Business Page and their admins’ Facebook Profiles, while others want a clean line of separation between the two. Here are five privacy features that will help you set boundaries to achieve your desired level of privacy and how Facebook is empowering page administrators. 1. Lists: This is a great feature for community managers who interact with residents on a regular basis and who, from time to time, develop friendships.  Lists allow you to control and separate what acquaintances and colleagues see vs. what your close friends and family will see. By creating a list for each of the important groups in your life — family, teammates, coworkers, etc. — you decide who sees what you share. 2. Photos: Photos are the bread and butter of Facebook. Marketers and community managers know that a great post with an engaging photo is often times a home run. Even if you choose to allow transparency, the last thing a community manager wants is to have his or her brand’s audience member or work associates come across photos of family members or other people who have not authorized that level of visibility. To prevent this from happening, you should make a bee line to your photo settings! 3. Tagging: Not only can your friends tag you in photos, they can also tag you at...

Posted by on in Property Management
Father’s Day is around the corner and it’s a great opportunity to do something special for the Dads in your community.  Most people will want to spend the day with their children, so try one of these fun activities in the days leading up to Father’s Day. Tie Drive  It can be easy for Dads to roll their eyes at another tie for Father’s Day, but not all Dads are so lucky.  Host a Tie Drive at your apartment community to collect work clothes for those who are less fortunate.  Something as simple as a dress shirt and tie can give someone the confidence they need to go into a job interview.  Bring the entire community together by inviting other local businesses to participate and really make a difference this Father’s Day. You’re the Best, Pop Thanks to my Pinterest addiction, I have found lots of great Father’s Day crafts, including this one.  Put together gift tags that say You’re the Best, Pop!  You can get really creative with the tags and cut them into shapes like ties, basketballs or briefcases.  Then fasten the tags onto pop bottles and bags of popcorn.  Hand the snacks and drinks out for free to all of the Dads in your community this week.  Check out other fun craft ideas on my Father’s Day Pinterest board. Card Making Although gifts from your community are much appreciated, every Dad really looks forward to the homemade presents from their children.  Organize a Father’s Day card making activity...

Posted by on in Property Management
The other day, I overheard an apartment manager say, “Have you read your lease?” in answer to what, apparently, was a ridiculous request, and I thought, “This is not going to end well for the resident.  Manager wins.” Then I thought of some of the other impulsive, condescending and “shut-em down” statements routinely used to keep residents in line and get them to go away.  “Your lease clearly states…” “It’s not our policy.” And my favorite… “If I did it for you, I would have to do it for everyone, or I would be violating Fair Housing.” (Admit it, you joined me in reciting that one as you read it, didn’t you?) What?  Violating Fair Housing?  Really? I cannot think of one way any of these statements could leave a positive impact or increase resident value perception.  Please, if anyone does, do not hesitate to share.   But wait, there’s more.  “I’m sorry but,”  (you know something bad is coming the minute they say, “but”). “If it were up to me, I would do it, but I could lose my job.”  And a maintenance favorite… “Yeah, they’re all like that, and I told them we needed to replace them but it wasn’t in the budget.”  When your words and tone can be translated to, “You should know better,” or “I’m really not sorry, I’m just saying that to soften what I am about to tell you” or “This place stinks and it isn’t run well because the company is too cheap to...

Posted by on in Property Management
New Google+ Local PageThis week, Google announced the release of Google+ Local. You may have already seen how this change will affect Google+ users in general, but what does this mean for your apartment community? The change means that all Google Place pages have been replaced by new Google+ Local Pages. Additionally, Google has indicated that you'll soon have the ability to link your new Google+ Local Pages with your existing(?) Google+ Pages, resulting in one combined page that is integrated across multiple Google services (Search, Maps, Google+, etc.). Here's a look at what a Google+ Local page will look like when the transition is completed: A Richer User Experience Notice the strong emphasis on reviews, as well as the ability to "follow" the brand by adding it to your Circles. Also note the new Local search option in the left sidebar. (With a richer experience in terms of the results provided, this update arguably makes Google+ a better local search experience than Google or Google Maps.) Even if the user clicks on the business page from Google Maps, they'll be taken to the Google+ Local page now. So? Like it or not, your Google Place page just got social.  It's probably best to start considering a Google+ strategy (if you haven't already). Businesses have always had the ability to post status updates to Google Places, but the feature was buried and few businesses used it. Now, you'll have the opportunity to have your updates show up on your page, directly in the streams...

Posted by on in Property Management

Social Media is powerful—that’s pretty much recognized across the board. But a massive social following doesn’t just happen overnight (unless you're like Jeremy Lin or Madonna). Which is why it can be beneficial to promote your community’s virtual presence in the real world.

Here are 21 examples of how businesses create visibility for their social media platforms through means which are offline. Some tactics could clearly translate to the multifamily biz, others would take a bit more creativity. So to get you thinking...




Dillard’s Breezeway Billboard - In a fairly basic attempt, Dillard’s invites shoppers to get updates on special offers and events through their social media platforms, by placing a sign near the store’s entrance. Easy, simple, to the point. 

Posted by on in Property Management

NAA’s UNITS magazine published a Satisfacts Research survey in their April issue titled “All That Apply:  Residents’ Leading Marketing Sources.”  The web-based survey queried 34,000 apartment residents who had moved within the last year, asking what sources they used from a prepared list of 36 possibilities, giving the option to check up to 20 of these sources. 

A survey question like this can tell us a great deal . . . notably that shoppers are utilizing an abundance of information resources, not surprising for most of us.

But does it really tell us that “Drive-by/signage” is the “leading” source, or that social media is “rarely used”?

Doug Miller, President of Satisfacts, was quite gracious in spending time with me over the phone recently to discuss the methodology behind the survey.  Here’s what I learned, and what you should also know:

·      Survey question:  “When you rented at your community, what sources of information did you use to find out about the community?  Check all that apply, up to 20.” 

·      The list of sources was a simple list, no clarification or further explanation provided

·      There were 15 Internet sources listed under the heading “Internet”, as in “Internet – Apartments.com”, “Internet – Property Website/Portal” and so on.  But many sources were omitted, like RentMineOnline.com, Oodle.com, ApartmentList.com, RentSocial.com and many others that carry apartment content. 

·      Similarly, all print publication sources were listed with an “Apt Guide” heading . . . “Apt Guide – For Rent”, “Apt Guide – Apartment Guide”, “Apt Guide – Apartment Finder” and “Apt Guide – Other”.  While those of us in the industry can muddle through that one, would the typical apartment resident be confused?  As one of the provider names is the same as the heading (Apartment Guide), it is easy to imagine that there was some respondent error here.

·      Facebook was included as one of the “Internet” choices, as well as Twitter and MySpace (really?), but other social media sites were not listed – like Pinterest, community or management company blogs and other sources where the industry has seen a great deal of activity.   

·      ApartmentRatings.com was included as an “Internet” source, but not Yelp.com or the many other ratings & reviews options we see the consumer utilizing.

·      There’s nothing at all in the survey about Mobile as a source – and that means none of the many apps and mobile sites were taken into consideration.  As mobile is the fastest-growing digital resource, this is a big missing component.

So, back to my original question:  Does the survey really tell us that drive-by/signage is the “leading” source?  Just my opinion, but don’t most of us drive a neighborhood we’re thinking about living in?  And while that helps us to know if the geography is right, does it really help a consumer narrow down the specific apartment community they want to take a look at? 

Also, with over 80% of Americans now using the Internet (via their desktops, laptops, smart phones and every other digital device with internet connectivity), and over half of Americans purchasing on line, does it really follow that the highest percentage any Internet provider garnered in the survey (Rent.com) was only 14.1%?  It just doesn’t add up.

Speaking of “adding up,” I saw a recent communiqué where one marketing provider was totaling their print and Internet percentages from this survey to come up with their “share” of usage.  Not so fast – since the survey asked respondents to “check all that apply,” there is overlap in the percentages; totaling is completely erroneous, as the same respondents checked multiple sources. 

As a long-time industry supplier with many years in the marketing arena, it troubles me that some readers might misunderstand these survey results, and that other marketing experts in the field are using the information inappropriately.  Shouldn’t we really be asking (in addition to a more precise usage survey) what sources are meaningful or most helpful?  What type of information is critical in making a decision on where to rent?  How important are ratings/reviews and friend’s recommendations in making your decision?  It seems to me that those questions would give us much more insightful, actionable answers.

I'd love to know your thoughts!