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Loveable Features and Amenities

InfographicThumbnail2  When thinking about what renters want while apartment searching, it’s natural to assume floor plans, costs and location. These factors are instrumental in the decision-making process, and are impactful points for marketing. However, what about the smaller details that also affect decisions?   Prospects are going to review multiple locations within a radius that have similar structural and proximity offerings within their price range. When marketing, know what additional benefits your community has to offer that sets you apart from your competitors.   For Rent Media Solutions™ surveyed renters nationwide for insight on their search habits, communication style, and amenities and features.  The white paper shares the full survey findings, but for now, let’s focus on the small details: amenities and features.   Amenities:   Of course there are standard amenities that are common necessities, but what about the other amenities? The survey unveiled some interesting amenities that renters would like to have in their apartments.   The top amenity renters requested is a recycling center. There is a growing green movement that promotes an eco-friendly lifestyle.  With this, more people are recycling, utilizing reusable items and maximizing their carbon footprint by not driving as much. Having a recycling center location offers a lot of benefits including appealing to the “green thinking” renters as well as showcasing a unique amenity for marketing. Don’t have a recycling center? Consider creating a document that lists the recycling centers closest to the apartment community, then send that to your residents.   The other two top amenities are a p......
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Defining 'Word of Mouse'

Defining 'Word of Mouse'

 

You may be familiar with W.O.M. marketing, also known as ‘word of mouth,’ but what about the new W.O.M.? There’s a buzz word going around, and it’s catching on quickly. As a matter of fact, you may have even heard of it. The term is ‘word of mouse.’ This term is used to describe online communications and the overall internet delivery tactics of a message. ‘Word of mouth’ marketing started from conversational brand promotion, so the natural transition from ‘mouth’ to ‘mouse’ occurred as more interactions happen online, especially in the tech-savvy, multifamily industry. Wordspy defines ‘word of mouse’ as:

n. Communication via computer-based means, such as e-mail, chat rooms, or newsgroups. Also: word-of-mouse. —adj.(http://www.wordspy.com/words/wordofmouse.asp)

‘Word of mouse’ can be used to describe how you deliver your community’s message to multiple online mediums:

· Community website

· Facebook posts

· Internet listings

· Twitter

· Pinterest boards

· Email

The term also includes any online interaction that involves your community’s brand that you may not have initially started. This interaction can include: online mentions, Facebook posts, tweets, reviews and more. Similar to the message distribution techniques of ‘word of mouth’ marketing, ‘word of mouse’ is a streamlined method to deliver a message quickly, as well as build your community’s presence online.

 

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Reputation Management - Do You Know Your Story?

Reputation Management: Do you know your story? Everyone has a story. Your story combines your company’s history, mission statement, brand and vision. As a professional in the multifamily industry, you’ve worked diligently to build and maintain the best story for your community. With print marketing, you can deliver and control your community’s story in a light that favors your company’s mission and value proposition to your prospective renters. Online marketing, on the other hand, requires not only sharing, but frequent monitoring your community story. Once your brand story is online, what’s next? Online marketing opens the doors to conversational, ‘word of mouse’ promotions and mentions. Through reputation management, your community can protect, promote and enhance your brand, as well as your overall community’s story. Remember: “It takes years to build a reputation and only seconds to destroy it.” – Neil Thompson, Divestco Inc. There are four key areas to monitor for reputation management. These areas will help provide a comprehensive understanding on how consumers interpret and share your community story online. 1 – Visibility The first area to focus on for reputation management is your overall online visibility. You need to know where you are listed online; including search engines, local review sites and web directories like ApartmentRatings.com and ApartmentReviews.net. Many websites list a community, then anticipate the property manager will find the community listing and approve or edit it. Approving your listings and tracking where you are online helps ensure your brand message stays consistent throughout the web and increases your search engine opti......
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Be Viewed and Reviewed

Your time to shine through online video and reputation management Consumer trends continue to support the desire for interactive marketing and peer suggestions.  There are 183 million people in the United States watching online videos and over one billion active users on Facebook. These growths in internet interactive mediums show consumers not only like a diverse media mix, they have come to expect it. Online videos, combined with customer reviews, help feed the craving for online interaction. Consider using these two methods for increasing leads and online exposure. Be Viewed: The importance of video There are 183 million people in the U.S. watching videos online (Source: UAP, Inc., May 2012). Multifamily communities have a unique opportunity to expand brand awareness by creating videos to help distribute property information in a fun, visually appealing way. One of the main benefits of online video marketing is YouTube. YouTube is the second largest search engine, so be sure to have creative descriptions for your videos to help with searches. Another benefit to online videos is the increased SEO you receive now that search engines index them. While a community tour video is beneficial, also consider including testimonial videos in your prospecting efforts. The confidence built from the visual delivery of your message will help potential renters understand why you are their ideal apartment community. Be Reviewed: Cultivate your reputation Peer recommendations still prove to be a strong influence on how people make decisions, with social media outlets being the main form of sharing. Consumers......
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Is Your Community FLAWSOME?

No person or brand is perfect, and fortunately today’s consumers—or in our case, residents—understand that while we strive for perfection, it is sometimes hard to reach.  Now before any apprehension sets in, as we know you deal with resident complaints and work orders every day, let us explain. Although no community is perfect and incidents do happen, hiding or avoiding flaws can actually be detrimental to your relationships with residents.  According to TrendWatching.com, “Human nature dictates that people have a hard time genuinely connecting with, being close to or really trusting other humans who (pretend to) have no weaknesses, flaws or mistakes – don’t assume brands are any different.”  Basically, if something goes awry, address the issue, keep your residents in the loop, share your plans to fix it and, if possible, provide solutions to prevent it from happening again—all in your most human-like tone even if you are communicating it through a computer.  This is called being flawsome. Flaw∙some [flaw-suhm] adjective: Marketing trend and term coined by TrendWatching.com that describes a brand that is embraced and respected by consumers despite having flaws. Being more accepted as a brand by consumers for being “human” and transparent. Being a transparent brand that has flaws, knows it has these flaws and owns them! Now don’t misinterpret this resident sentiment.  Being flawsome does not mean getting away with more and doing less now—residents’ unwavering expectations and standards are still set very high.  Being flawsome comes with still trying to meet these expectations to the best of your ability, but when the......
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Apparently, There’s an App for Everything, But Which Are the Most Appealing?

App Facebook Survey Results

 

As smartphone ownership increased from 3.2 percent of mobile subscribers in 2006 to 44 percent in 2011 (Nielsen 2012), so has the demand for phones to act as a multipurpose tool for entertainment, socializing, shopping and everyday life in general.  Smartphones now provide freedom from needing multiple tools on hand at any given time, as creatively pointed out by a recent cellphone provider’s commercial, through the development of application software, more commonly known as “apps.”  Not only has the variety of options increased, so has the technology and functionality in apps.  This advancing technology can be seen through numerous application offerings including the ForRent.com that not only allows renters to search for the perfect apartment in the palm of their hand, but they can also utilize the augmented reality function that allows them to view their current location through the camera of their smartphone with a “layer” showing all of the available apartments on ForRent.com within a 10-mile radius.

 

With more than 600,000 apps to choose from in Apple’s iTunes Store alone (Mobile Marketing Watch), we wondered which are the most popular and how they stack up.  Since mobile mania is well underway, we provided some reviews on our favorite apps and most recommended apps for work and play.  

 

To start, we gathered recommendations from renters by asking our Facebook friends which app is their favorite. More than 80 different comments came back in one day, all confirming the latest national statistics.  Here is what we found from our survey:

App Facebook Survey Results

 

 

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Win Gold with Residents on Facebook

OlympicsThe summer Olympics are in full swing, and it’s always amazing to watch the world’s top athletes compete at the pinnacle of their sports. Their drive, talent and dedication are inspiring to anyone who watches them.  In fact, when you stop to think about it, inspiration is a powerful ingredient for nearly all successful endeavors. Olympic athletes were surely inspired by the great athletes before them and that has fueled their success. Why should your Facebook marketing efforts be any different? This edition of Social Fuel provides a three-step guide to improve your marketing efforts by inspiring your residents.   Step #1 – Be VisualOne of the reasons the Olympics are incredibly inspirational is because you’re able to watch the events unfold right before your eyes. Watching a gymnast nail a landing after an incredibly difficult vault, or a swimmer gliding through the water to take the lead on the last lap are truly inspiring. Facebook, too, is an extremely visual medium. Residents and potential residents visit your page to watch videos and view photos. Each visit is a significant opportunity for you to grab their attention and inspire. Two tips to ensure that you’re visually inspiring your audience are: • Keep it short and sweet. Facebook videos that are shorter than 30 seconds tend to receive more ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’. If an Olympic gymnast can inspire in seconds with one terrific vault, so can you. • Leverage the inspiration of others. Sites like Pinterest are a great source of inspiring imagery.......
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You Have to Give to Get

Resident retention and serving customers is always at the forefront of every leasing agent and property manager’s mind for obvious reasons. Many times, someone in this position struggles to find new ways to keep residents happy, renew leases and recruit new prospects.  If you find yourself running out of steam, here are five ways to re-energize. 1. Incentivize:  Nothing grabs one’s attention more than a call to action. Providing your residents with a tangible reward as the result of participation in community events or polls is important. It helps build relationships with your residents. 2. Recognize: Everyone loves a shout-out and pat on the back. Recognition is not only empowering but it’s a great way to turn your residents into brand ambassadors. Most residents love to reciprocate the shout-out, which gives your community free exposure. Start a “Resident of the Week” campaign on Facebook and tag your residents in your posts if they permit. 3. Apologize: No one’s perfect. The constant juggling act that is managing a large community may result in some things being overlooked. If you accidentally let something slip through the cracks, apologize for the delayed response. 4. Publicize:  Making your brand known on various social networks portrays you as being socially savvy to prospects. Participate in Twitter chats and on other social sites to help establish a brand presence. 5. Customize:  Adopt the idea that you’re not just selling apartments, you’re selling a lifestyle. Attention to detail and customizing your prospect’s experience is vital to winning business and retaining residents. Appeal to the senses. If you have one, make sure the clubhouse is smelling......
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Are You Measuring Up in Marketing?

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......
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The Boom of the Next Generation of Renters

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......
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