Great point, Brent! That's also where AFPOE can be helpful. Responses which come off like "because...
Wendy Dorchester
Hire for culture, train for skill! Love this. Jared, you have always emulated great culture in every...
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Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
A super-fantabulous 7 minute recap of the Futurist key-note speaker from AIM 2017.  Rohit Bhargara, trend creator extraordinaire gave us not only a glimpse into future trends, but showed us how to curate them.  Well-known for maxims such as “Big Ideas Don’t Work” and “Most Trend Predictions Fail”, Bhargara teaches a framework for discovering and testing trend creation and putting the insights to work in a profitable way.  Sharing 8 of the Top Trends, attendees were on the edge of our seats, and we were not disappointed.  Better yet, we left motivated on how to think differently about ideas and current trends. Industry Leaders, we are in a believability crisis.  See through the noise; find the ideas that have meaning.  Teach yourself to spot ideas and make them trends.  Accelerate the ideas.    The TOP 8 trends for the next year.  Here is how they produced the trends: a.       Gather- save interesting ideas b.       Aggregate the data c.       Name the trend d.       Elevate e.       Prove TOP 8 TRENDS: Virtual Empathy- people want to understand the process.  They want to feel, touch, see everything- during all milestones.  This makes them feel connected.  Bring them into the story. Use VR, AR, and Mixed Reality to take people behind the scenes- Video is a big tool for this.  Fierce Femininity- YEAH! Take a stand and make a statement where you can.  Women are strong, hardworking, inspiring and fierce.  No longer seen as pretty girls. Passive Loyalty- these days, people choose convenience unless they are...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing

Are you a Starbucks fan? Do you make frequent Target runs? Do you have other favorite local or national brands you regularly seek out? I’m guessing the answer is yes.

Now, imagine that every Starbucks and Target location had a different name on the door.

Instead of Starbucks, what if your neighborhood location was named Buckhead Java Reserve or Espresso House at The Woodlands, both with tiny “Proudly managed by Starbucks Coffee” decals on the front door?

Instead of Target, what if your local store was called Shoppers Pointe of Arlington, with “A unique shopping experience by Target Brands, Inc.” at the bottom of their emails and weekly circulars?

Do you think you’d trust these brands as much as you trust Starbucks or Target now? If you went to a different location on the other side of town or in a new city, do you think you’d have the same brand association (whatever association that may be)?

My guess is probably not.

You trust these brands because, regardless of where you are, you pretty much already know what kind of experience to expect before you even walk in the door. Sure, you might prefer the local coffeehouse, but you have a go-to Starbucks order in mind if you’re running errands across town or running through an airport.

That consistency in experience helps to build trust. Trust builds confidence. Confidence increases the likelihood that you’ll come back and become a repeat customer.

Yet when we look at how apartment communities are marketed, we often see the exact opposite approach.

Every community is marketed with its own unique name, vibe, and character. Each property gets its own logo, brand identity, and story. There’s often little or no connection to the property owner or management company and the other local apartment buildings/communities that those companies offer.

This serves to make a highly fragmented market only that much more so. It makes shopping for an apartment a painfully difficult experience for the customer, and it increases apartment marketers’ reliance on third-party marketplaces (Craigslist and ILS sites like Apartments.com and Zillow), aggregators, and locators to get in front of new renter prospects.

Let's Market The Way Customers Shop

In short, the way we market apartments often directly opposes how customers are used to shopping. This simultaneously reduces the reach of each apartment community’s “brand value” and increases the amount each community needs to spend on advertising to stand out in the marketplace.

Rather than (or maybe in addition to) trying to build a unique brand for each asset, it’s time that apartment marketers invest in their brands beyond the individual properties. Think about how you can be recognized at the neighborhood or regional level, and look at ways to reach more people well before they ever fully understand which properties are yours.

We call this approach Portfolio Leasing. It's not at all a new idea. But with the digital tools you have available to you today, there are whole new ways to put the customer first in your marketing. Here's why we think it's a perfect fit for multifamily.

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Typing On Laptop.jpgThe possibilities with email marketing have come a long way.  Greater functionality and the plethora of automated email marketing platforms represent an apartment marketer’s fantasyland.  However, just because more is possible, doesn’t mean multifamily operators are using email marketing more effectively. Research we conducted a couple years ago (that we are in the process of currently updating) shows that very few operators are effectively using emails as a marketing tactic. In fact, surprisingly few use it at all, so “Tip #0” is that you should have an organized email re-marketing campaign. Tip #1: Be Sure You Have A Strong, Actionable Subject Line You should spend almost as much time creating a strong subject line as you do creating the content for your email.  Your subject line is the most important aspect of your email.  If it’s not strong, then the email is less likely to get opened; and of course, if the email isn’t opened then nothing else matters. There are four components to a strong headline: It’s action oriented It’s concise It’s clear It aligns with the content Tip #2: Tell a Story Too many multifamily emails sound like a boring MLS listing, filled with lists of attributes and amenities.  The problem is that your competitors have lists, too, so you’re not standing out at all. Besides, lists are boring. Stories are so much more interesting. And they don’t have to be a lot of words. Pictures tell stories, sometimes much better than words. The point is to create the mental picture...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Renters use on average three or more sources for information during their search. While most multifamily marketers are aware of this, they continue to use a simplistic lead attribution model that assumes renters are making decisions based on a single source of information.   Marketers may be using this model because it’s easy or because they believe that in the end it doesn’t appear to matter if you assign a lead to the first source or the last source—the results are the same. The problem isn’t necessarily that single source attribution is inaccurate, it’s that this model is incomplete.   Making decisions based on incomplete information can result in poor investment choices or missed revenue opportunities. That’s why many industries outside of multifamily have implemented multi-touch attribution models. According to the AdRoll Performance Marketing Report, “75 percent of marketers find attribution critical or very important to marketing success and nearly 60 percent reported that they plan to take the definitive step of changing their attribution model in 2017.”   The move to multi-touch attribution has empowered marketers to show, in quantifiable and indisputable terms, their impact on revenue. This has flipped the marketing paradigm. In tech-savvy companies, marketing is now viewed as a revenue producer rather than a cost center.   Not only can this kind of closed-loop revenue reporting give marketing leaders a seat at the executive table, it also offers increased visibility into what influences pipeline and revenue creation.   Optimized marketing spend. Multi-touch attribution delivers transparency into which...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
I have been in Multifamily for 13 (Gasp!) years now starting as a leasing agent, and working through many positions along the way. I am currently a proud Senior Property Manager for Artcraft Management in Virginia. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I LOVE Multifamily and I LOVE what we do and I LOVE to learn.    I'm so excited to be headed out to California in May to attend the AIM (Apartment Internet Marketing) conference to learn about ways to do all of the above. I have been dreaming about this conference for years now!   In an industry where we are more and more dominated by everything internet based, we need to find ways to adapt, ways choose the right methods, and ways to integrate and roll out new and changing software.    In looking at the agenda, I'm sure I'm going to leave with more than my brain can comprehend in 3 days. But let me tell you, I'm going to try.   Digital Storytelling, Artificial Intelligence in Apartment Marketing, Persuasive Communication, and Becoming a Data Obsessed Marketer will fill day 1.    Digital Storytelling? There has to be new ways to use the sites and social media outlets we already utilize to really tell, or work our community story and I'm sure this session will lead me to understand how.   A Renter Focus Group, The Evolution of CRM, a Yelp Data session, and Nurturing a Strong Sales Culture are on the docket for day 2.    I am especially excited to...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Model-Home-Sign-IMG_4614.JPGWhen my family gets together for a weekend, we often tour model homes to see what builders are doing with new construction.  One of the model homes this past trip used cards throughout the house that featured amenities and highlight the benefits of living at that house.  I absolutely love that idea, and we have seen it applied in model apartments, as well.  But with any idea, bad execution can make a good concept a joke!  Let's dig into these cards and see how these mistakes can, and do, happen in apartment communities. To give some context, these cards were found in a model home close to 4,000 square feet in size.  Let's dissect this first one:  It's important that all marketing is contextual.  In other words, marketing that works for a Class C property may never work for a Class A property.  So if we are talking about a 4,000 square foot house, having a large master closet (in this market) is an absolute given.  Highlighting features that all other comparable properties have makes absolutely no sense, and frankly, just highlights the lack of interesting features in your own property.  This is the same as apartment communities boasting that they have a resort-style pool or a fitness center when every one of their comps does, as well. Second, I would imagine that this marketing is really susceptible to insulting someone.  On this I could be wrong, as I'm not a woman, but it just seems so - is sexist the...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Multifamily owners and operators often look at technology purely as a set of tools that can generate more revenue and increase the efficiency of operations.   In that quest for increased revenue and cost efficiencies, marketers often overlook one key element— the human experience. When technology works seamlessly and intuitively for customers, it can both make and save money for the developer.   In fact, according to PwC’s annual Digital IQ Survey, 82 percent of top-performing companies pay attention to the human experience surrounding digital technology. These companies recognize that the human experience is essential to helping a company become a top performer.   Imagine what apartment marketers can accomplish by taking this action with their offerings. An improvement of the human experience with regard to the prospective renter journey could generate increased leads that are of higher quality.   It’s easier for prospects to find information Property managers who pay attention to the human experience when utilizing technology make it easy for prospective renters to get the information they need, make a decision and fill out a guest card. This includes making contact information easy to find and featuring real-time pricing and availability for communities alongside their listings.   When applying an unrelenting eye to the problems that plague renters, it quickly becomes apparent that users will search everywhere to find the information that matters to them. For example, a prospect may want information on nearby schools, but if the schools in the area are not highly rated, property management...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
I was against emojis at first. After all, I am a writer and editor. I know the power of the written word and grammar. (In fact, a missing Oxford comma could end up costing a company $10 million. Seriously. Grammar is important.) Also, I am not a 12-year-old girl anymore, thank god. Anyway. Why write with pictures when you could use actual words? OK, sometimes you need to show you’re joking, so a colon and parenthesis works as a smiley face. Right? Read on for the whole blog. ...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Property managers who rely on curb appeal and referral marketing may get some leads that way, but a better marketing strategy requires a multi-pronged approach. Capture the attention of prospective tenants with a tried-and-true strategy for generating more leads. Here are five components to a balanced and effective approach: Identify your target audience. Research community demographics, as well as those of your current tenants. Know your target market so you can choose marketing channels that will reach them. Market the features they want. Once you know who you’re talking to, you’ll better understand what they want in a rental property. Play up those features your prospective renters want in all your communications for more effective messaging. Ask web visitors for contact information. Any great website is only as effective as its calls to action. You can build conversion points into various elements of your site: a “contact us” form, a survey, a newsletter subscription, or even an online application. Ask for a prospect’s information, or they may just keep browsing. Maximize your message potential. After you’ve identified your audience and their preferred marketing channels, it may take some tweaking to find just the right mix for your property. While Baby Boomers need more face-to-face time, Gen Yers might prefer Facebook Live interactions. Diversify your mix to get the message across. Remain consistent and measure results. In order for a lead-generation strategy to work, you must commit and follow through. Monitor the results—ask people where they heard about your rental property—to see what’s...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Developing a brand identity that encourages customers to form a personal connection with your product is one of the most important steps in securing a sale. This is especially true in the multifamily industry, where residents need to be fully confident that your apartment is their best option before they commit to a lease. A relationship such as this one is built on one fundamental element: trust. But how do you build trust with a potential resident before they even walk into the leasing office? When building trust, your biggest asset actually comes from your current and former residents. Not surprisingly, consumers trust the opinions of others more than what companies say about themselves, and the influence and input of others is crucial in the decision-making process. This concept, called social proof, reveals that we are psychologically programmed to learn from others to prevent making potentially detrimental decisions. One of the primary ways customers learn information about a product or service, second-most only to information directly from the company itself, is from what they hear from others. Therefore, it is incredibly important for potential residents to see your apartments through the experience of current or former residents. In a digital marketing campaign, the best way to do this is through user-generated content. User-Generated Content Marketing Others’ opinions and experiences with a company have become so influential in a brand’s publicity strategy that an entirely new branch of marketing has developed to account for it. User-generated content marketing (UGC), or consumer-generated content...