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The One Amenity That Never Goes Out of Style

In the property and hospitality line, there is a constant rush to have the latest and trendiest amenities, from urban staples such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and business lounges – to more recent, trendy options such as creator studios, infrared saunas, and salt rooms. Yet amid all these investments into amenity space, another crucial yet often overlooked amenity is neglected – the service that occurs within these spaces. While creating space is all about size, square footage, and built-up area, service is what takes an environment from simply being “space” to being a “place”. “What’s the difference?” you may ask. Space is simply an area that may be available for use but may be unoccupied. A place is where people go to with a clear intent and purpose in mind – an area used and designated for specific experiences – just like how many cozy coffee shops have turned retail space into a “Third Place” for many people in between work and home. Service is what takes an environment from simply being “space” to being a “place”. Service is what makes the difference between a common noun and a proper noun – a subtle nuance, yes, but isn’t nuance what makes all the difference in tipping a brand’s scale? My partner Amy Blitz and I have worked on numerous amenity consulting projects and one of the first questions we are usually asked is about what kinds of new amenities renters, residents, and guests are looking for. Without hesitation, the first answer on our lips is usually – service. We believe t......
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Setting Expectations and Supporting Your Marketing Team for Success

  As you learned in part one of this two-part series, “Building and Leading a High-Performance Marketing Team,” you need to structure your team for success, building accountability and transparency into the process.   Once you have established the ground rules for your team, you need to be sure that each member contributes to the best of their ability and that everything runs smoothly. This includes recognizing achievements on an individual and team basis, establishing a clear mission and goals for the team, communicating effectively with team members, and creating opportunities for professional development and growth.   Recognition and advancement. You can’t lead a high-performance team without incentivizing performance. If everyone is treated the same regardless of output, you’re going to cultivate a culture of mediocrity. That’s why it’s important to offer strong incentives for high performers.   Verbal recognition in front of the team, division meetings and in front of senior leadership. Give credit where credit is due. Additionally, encourage every team member to recognize their coworkers—it shouldn’t just come from leadership. This recognition builds collaboration and appreciation into your team culture. Offer non-pay incentives, such as extra time off, additional remote working days, happy hours/team events and gifts to reward exceptional performance. Advancement is critical. You’re not going to keep strong performers if you don’t actively grow them into their next role. Every person on your team should have specific career goals. You should know those goals, whether they are short or long term, and you should actively look to advance each......
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Get Ready Multifamily, It's Time for Generation Z

Yes, it’s true. . . just when we were getting the hang of Millennials, Generation Z is upon us. To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the multifamily industry is the broad range of our clientele across the generations. Where else do you serve such a diverse group of target customers with something so personal and primal as the very home and community in which they live? With each new generation we face the challenge of blending what is important to the current generations we serve while simultaneously renewing our physical product and supporting services to attract and appeal to the new generation coming of age. Recently, I’ve spent some time researching the various statistics and opinions of what makes Generation Z unique and how that is expected to influence their behavior as consumers in the future. To that end, I offer the following few simple thoughts and takeaways of what it means for our industry to begin preparing now for what is to come. There are varying statistical references as to the precise makeup and definition of Generation Z. For the most part, it is agreed Gen Z consists of all those born in 1995 and thereafter. According to Forbes in 2015, this generation made up 25% of the U.S. population. They contribute an estimated excess of $44 billion to the economy and are further expected to grow to a full third of the U. S. population by 2020. This makes them a larger generation than both the Millennials and the Baby Boomers before them. As the first of Gen......
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Building and Leading a High-Performance Marketing Team

The digital age continues to transform the way people consume information and make buying decisions. The traditional way of structuring and leading marketing teams isn’t compatible with this transformation. Organization, staff competencies and project collaboration must evolve to maximize performance and efficiency. In the first half of a two-part series, we will look at how to structure a marketing team for success. In the second half, we will cover how leadership can set expectations and support team members.   Structuring for success. It starts with structure. A lot of marketing teams today are structured around specific channels. For example, you might have someone who is dedicated to PR, another person dedicated to digital or email and third who only works on social. This leads to a lot of silos where team members run into each other rather than working alongside each other to accomplish department goals.   Today’s omnichannel buyer journey requires organization around marketing process. For example, the creation of core pillars for demand generation (revenue-focused messaging; marketing operations, including execution and technology management; and customer experience, including post-sale onboarding, adoption and retention efforts) is a process-driven approach to team organization. Each team is responsible for a part of the marketing process to engage prospective buyers, operationalize messaging across channels to those buyers, and ensure adoption and retention post-sale. All team members can focus but also have insight into the bigger picture. This ensures the team is taking an audience-centric approach so that each initiative is effective at achieving core......
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LEASING TIPS AND DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP!

LEASING TIPS AND DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP!
  Leasing Tips & How To Follow Up’s: With so many online, social media, and other software’s out there now, how do you keep up with it all? Start out by keeping an inbox folder on your email identified as Online Leads. You will have all ILS and email leads centralized for reference if needed. One of the largest parts of your online presence will be how and where your community is presented. The largest part of your leasing tool kit is your People, Product, and Perception. Even down to the vendor who hosted a resident or staff party or luncheon.  You get your leads via email, or by looking on your ILS sites. First things first, enter them into your system. Don't wait!!! Again, I repeat DON'T WAIT! Enter them as a prospect by their online or email requests you will potentially know what their name is, their email, phone number, what size apartment they are looking for in addition to their price range. If their phone number is listed, guess what… they want you to call them! Call them from your office phone and not your cell. It takes out the confusion and prevents liabilities.    Smile when You Dial!  Smiling when you are dialing a phone number or answering a call, puts you in the mood to consult! Smile when you dial that phone number. At this point your greatest priority is to schedule a time for the prospective resident to see your community! Remember you are in control of th......
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Is Your Multifamily Brand Delivering on the Customer Experience?

What do the world’s most successful modern product and service brands have in common?  What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it advanced technology? A superior or entirely unique product offering? Maybe a new and innovative approach to world peace? Or, is it something more fundamental. . . something more inherently tied to the human factor. . . . perhaps, just perhaps. . . could it be a focus on the customer experience? “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” ~ Jeff Bezos If you’ve even remotely followed customer service trends over the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the growing dominance of the term “customer experience” in business publications, blog posts, and trend analyses. While “customer service” is primarily centered on a single or small series of transactions and customer touchpoints, the “customer experience” encompasses the entire past, present, and future customer interaction from both the physical and the psychological perspectives. In other words, it’s not just about the quality of the products and services consumed along the way, but equally about the customer’s lasting emotional impression from the culmination of the entire relationship and how that impression impacts brand promotion and future business. The major brands have not just driven their own success, they have effectively reshaped the face of business and elevated consumer expectations for all businesses to a whole new level. They have done so not just through pioneerin......
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Marketing Automation Crucial to Increasing Revenue for Multifamily Communities

Asking an onsite team to track, nurture and follow up on leads without the use of technology is an exercise in futility. Staff simply do not have the time or resources for efficient lead management.   This is particularly true in the digital age. Renters expect immediate engagement through digital, mobile-based mediums. In fact, 88% of renters want to be reached via email, and 50% want to be texted.   The role of marketing automation in effective lead management. Many view marketing automation as a tool that only benefits marketers. In actuality, marketing automation is critical in the implementation of effective, best-in-class lead management. As such, it benefits leasing teams just as much as marketers.   Because marketing automation helps align leasing and marketing teams around a centralized database of renter information and integrated processes, both teams can work together to attract, engage and convert leads to leases. Leasing agents can spend more time on prequalified leads, closing leases instead of following up on leads that are premature. Then, not-yet-ready leads can instead be funneled into an automated marketing program designed to nurture renter interest until they’re further along in their search process and ready to engage with leasing. This approach creates efficiency across the entire funnel, accelerating demand and conversion.   Marketers who leverage marketing automation are more successful at generating a steadier stream of active leads for leasing. Additionally, this approach can improve conversion ratios by two to three times. Higher conversion rates mean greater spend efficiency and revenue c......
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Is Traditional Outreach Marketing Dead?

The subject of outreach marketing and the part it plays in common day marketing at the site level, came up in a group discussion during the 2017 NAA Education Conference and Expo.  There were many opinions and all agreed that things have changed. Delivering fliers to your surrounding businesses or taking pens to local businesses.  Are we gaining any leases from the same things that used to work so well to reach qualified prospects for our communities? Has social media, Google advertising and drip campaigns made traditional outreach marketing efforts pointless?  In our current advertising climates and the “Going Green” programs, does it make sense to keep bringing fliers or sending direct mailers any longer?  Digital marketing has taken the marketing industry by storm.  While print marketing still holds power within the industry, it’s the digital marketing trends that are proving to hold precedence.  Per Forbes, “Web Strategies reported that in 2016 the five digital channels that saw large gains were email marketing, social media, online display advertising, mobile marketing and search.’  You’re likely wondering what this year’s growing marketing trends will be.  After all, the internet and all its trends are constantly changing and what was a marketing powerhouse last year could very well be old news this year. Live Video Streaming will take off fully this year.  Facebook and Instagram have already integrated live video capabilities and other platforms are anticipated to follow suit.  Live Video, even when watching a previously recorded version, has the potential to draw in millions of p......
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How to Build a Future-Proof Marketing Technology Stack

Renters rely on internet listing services (ILSs), social media, online reviews, community websites and in-person tours during their search for a new home. In this real-time digital age, multifamily marketers must allocate resources to software and tech tools that can help them manage the entire renter lifecycle, not just the acquisition of leads.   This starts with building a future-proof marketing technology stack.   A Customer Relationship Management System A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the first, and arguably most important, type of software that apartment communities should implement. A CRM creates a comprehensive database of renter data, including lifestyle, demographic, preference and past rental data.   Managing your customer information with a robust CRM can lead to more targeted and effective marketing campaigns. Targeting based on these insights can help you better resonate with your audience and increase your closing ratios. For example, rather than sending a mass-marketing email about the pet-friendly features of your community to someone who doesn’t own a pet, your team can target only those who have shown interest in pet amenities.   A Marketing Automation System Once you’ve got a centralized CRM in place, you’ll want to integrate it with a marketing automation system.   Marketing automation software is a necessary tool within modern marketing organizations. It provides a centralized way for marketers to manage renter communications for their entire portfolio and across a multitude of online and offline channels. It also tracks online behavioral data. Marketers can use this data as an additional layer......
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How to Increase Your Google Map Rankings for Your Apartment

Google Maps for ApartmentsRanking in the local map pack can be super challenging at times. Especially when you’re in a very competitive metro area like Los Angeles or Atlanta. How can your community stand out among the rest of the apartments on Google Maps? Here are a few ideas: Increase the number of images on your Google Maps Listing Increase the number of positive reviews on your Google Maps Listing Increase your Google Hang Time on your Google Maps Listing       Increase Images: This is an easy one. Most G Listings that take the top spots usually have about 20 to 40+ images uploaded into their Google Listing. If you can get close to this number of photos uploaded you should be in a good position. Increase Positive Reviews: This is easier said than done, I know. However, with a great Survey Product you can survey your residents after a successful move-in or work order to get them to leave a review while you have their attention. Send residents a 1 question survey and if they leave 3 stars or less, it stays internal and anything 4 stars and above, the user gets prompted to leave a review on Google! Increase Your Google Hang Time: This item can get a little pricey but well worth the investment. Working with a Certified Google 360 Company is key. If you can have your 3d tour completed and added to your Google listing this will help increase the amount of time users spend on your Google l......
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