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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? But then emojis were showing up in all of my social media feeds. And, I’ll admit it, I got a little curious. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. So I dipped my toe in the emoji pool. A ...

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...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Dear Gabby,   Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, AND Instagram! I can’t seem to catch up with all of the social media platforms that are out there. I just started Snapchat at my community… is Instagram really necessary? I mean, what would I even post on there? Please help… I don’t want to fall behind, but I am just not the hippest gal on the block.   Sincerely, #ReluctantGrammer   _________________________________________________________________________   Dear #ReluctantGrammer,   First off, a round of applause to you for having a Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat for your community! Usually I get a lot of questions about social media in general, so it is a breath of fresh air to have someone who actually lives in the post-2004 world.   As a property manager, it’s your job to find different and fun ways to connect to your residents and perspective leads. One of those fun ways to connect is Instagram! I know it seems like a lot of different platforms but you have to think about it in that on each platform you are hitting different types of people… all of them are potential residents.   Instagram is very popular with millennials and while some of them are still living with their parents, you need to target the ones that are looking to rent. Not only that, but start getting ready for Generation Z because once they head off to college, they will be using Instagram to find off-campus housing… duh!   You should use Instagram as a place...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
  Here is a thought exercise:  Do you think your community would be positively impacted if Chris Pratt or Jennifer Lawrence lived there?  What if you could advertise that?   Here is my take:  Just like how famous stars get goodie bags of tons of free stuff, with companies hoping they will use (and showcase) their product, it would be an absolute boon to have a celebrity live at one of our properties.  Of course, the challenge is that they often own their own home, so the opportunities are not that plentiful.  But if it did happen, and it was publicized, then the value to that community would be absolutely huge.  (Let's not worry about privacy concerns quite yet)  And just like giving away a goodie bag, it would make sense to incentivize the celebrity to live at the community, with discounted rent to some degree. But since inspiring Chris Pratt or Jennifer Lawrence to live at one of our communities is likely off the table, what if we looked at the idea, just notched down a few pegs?  In the social media world, we talk about finding out who the "influencers" are, and engaging with them.  And it's true, everyday people are now using social media, youtube, etc to create VAST audiences of millions of people, even turning that fame into book deals.  Taking it to a local level, there are surely people who are influencers in that particular market who have a valuable audience.  So you have these people,...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Depending on who you ask, somewhere between 80 and 95% of all renters will go online to research potential options over the course of their search. And when you talk to those renters, many of them start their search with a search — usually on Google. (Most U.S. properties we work with today receive about 65-90% of their search traffic from Google, with the rest coming from Bing, Yahoo, and smaller search engines like DuckDuckGo.) The search engine is the modern day Yellow Pages. It’s where people go to look for … pretty much everything. So if you want to be considered as an option for those renters who are in shopping mode, you first need to be as visible as possible where they’re looking. This is why you’re should be considering or already doing some kind of search engine optimization (SEO) on your website. SEO is all about positively impacting how Google sees you site, so you’ll rank higher in the results, and presumably this will lead to more website traffic and more customers. The best way to be discovered in search is to deliver the best, most relevant answer to the question the prospect is typing (or saying) into Google. At this point, let’s pause and take a huge step back. The most important part of any marketing strategy is understanding the customer, and being able to deliver what they want when they need it. Now apply that to your search strategy: The best way to be discovered in...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
The New Year has arrived. And with it, a new set of apartment marketing challenges to face and overcome. For regional managers and people on the front lines of apartment marketing, these challenges mostly revolve around advertising costs and their respective ROIs. But with so many different apartment marketing strategies available, the first challenge is determining which ideas are worth the time. So with that in mind, we put together this list of the three strategies apartment marketers should focus on in order to sign the most leases and maximize their ROI in 2017. #1: Reputation Management Towards the end of December 2016, participants in the weekly #AptChat conversation on Twitter were asked about their main marketing resolution for 2017. The top response? Reputation! @AptChat Q1-A1: reputation! — Tara Marks (Smiley) (@tarasmiley) December 20, 2016   Unlike other methods on this list, it’s hard to really gauge the ROI of your online reputation management efforts. Sure, you know it pays to have a great reputation. But quantifying how well it pays is something else entirely. There’s no way to find out if a single 4.5 Star review directly resulted in a website visit or a lease signing. But when you look long-term, the macro trends speak for themselves. Consider, for example, that 87% of rental prospects will not rent an apartment from a community that holds less than a 3-Star rating. That’s an alarming statistic, one that should make boosting your community’s rating above the 3-Star mark a top priority. And...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
a1sx2_Cupcake marketing_Kate-Good-Marketing-Slide---Cupcakes.jpgKate Good presented her 2017 Marketing Playbook yesterday, and there were loads of great ideas shared.  One of my absolute favorites was a mix of resident appreciation, social media awareness, and outreach marketing, all in one program!  Kate's team sent out cupcakes to residents at their place of work as a way to show the residents how much they were appreciated, as well as hopefully gain some great social media mentions!  Sure enough, Sandra took a picture of herself with the cupcakes and posted the picture back to Vargos' fan page!  Mission 1 and Mission 2 accomplished! What Kate said next really struck me: See how we popped in tri-fold brochures in there too - that's also great for outreach, because you know Sandra isn't going to eat all 12 of these cupcakes.  She's going to share them with her coworkers, and we want them to know where the cupcakes came from. Mission 3 accomplished!  How great is that - resident appreciation, social media awareness, AND outreach marketing all in one program!      If you liked that tip, you can still catch Kate's full webinar with loads more ideas by going here:  Kate Good's 2017 Marketing Playbook  ...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
One thing is clear about individuals looking for space to rent today: online research. Google has become the go-to solution for most renters today and it’s become increasingly difficult for multifamily communities to stand out. So the question becomes, “what do we have to do differently to stand out? What else can we offer individuals making decisions before they ever visit the property?” The answer is: Create a virtual experience. Google understood the benefit of that experience when it created the Street-View program. Although you’re probably familiar, the Street-View program maps out most of the areas google covers on Google maps. This would allow us to walk down Hollywood Blvd. without being in Hollywood, or scope out the area around a community I’m considering moving into. It changed the way we imagined the world by virtually teleporting us to almost any location.   Now Google has begun bringing that experience indoors, allowing potential customers to experience the inside of certain spaces to experience what a real-life walk-through would be like. Potential customers can explore the interiors of buildings across residential, commercial, hospitality, and even healthcare facilities. The most popular choice is using photography, while other locations are amplifying by providing virtual tours.  Accurate listings on Google have become the standard. Simply managing your Google Business listing, although important, is not enough to compete with every other community out there. Appealing Photography and engaging Virtual Tours will help you stand apart from your competition. Experience for yourself: Live at Runway...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
Dear Gabby,  I keep hearing all of these young people talk about Snapchat. It’s hard enough for me to remember to monitor my community Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, and Pinterest. Phew.  Am I expected to understand Snapchat too? If so, how do I use it at my multifamily community? Please help!  #SnapchatNovice Dear #SnapchatNovice,  I could barely pry my son away from his phone before, but now that Snapchat is so popular, he rarely puts it down at all! That’s great news for you though -- Snapchat is huge! There are currently millions of users who use it daily. Most Snapchat users are 34 and younger, which if you recall, is currently the most popular renter age group. I’m betting that a lot of your renters fall into this age bracket. Snapchat isn’t just for sending photos of your food, it’s also a great place to focus your marketing efforts. One of the most valuable features of Snapchat is that users are able to create 24-hour stories that house photos and short videos. This means your residents will be able to engage with content that you’re posting in real time.  So, you’ve downloaded the app, now what? It’s time to start posting content that millennials will engage with. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to take selfies like all your millennial renters. There are plenty fun ways to naturally incorporate Snapchat into your marketing tactics, all while cultivating a more engaged community: Apartment Tours Let prospective residents take...