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EQ Meets Reputation Management

There’s only one thing worse than getting berated by a resident on site – getting berated on a review site.  When words are put on paper, they’re much more powerful than when they’re said to us in the heat of the moment. That’s because we can say something we don’t mean much more easily than we can write. When we write it, we probably mean it.  That’s what makes multifamily reputation management so hard for anybody who works for an organization they love and believe in. The moment you read a negative review from an angry resident, you feel it to your core, whether you were involved in the situation or not. You might feel angry, annoyed, hurt, sad, confused or any other negative emotion for that matter.  But that emotion won’t serve you well when you sit down to write a response to that review. That’s why we recommend hiring a third-party to respond to reviews. However, if you are tasked with writing the response yourself, you’ll need some strategies to manage your emotions. Here are a few I’ve seen work: Give it a few hours. Don’t just jump into your response right away. Let yourself work through the emotions before hitting the keyboard. It often takes time to work through the initial emotion and start viewing the situation rationally. Those first feelings are often irrational because expressing them to the resident won’t fix the problem. They will only escalate the negativity. Vent to a trusted coworker. You’re going to want to do this in privat......
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More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand

More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand
I’m often asked for tips and tricks on how to improve a community’s online reputation.  Over the last year or so these requests have become more frequent, as companies are realizing a positive online presence can directly impact leasing and renewal decisions.  I think it’s great we have an expanded awareness throughout our industry and I’m happy to offer any insight and support as needed.  “Reputation Management” is now a commonplace term within our industry, so much so that it is in jeopardy of becoming “white noise”; falling into the same lane as topics such as Fair Housing.  While teams know it’s important, they also feel as though they’ve learned all there is to know.  One Community Manager once told me “Unless something ground breaking happens, or it’s mandatory, I really don’t want to go to another reputation management class.”   Wow, harsh words, but I get it – I live and breathe this stuff daily so I’m not surprised that once standing room only crowds have dwindled to half-empty rooms.  Such was the case a few months ago when I presented at a conference. My first question to the audience was “Okay, let’s be honest…how many of you drew the short stick?” While many chuckled, many more nodded.  For our industry, reputation management tends to center around percentages and ratings.  Fixation over scores is a slippery slope because in reality, scores are low on the totem pole for renters.  We surveyed visitors to ApartmentRatings, hoping to determine which components of a community’s page was most valuable.&nbs......
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What’s next in Multifamily: Co-Living?

What’s next in Multifamily: Co-Living?
  The majority of young professionals don’t want to live with their parents until they get married. However, they don’t want to live alone, either. While not entirely new, Co-Living, or shared housing is on the rise. It is most prominent in London and New York where housing prices are forcing residents to seek out new and innovative ways to rent in big cities without breaking the bank. Co-living isn’t really all that new. The Baby Boomers started the communes to escape an oppressive and rule-driven way of life. Millennials, on the other hand, like having rules and a sort of parental authority. They are searching for co-living housing of no more than 4-10 people. Co-living communities enable viable lifestyles through sharing and economical use of resources and space.  A diversity in their roommates, different backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages is desirable. Not anyone they work with, but people that they can be friends with. Developing relationships is more important than square footage. Places, like Ollie have houses in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Residents unite around a common interest to collaboratively manage a communal space, share resources, and organize activities which contribute creatively and academically to the world around them. Ollie boasts amazing amenity spaces that invite their residents to shape the lines of life, work, and play with areas such as communal lounges, pools, gyms, spa areas, juice bars, roof decks, and flex spaces. As an Ollie member, residents have an all-access pass to the amenity spaces of an incre......
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Improve your Reputation Management Strategy

Make no mistake about it: Online ratings and reviews are more important than ever to renters. According to the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Study, nearly 80% of renters said that online reviews influenced their leasing decision. Additionally, a 2017 renter’s journey survey conducted by RentPath found that 57% of online apartment shoppers prefer listings that have “a lot of honest reviews from people like me.”   Despite these numbers, many owner/operators don’t have formal reputation management programs in place. This could be because when the apartment market is experiencing high traffic volumes and high conversion rates, operators may not think they need to worry about reputation management. It’s also possible that many owner/operators think they don’t have the budget to hire a third party to manage their online reputation. Or they simply may not know where to start when it comes to handling reviews.   Given the importance that prospects place on online reviews, it is now critical for apartment operators to have a sound reputation management program in place. Here are three steps that a community can take to get started laying the groundwork for reputation management.   1. Ask for honest feedback. Use surveys or social media campaigns to ask residents to leave a review of your community on your ILS listing or on a site such as Google to generate recent and fresh feedback. By consistently prompting residents to leave reviews, online prospects get a better and more real-time understanding of resident experiences. If reviews are outdated, data suggest......
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Adding Value in the Age of Virtual Amenities

Here’s a crazy fact: the first generation to grow up with continual online access, Generation Z—also known as the iGeneration or Post-Millennials—is getting ready to enter the rental world. Gen Z’ers consume technology at a higher rate than any other demographic—checking their smartphones every three minutes. With smart home technologies having played such a big role in their lives, they have some pretty high expectations about what life as a resident should be like. More so, the generations behind them are catching up and wanting very similar experiences as they become more and more tech savvy. Most compelling, is that these expectations are now becoming the difference between whether a resident signs a new lease or stays at a particular property in the future. This wave of “proptech” (short for property management technologies) and virtual amenities is forever changing how residents assign value to their communities and whether they stay or go. According to Sprout Social, Gen Z and Millennials lead the way in spending their money with brands that they have had a positive exchange with from a technologies standpoint. Take for instance package management. 60 million Gen Zers reside in the U.S. and spend almost $44 billion annually in online shopping (Source: Retail Dive, 2017). In addition, there are over 80 million Millennials who also spend $600 billion annually (Source: Forbes, June 2017) Combined, these two segments account for an unprecedented amount of packages being shipped—last year Amazon alone shipped over 5 billion packages. It's likely that you receive handfuls, if not dozens, o......
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5 Inexpensive Makeover Tips to Put Your Leasing Space on Top of the List

image9.jpgHaving property is a good way of having an excellent income for the long-run, but sometimes that same leasing space won’t get you much unless you renovate from time to time. Properties that don’t receive a makeover regularly will be less attractive and will be more difficult to lease, and you’ll thus lose money. You can avoid this by doing some renovations or making changes that will cause the space to become more desirable. However, this can be quite costly, which is why we have prepared a list of tips for you to avoid unnecessary costs, and manage to make some effective makeovers for very little money. Clean Everything Cleaning is always the best way to make anything look good and appealing. Besides, it’s probably the cheapest option as well. You can easily do it yourself, or hire someone at a small expense. What you must remember though is that cleaning both the interior and exterior is essential – all of it together will have a significant effect on the desirability of your property. Give it a Paint Job A simple paint job is always a necessary makeover if you want your leasing space to be at the top of the list. It’s inexpensive and easy as the previous tip, and it’s sometimes enough to merely paint the areas that look bad and the areas where people will spend most of their time. Don’t forget the front door as that’s the first thing most people will see before entering the place. Improve the......
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Grab Their Attention: Crafting Subject Lines That Engage Readers

  It’s the background noise you hear all day long: those little pings from your computer, phone, and tablet telling you that email after email is hitting your inbox. In fact, approximately 281 billion emails were sent each day worldwide in 2018, according to Statista. No, they weren’t all sent to you, but some days it probably felt that way.   While email marketing can be a highly effective way to connect with both prospects and residents to move them along the renter's journey, it’s critical that these messages are written to make it through the clutter. Well-crafted subject lines are the entry point to strong reader engagement. They represent a marketer's best chance to stand out in a very crowded field - they’re the first thing the prospect sees and the only way you have to convince them to move forward and open your message (if you can get past spam filters, of course).   Nine Tips for Writing Effective Subject Lines Before you go any further, understand this: a subject line’s deceptively short length could take as much time to create as the email and landing page content combined. You have limited space and time in which to capture someone’s attention, so every character counts.   To make things go more smoothly, follow these nine tips to help you write subject lines that will encourage readers to open your email and engage with your call to action.   Keep them short. There's no doubt about it: fitting something compelling a......
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Pet-Friendly Apartment Marketing Ideas

The American Pet Products Association's 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey found that 68% of U.S. households own a pet. Last year, RentPath revealed research claiming that 66% of renters are pet owners. In an effort to cater to this growing renter base, many communities have adopted pet-friendly pet policies. Most of these policies allow renters to have up to two pets and they require additional pet rent and a pet deposit.  While much of the pet market is pet-tolerant, not as many communities encompass the true definition of pet-friendly. If your community embraces this pet demographic, there are many ways you can signal to pet owners that your community is a good fit for them. Here are some pet-friendly apartment marketing ideas your community can use to get the attention of pet owners. Search Engine Marketing We know that there is a demand for pet-friendly apartments, but are renters actually searching for apartments this way in Google? Emphatically, the answer is yes. Over the last five years searches for “pet-friendly apartments near me” has grown significantly in popularity. This Google Trends report nicely illustrates this growth.   The popularity for this search term was the highest among the following regions.   Popularity for pet-friendly apartment searches was the greatest among metros in the Midwest, New England and Los Angeles. If you happen to be marketing a community in one of these areas, this is a rental segment you don’t want to miss out on! How can communities capitalize on the rising demand for pet-fr......
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Pros and Cons of Leasing a Fully Furnished Flat

Property owners usually face a dilemma – to lease a fully furnished suite or an unfurnished one? Which one is better? There’s no easy answer here. We’ve found that it’s best to consider the merits of one of the two – the fully furnished one. It’s always best to decide whether something is good or not by making a list of its good and bad sides. We will give you all the pros and cons of leasing a fully furnished residence, so you can get a clearer picture and decide if that’s the way you should go. The Price Some might think that the price is a negative for fully furnished apartments – as it’s expensive to equip an entire rental for your tenants. However, they are not looking at the bigger picture: fully furnished rooms will yield a higher rent making it a better long-term investment. Naturally, the price will differ from city to city, but the overall picture is clear – fully furnished always bring higher rent. Changing Tenants More Often Furnished units are usually rented by people who are only looking to stay somewhere temporarily. It usually means that your tenant turnover will be high. However, this is not necessarily the case. Some people are looking for long-term furnished rentals. Although, changing your tenants often is good for some landlords, as they get the chance to make upgrades to modify the price before getting a new tenant. Higher Deposits It depends on the state, but based on whether or not an apartment......
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Catch The Eye of Prospects Using Authentic Video

  Getting a promotional video in front of a broad audience has never been easier. The rise of YouTube, Vimeo, ILSs and the whole galaxy of social media channels has dramatically democratized video from the days of only national and regional TV buys. Now, every brand has the opportunity to tell its story.   But that’s where the challenge lies. With vast distribution options and opportunities, we are simply awash in content, making it difficult for a community promotional video to stand out to prospects.   This environment forces the modern marketer to blend marketing fundamentals with a more modern approach. Videos need to be unapologetic about committing to three core principles: be short, keep production flexible, and remain authentic.   How We Got Here Before diving into best practices, it’s interesting to review what a dramatic transformation we've seen in video distribution over the years. This can be illustrated in large part by the explosive growth of YouTube. In 2007 – a mere two years after its launch – YouTube was already consuming as much bandwidth as the entire internet in 2000, the Telegraph notes. The site is currently the second-most visited website of all, behind Google, according to Alexa.   Today, YouTube says, more than "1.9 billion logged-in users visit [the site] each month, and every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views." And Cisco projects that video overall will account for more than 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2020. &n......
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