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Behind the scenes of the renter journey

The best word to describe the renter journey is “complicated.” There are multiple points along the path to lease, and recent marketing data tells us that the experience should no longer be considered linear. Instead, it’s a multi-stage journey in which the renter visits multiple sources within the marketing lifecycle.   Even though the marketing funnel has clearly identified stages, each channel can be applied to various stages of the renter journey, depending on the type of information the renter is looking for.   Awareness. This is the discovery of an unmet need or opportunity. In the case of renters, this stage is often triggered by a life event that necessitates a move, such as a new job, the need to relocate to a new city, marriage, or pregnancy. Interest. This stage is motivated by a person’s interest in solving a recent problem. With renters, this stage often occurs when conducting research to narrow down a large selection of communities. Evaluation. At this point, customers are actively evaluating their list to further narrow it down. This is when they are likely to read reviews from residents, call properties, explore pricing and floor plans, and do onsite tours. Selection. This is when the customer makes their decision and purchases the solution to a problem. In our case, this is when the prospect signs a lease.   Technology and the Renter Journey The abundance of technology today complicates all stages of the renter journey. Research tells us that most apartment hunters look at three o......
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A Guide to Help you Resolve your Parking Issues

For those of you who have worked in the multifamily industry you understand the challenges of trying to accommodate resident and guest vehicle parking in highly populated areas or developments that have insufficient parking space ratios in relation to the number of units within the community. According to the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Renter Preferences Report, parking ranks as one of the community amenities that residents desire most. The question becomes, how do I solve my parking problems? What are the potential solutions available? In this article, I’m going to share different best practices that I’ve seen within the industry and the pros and cons for each solution, with the hopes that you can utilize this knowledge and my experiences at your property.

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Get with the Program... Lifecycle Programming, that is. :CLM Series

  What is Lifecycle Programming? Lifecycle Programming is a way to automate customer lifecycle marketing for Multifamily.It combines customer lifecycle marketing efforts from employees and the digital workforce to build stronger customer relationships. Let’s dive deeper.   How Does it Work? Using a series of plays, Lifecycle Programming provides targeted content to customers. The customer’s stage in the lifecycle determines the play used. Each play is a collection of email topics to send to customers in a particular stage of the lifecycle. A play contains a mix of automated drips, triggered alerts and eBlasts.All together, these emails work to move customers from one stage to the next.  Plus, they are faster and easier than traditional email marketing campaigns! Automation is the key to making Customer Lifecycle Marketing for Multifamily work. Each of the email types used in a play involves some degree of automation. Let’s learn a little more.   Triggered Alert Triggered alerts have the highest level of automation. These emails rely on ambient intelligence to sense and respond to an event. Trigger events can be a result of a property’s action or prospect’s action. Property triggers result from property management company actions. These can vary from price changes to policy changes. Prospect triggers are a result of actions taken by the prospect. Events like submitting an application or clicking through an email are prospect triggers. Take a look at the chart below. It makes it easy to see how little agent effort is required. For example, a prospect may only click through emails featuring one bedroom apartments. The system uses that information to infer the......
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Three Questions to ask BEFORE Installing Smart home Tech in Rentals

Technology changes faster than real estate. An apartment built 10 years ago is considered new, but a 10-year old blackberry is practically a fossil. "Smart home" technology is growing rapidly, and most surveys show high demand from tenants.  Owners and property managers are taking notice and looking for ways to increase operating income by installing smart home tech in their properties.  If you are one of them, here are 3 questions to ask BEFORE installing smart home tech in your rentals.  1. Who does it serve -- your tenants, or you, or both? Most smart home tech is designed for residents, but we find that the most valuable tech actually serves owners and property managers. Your tenants may not gush over app-controlled blinds, but you will be glad to know when your HVAC system is deteriorating or when there is a water leak in your attic. In managing our properties, we approach tech the same way we approach any other upgrade and look for (i) utility and tenant satisfaction, (ii) ease of maintenance, and (iii) return on investment. 2. Will your tenants love it? When you put in something that your tenants don’t use (or even hate), you’ve just increased negativity and the likelihood of vacancy. Buy things that are unquestionably useful -- video doorbells are better than, ahem, app-controlled blinds. Our tenants love video doorbells and thermostats they can control remotely. They don't mind the $25 extra we charge to provide this service. No one has yet asked for lights with inbuilt speakers. Smart locks are somewhere in ......
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Hey Property Managers — Branding isn’t just for Apple and Google

BrandingResidentLoyalty Most companies think branding is for giants like Apple and Google. After all, these tech monsters yield a combined $270 billion in value from their efforts. All the result of a well-coordinated branding effort that includes frequently focused messaging and a consistent visual presence at every touch point.However, just because you’re a smaller property management company, don’t think for a moment that branding isn’t just as important for you.Branding maintains consistency with messaging, emails, and other regularly used outreach tools that over time leaves with the consumer a lasting impression of the quality of your company. Done properly, branding can also influence the reactions and thoughts prospective residents, current residents and first-timers have when they interact with your property. First impressions last a lifetime - and with so many other choices out there for your potential residents, it's important that you're building trust and brand loyalty every step of the way - whether they're still a potential lead or an active member of your community.Think about it—a potential resident is evaluating whether or not they want to live at your property (or continue living at your property.) If they walk away feeling like your company is “cheap”, lackluster and disorganized, they’re going to pass you over and set their sights on somewhere else. Having a strong and consistent internet presence is more important than ever - resident communities have become a world full of choices. Properties are a dime a dozen in the mind of the resident, so it’s your job to present y......
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One Person’s Heaven Is Another Person’s Hell

This post has been a long time coming. A very long time. Over a month ago I had a friend post on FB about how great amazing his support team at work was. About how upper management had made his experience with the company so much better than his prior work experience. How grateful he was for the differences between his past and present, in the workforce. We work for the same company……. A few weeks later I had one of my best friends reach an abysmal place. A dark place. An entire other world. One of which I wasn’t familiar with, but, likely may not have been too far from, myself. Stress induced “vacation”. Let’s just say several different things spiraled out of control and she wound up in that proverbial dark place. We worked for the same company……. I recently took the opportunity to ask that dear friend what my support should look like to her. What she needed and wanted from me, versus what I wanted to give or how I was built to give support. Honestly, I’d never had the opportunity….oh wait, I had never taken the opportunity, to ask anyone that question. All of this made me think how one person’s heaven can easily be another person’s hell. Your reality of a situation, versus someone else’s reality of a situation, can be altogether different. If you don’t ASK the right questions, if you don’t dig deep into another person’s perspective or thoughts, you’re never actually going to know what someone else’s reali......
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Entitled Residents Can Still Get Towed

“Did you tow my car?” “My car is missing! I went out to go somewhere and I can’t find my car!” “My niece was visiting me for the week and she went out to get us some breakfast and can’t find her car. Would it have been towed?” All three of these scenarios are happening at communities all across the country. How you answer the question depends on if you have a Parking Policy and/or a Tow Policy. Generally speaking, apartment communities are considered Private Property and the City in which you are located typically has little jurisdiction on towing on privately owned properties. For some reason our residents seem to think they do not have to abide by a community’s parking rules and must be immune to being towed. I used to dislike these inquiring phone calls; however, my attitude has changed over the last few years. Recently a resident whose car had in fact been towed (for the second time, I might add since she moved into the community in June) had called leaving a highly emotionally charged message on the community’s office telephone. She proceeded to call every minute for 30 minutes, which means, 30 calls showing made. I returned her call and she was upset and angry about being towed. When I asked her where she was parked, she stated in a Handicap Spot. She proceeded to defend her right to park there because upon arriving home, “there was no space available.” “I see. There were zero open spots in the ent......
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All About Convenience: 5 Value Adds for More Renewals

All About Convenience: 5 Value Adds for More Renewals
I once read a social media post where a customer wrote a personal thank you to a popular grocery store.  In his post, he explained that he attempted to enter the store, not realizing it had closed ten minutes prior.  He found the entrance locked, however a manager opened the door and asked how she could help him.  The customer explained he just needed to get one item and didn’t know the store had closed.  As he turned to walk back to his car, the manager invited him into the store and told him to take his time getting the item he needed.  The man hurriedly grabbed the item and headed to the checkout.   At the checkout, he was greeted cheerfully by a cashier who proceeded to ask if the customer needed anything more than just that one item.  The man told her that he didn’t want to hold them up and would come back the next day.  The cashier smiled and responded, “You should get it now.  That’s what we’re here for”.  The customer told her that his one item was enough, paid for his purchase, thanked the cashier and left the store. As he sat in the parking lot, he felt compelled to write about his positive experience.  Not only had he arrived ten minutes after the store had closed, but he was allowed to enter the store and make his purchase.  He also was given the opportunity to continue shopping without feeling rushed by employees who were ready to go home ......
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Is Technology Leaving You Behind?

Is Technology Leaving You Behind?
Groceries delivered to your door after ordering it on your phone? What?? Self-driving cars? (I'll admit, this scares me!)  I am blown away at the advance of technology today. It seems a new innovation comes in and changes the game every few months now instead of every few years. Technology is changing-what are you doing to change and grow with it? During this year's Apartmentalize (the National Apartment Association Conference) in San Diego  I was amazed at how much new technology is currently working its way into the multifamily housing industry! I met several new friends, some of whom worked for companies that are either entering the multifamily space, or are currently in the industry but branching out with new products and services that are utilizing the latest technologies to better reach today’s rental customer. Let me repeat...I was blown away at some of the things I’ve heard!  It’s certainly a long way from my era when my parents used the Yellow Pages to figure out where to eat. Remember this? They’d call (and then when I got old enough to call they’d make me or my brothers call!) and have to ask a LIVE PERSON questions about what they offered, pricing, information etc. Today you can find out almost anything at your fingertips about many of the companies you do business with. Websites will tell you the specific dealer cost of almost any car today. Many of these sites will even let you customize the vehicle you’re interested in so that you can find out just ho......
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How People Are More Important Than Product, EVERY DAY

Last week I went from saying “Kohl’s will never see a dime from me ever again.” to “Kohl’s is the best!” All in under 30 minutes. What does this have to do with apartments? It’s about delight.   Anyone who has shopped for a 12 year old boy knows that options for reasonably priced boys’ dress clothes are limited and Kohl’s is one of the few options.  With a new school and its new uniform requirement of a white dress shirt and a navy blazer, I purchased both online on August 27th.  Plenty of time for them to arrive for the first day they’d be needed on September 7th, right?  Wrong.   On Wednesday I was asked “Mom, where is my stuff for Friday?” I tracked the shipment.  It had not yet left Jacksonville, FL, and it would not arrive until September 13th. Unfortunately, it would need to be on my student’s body in less than 48 hours. I am truly spoiled by Amazon Prime. Two weeks to get an online order is a long, long time.   Panicked, I went on Kohls.com and selected the Pick Up At A Store option. Both items were in stock, but the order needed two hours to be prepared and it was already after 7 PM.  Off to the store I went, kicking myself for not ordering from LandsEnd.com even though it would have cost 50% more. In the back-to-school chaos of the boys’ department I found the blazer, but only shirts that were smaller and larger than the......
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