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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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Why You Cannot Afford To Run a Property Management Firm Without a Website

Why You Cannot Afford To Run a Property Management Firm Without a Website
$39 billion. That’s the annual revenue of the U.S. property management industry. It sure looks good on paper, but you’d probably be surprised to learn that 30% of this goes to the top 500 firms. So, where do the rest 79,500 firms lie? The bulk of them are stuck at what’s arguably the most critical stage- getting their strategy right.  While property management may not be the simplest business engagement, one thing you’ve got to admit is, it’s not as complicated as manufacturing. Even the smallest firms have fair chances of outdoing large established businesses, thanks to something called the web. According to a report prepared by NAR, 84% of both buyers and renters are heavily using the internet as their first step in their home searching process. If they can’t find your information online, you may be missing out on a huge chunk of potential business. Well, of course there’s the option of riding on a third party website like Facebook, but personal websites have proven to be considerably way more effective. Here’s why: Growing and Managing Your Clients Through CRM and Contact Management Getting tenants is not that simple anymore. With competition persistently growing, property management firms are now leveraging CRM and contact management tools in lead prospecting. And going by recent trends, both prospects and property management firms are happy with the consequent results. According to Nucleus Research, every dollar spent on such tools generates an average return of $8.71- super neat, right? So, here’s the thing- CRM and contact management can only be effec......
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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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Trending Up: Social Media, Email Marketing, and Pay Per Click Advertising | Trending Down: Craigslist Ads?

We recently released our 2017 Apartment Marketing Strategies Report that surveyed marketing pros throughout multifamily about their strategies.  One of the questions we asked was the use of several marketing strategies, including social media, email marketing, pay per click advertising, and Craigslist, as well as their marketing budget overall.  Here are some trends based upon responses by 111 marketing professionals:

 

Craigslist is an interesting topic, in that it was the hot marketing location 4+ years ago, but then spiraled downward following changes to the Craigslist platform.  In fact, many people had left Craigslist for dead, but at the NAA Education Conference and Expo, Lauren Curley, Chief Operating Officer of Bonaventure Realty Group, stated that Craigslist is still an excellent driver of leases.  She then posted a response on this forum post with great data:  Questions on Craigslist Posting

So what is your take?  Is Craigslist still dying, or were we too quick to call a time of death?  Share your experiences with Craigslist in the comments below!

Also, if you would like access to the full marketing research report with loads more data on virtual reality, remarketing strategies, marketing budgets, marketing metrics, and more, you can download the full report for free here (must be logged in)  > >  What are the latest trends in apartment marketing for 2017?

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Choosing Technology Wisely

Choosing Technology Wisely
Choosing Technology Wisely The technology landscape is a crowded one these days, both with innovative new arrivals targeting the industry as well as strong existing options with more longevity.   Choosing the right value-add technologies is a challenging task for multifamily operators.  What are the drivers that elevate one over the others? Take a look at any aspect of operating apartment communities today, and you’ll find no shortage of new technologies designed to help your business improve, streamline, connect, develop, educate, assess, analyze or aggregate – you get the picture.  Most likely, you and your team are contacted by enterprising marketers frequently, all seeking to show you how their solution is the answer. Let’s take a look at one area receiving a lot of attention in recent years:  package delivery. You have technology-plus-hardware solutions from companies like Package Concierge, Parcel Post and LuxerOne; and digital-only solutions like those from Entrata (ParcelAlert) and ReceivingRoom.  Also, customized apps like Mobile Doorman offer an entire resident communication platform including package notification as only one of many communication features. Of course, that’s just one example.  From new lead-delivery apps like HomeMe and Zumper to bite-sized web-based training options like GROW Learning, real-time transportation information displays like Transit Screen, and InfoTycoon’s innovative asset management platform. And I can't write a tech article without mentioning the new Respage AI-powered chatbot (a digital leasing agent), and the innovative market survey platform by BI:Radix. There is so much new technology deployed that the list could go on for days. What to do?  It’s difficult t......
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With New Internet Delivery Options, Does Copper Wiring Still Make Sense?

High-speed internet is more important to renters than in-room laundry facilities, sound-proof walls, or a walk-in closet, according to a survey by the National Multifamily Housing Council. The results reveal that this access is one of the most important amenities renters consider when it comes to selecting where to live. This is good news for property managers. Renters don’t care how they get connected – they just want service that is fast and reliable. In most cases, your building is probably already equipped with everything needed to give renters not only high-speed internet, but the flexibility and choices they’re looking for when it comes to internet, Wi-Fi, and streaming services. Renters Want Options I’m a big believer that competition is key: the ideal scenario is to give tenants options when it comes to choosing internet service, and with copper, this is not only possible, but also simple and cost-effective. Users, property managers, developers (and owners and REITs, too) can see major benefits by promoting competition and choice. In the long run, this usually results in better service and happier tenants. Copper manufacturers and ISP providers know that if they want to keep up with an internet-hungry world, they’re going to have to come up with some innovations – and we can see this is already happening in the market. Copper is one way you can support your tenants by giving them options to save money, without making costly upgrades and system enhancements to the wiring of your existing units. Millennials are changing the way the......
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How to Leverage Free User-Generated Content for Apartment Marketing & Social Media

Creating and curating content for apartment marketing and social media can be time-consuming, costly and involve using a lot of creative capital. Many apartment communities simply do not have the resources to employ an entire marketing team, so staff often have to multitask.   Property managers are sometimes responsible for far more than just marketing; their duties can involve graphic design, social media, resident event management, lease up programs and more. Due to the multi-tasking nature of these positions, focusing a lot of time and energy on content is practically impossible. However, curating content from tenants or staff isn’t nearly as strenuous on time or resources. An article written by Bill Gates all the way back in 1996, titled Content Is King, emphasized the value of content far before Internet marketing ever took off.  Many of Gates predictions came true and content has reigned supreme in online marketing. The average Internet user consumes a large diet of content; but also produces content as well – this user-generated content is an often-overlooked area for apartment marketing content curation.   User-generated content is extremely valuable for several reasons, most importantly being that it resonates better with users and develops a better brand image. User-generated content also appears more genuine and authentic. Consider some of the following stats:   1.     Bazaarvoice found 86% of millennials say that user-generated content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand. 2.     Adweek discovered that user-generated content results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or w......
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How much is multifamily data worth?

How much is multifamily data worth?
REALITY CHECK The multifamily housing industry is sitting on a goldmine of information that hackers would like to steal. Personally identifiable information (PII) includes name, address, date of birth, phone number, email address, Social Security Number, bank account info, credit card number, and other types of sensitive data that we collect on tenants. On the Dark Web -- the place on the Internet where people can browse anonymously to sites that deal in contraband such as illicit drugs, child pornography, and stolen credit cards -- the average estimated price for stolen credit and debit cards ranges from $5 to $30 in the United States. Bank login credentials for a $2,200 balance bank account sell for $190. (Source: BGR) Thieves can use stolen identities to open credit card accounts, file false tax returns, create fake credentials, or even get medical treatment on the victim’s health insurance. You also need to be aware that attackers are after your company's intellectual property, financials, employee PII, bids/proposals, and other company sensitive data. It's much easier, for example, to steal your research, than it is to conduct my own. And you don't have to be a Home Deport or Target to be a, well, target. I just hung up the phone with a client who was being hit with both ransomware (malicious software that encrypts all your data files and demands a ransom) and a denial-of-service attack (massive amounts of network traffic directed at his site to make it unavailable to customers), and he wondered aloud why they would g......
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Don't Underestimate Your Angry Residents' Desire For Revenge

Resident-Revenge.JPGSome angry residents only go so far as to write a negative review of your community, but others act as if you have dishonored their family and have now made it their sole mission in life to make life miserable for the community.  In December, an evicted resident shot two people in the community office as retribution.  Fortunately, that is the exception rather than the rule, but more often residents will take less extreme measures to harass a community and the team online.  We have seen that first hand here on Multifamily Insiders.  Almost 99% of the time, our discussions only attract others who manage apartment communities, but every so often a post will also draw in residents.  A few years ago, Erin wrote a funny post about "How to Write a Bad Apartment Review", and funnily enough, residents don't seem to get the joke, as they frequently try to post comments blasting their apartment community.  For example: What I find hilarious is the idea that residents go into Google and do a search for "How to Write a Bad Apartment Review", like there is some sort of special formula to get the maximum negative reaction for  the community.  But regardless, it just shows that without properly handling an angry resident, their influence isn't just a negative review on ApartmentRatings.com - their anger metastasizes and spreads to every outlet they can find.  Would a local news outlet like to hear about the "unlivable conditions" of the "slumlord" where they live?  Or......
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