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If You Don't Have a Pool or a Sign, You Might as Well Stop Advertising

A quick review of 500 properties, all in the same city, from a major ILS showed:


  • An astonishing (or maybe not so astonishing) 297 properties had either their pool or their sign as their main photo.
  • A few actually had blurry photos for their main identifier photo. (Blurry.)
  • One property had a closeup of their parking lot. (Yes, you read that right, their parking lot.)
  • Several had model photos. (Some nice, some dated and unremarkable.)
  • Many had their leasing office entryway. (Yeah, that'll make 'em lease.)
  • There's clearly a push to post photos of properties at night. (So much of a push that it's no longer unique.)
  • Water views are popular, too. (Lots of those out there.)
  • Some still had 'no photo' available placeholders. (How sad is that?)
How are you grabbing the attention of the renter with YOUR ad? Find something unique (like Princeton Propeties has done) and work it. Distinguish yourself.
Stand out. Be different.
Apartment properties are as diverse and unique as the people who live and work there. It's time you transferred that uniqueness to your ads.
Show me what you got!



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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Last week a few people probably saw me get all worked up over the snow storm in Houston. The whole time I had this exact concept in mind. Wouldn't it be unique and interesting for a property in a city that gets snow only once every ten years to feature a profile picture of a snow-capped community? It wouldn't make a difference up north, but down south those pictures just don't exist generally without Photoshop!

Also, several years when MySpace was still big, I remember Eric at Urbane changing their profile picture from a community picture to pictures from their events featuring their actual residents. It definitely set them apart!

  Brent Williams
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Lisa reading this does not surprise me one bit. Why do so many industry professionals spend so much time, effort and money on ILS and other online marketing only to be delivering a message or look that is let's face it embarrassing. My direction is simple…ask yourself when you are putting yourself out there are you proud of what you are delivering and will others notice and not in negative way.

I like your idea Brent, using a photo like snow in Houston at your property is a conversational piece and something others will remember. We have been using residents and events in our photos for years, this is what gets noticed! Your right Eric at Urbane gets noticed and it's not from showing photos of the pool with no one in it!

  Kim Cory
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I agree. I was just flipping through a rental magazine today (I'm in Minnesota and its frigid outside) and several ads featured the pool, and I thought, "Does this create Interest or Disinterest?"

And you're right, it doesn't end with just the pool shots! There are very few ads that do what they are supposed to do - which is to create interest in their commmunity!

  Daisy Nguyen
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Lisa: The ads I saw that featured pools had outdoor pools, NOT indoor pools!

  Daisy Nguyen
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@Daisy, well that might be something *different* to do in a cold Minnesota winter! I haven't audited the ads up there, so I couldn't say. But a pool open with snow around it and people in bathing suits would definitely get my attention!

  Lisa Trosien
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@Mark Here you go:

[Editor note: Adding space to stop strange formatting on front page.]


  Lisa Trosien
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@Mark - as Lisa linked too, we try when possible to publish "personal touch" images. For example, if we are running a promotion or if there is a big sporting event coming up - we try to capture it. One problem we run into - some ILS's bump the pictures out if they do not show an actual image of the property. (We get really creative on Craigslist because the site allows for more variety in image choices.) An example of a way around this, we have published images of our staff using on site amenities such as the coffee bar in the clubhouse with a tag line of "free coffee" or something in this vein. Thanks Lisa for the mention and the connection to Claire's submission to the NAA ideas.

  Sarah Greenough
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I recently ran two reports from our November ApartmentFinder.com data.
1 - What search facets did visitors select most often?
2 - What amenities do most communities have?

There is an interesting mismatch...

  Todd Dubner
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Todd, this data doesn't surprise me at all. What needs to happen is either for the ILS's to offer this information up to the advertisers on a regular basis, or for the advertisers to get more 'involved' in what renters want.

Additionally, amenities desired vary significantly by market. Renters who want an apartment in a downtown Chicago highrise are very interested in parking; renters in Orlando want to make certain they have air conditioning.

And so it goes.

Thanks for contributing! I so appreciate it!

  Lisa Trosien
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All "interesting" ideas...I think it really just matters what
market city your property is located in. In the Southern States...photos of pool amenity areas are a major plus - however, it helps even MORE, if the pool is well designed with
water features, Jacuzzi (maybe with a lot of people in the pool at a pool party). I shot some photos of a client at a
student housing "resort style pool" where there were over 100
students partying in and around the pool - the client got a lot of use from those photos...a local radio station was broadcasting "live" from that party too...it was a very unique experiece. Snow at a Houston pool...yeah, that would pretty much have to be photo-shopped...why not keep it real? If it's a very impressive pool amenity area, you should not need "snow". Up North, maybe your "focus" should be on another element of the site/property...well, I could see a photo of several people in a Jacuzzi with "snow" around. Every market is going to differ...you just have to "understand" each market and determine what's going to work for you...be creative. You made some very good points, Lisa!

  Brent Williams

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