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Still Selling "Free Rent"?

Drive any city these days in search of an apartment home and you'll see the banners: "FREE RENT!"  or "ONE MONTH FREE" or even "2 MONTHS FREE RENT!"
 
So I ask you, what value does 'free' have? I say it's got little to virtually no value when used as a concession in our industry. Let me try to prove my point:
 
As I drive down 'apartment row' I see the signs. But one property has a sign that's different. Instead of saying simply 'One Month Free Rent', it says '$1,000 FREE RENT WITH NEW LEASE". Which banner is going to catch my eye? Which property will potentially get my business?
 
Now, this isn't a discussion on 'free rent'. The purpose of this blog entry is to make sure you stop using the word 'free' altogether, because 'free' doesn't have a dollar value. "Free" application fee? Ask ten properties what their application fee is and you'll probably get ten different answers. "Free" administrative fee? Ask ten properties and you'll probably get ten different answers there, too.
 
If you're going to give something away, make sure you are providing your potential customers with the value of your giveaway. Stop saying 'free' and give the value. Instead of saying you'll waive an application fee, say "We can waive your application fee; you'll save $50 with that offer today." Always give a dollar value when you are offering something for 'free'.  
 
You'll have better results - I'm sure of it.
 
Lisa Trosien is an award winning multifamily educator, speaker and strategist. Visit her website, Apartment Expert, or her blog Apartment Marketing Blog, for more information and regular blog entries.
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Well put Lisa! When we've changed signage from "Free Rent" to "$199 Moves You In" the results increased about 30% (hey, I've got the hard numbers to back this one up).

It seems to me, coming from the vendor side, that managers want to have a generic statement on their signage so they can use it down the road when their special changes. But, what's the point in printing something that's going to produce lackluster results?

  Ryan Dick
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Lisa,

Like you, I recommend using real numbers rather than vague offers. "Save $XXXX!" is always more effective than "Free". I think this is because most people are savvy (or cynical) enough to understand nothing is truly free. This is true for signage as well as other marketing platforms (i.e. Internet, Classifieds).

Just as Ryan mentions about his signage, I've also seen better results on Internet marketing campaigns when the true value is mentioned in the ad.

  Charity Zierten
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Thank yoy for the comment it will be vwry helpful for me.

  3737 hillcroft

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