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13 Signs You're Making Leads a Priority

13 Signs You're Making Leads a Priority
  1. Lead-tracking technology Demand generation and leasing effectiveness can only be successfully measured if a lead-tracking tool is in place.  The more resourcefully you can manage your leads and determine where they are coming from, the more likely you are to hone in on your target audience and delegate your resources toward capturing leases.  A formalized lead tracking and nurturing process is nearly impossible without the technology to effectively house your potential customers.   2. Assessing Marketing Effectiveness When looking at your marketing strategy and the effectiveness of your advertising, it’s important to consider what works best for leasing conversions. While there may be some common idea around what constitutes as apartment marketing success, there are some things that conventional metrics don’t tell you. We suggest measuring your marketing spend with frequent assessment of four main areas: cost, advertising channel, unit type and floor plan.     3. Website oversight When is the last time you took a good look at your community’s website?  I mean, a gooooood look.  Is your website optimized for lead capture?  What makes its appearance different than any other apartment community in your area?  Are your community photos current and up-to-date to include any new developments or renovations? I suggest a monthly audit of your community’s website to assess appearance, content, lead capture, links, and user-experience. Lastly, setting up Google Analytics for your community page will give you endless analytical insight into bounce rates, behavior, demographics, and performance for your website’s visitors.     4. Only using sources that prod......
Recent Comments
Guest — Kim Ziereis
All hail regular audits of website content! It's so easy to think your website is on auto pilot and totally up-to-date but a year ... Read More
Tuesday, 19 July 2016 09:10
Drew C Brucker
Exactly - the likelihood of outdated or incorrect content appearing on any community's website that is older than 24 months is hig... Read More
Tuesday, 19 July 2016 11:11
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Are You Measuring Up in Marketing?

Where are your leads coming from?Listen in on the conversations of today’s multifamily housing industry marketers and you’re bound to be blitzed by buzz words such as “lead generation,” “social engagement,” “mobile marketing,” “website conversion” and “protecting my brand.” Multifamily housing marketing is at the forefront of the technological revolution happening in the world today because it is relies heavily on all forms of communication—the more people reached the better. Today’s fragmentation and proliferation of communication channels is mind-boggling at times.  There is a virtual explosion of options to reach your target audience that allow you to engage socially, generate leads and convert those leads to leases while building your community brand.   So how do we keep pace with this marketing revolution and not fall behind? How do we make sure we are not wasting money on tactics that don’t work? And most importantly, how do we measure the effectiveness of our marketing strategies?   A vital element to answering these questions is the process of tracking marketing sources. Simple tracking efforts are a quick and easy way to continuously gauge marketing effectiveness through snapshot measurements. The encouraging news is that there are a host of unbiased resources available that make this important effort manageable. This includes assigning a unique tracking phone number to all your marketing sources, which allows you to review, without bias, the volume of marketing leads generated by each source.  You can also contact a third-party company that will manage this process for you.  If you are not quite ready to......
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Stephanie Graves
Great stuff!
Monday, 06 August 2012 22:36
Maggie Gormley
Thanks, Stephanie!
Thursday, 23 August 2012 04:51
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Lease like an Athlete - Finish Strong!

Lease like an Athlete – Finish Strong In a previous blog; Train like an Athlete, we talked about training to be Leasing Superstars with repeating great fundamentals to instill great leasing habits.   That got me to thinking about other ways leasing is like sports….and the infamous words “finish strong!” Being in softball and soccer as a kid, I always heard my coaches yelling out “Finish strong!”  Which meant, keep playing hard until the very end of the game.  Even now, as I watch my son during his baseball practice and games, I often hear his coach yelling the same words to him and his team, “Finish strong boys!  Finish strong!”  But what exactly does “Finish Strong” mean when it comes to leasing? Our company does secret shops for many property management companies.  Our shop evaluation form is like most companies.  It’s broken down into 4 basic categories and contains many questions for evaluating each stage of the leasing process; Phone Call, Greeting & Qualifying, Demonstration, and Closing.  Closing would be the ‘finish strong’ portion. All too often on shop reports, we see good, even great scores on agents phone, greeting/qualifying and demonstration sections, but then scores plummet on the final section – closing - they fail to close.  They don’t finish strong.  Even when our shoppers go on and on about how nice the agent was, and they were “really friendly”, the ultimate question is – did they attempt to close the deal?  Did they solicit an application, a deposit?  Did the......
Recent Comments
Charles Fiori
Can't you imagine yourself living here? The great community, convenience to shopping, schools, and transportation (Didn't you say ... Read More
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 02:02
Laura Bruyere
Great closing lines Charles! To include the surrounding community and how it will be of value to them as your new resident is the... Read More
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 20:55
Charles Fiori
Many thanks for the compliment, Laura! WRH Realty was similarly very kind when I posted my comments on FB as they had 'shared' you... Read More
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 23:24
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The Evolution of Search, plus Your World

Last week Google announced on their blog that they would be transforming their search experience into something rich with people and personal content.  Google claims search is limited to public webpages that are created by people you’ve never met.  At the heart of this new ‘search,’ Google is looking to bring your social world closer to you than ever before:

“Search is pretty amazing at finding that one needle in a haystack of billions of webpages, images, videos, news and much more. But clearly, that isn’t enough. You should also be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they’ve shared with you, as well as the people you don’t know but might want to… all from one search box.” – Amit Singhal, Google Fellow

Google will be bringing this content directly to your browser by personalizing your search results page in three very specific ways:

  1. Personal Results: Find information meant only for your eyes, such as Google+ photos and posts – both your own and those shared specifically with you – on your results page.  
  2. Profiles in Search: Immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following in both autocomplete in the search bar and the results.  
  3. People and Pages: Find peoples’ profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest and follow them with just a few clicks.  

What is Google telling me?

Google will continue to show all of the natural results and ads you would normally see on a results page, but now you will also see websites that your social circles have shared as well.  Just like Google did when they rolled out Universal Search, they are now pushing content from Google+ into the search results along with Google News, Images, Maps and Video.  You will no longer need to leave Google search to find information your friends or family have shared.

[video:http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z9TTBxarbs 433x300]

What kind of impact will this have?

It is no secret the tiny component tying this new search experience together is Google+.  If you ever questioned whether a Google+ account was needed, you may find it more vital than ever, especially if you are a search marketer.  Think of this new search environment as search results sprinkled with Google+ suggestions.  This format of search is not new, but rather an update to the current Universal Search in which all Google products are being represented on one page.

As with any Google update to search (remember the Instant Search craze?), this new approach has caused quite a stir in the search marketing community as Google critics and enthusiasts alike are alarmed with the direction Google is taking.  Danny Sullivan, one of the most respected people in SEO, has written several great articles on this subject.  You can read about his concerns with this new search format on his post Search Engines Should Be Like Santa From Miracle On 34th Street.

What Can I do?

For starters, create or update your Google+ profile. You should also spend some time to build a strategy around the messaging you want to deliver via Google+.  The idea is to be engaging, so people can share your content, which gives it the most reach.  In a world where search is now personalized by what friends +1 or re-share to their circles, engagement levels should become a top priority.

I’d love to hear your take on this updated search.  Do you like this new direction Google is taking?  Feel free to leave a comment or take the conversation to Twitter (@AmadoCan).

Happy searching!

Note: This was originally posted on the Apartments.com Blog - http://www.apartments.com/blog/uncategorized/googles-latest-search-plus-your-world/

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5 key mistakes you should avoid while working your guest cards

Etch a SketchNo matter how you create one, be in on an iPad, a website, a piece of paper, or your Etch A Sketch, the guest card is the fundamental way to understand a prospect's needs and get them to move-in. As we enter the slow season and rush to find ways to drive more leads, I wanted to stop a minute and look at our current prospect cards and see if we were doing everything we could to convert. Here are some of the things I found: Not responding to prospects fast enough. According to the Harvard Business review survey from March 2011 - "Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer." It's easy to see the logic behind this argument right? Your quick response is received by the prospect when they are still in front of their devices! It's so hard for us to follow up immediately though; an agent is giving a tour, making phone calls, baking cookies, doing the daily grind. If prospects expect an immediate response and our people are busy, it's easy to see why our email lead conversions as an industry are dismal. Are our industry averages low because we haven't found a way to respond fast enough? Prime example of this slow response......
Recent Comments
Justin Coleman
You definitely are spot on with all of these points Bill. I feel that follow-up to leads of any kind is often overlooked in the i... Read More
Thursday, 15 December 2011 21:53
Guest — Nathan Borne
My company just promoted me to manage a 312 unit property. Just the other day I shopped a few communities to get a feel for the ar... Read More
Saturday, 17 December 2011 06:12
Bill Szczytko
@Justin & @Nathan: Thanks a lot for the comments guys. @Nathan: That's unbelievable that an agent would make you fill out the gues... Read More
Monday, 19 December 2011 21:27
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Budgeting for a Social Strategy

I was chatting with Mike Whaling yesterday, and we both agreed there are definitely some quick wins out there to help optimize your brand, stores, properties, etc. online.  It can be time consuming, but claiming your business's pages on Google, Bing, Yelp!, etc. can be quick ways to get some SEO juice for your websites and help promote your business on those additional channels.  Where I struggle from there is with a content strategy ongoing. Here’s the honest truth, you can’t half-ass it anymore.  Search as we know it today is changing, and if you aren’t trying to be part of or help create conversation then I will predict that drive-by may become your best lead source.  OK, that could be extreme, but the algorithm is changing from a keywords model and more value is being put on conversation and connections with real people to a brand.  Criticize Google+ all you want, but even if that doesn’t do exactly what they hoped it most definitely highlights how Google is giving more credit to social connections. If this really is the case then I believe it’s time to revisit your marketing spend.  Mike and I created an Apartment Marketing Checklist a couple months ago for people to really think about.  It highlights much more than Craigslist and ILSs when it comes to your marketing, and I hope it begins to help you think about the next steps in growing your online presence.  There are plenty of opportunities and strategies to consider, but what I will tell you is ......
Recent Comments
Ellen Thompson
Hi Mark,I agree with what you are saying and I think the shift is already happening, albeit more slowly than at J.C. Hart. While I... Read More
Monday, 05 December 2011 21:53
Chris Vaughn
Mark, awesome post.You make a really salient point in regard to the general 'approach' to social media. While I think most busines... Read More
Monday, 05 December 2011 22:48
Mark Juleen
Thanks for the comments Ellen and Chris!
Thursday, 08 December 2011 20:56
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A successful property tour is so much more than follow the leader

Years ago when I had the task of putting together my first leasing guide, I relied heavily on the advice of a good friend, a supervisor with years of experience and obvious selling chops. One terrific tip she shared with me was that a leasing agent needs to become adept at finding the things in each room of an apartment home that the prospect was not likely to see. She suggested that we require each leasing agent to go into all rooms of an apartment, even the baths and closets, and find at least two things that were not obvious and explain what those features meant and how they could benefit the prospect. In the years since, I have used that great idea as a cornerstone in my training. Think about it. When a somewhat less engaged leasing agent does a property tour, they usually spend a lot of time on pointing out the obvious, if they are even interacting at all. I cannot count the number of times I have walked into a furnished model with a leasing agent I was “shopping” and been lead to a room with an oval table and six chairs while the leasing agent offered “this is the dining room.” What a master of the obvious! Why do we even waste the time and energy if we are only pointing out things that are clear to just about everyone. I have had leasing agents fall this up by steering me into the kitchen and ......
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Increase Occupancy via Twitter Mind Control

TwitterWhen I first created my Twitter account, I hated it.  The posts were too frequent, too confusing and there was way too much junk floating around my news feed.  For months, it sat with that infamous egg as a profile picture.  My home page would have jumped for joy at the sound of a cricket.  Just when I thought I’d never log in again, a friend planted a seed that wouldn’t stop growing.  I started out simple at first, but it soon turned into a full blown obsession.  I was determined to lease my first apartment via Twitter!  It was that obsession that now allows me to share how to effectively increase occupancy via Twitter Mind Control. Did you know that you can search for people hunting for apartments in the city of your choosing?  You can find people who might be looking for apartments but they don’t even know it yet, they’re just putting signals out there to their friends, family and anyone else who may be reading their post at that particular moment in time.  Are they looking for someone to comment and say hey I love where I live, go there?  No.  They’re looking for some kind of engagement (as any person is on any social platform) and most times, if you look at the post, they really don’t get it!  Now this doesn’t mean that you should only search apartment hunting or looking for apartments. Create a list of keywords to search daily.  The key here is not only to find those ......
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Mark Juleen
It can be done! I talk with people on Twitter looking for apartments in Indianapolis every week. I use 3 different columns in Tw... Read More
Sunday, 06 November 2011 10:20
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4 Free Google Tools Every Apartment Marketer Should Use

Get online with GoogleGoogle is making a big push to reach out to local businesses lately. That includes YOU. (Here's what they're doing here in Ohio. They're hosting events like these all over the country.) Even though they make the vast majority of their money through advertising, Google provides all kinds of tools to help you grow your business -- many are free. Here are four free tools from Google that should be integral parts of every apartment marketer's online toolkit: Google Analytics If you're not tracking traffic on your website, you might as well as be driving blind. Google Analytics is a free service that allows you to track which sources are driving traffic to your site, to see how people are using your site once they get there and to analyze trends to improve your online marketing efforts. We'll go into more details about using Google Analytics to track leads soon, but for now, just make sure it's set up on every page of your website. [Access Google Analytics.] Google Places Google reports that at least 20% of searches on their site are local in nature, meaning that people are looking for a product or service nearby. (This is huge in our industry ... location is everything. Just think of how many searches are there for "apartments in XYZ town" in your market.) If the search engine thinks the user is looking for something nearby, they display local results, often from their business directory called Google Places. You can set up a free......
Recent Comments
Justin Coleman
Great read Mike! In my experience Google Places has been the most widely used of the Google tools that we have utilized for apart... Read More
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 01:56
Mike Whaling
Thanks, Justin! I think the official stat from Google is that something like 40% of businesses don't have a website, which is a hu... Read More
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 02:21
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The Random Object Project

What marketing masterpiece can you create around a pencil? How about a door key? That's the basis behind the Random Object Project. In an effort to spark some creative thinking, choose one of the objects listed below and create a contest, activity, referral campaign, etc. for your community. Check out this idea to get you started:


Random Object: Deck of Playing Cards


Project: Outreach Gifts for Local Businesses


Concept: Put the card deck in a goodie bag with some colorful confetti. Attach curling ribbon and a tag that reads "Our Goal is a FULL HOUSE!" along with your community's information.



Here are some random objects - CHOOSE ONE & GET STARTED!

  • Puzzle Piece
  • Light Bulb
  • Water Bottle
  • Band-aid
  • Racecar
  • Pillows
  • Frog
  • Crayons
  • Whistle
  • Chocolate
  • Matches
  • Marbles
  • Telephone

Can you think of other random objects for your marketing projects?

Recent Comments
Brent Williams
Simple idea, and I love it! I think this is kind of the beginning stage on teaching people how to brainstorm new ideas. Most peo... Read More
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 03:03
Lia Nichole Smith
Thanks Brent! During our marketing summit a few years ago, each manager picked an envelope containing an object and was asked to c... Read More
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 09:30
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