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Going Green Might Help Market A Community, But How Much?

b2ap3_thumbnail_iStock_000003459784_Large.jpgLet’s be honest: While green technology is important to many, it isn’t to everybody. Some residents will toss a soda can into the garbage even with a recycle bin less than a foot away.   So, should you prominently market your community as a green building? Are the expenditures worth the potential gains? The answer isn’t a direct yes or no. First, consider the market. Residents in places, such as Berkeley, CA or Boulder, CO, locales that are famously environmentally conscious, are more likely to be persuaded to live in a green apartment community than residents in more cosmopolitan areas, like Miami, FL or Chicago, IL. Recent studies have indicated that the majority of residents will not pay higher rents to live at a green community over a lower-priced community that is otherwise comparable. In fact, according to RentPath data, a mere 0.1 percent of ApartmentGuide.com users filtered for the term “Green Community” over the past year. That, of course, doesn’t account for prospective renters who were already aware that a particular community is green, but it does suggest that the environmental concept isn’t on the mind of the majority of searchers. However, a community shouldn’t ignore the concept altogether. While a green apartment community might not sway a prospective resident on its own merit, it can act as a tiebreaker. In that particular case, it means the marketing effort is worth it. Let’s say Green Community A and Non-Green Community B each list for $2,000. More on-the-fence prospective residents might choose A because ......
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New Facebook Beacon: Why Your Apartment Community Should Participate

New Facebook Beacon: Why Your Apartment Community Should Participate
Now your apartment community can interact with your Facebook fans when they walk into your doors with the new Facebook Bluetooth Beacons. This nifty little device will sit on your desk and help promote more information about your community. Currently, Facebook is giving away one free Beacon per Facebook account, but for only one randomly selected fan page as of now. They say the Beacons should be delivered over the coming weeks, but nothing is certain at this point. I remain optimistic they will come in the mail, so we can get a jumpstart on this new technology. How is Works When new potential residences walk through your door and open up the Facebook app the new Place Tips feature will offer information such as: • Welcome note and photo• Ask to LIKE your fan page and check-in• Current posts on your Facebook page• Show their Friends who like your page The Facebook Beacons utilizes Bluetooth technology to send one-way signals to the users phone to ensure they get the correct information about your fan page. Facebook claims the Beacons do not collect any data from people’s phones, but still be aware of this since it’s still a really new product. Users must enable their location settings and have Bluetooth enabled in order to receive Place Tips from the Beacon at your community. Set up is a breeze. Simply remove your Facebook Beacon from the package then remove the sticker on the back. Lastly place it in a safe area on your desk and yo......
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“The Silent 97%” – Unspoken Apartment Ratings

“The Silent 97%” – Unspoken Apartment Ratings
I came across a blog post1 the other day that discussed the cost a company incurs because of poor customer service.  One of the surprising statistics that stuck out to me was that 97% of customers don't complain or vent their frustrations, even when they are unhappy with a product or service. I should clarify that they are certainly venting to their friends, families, work associates and the pizza deliveryman about how horrendous this product or that service is... But they're not voicing their complaint to the company responsible. Why aren't businesses hearing from these individuals more often? Can you imagine how much of a positive impact their feedback could have? In order to receive that crucial resident input from the silent majority, your apartment communities must establish practices that show you do in fact want honest feedback from the people you serve each day. Once you've made the decision that you want this feedback, regardless of how harsh it may be, there needs to be an effortless avenue for residents to provide their input. You have to make it as easy as possible. Integrated ratings & reviews, net promoter scores, and comment forms are a few simple, online avenues for a customer to let you know how good or bad you are doing as a company. Once you have the data, you have to leverage it. It's actually worse to ask people to provide feedback and then do nothing about it, than it is to never ask for feedback at all. When residents take the time to......
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Apartment Marketing: Feature Your Benefits, Not Your Features

Apartment Marketing: Feature Your Benefits, Not Your Features
In one of my first college advertising classes, I was handed a pen and told to list all of the features that might be used to sell it. In looking at the pen, I noted some things like: “gel ink”, “retractable point”, “rubber grip”, etc. A classmate was then asked to take my list and come up with a benefit for each of the specific features. His list had descriptions like, “the ink flows smoothly on paper”, “you’ll never have to worry about losing the lid” and “it’s easy to hold in your hand”. It was easy to see that his list of benefits was much more compelling than my list of features. It was a basic lesson, but it’s a concept that has stuck with me ever since. Distinguishing between features and benefits seems like a simple task, but it’s often misunderstood or forgotten completely in marketing efforts. The best marketers don’t tell you what their product is, but instead they describe what that product will allow you to do or how it will make you feel. Coca-Cola doesn’t spend time describing the fizziness of their beverages or the construction of their aluminum cans, instead all of their messaging is focused on the refreshment and the happiness that you feel as you take a sip. Let’s take a quick look at features and benefits in the context of apartment marketing and see how slight shifts in multifamily messaging can make a big difference in consumer perceptions. Features-Based Approach How many apartment communities do you see using marketing materials ......
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Multifamily Property Marketing 101

Multifamily Property Marketing 101

There is an argument I hear quite often when out visiting a new property or networking with new or prospective property owners, and it has to do with marketing. I can’t tell you how many say something to the effect of: “Most applicants are going to find us by neighborhood searches and drive-bys; how much marketing do we really need?”

There is some truth in the statement. After all, it’s not uncommon for a prospective tenant to drive through the community or neighborhood where he or she is planning to move in order to get a feel for the available options. However, “More than 70 percent of renters start their apartment search online,” says John Helm, founder and CEO of MyNewPlace.com. “And leading managers report that more than half of their lead and lease activity is coming from online sources.”

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Understanding & Building Your Brand in Five Easy Steps

Businesses don't need in-house marketing staff or an outsourced agency to start a successful foundation for their brand. I've heard dozens of reasons explaining away a lack of marketing efforts, but in this day and age where every possible resource you could dream of is available online at little to no cost, those excuses just don't cover it anymore. In order to take your brand to the next level, however, you first need to understand what exactly your brand is. It is important to note that your brand is not just your logo; in fact, your brand is so much more than that. People tend to assume that your brand is made up of all the material items that display 'your colors' (employee uniforms, website, business cards, office building, etc.), when in reality these are are only marginally related to your brand; rather, they are more of an outcome of your brand than your brand itself. Seth Godin, published author and game-changer in the world of marketing and consumer psychology, gives a perfect definition that every business owner can understand.  A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.- Seth Godin, Best-Selling Author With that definition in mind we see that our brand is, first and foremost, an experience, and we as business owners and entrepreneurs are given the grand task of figuring out what that should be and how it should be executed. Once w......
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SEO For Apartment Website Photos

SEO For Apartment Website Photos
Image Alt Tags have been the go-to method of optimization for images for quite some time now. After adding alt tags, many property management teams will simply call it good. That's not a critical error by any means, but it's like leaving proverbial money on the table. Google and other search engines are unable to interpret images on their own so they rely on signals from us. Image alt tags are one way webmasters let search engines know the kind of material that is contained in a picture, but why stop there if you don't have to? There are a few other things you can do to help the search engines understand the media on your apartment community website.   File Names How many pictures do you have in your computer with names like IMG_0666 or something? How helpful is that title in determining what the picture is about? If you, a member of the most intellectually advanced species on the planet, can't immediately determine what is in the picture that you most likely took yourself, then why would you expect a machine to be able to? As search engines crawl the code of your page, they read and analyze the file names your photos have. So tell Google what your webpage contains by incorporating strategic keywords into image file names.   Don't forget about G+ Now that you've changed the file names of all the photography on your apartment community website, go and do the same thing for pictures on your Google+ page. This serves the......
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