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Meet Renter Demand, Put Mobile First

The average time spent browsing on a smartphone per month in the US is 87 hours, compared with 34 hours on desktop, and more than 70 percent of total digital minutes are spent on mobile devices. Additionally, Google reports that more than half of its search queries globally occur on mobile devices.   If that isn’t enough to convince you to put mobile first in your marketing activities, nothing is. While mobile plays a significant role in multifamily business today, that pales in comparison to its role in the lives of renters. Despite this, few property managers offer mobile apps to residents so they can pay their rent, let alone run mobile-based marketing campaigns that drive leads and leases.   The good news is that making your mark on mobile isn’t as daunting as it seems. There are three primary ways you can make mobile work for you to improve prospect and resident engagement:   1. Optimize your community websites for mobile. Google announced in 2016 that it would index sites based on their mobile versions. Optimizing for mobile can be as simple as moving the site to a platform that includes responsive web design on all websites.   Several multifamily software vendors, along with most content management platforms, offer automated responsive web design that makes it easy for you to get up and running. Custom systems may require more time and effort on your part to set up, though the ROI could make the process worthwhile.   2. Create a per......
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Just Pay Attention

b2ap3_thumbnail_wearesocial1.JPGBack in the days when we were in class we heard that expression from our instructor….”Just pay attention!”   Why was that expression used?  More than likely it was because of the vast amount of information that was being shared.  If we did not pay attention then we could potentially miss out on some key information that is critical enough to affect our grade or even our future. It is no different today when it comes to our digital marketing.  The continued rise in statistics can lead us to be a bit baffled on how to keep up which is why we need to pay attention.  Take a look at some basic rising statistics. Mobile drives over 50% of all e-commerce traffic Mobile and social are merging. By 2018 video will account for over 2/3 of mobile usage. Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn. Grandparents are the fastest growing demographic on Twitter. 90% of buyers trust peer recommendations. The average person has a: 07 attention span…that’s worse than a goldfish. Hello 4 C’s of Digital: Creating, Curating, Connecting, and Culture Source: Equalman     Source: WeAreSocial The statistics are endless but the point is true.  We must pay attention.  Are we planning our marketing strategies to cover us through 2015 or are we preparing now for the growing trends that will lead us for the next few years to come?  Do major decisions such as making our websites mobile friendly take months or years because of having to go through layers of corporat......
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5 Ways to Keep Email Subscribers Engaged

5 Ways to Keep Email Subscribers Engaged
So you’ve got people signed up for your emails? Congratulations…you’ve conquered the first hurdle! But you’re not off the hook just yet. Your next challenge is keeping those subscribers interested so they keep opening (and reading) your emails. People ignore or unsubscribe from emails for a number of reasons. But don’t be discouraged. There are some simple things you can start doing today to help keep your email subscribers engaged over time. Provide Relevant ContentWhen it comes to email marketing, one size doesn’t fit all. For example, folks who have submitted a lead indicating they’re looking for a new apartment might be interested in tips for choosing a moving company, but those who already live in your community probably aren’t. So consider segmenting your audience and sending each segment a different version of your newsletter or email.   Get to the PointConsumers get dozens, if not hundreds of emails each day. If a renter opens your email and sees nothing but a big block of text, chances are they’ll quickly hit “delete.” Make your emails easier to scan (and more likely to be read) by keeping sentences short, adopting a conversational tone, and using techniques like headers, bullet points and numbered lists to break up blocks of content. Set Expectations (And Stick to Them)When Rachel the Renter signed up for your email newsletter, did you tell her you’d send it once a month? Then don’t send it once a week or twice a year instead! If you email too often, Rachel may get annoyed and unsub......
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Three Ways to Market to Millennials

There’s been a lot of buzz in the last few years about the coming of age of Millennials – people born in the 1980s and 1990s. This group, also referred to as Generation Y, grew up in the age of technology. In fact, many probably don’t remember what life was like without computers, the internet and mobile phones. They shop differently than previous generations, and because of this, marketers must approach them differently. Why is this demographic especially important to multifamily professionals? Well, as Millennials enter the workforce and move out of their parents’ homes, the majority of them are choosing to rent rather than buy. A study from the Urban Land Institute found that only 40% of the Millennial generation owned their residence in 2013, compare to 66% of all respondents. And it doesn’t look like many of these current renters are interested in buying a home in the near future. Of the Millennials who said they would likely move in the next five years, 69% expect to rent. Looking for ways to successfully market to this growing group of Millennial renters? Read on for three ways to better reach this demographic. #1: Optimize for mobile Millennials are turning to smartphones and tablets to stay connected while on the go. According to eMarketer, 92% of Millennials used a mobile phone in 2012, and 63% used those phones to surf the mobile web. For that reason, multifamily professionals must ensure their websites are optimized for mobile viewing. If visitors have trouble viewing your site on t......
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Your Online Strategy: 3 Basic Building Blocks

Your Online Strategy: 3 Basic Building Blocks
You know your community needs an online presence to help increase leads and occupancy. Even back in 2010, the Internet was twice as popular as any other method of searching for an apartment. But unless online marketing is your specialty, figuring out what you really need to do can be overwhelming. Ryan Lucia, our director of sales, boiled it down into three basic building blocks: 1. Build a Smart WebsiteThis one’s pretty obvious. Your prospects are online, so provide a site that shows them your community’s offerings in a smartly designed way. After all, you have to look good online to be taken seriously—did you know that 94% of people cite design as a reason they don’t trust certain sites? And this applies to both desktop and mobile sites. If you don’t have a responsively designed website, you at least need a mobile version of it because 89% of consumers use a search engine on their mobile device. 2. Attract VisitorsOnce you’ve built that awesome website, don’t just trust in “build it and they will come.” You need to give your prospects a little help in finding you first! Consider investing in online and mobile advertising, including listing your properties on search sites like ApartmentFinder.com, Apartments.com, etc. And since many use search engines as their go-to research, look into SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) strategies. Probably the most important step you can take to optimize your site for higher ranking in search results is to focus your content on answer......
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New Texting Regulations May Affect Your Community

New Texting Regulations May Affect Your Community
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations can make texting with customers pretty spooky for any business. But that doesn’t mean it’s something you should avoid...not if it’s done in a TCPA-compliant way. With 97% of SMS text messages opened and read within 3 minutes (vs. 22% of emails), it’s a communication your community should embrace. Just do so carefully, ensuring you're in compliance even with the most recent regulations: Include the ability to immediately opt out of messages. (Effective Jan. 14, 2013)  Get unambiguous written consent—even from people you have established business relationships with—before sending telemarketing calls or text messages via automatic telephone dialing systems. (Effective Oct. 16, 2013) Do You Market or Simply Communicate?The TCPA is aimed at restricting telemarketers, but in the broadest sense, almost any business-to-consumer texts could fall under these regulations.* I don’t know about you, but I like to err on the side of caution! There are a number of resources to help you learn what (if any) changes you need to make, and consider talking with an attorney to make sure your specific needs are addressed no matter what kind of texting your community does:  SMS ShortCode programs - Used to send mass marketing messages (like specials or coupons) to a long list of numbers, these text programs are the most heavily regulated. They can be effective when used correctly, but hit pause until checking with your vendor and attorney for any additional steps you need to take. One-to-one texting between property management personnel & custome......
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Bringing Your Marketing to Life with Augmented Reality

Bringing Your Marketing to Life with Augmented Reality
Engagement has become one of the most buzzed-about marketing terms lately, and brands are quickly adopting new technology and following trends in order to reach out and captivate more consumers. One such feature that is trending right now is augmented reality, which is a live view of a real-world environment whose elements are augmented by sound, graphics, video or GPS technology, creating interactive surroundings. It is essentially the merging of the offline and online worlds, which gives the opportunity to generate interaction through a medium that traditionally offered only a one-way conversation.   Augmented reality is a great way to bring your marketing campaign to life by drawing attention to your brand using fun, interactive technology. Additionally, it can also provide a useful tool for consumers by sharing helpful information and ease of use. Many companies are utilizing augmented reality to boost the brand experience for users. Companies like Heinz have used it to turn static marketing and product labels into interactive messaging that engages users and provides added value by including recipes that are made using the brand’s ketchup.   Magazines and other printed publications can come to life using an app like Layar to create an interactive mobile experience, allowing viewers to watch video and experience interactive messages simply by scanning branded materials with their phones. There are a variety of mobile apps that create interactive experiences, giving brands an opportunity to make a memorable impression on the consumer.   With the increasing popularity of augmented reality and an emphasis on engaging with c......
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Keeping Up with Your Mobile Prospects

Keeping Up with Your Mobile Prospects
Both your current and future prospects are mobilized: 95.2% of the millennial generation will have mobile phones by the end of the year (a vast majority will be smartphones); the 35-44 and 45-55 age groups also strongly embrace this technology. How’s a multifamily community to keep up?   Appealing to the increasingly mobile apartment hunter will take more than a website, ILS posts and social media presence. If you really want to connect, it’s smart to embrace their “right here, right now” mindset. One Community’s Approach A mobile mindset approaches everything from an online perspective, from conversing to completing paperwork. Mobile consumers want to make the most of every second, too. Paperwork, emails, sometimes even phone calls may seem too time-consuming (yet they spend untold hours on Pinterest, Instagram, etc.). If you can offer them online options—convenient ways to get everything squared away—you could be that much more appealing. There are numerous technologies out there to help. One that’s growing in popularity (with both on-site staff and prospects) is live chat. “It’s a fun way to build rapport with prospects and get them the most up-to-date information on your property, ” says Amber Crudele, property manager for Platform 14 in Hillsboro, Ore. She also told me that Platform 14 makes it easy to do more online (like completing applications) because they “don’t want to lose a lease.” The combination of online processes and apartment chat works. Amber points to an apartment she leased by chatting with both roommates  “By the time the first prospect sent me he......
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Best Practices of Texting

Best Practices of Texting
When it comes to mobile marketing, text messaging provides a wonderful opportunity for you to easily connect with your residents and prospects. With 98% of text messages being opened and read within minutes of receipt, you can feel confident in your decision to incorporate texting into your marketing strategy. Whether you’ve already tried communicating with customers via text messaging or you’re considering it, here are some “Best Practices” that you should follow:   1) Advertise! It’s critical for you to promote your text messaging program in order to gain subscribers. Post your property keyword and short code in plain sight and on your social channels with a call to action, so everyone will know about the program.   2) Provide value. Subscribers opt-in to text messaging programs because they expect to receive exclusive news and offers. Be sure that all messages that you send are relevant and provide valuable information to your residents or prospects.   3) Avoid spamming. Send messages infrequently. Two to four times per month is plenty, and as mentioned above, be sure those messages are providing valuable information! You should also review legal information from the Mobile Marketing Association and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).   4) Timing. Be considerate of your subscribers – don’t send a text late at night or too early in the morning. Not only will this frustrate them and lead some to unsubscribe, but it’s less effective to send messages at times when users are not likely paying attention their phones.   5) Stop means STOP. When a user opts out from your text messa......
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Apparently, There’s an App for Everything, But Which Are the Most Appealing?

App Facebook Survey Results

 

As smartphone ownership increased from 3.2 percent of mobile subscribers in 2006 to 44 percent in 2011 (Nielsen 2012), so has the demand for phones to act as a multipurpose tool for entertainment, socializing, shopping and everyday life in general.  Smartphones now provide freedom from needing multiple tools on hand at any given time, as creatively pointed out by a recent cellphone provider’s commercial, through the development of application software, more commonly known as “apps.”  Not only has the variety of options increased, so has the technology and functionality in apps.  This advancing technology can be seen through numerous application offerings including the ForRent.com that not only allows renters to search for the perfect apartment in the palm of their hand, but they can also utilize the augmented reality function that allows them to view their current location through the camera of their smartphone with a “layer” showing all of the available apartments on ForRent.com within a 10-mile radius.

 

With more than 600,000 apps to choose from in Apple’s iTunes Store alone (Mobile Marketing Watch), we wondered which are the most popular and how they stack up.  Since mobile mania is well underway, we provided some reviews on our favorite apps and most recommended apps for work and play.  

 

To start, we gathered recommendations from renters by asking our Facebook friends which app is their favorite. More than 80 different comments came back in one day, all confirming the latest national statistics.  Here is what we found from our survey:

App Facebook Survey Results

 

 

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