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Taking Target Personas a Step Deeper

Understanding your target tenant is among the most important tools you’ll need to drive leasing. I’ve participated in or conducted over 50 creative discovery meetings for multi-family properties, and just about every one has included a discussion about Target Demographics. Why? Because they’re relevant, insightful, and entirely necessary to develop a strong marketing plan that will drive traffic and leasing. But they are nearly always flawed… or at a minimum woefully incomplete.  Here’s why: Many national developers and management companies rely on large scale enterprise level solutions – tools that have been created to churn up data and spit out findings. While these tools have their place and can be very helpful – Esri’s Tapestry Segmentation tool is a great example – they also generally miss the meat of the story.  Good marketing is about making connections. Personal connections that drive an emotional response. We live in a hyper-catered world – ads are served to us based on purchasing decisions, web browsing data, and even conversations our phones hear us having. We’re conditioned to respond to advertising that’s pointed directly at each of us individually. And it works. According to research completed by Salesforce, 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a product they’re using doesn’t make an effort to personalize its communications to them. Let's get back to personas. If we’re going to market directly to our best prospects, we need to know more than the zip-code based demographics these big firms churn out. Our neighborhoods don’t change every five, or ten, or twenty m......
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Integrated MarCom Every Time

Whenever I mention running an integrated marketing communications program, everybody in the room nods in agreement, as if to say, “Of course.” Whenever an individual marketing idea or subject comes up, however, everybody seems to jump at getting the task checked off the to-do list without putting a comprehensive, multi-pronged campaign together. And there’s often a litany of excuses: “My boss wants this done yesterday,” “I just don’t have the time to put together a plan,” or “We can’t wait any longer. The next conference is just around the corner.” The reality is, we often forgo integrated marketing communications plans because we want to check the to-do off our list. Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing, just checking it off the list is often the biggest mistake we can make. We not only render the marketing or communications effort ineffective, but we also create a habit of doing what’s expedient rather than what’s effective. Fortunately, we can break this habit with just a little discipline and the willingness to sell a better outcome. Here are three ways to ensure your marketing efforts, whether you’re a supplier partner, third-party manager or an apartment owner/operator, are always integrated: 1. Always take a step back and push back … in the right way. Every time someone comes up with a killer marketing idea and drops it on you like it’s the next iPhone, stop and think about it for a minute. Marketing and communications don’t work like a faucet. You can’t turn them off and back on and expect the leads......
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Instagram Do's and Don't for Multifamily

Introduction Instagram has been great for keeping up-to-date with friends and your favorite celebrities (we are talking to you @shawnmendes), but it is rapidly evolving into a marketing platform for your property. Instagram makes it easy to stay top-of-mind, showcase your brand and opens a direct line of communication between you and your target audience. Lately, we have noticed a few Instagram faux pas that could be turning your followers off. We have reviewed 100’s of property management company profiles to bring you a list of the top 10 Do’s and Don’ts on Instagram.   Instagram Don'ts 1. Ignore sizing recommendations Instagram is a visual platform, so it is vital that you follow the sizing recommendations, or else your posts will appear grainy and/or won’t fit in the frame properly like the image above. We recommend using 1080×1080 pixels for regular posts and 1080×1920 pixels for stories.   2. Poor subject choices We love chili as much as the next guy, but sadly it is not a very aesthetically pleasing food, especially served in a Styrofoam bowl. When making your decisions on what to post, it is important to consider how it will look. Instead of posting a picture of the chili itself, you could opt for a picture featuring your staff holding the bowl (think: girl holding a coffee cup). Another alternative could be to post a picture of the buffet table with the crock pot lid on and mentioning the chili in the comment. This way, you can get the point......
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Revenue Marketing: What is it and How Can Your Teams Achieve it?

The world of multifamily is ever-changing. As renter demographics shift and the ways in which they search for their future apartment home evolve, we’re recognizing a similar evolution in effective marketing strategies. Traditional marketing built around cost-per-lead or cost-per-lease metrics still has a strong hold on our industry. However, forward-thinking marketers are examining how revenue marketing can lead to a fundamental change in how we do business. The Four Stages of the Marketing Maturity ModelAccording to the Pedowitz Group, a leading marketing consultancy, the four stages of the marketing maturity model span from traditional marketing - built on the foundation of the “4 Ps” - followed by lead generation, demand generation, and, finally, revenue marketing. Our industry is highly comfortable following the “4 Ps” of marketing – product, promotion, placement, and price. We are in tune with our brands and how to promote our apartment homes through many tried and true methods. Revenue management has also empowered us to be more effective in pricing apartment homes. Yet, there is still room for growth, both in terms of optimizing the lead funnel and accelerating revenue. Moving Beyond Traditional MarketingMany owner-operators are already exploring a lead generation model. They’re highly focused on the quantity of the leads they’re generating from their investments and whether their leasing teams are converting those leads to leases. But performance within this model is still bound to vanity metrics like ad impressions, click-through rates, and form submissions to determine a cost-per-lead and lease. While a focus on lead generation move......
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Rethink renter communication in today’s hyper-connected world

Electronic communication is dominating our waking hours.   According to Adobe Campaign’s third annual consumer email survey, people spend 5.4 hours every weekday checking email. Add that to the nearly two hours per day consumers spend on social networks, and that’s nearly seven-and-a-half of our 16 waking hours.   Getting consumer attention in this saturated, hyper-connected consumer environment isn’t easy. So, how can you make your messages stand out?   Data-driven personalized interactions Prospective renters are tired of having to set the same preferences and fill out the same forms over and over again in order to shop for their next home. They want to complete these tasks once and for the property managers to provide some degree of personalized interaction based on those preferences.   This expectation will be even more important when Generation Z, the next big multifamily market, reaches renting age. According to a WP Engine study, 50 percent of Gen Z consumers said they would stop visiting websites that don’t anticipate what they need, like or want.   Property managers need to utilize technology that remembers a person’s browsing history, automatically redirects a prospect to the floor plan they spent the most time on, and auto-fills their contact form or online leasing form.   Leverage advancements in social media marketing The industry has been talking about the role of social media since Facebook was a private company, which in tech time was a hundred years ago. Yet most multifamily owner/operators still aren’t leveraging social media to advance thei......
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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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B2B Marketing in Multifamily: Enticing Owners to Select Your Services

Oftentimes when I meet a multifamily marketer, we discuss their portfolio growth goals for their company. As with any goal, a strategy of execution is crucial to achieving success. However, within the multifamily industry, the strategy around marketing property management services to asset owners and managers is executed primarily through relationship building and referrals.     While it may be true that you can achieve growth from referrals, you could be generating significantly more growth with a formal B2B marketing and business development plan.   There are some unique challenges inherent in marketing to apartment owners. Marketing to owners requires a more complex approach to audience segmentation, messaging, and channel selection, but the core fundamentals of B2B marketing remain.   Implementing the following framework could help your property management company increase unit count and drive more revenue by reaching portfolio owners more efficiently.   Who is your target customer? Just as you define your renter base in terms of demographics and psychographics, you should define your target apartment owner. Who are the buyer personas in your market and which ones align best with your company’s services?   Define your unique value proposition and core message strategy. Your unique value proposition should communicate what makes your services different and/or better than your competitors. Saying you provide great customer service or that you’ll maximize revenue isn’t enough—everyone makes these claims. Get more specific and share what differentiates your service offerings from others in the market. How will you grow rent or NOI more tha......
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Building a Modern Multifamily Marketing Organization

It’s not as archaic as the dial-up modem, but viewing marketers as those who design flyers and assemble balloon bouquets is a thing of the past. Previously regarded as nothing more than a cost center, multifamily marketing teams are morphing into more strategic roles.   The evolution of technology is largely responsible for this shift, as marketing teams are now expected to drive enough leads to match – or exceed – the budget-growth goals set by operations teams.   As new marketers join multifamily, they’ll need to bring with them a diverse set of technical skills not previously seen in the industry.   An understanding of lead-to-revenue management: A hot lead can be something of an ambiguous concept in multifamily, which has a longer lead-to-conversion timeline than most consumer products and services. Not all renters who are considering your community are ready to lease immediately. Even those who have submitted a notice to vacate their current apartment require nurturing and, in some case, saintly patience.   But continuing to effectively market to these individuals – while striking the balance of not over-pursuing – can lead to a profound difference. For instance, a prospect might be locked in a lease at another community but will consider yours when their lease ends in three months. Those who understand lead management will be much more successful driving lead-to-lease conversion among these renters, as well as increasing their funnel velocity. Modern marketers know that the funnel isn’t a straight shot from the top to the bottom, so co......
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Why Property Managers Should Include User-Generated Content in their Digital Marketing Strategies

Why Property Managers Should Include User-Generated Content in their Digital Marketing Strategies
Developing a brand identity that encourages customers to form a personal connection with your product is one of the most important steps in securing a sale. This is especially true in the multifamily industry, where residents need to be fully confident that your apartment is their best option before they commit to a lease. A relationship such as this one is built on one fundamental element: trust. But how do you build trust with a potential resident before they even walk into the leasing office? When building trust, your biggest asset actually comes from your current and former residents. Not surprisingly, consumers trust the opinions of others more than what companies say about themselves, and the influence and input of others is crucial in the decision-making process. This concept, called social proof, reveals that we are psychologically programmed to learn from others to prevent making potentially detrimental decisions. One of the primary ways customers learn information about a product or service, second-most only to information directly from the company itself, is from what they hear from others. Therefore, it is incredibly important for potential residents to see your apartments through the experience of current or former residents. In a digital marketing campaign, the best way to do this is through user-generated content. User-Generated Content Marketing Others’ opinions and experiences with a company have become so influential in a brand’s publicity strategy that an entirely new branch of marketing has developed to account for it. User-generated content marketing (UGC), or consumer-generated content mar......
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Dear Gabby: Snapchat for Multifamily Housing?

Dear Gabby: Snapchat for Multifamily Housing?
Dear Gabby,  I keep hearing all of these young people talk about Snapchat. It’s hard enough for me to remember to monitor my community Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, and Pinterest. Phew.  Am I expected to understand Snapchat too? If so, how do I use it at my multifamily community? Please help!  #SnapchatNovice Dear #SnapchatNovice,  I could barely pry my son away from his phone before, but now that Snapchat is so popular, he rarely puts it down at all! That’s great news for you though -- Snapchat is huge! There are currently millions of users who use it daily. Most Snapchat users are 34 and younger, which if you recall, is currently the most popular renter age group. I’m betting that a lot of your renters fall into this age bracket. Snapchat isn’t just for sending photos of your food, it’s also a great place to focus your marketing efforts. One of the most valuable features of Snapchat is that users are able to create 24-hour stories that house photos and short videos. This means your residents will be able to engage with content that you’re posting in real time.  So, you’ve downloaded the app, now what? It’s time to start posting content that millennials will engage with. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to take selfies like all your millennial renters. There are plenty fun ways to naturally incorporate Snapchat into your marketing tactics, all while cultivating a more engaged community: Apartment Tours Let prospective residents take a virtual tour of n......
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