Best Practices and Hot TIPS in Leasing and Marketing
AAGO's leasing guru, Desiree Starr, hosted a GoToMeeting Best Leasing Practices Brainstorm, and we loved hearing everyone's marketing and leasing tips from all over Orlando. In case you couldn't make it, here's a summary of some of the tips and tricks we discussed!
Show Residents and Prospects How Much You Care
There are apartment communities with similar amenities, features, and floor plan offerings all over Orlando. What does your community do to stand out and really show your prospects how much you care?
- Make your leasing office feel comfortable. Greet prospects warmly and offer a fresh cup of coffee or refreshments upon arrival.
- Create a tour and move-in board. Place a chalkboard or white board on an easel at the front of your office and make a note to welcome prospects with scheduled tours or move-ins for the day by first name. This will help your team greet tours and new residents warmly, and will certainly make them feel special upon arrival.
- Stay open a bit later. Your office might close at 6:00 pm, but what if a prospect is unable to make it in for a tour until 6:30 pm? Consider staying open a bit later one night of the week to accommodate prospects with tricky schedules.
- Customized email responses. Encourage your leasing agents to spend an extra 5 minutes on their emails to answer prospects questions warmly and personally. Chances are, if a prospect found you online they already know your list of amenities and floor plans offered. They need you to answer their specific questions so they can make a final decision to make your community their new home.
- Use photo or video. Your prospects communicate with all of their friends via social media, and there's no reason you can't socialize with them there as well! Create an area of your office with good lighting and a few fun photo props. The area can be used to take a celebratory photo of a new resident on move-in day, or a photo of a prospect at the end of a tour. With the individual's permission, share the image or video on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, anywhere! This could be used as a technique to congratulate a new resident on their new home or to follow up with a potential renter after a fun tour.
Creative Marketing Ideas
We got creative and discussed some non-traditional apartment marketing ideas for both prospects and current residents. Here are a few of the ideas that were shared:
- Give back to the community. One of our callers told a story about a community that gave a portion of their pet fees back to local animal shelters in the community. This was a way to show their residents that their money was put to good use, and it was a tax write-off for the community!
- Facilitate donations. With so many residents moving in and moving out each month, there is a huge opportunity for us to facilitate donations to local charities. Lori from Sterling Crest shared that she has a donation bin on-site at her community and that residents can deposit donations in the bin at any time. Donations are either brought to local Goodwill locations or recycled. They use a service that picks up the donations every Wednesday, and even keeps track of how many pounds of donations they pick up to track the program's success.
- Try a photo booth. A recent resident even thrown by Julie and the Park Place at Maguire team featured a photo booth for their residents. The photo booth company provided fun costumes and the photo strips could be shared on an iPad to the resident's email or Facebook account. As a bonus, all of the photo prints had the Park Place at Maguire logo at the bottom, so their brand was shared with the photos.
- Host a pet adoption day. If your community is pet friendly, try hosting a pet adoption event! Invite a local animal shelter to come show off available adoptions and consider giving your residents a discount on their pet rent or pet fee if they adopt during the event. Advertise the event through social media and throughout your area of town to attract locals who might not be your residents (yet).
Social Media Tips
The group consensus was that we use Facebook most heavily when marketing to prospects and residents, complemented by Pinterest and Instagram. A few creative social media tips:
- Keep your voice consistent. Often times, there are multiple team members in your office responsible for posting to social media. Identify a voice for your brand and keep your messaging consistent. Desiree added, "You don't want to be silly and fun at 9:00 am, and then serious by noon when your staff changes."
- Try running social media contests. The M North team shared that their management company has had success running treasure hunt social media contests. The residents gathered around the office area (a perfect opportunity for a photo opp!) and then searched around the community for hidden items, or 'treasure.' The reward for finding the treasure was a gift card, and they were able to offer the event to their residents monthly!
- Tips for Pinterest. Try sharing ideas to Facebook from Pinterest or creating a board for prospective residents. Lori from Sterling Crest shared that she's seen a great response sharing decorating tips including storage in small spaces and how to add color without painting a wall on Facebook. Another suggestion was to create a board filled with local knowledge for new residents just coming to town. Ideas included where to get your driver's license, how to set up cable and internet, and things to do in the area.
That's a wrap! Thank you to everyone who made it to the webinar this morning. Keep your eyes open for AAGO's next online seminar, we can't wait to see you bring these new ideas to life at your community!
If you missed the webinar, but have some ideas to share, we'd love to hear from you! Leave us a comment to share your ideas and tips!
This was a guest blog post by Sydney Jamieson, a Market Director for 407apartments.com, a local Internet Listing Service (ILS) for apartments in Orlando.