Canadian Leasing Oct16

Canadian Leasing

The 2017 Canadian Multi-Res Tenant Survey conducted by Informa Canada showed that 85% of renters take less than two months to find their rentals. Your marketing website and ILS listings through RENTCafé are designed to help get their attention during that crucial time. But for a truly effective marketing approach that makes the maximum impact during those two months (and beyond), there are a couple more tools you can add to your toolkit. RENTCafé CRM and RENTCafé Connect are two solutions that integrate with RENTCafé and Yardi Voyager to better manage prospect, applicant and resident workflows. RENTCafé CRM simplifies leasing and resident services by putting everything leasing staff needs in one mobile interface, making it easier to follow up with leads and provide expert service from anywhere. RENTCafé Connect is a budget-friendly contact center solution that supports your team with automated call answering and on-demand live support – so prospects and residents get the service they need 24/7. Using these tools in conjunction with RENTCafé helps property managers improve onsite efficiency while managing the prospect to resident lifecycle, as well as improve spend and retention. Take a closer look at the four benefits of integrating your marketing strategy using the tools in the Yardi Marketing Suite. Simplify Operations Connecting these three solutions automates the entire leasing process, increasing visibility for you and your staff. When online leads and applications come through RENTCafé, your prospects’ data instantly appears in RENTCafé CRM – no duplicate manual entry required. Follow-ups are automatically scheduled based on your custom criteria, giving your staff a clear picture of what needs to happen next to convert each lead into a lease. There are follow-ups for residents too that help automate the move-in, move-out and lease renewal process, making this a true...

Apartment Idol

For musicians Jay Filson of Nasvhille and Jeremy Gentry of Chicago, a year of free rent in a brand-new apartment building is a golden ticket while they work toward establishing fledgling music careers. And for Chicago-based Magellan Development Group, a Yardi client, hosting the two musicians as “Artists in Residence” at its new properties is an amenity so unique that it has garnered significant press attention. Filson and Gentry are the inaugural winners of a creative lease-up competition held by Magellan as it marketed The Sobro in Nashville, and Exhibit on Superior in Chicago. The goal was to find Artists in Residence who would perform at the communities and provide music lessons to residents in exchange for a year of free rent. The Contest Each Artist in Residence winner competed against dozens of other musicians who submitted videos about why they were the most deserving and talented applicants. A live final performance, a la American Idol, concluded the competition. “Our Magellan principals envision this musician/artist in residence as teaching, playing, connecting with our residents in a variety of ways. They believe that music brings people together,” said Sherri Cuda, Director of Leasing for Magellan. Both Filson and Gentry are newly out of college and each was struggling to figure out what next steps their pursuit of a music career would take when they heard about the “Sobro Star” and “Exhibit A-Lister” competitions. Gentry, who works at one of Chicago’s dueling piano bars in the evenings, was thinking of moving back in with his parents. Filson had been working in marketing but knew that music was really the passion he wanted to pursue. “This is the kind of opportunity that does not come up, ever,” Gentry said. “I’m hoping that before next year I can make some original music. That’s my goal, to release an EP or a short album of original music before my time is done here.” Filson has a similar plan. He was working at his alma mater, Indian Wesleyan University, when the opportunity to compete for free rent in “Music City USA” came his way. “I tried not to get my hopes up too high but it just seemed like such a perfect opportunity,” he said. “And then it worked out, so I packed up all my stuff and moved to Nashville.” Since arriving, he’s been working on establishing a broad base of contacts and exploring the local music scene. “People here really do care about music in a really exceptional way. So it’s fun to be able to play for people and residents here that really love music and are open to hearing new artists,” Filson said. Benefits all Residents As part of the terms of the contest, each Artist in Residence puts in 30 hours a month of musical contributions toward their community. “We get a great deal out of it, but the residents get in house entertainment on a regular basis,” said Filson, who often mixes his own original work with mash-ups from popular artists like Eminem. “I’ve been playing by the pool, playing any events we have, and playing events at other Magellan buildings,” said Gentry, who is trained as a pianist but also plays guitar and drums. To augment his preparation for work at the piano bar, Gentry asks his neighbors for their song requests when he plays at the pool. He also has a list of residents who are interested in lessons and plan to start teaching soon. Expanding Possibilities Cuda says that Magellan plans to continue to roll out the contest in other future lease-ups, with the option to expand the scope. The talent portion of the event garnered significant publicity and attention in both markets. Local public relations agencies helped market it via social media and local news outlets. “In future projects, we intend to tailor the program. We may include culinary, wellness, fitness, or other areas. We...

Case Study Aug18

Case Study

A case study reveals the rewarding results of a Yardi-led search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaign for Westdale, a national real estate investment and property management company. Using RENTCafé Reach, Yardi tested, analyzed and optimized mobile ad campaigns for Westdale to produce fast results. These included a 160% increase in leads, 81% of which came from mobile devices like tablets and phones! About Westdale Westdale is headquartered in Dallas with six regional offices through the country. It focuses on acquiring, managing and developing investment opportunities and oversees approximately 200 properties in more than 30 cities. Westdale’s goal during the campaign was to work with Yardi to differentiate its communities from the competition and reach more potential renters. Process The case study focused on a RENTCafé Reach campaign targeting rental leads. For Westdale’s campaign in a competitive Class A apartment rental market, Yardi researched, planned and executed SEO and SEM strategies to improve lead generation from organic and paid search results. Yardi is a certified Google AdWords partner, and RENTCafé Reach campaign management is executed by Google AdWords Certified Specialists. This campaign used expanded text ads and other Google AdWords products. Conversion tracking throughout the campaign was used to support data driven marketing decisions. Results & Metrics The combination of SEO and SEM tactics created a large footprint in search results for Westdale, driving more qualified lead candidates. As a result, Westdale saw a significant improvement in the quality of both online and offline conversions at a lower cost. 160% increase in leads 66% increase in conversion rate 56% reduction in cost per lead Westdale’s Takeaways “When properties experience issues with low occupancy, combining SEO and AdWords brings immediate results,” said Jaymz Yates, director of technology at Westdale. “Yardi has fined...

Facebook Live Jul17

Facebook Live

Video continues to rise to the top of the digital marketing playbook. If you’re skeptical about the power of video, consider that almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. And four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Video content can also improve SEO, increase engagement and boost brand loyalty and awareness. Within the realm of real estate, the industry – from retail to residential to student housing – is finding creative ways to leverage video. What’s clear is video isn’t going anywhere, so it’s time to jump in feet first. Facebook Live offers an interactive, free and highly visible way to engage with an audience. The platform now sees 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users. With help from social media experts, in-depth tutorials and best practice tips, even the most novice user can become a Facebook Live pro.   Here are five tips to rock Facebook Live: Step 1: Ask permission If you plan to live stream other people, ask for permission before you record them. Keep in mind some conferences and venues may have strict no streaming policies. When in doubt, ask. Step 2: Game plan Some questions to inform your live video strategy: Why do you want to do live video? Who are you hoping to reach? What do you want this audience to do? What will you talk about? How long will you go live for? Facebook recommends 10 to 90 minutes, but even 5 minutes is great. Do what feels right for your organization and your viewers. Where will you go live from? Walk the room and consider reserving a spot in front. Minimal background...

Optimizing Data

Yesterday, we laid the foundations of a strong online presence. We now continue with how to gather insights from analytics to inform marketing and retention decisions. Micro-Adjustments Lead to Success When vacancy rates inch upward, resist the urge to slash prices. “Price should be the last negotiable item, not the first,” advises Sawh. Examine your SEM data, which will show leads generated and which keywords drive conversions.  Use that information to adjust pay-per-click ads, the easiest marketing factor to manipulate. In a case study, Bell needed to fill several 2-bedroom units. Data revealed that people who visited the website’s Pets page were most likely to reach goal completion. The team marketed 2-bedroom units to pet lovers to successfully fill the units. You can also make adjustments based on prospects’ objections to visits and objections to leasing. Leverage Soft Data “Business intelligence tools can give you a purview in but it doesn’t tell you the story. Customer insight is the soft data, the human touch,” says Weaver. SEO and SEM generate traffic but once traffic is translated into website and site visits, ORM and customer relationship management (CRM) capture data about visitors. Both give insights into why visitors chose to lease (or not) with your property. Use data gleaned from ORM to tweak the resident and prospect experience. If several reviews indicate that the marketing doesn’t match the product, for example, it’s time to update your gallery and re-examine your marketing message. With prospects, poor follow-through lets many conversions slip away. “It will take eight times of someone telling you no before they say yes,” explains Norbury. “Three points of contact aren’t enough.” “What we tend to forget is that we paid, maybe $20, for the phone to ring. If we don’t answer or don’t...

Maximize Revenue

The National Apartment Association (NAA) recently hosted the 2017 Education Conference in Atlanta. Marketing Maneuvers: Data in the Driver’s Seat explores how data can inform marketing decision and maximize revenue. Panelists included Candace Weaver, Director of Marketing, Bell Partners; Diana Norbury, Vice President, Multifamily Operations, Pillar Properties; and moderator Dharmendra Sawh, Industry Principal, Revenue Management and Business Intelligence Sales at Yardi. The trio reinforces the importance of operations, revenue management, and marketing working together to reach goals. Below are three takeaways from the session: Understand the “Magic Mix” Before you can gather data, four key components must be in place to generate web-based data sets: SEO– search engine optimization is how your site is written to interact well with search engines. If you don’t have this solid foundation, you’ll have to work harder and spend more on SEM. Quality SEO contributes to higher organic rankings. SEM– search engine marketing includes paid search features. It is second best to organic rankings. “In one of our properties, there were an average 497 organic views but an average 690 views with paid search. Paid search will boost you but you can’t do SEM well without SEO,” explains Weaver. SEM comes with unique benefits as well. In one Bell case study, only 23 percent of leads came from SEM yet those leads made up 43 percent of total conversions. ORM -online reputation management entails how your brand is perceived online. This includes but is not limited to reviews and comments on your site and third party sites. Both Norbury and Weaver recommend having designated reputation management teams. “Of the 2 percent of people that click ‘Reviews’ on our property website, they have a 46 percent chance of converting,” says Weaver. SMO- social media optimization may overlap with ORM...

Marketing Automation Jun22

Marketing Automation

Today’s renters expect to be able to find and interact with your company everywhere, all the time. But does that mean you’re suddenly able to hire more staff for around the clock support? Of course not. Marketing automation is your secret weapon in an increasingly busy digital marketplace. Marketing automation streamlines repetitive tasks, follows user behavior and delivers targeted content to get customers into your leasing pipeline and help you keep them as loyal residents once they’ve moved in. It drives efficiency for the marketer and leasing manager while creating a more personalized experience for the customer. Watch a quick video about marketing automation. We talked with Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing here at Yardi, for her perspective on the evolution of property marketing technology. “Property marketers have to constantly innovate to keep pace with consumer trends and demands,” said Bonardi. “Marketing automation is one way even smaller marketing teams can do that and have a big impact without breaking the bank.” 3 Ways Marketing Automation Is Changing Property Marketing Larger Reach Marketing automation tools like ILS data syndication and social media bulk posting help property marketers reach a larger audience with less effort. Instead of manually entering details like vacancy information, pricing, policies and contact information repeatedly – increasing the likelihood of human error each time – internet listings can be automatically and accurately updated across multiple sites with information from your property management software. Social media posts can be created just once and then scheduled and shared across popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Reach thousands of viewers each week without sucking time out of every work day. Better Service Bonardi points out that marketing automation isn’t just a way to work faster, it’s a way to market more effectively. “Marketing...

Big Time Jun06

Big Time

We could all use just a little more time to get everything checked off our to-do lists. If you’re a property manager at any size property, you and your team have a seemingly endless list of daily tasks, from interacting with new prospects to taking resident payments. Fortunately, modern technology is evolving to help speed things up at work. Advances in online services mean many processes that once had to be done by hand can now be automated. Recently, a few clients have shared quantifiable time savings they’re seeing at their businesses as a result of implementing better property management software. Take a look to see where you could be saving hours every month. Online Applications: 15+ minutes per application How much time do onsite teams spend entering application data? Mallory Monsma, marketing leader at NALS, estimates that online applications save its leasing agents 15 minutes each. In August of 2016, the team processed 347 applications, resulting in a time savings of 87 hours. If you’re using esignatures and completing the leasing process entirely online, your time savings will be even greater. Not to mention all the savings you’ll accrue surrounding printing, mailing, paper costs and physical storage. Online Payments: 4+ minutes per payment Monsma says that automated payment processing saves at least two minutes per check and a 20-minute roundtrip to the bank for every 10 checks. These numbers might seem small, but they quickly add up across a portfolio. In a month with 11,000 online payments, the NALS team saved 44,000 minutes (733 hours). Getting onboard with online payments also adds convenience for renters and speeds up cash flow. Roscoe Properties collects 95% of its rent electronically, quickly and on time. Mariana Estrada, vice president of operations, enthused, “That’s massive! That’s money...

RENTCafé Reach May25

RENTCafé Reach

We are thrilled to officially unveil RENTCafé Reach. This advanced set of marketing services is designed to attract qualified prospects to your multifamily properties through SEO, SEM and enhanced online property listings on the RENTCafé.com ILS. As a certified Google Partner, we’re ready to help you elevate your search and lead generation programs to the Big Leagues. SEO & SEM Services for the Real Estate Industry The RENTCafé Reach digital marketing team is comprised of Google certified experts in both Google AdWords for paid traffic and Google Analytics for organic traffic. This allows us to use Google as resource to answer questions and identify future opportunities. Our SEM program is a full-service offering from research to setup and fine-tuning, plus remarketing, conversion tracking and display advertising. The SEO program is also a full-service solution with content optimization, on- and off-page optimization, website health checks and location data management through our partnership with Yext. This ensures our clients receive only the absolute best-in-industry, white hat strategies and tactics for improving their websites’ performance while actively protecting them against black hat techniques that get flagged by search engines and harm the performance of search results, ads, websites and brands. Stay Ahead of the Competition We understand how daunting it is to launch an entire digital marketing program. And the perils of working alone without a partner to guide you. What is a SERP? Or Semantic Search and PageRank? What’s the difference between display network and search ads? Or regular text ads vs. expanded text ads and the comparative click-through-rates? We heard your questions and took them to heart so we can help you, our clients, reach beyond the fold and seize the leads that make the difference and drive business results. Today’s digital space is as...

Insights From AIM May18

Insights From AIM

Multifamily marketers from across the country converged in Huntington Beach for the 2017 Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference on May 7-10. Several hundred professionals gathered to explore the industry’s latest marketing trends and best practices. Here are three ideas from this year’s event that might buoy your marketing efforts: Tell Your Story Marketing is not just an exercise in generating the lowest cost per lead. It’s a complex combination of creativity and strategy that ultimately tells a story to potential customers. In a world of constant digital distraction, today’s marketers need to have the skills to create content that will rise above the noise. When it comes to creating engaging content, authentic storytelling and video rule. AIM panelists Jamie Matusek, President of Catalyst, Lori Valenti Webb, Director of Marketing at Wood Residential Services, and Anna Geary, Founder of Show My Property TV, explored the ideal customer experience. Matusek explained that experiences progress through the Happiness Halo framework, from anticipation to interaction to afterglow. Anticipation is the process of building excitement, teasing potential customers into wanting to know more. This can be seen in pre-event promotion and behind-the-scenes videos. Interaction immerses customers in an experience, providing emotional direction to aid in decision making. Multifamily application could be a time-constrained promotion, such as a rent discount, or highlighting property perks, such as free recreation classes or dog-friendly happy hours. Afterglow focuses on creating a positive memory, reinforcing brand positivity. As Matusek explained, bad things will happen, such as a poorly executed maintenance request or a negative front office visit, so it’s important to positively direct the sentiments with each resident touch point. Crafting an effective story can combine these three concepts into any medium, from a blog or social media post to a video. At AIM, video was...

YMF Austin May02

YMF Austin

Are you familiar with the Yardi Marketing Forum? This biannual event brings multifamily marketers from across the country together for three days of fun, education and inspiration. We just wrapped up our first forum of the year in beautiful Austin, Texas. If you couldn’t attend, here are the top five marketing takeaways that were shared by our guest presenters. Stop Hunting, Start Cultivating Anders Bergstrom, marketing director for Sanuk, opened the Yardi Marketing Forum with his keynote address on “Surfing the Waves of Consumer Change.” He stressed the need in every industry to build a lifelong fan base, instead of targeting consumers with marketing that kills the relationship after the sale. “When it comes to your audience, cultivate. Think of yourselves as farmers,” shared Bergstrom. “Become aware. Become curious. Become advocates for your clients.” Watch the recording of Anders’ presentation on Facebook. Dial in Prospect & Resident Communications Do you feel like your marketing messages are getting lost in today’s increasingly crowded digital space? For our session on “Getting Heard in a Noisy World,” we were joined by Nikki Crosby from Buckingham Companies, Mallory Monsma from NALS and Yardi’s Nima Farkhak to talk about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to interacting with residents and prospects. The panel consistently reinforced the need to be present everywhere your customers are. Crosby noted that Buckingham properties that use social media remarketing far outperform properties that don’t. Monsma shared email tips that have resulted in a phenomenal 50% open rate for NALS, including keeping subjects snappy, limiting frequency and scheduling the month’s emails in advance through RENTCafé. And Farkhak talked about the importance of live chat, citing a case study that netted a RENTCafé Connect user an $80 return for every $1 spent. “The best...

Pinterest Update Apr06

Pinterest Update

One of the fun facts about working in the 21st century is that new technology emerges every few months to make marketing easier. Several years have passed since companies started using social media like Facebook and Twitter to promote their businesses. Lately, more real estate professionals are turning to Pinterest. Understanding the Pinterest Culture Pinterest is a social media network created from virtual bulletin boards, which make it the perfect visual marketing tool for real estate experts. Recent studies show how brands that engage on social media enjoy greater interaction and loyalty from their customers. But in order to build such a brand, realtors have to take several things into consideration: Don’t expect others to discover you by chance. It may happen but increase your chances by being active on this network. Be a friendly pinner, not a creepy spammer. Post regularly but at hourly intervals rather than back-to-back. Pinterest, like any other social site, is not all about your business. For success, you will have to follow other people and interact with their content. Identify your niche within the real estate market and follow people or boards of interest. Put in consistent effort to build your brand’s presence. A higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand. Crafting Content “Content is king” in social media marketing and this goes for Pinterest as well. Explore beyond promoting your listings. Think about the potential of real estate boards. Consider boards for how-to tips; things people need-to-know when buying, renting or developing a property; and infographics on market trends. When you offer valuable information to potential customers, you earn their trust and develop loyalty. They will check your boards often—and perhaps discover the listing of their dreams. Use posts...

9 Responsiveness Tips Mar01

9 Responsiveness Tips...

Want to get in touch with your residents? SatisFacts 2017 Online Renter study reveals that 88 percent of respondents prefer to be contacted via email; 73 percent ask to be contacted by cell phone, and 50 percent request text communication.   Each method of communication has its own best practices. Dive into these nine tips for effective responsiveness. EMAIL Email is old news but effective email techniques constantly change. You must find a way to make your emails stand out in inboxes that are flooded with spam and competitors. These tips may keep your emails from the trash folder: 1. HubSpot reports that 33 percent of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject alone. Subject lines matter! Since 40 percent of emails are read via mobile device, keep your subject 30-50 characters max. Make the subject interactive by leading with a verb. “Party with us tomorrow night!” is more enticing than, “There is a party tomorrow night!” If you have an incentive, notify the reader in the subject line, such as “Get 10% off rent next month.” Add emojis at your own risk. Research tells us that readers dread all caps and excessive punctuation. More than 85 percent of respondents prefer an all-lowercase subject line to one in all caps. But emojis are a relatively new terrain. When used sparingly, they can make a good headline stand out. Downside: they might not translate well across devices and carriers. Also, certain demographics (and not others) appreciate emoji use. Lastly, integrate numbers when you can. Numbers stand out among text and they provide context. “2 weeks until your lease renewal” will have a higher click-through rate than “renew your lease soon.” 2. Timing matters. Consider the subject of your email...

Snap Happy Feb15

Snap Happy

OMG’s, LOLZ’s, puppy-dog faces and flower crowns. Snapchat is sometimes reduced to these simple stereotypes and thought of as something to entertain the kids when the adults get tired of the noise at family dinners. But noise and chaos are staples of modern life, for company and consumer alike. And as the godfather of guerilla tactics, Sun Tzu, expounded upon millennia ago, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” When fully leveraged, Snapchat can be used to cut through the chaotic noise, both at family gatherings and in today’s rental marketplaces, to turn potential opportunity into new prospects. Background All social media platforms once represented an unconventional and unrealized marketing space. This is no longer the case. Snapchat is one of the many recent social frontiers that qualifies as a guerilla marketing opportunity for brands. It’s a place where you can outmaneuver your competition through unconventional and creative means (without a huge budget), thereby gaining greater exposure and winning. Some continue to dismiss Snapchat as “just an app.” At one point, the doubters may have been correct, but as the scope of Snapchat’s business has expanded so has their reach. It’s now a social media platform that competes closely with the companies typically identified as giants in the space. Case Study So you want proof, eh? The intrepid property managers at Continental Realty Corporation (CRC) just so happen to be early Snapchat adopters, and they were kind enough to share the data of some recent campaigns with us. In October 2016, CRC ran two Snapchat filter campaigns for onsite events, one in the commercial space and one in the residential space. At the commercial property, CRC ran a custom filter for the “Jerry Adams Chili Cookoff.” The Snapchat filter campaign lasted for...

3 Big Trends Feb13

3 Big Trends

Team Yardi was lucky enough to attend the 5th annual Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa during the first week of February this year. This conference brings together a wide variety of speakers from within and without the real estate industry to talk about the impact of social media on marketing, leasing and more. We’re always happy to get out there and hear new trends and challenges being discussed – as well as meet with clients from social savvy companies like Pinnacle, Reside Living and Monarch Investment and Management Group. This year we left the summit with three big social trend takeaways: Live Video Is Happening If you’ve been waiting for live video to go away, raise your hand. (You can’t see me, but I’m holding mine up sheepishly.) You might be thinking, “But I don’t want to be on camera, and the quality is unprofessional. Who would want to watch it anyway?” Everyone, it turns out. Keynote speaker Joel Comm, an author and entrepreneur who has hundreds of thousands of social media followers, was the first to bring it up. “Live video is the most significant leap in social media since the iPhone,” he said. “You now have the power in your hand to go live and reach the world… and your communities. It will give you an unfair advantage over your competitors.” Multiple speakers urged property managers to use live video to get potential residents to know, like and trust their brands by providing useful information. Joel even thoughtfully provided a list of live video ideas specific to multifamily:   Show an empty apartment Showcase a furnished apartment Meet the staff Explore the neighborhood Show building in progress Show new amenities Tour the fitness center or pool Broadcast an event Walk through...

Marketing to Boomers Jan24

Marketing to Boomers

Did you know that Baby Boomers are the second largest demographic in multifamily housing? Most companies only spend five percent of their advertising budget (and even less effort) on this growing group. Don’t be like them. We’ve got eight tips to master online marketing to Baby Boomers. State your cost—clearly—and why your property is worth it. This fundamental tip is especially relevant to Boomers. They have a lot of money to invest in companies that meet their needs. According to this Nielsen report, Boomers currently control about 70 percent of all disposable income in the US. In the next 20 years, they are set to inherit $13 trillion more. If your property meets their needs, they won’t need sales tricks to buy in. Ensure that your marketing story explains how your property can meet and exceed their expectations. They will be willing to pay top dollar. Highlight the conveniences of renting. Many Boomers opt to rent so that they can explore other interests without the burdens of homeownership. The amenities that set your rentals apart from homeownership are valuable selling features. As former homeowners, many Boomers know that property maintenance is hard work. Boomers will appreciate the assurance of prompt maintenance services. Highlight residents’ access to Online Maintenance Requests through Yardi RENTCafé®. The tool will appeal to their desire for convenience. Tell the story of the active, hip Boomer. Boomers don’t want to be reminded that they’re aging. This generation focuses on an active lifestyle and exploring new interests. Feature local hiking trails, parks, and your community fitness classes on your website and social media. Let them envision living the lifestyle that they crave while in your community. Note that Boomers not done living it up. While some are caregivers and part-time babysitters for...

Drive More Traffic Jan12

Drive More Traffic

Remember when property marketing was all about foot traffic? Not anymore. In this digital era, an increasing number of apartment seekers start their search online, long before they ever set foot in your leasing office. And the most recent NMHC Kingsley Renter Preferences Study showed that 80% of renters visited the community or company wesite during their apartment search. As a savvy property manager, you already know that online is the name of the game. And you’ve got a website for your property. But how do you get people to visit it? Not everyone has the budget or staff for paid search ads. Fortunately, that’s not the only answer. Here are three inexpensive things you can do to drive more traffic to your property websites. Go Mobile First things first, you can’t get traffic if it can’t find you. Not only is a mobile-friendly website important for easy viewing from a phone, it’s also critical to help your site get found during mobile searches. In fact, did you hear about “Mobilegeddon” in April 2015? This was when Google updated its algorithm so that only responsive websites appeared in mobile search results.  A lot of US businesses lost search traffic because they weren’t mobile friendly. Don’t let that happen to you! First, update your website to a responsive design that works on any size screen to make sure it appears in all search results. Then be sure to include important details that mobile searchers may be looking for near the top of the page. Give them easy access to your phone number, office hours and vacancies. Brand Everything Your property website is one of your most powerful marketing tools. Are you using it to your full advantage? It’s time to put your website address on...

Kelley Shannon

Meet Kelley Shannon, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at The Bozzuto Group and marketing genius who started her professional career in accounting before changing courses to focus on brand management. “Coming from accounting where you’re looking at numbers all day, I was missing the creative piece. While I enjoyed the problem solving, I missed the human connection. Marketing allows me to be analytical and apply creativity to help people solve problems and meet business goals. It’s the right fit for me.” In her role at Bozzuto, Kelley leads a team that focuses on impacting key touchpoints in a customer’s journey. With dozens of new communities every year, Kelley and team are busy developing marketing plans to deliver quality leads to over 200 communities, creating engaging brands and cementing memorable customer experiences – while ensuring that all marketing is reflective of their diverse and inclusive culture. We recently had the chance to ask Kelley how she manages to keep up with (and support) the pace of growth at Bozzuto. Keep reading to find marketing tips you can apply at your own properties, no matter how big or small. Q: Can you tell us a little about Bozzuto and what makes the company unique? A: Bozzuto is a regional leader with a national reputation. We currently manage more than 60,000 apartments and homes. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding service and consistent value for customers, clients and partners. Jamie Gorski, Bozzuto’s CMO, being the visionary that she is, is not one to rest on our laurels. She is always looking for what is new and interesting, especially outside of our industry. When we find it, chances are we’re going to evaluate it for its relevance to marketing real estate. Q: How does Bozzuto use RENTCafé? We partnered with Yardi and the RENTCafé team to create a property marketing website template that supports Bozzuto’s brand and marketing strategy. It provides us with a pre-approved yet customizable platform that our team can use to reduce the typical time to market, while maintaining our design and usability standards. We can build new sites more quickly with RENTCafé. We can also rapidly convert old websites that aren’t working and bring them to a place that better reflects the brand story and engages prospects instantly. Now site visitors view 23% more pages and spend 20% more time online with us. Q: What are you doing to promote increased session duration on your property marketing sites? Why do you think visitors are staying longer? A: We focus on putting information that prospective renters want front and center…floor plans and visual content. When you visit any of our sites, we’ve made the navigation to these key areas immediately accessible. And we often add video content on the homepage to draw people in. These visuals give you a sense of how the community lives, how people use the spaces. I feel like we’ve won when someone says, “I could see myself living here.” Q: How important is the mobile experience? A: With the growth in mobile as the first point of entry for many people searching for apartments, our goal is to deliver a great mobile experience. This means quick access to photos, contact information and online tour scheduling. Q: What are some advantages that you have seen from working with Yardi? A: RENTCafé saves us time and offers a cost-effective website solution for both new communities and those needing to update their online presence. It helps us keep up with Bozzuto’s pace of growth without compromising our standards or putting extra strain on the marketing team. Yardi has been a great partner! Q: If you’re not in the office, where are you? A: I enjoy visiting the communities, but I’m happiest brainstorming with my team. We talk about marketing pain points and how to fix them. We find ways to automate tasks, and our latest effort is to...

Purposeful Surveys Nov16

Purposeful Surveys

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can’t manage what you haven’t measured.” What exactly do you do once resident satisfaction has been measured? The data within your resident survey results can pave the road for a more profitable and enjoyable property—if you optimize use of the data.   Make a Plan Before you issue the survey, get team leaders onboard with the process. When leaders are vested in the survey, they will provide enthusiasm, structure and accountability among staff members. Enthusiasm for surveys may be hard to muster. If your leadership sees surveys as a public roast, they are less inclined to throw themselves on the chopping block. The first step is to change the way that the staff sees surveys. Kristin Van Ramshorst, Social Media Specialist at Yardi, encourages clients to see all feedback as good feedback. “Any feedback – positive, negative, or in between – is good feedback and a way to offer better customer service,” says Van Ramshorst. “Respond to negative feedback in a way that is timely, empathetic and identifies solutions. Often times responding in a timely manner can also deescalate complex resident complaints and take the conversation offline faster.” Your plan may also include a strategy for compensation and responsibility dissemination. Consider: Will your property have specific hours for responding to issues brought up in the surveys? How will your staff be compensated for responding outside of normal business hours? Outside of normal business hours, are auto-response messages (i.e. Facebook Messenger) a good option for your property? If there are technical or legal issues reported in a complaint, which individuals at your company or corporate will you escalate the inquiry to? What resources (i.e. training, staff, equipment) do you currently have available at your property to respond to social...

Millennial Renters Sep06

Millennial Renters

“The Millennials are coming, the Millennials are coming!” We’ve all heard some version of this over the last few years, but now they’re here and ready to rent. Are your properties positioned to get their attention? Here are six simple ways to attract more Millennials to your vacant properties. Learn how you can help them find, like, and trust you, so they will take the next step to becoming residents. Be found on mobile. According to Google, more searches now take place on mobile devices than on computers, and 87% of Millennials always have their smartphones handy – day or night. That means if you want today’s young renters to move in, they need to be able to find you when they’re searching on their phones. Is your property website optimized for viewing on mobile devices? If not, you’re missing out on valuable prospects and possibly not even ranking in search engines at all. Display accurate information instantly. Don’t waste anyone’s time by making your unit availability or prices hard to find. Millennials may be online often, but they’re in a huge hurry! Google tells us that while mobile sessions are increasing, time spent per site visit has decreased 18% in the last year alone. If searchers can’t quickly find the answers they need about your property, they’ll move on, rather than spend more time digging for information. Save yourself extra hassle (and data entry hours) by using online property management software that automatically and accurately updates your internet listings for you on multiple ILS sites. Use great photos. Don’t use outdated or blurry photos on your website, and definitely avoid stock photography whenever possible. Millennials are photo-savvy, thanks to their smartphones and photo-sharing sites like Instagram and Snapchat. They expect to see authentic...