Word of Mouth Isn’t Dead Dec13

Word of Mouth Isn’t Dead...

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is an old hat that has learned new tricks. Nielsen reports that 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. A study by The American Marketing Association adds that 64 percent of marketing executives believe that word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. So why have only six percent of marketers mastered the new potential WOMM? WOMM with Purpose Jay Baer’s latest book, “Talk Triggers,” explores how businesses can capitalize on WOMM. His first tip is to strategize. Too often, businesses rely on happenstance, like tripping on a rock and noticing that it’s a chunk of gold. But by intentionally creating word of mouth opportunities, you get people to talk on purpose and control the message. Next, Baer recommends repeatable strategies. One-hit-wonders don’t build a brand. What can you do, and continue to do, to keep customers talking? Doubletree’s free cookie program is a prime example of intentional, repeatable WOMM. Every check-in and free cookie is a WOMM opportunity. More than 25 years later, the free cookies still generate buzz. Learn from Sprint’s Mistake Lastly, Baer encourages businesses to be unique. Sprint demonstrates how sameness backfires. Sprint hired actor Paul Marcarelli, formerly of the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” campaign. Verizon’s campaign, which lasted for nearly a decade, was a huge success. Sprint’s attempt at piggy backing on that success only sort of worked. Sprint spokesperson David Tovar told the New York Times that the new commercial was viewed 14 million times on YouTube. Nearly 1,000 articles (including this one) mention Marcarelli’s brand switch. Sprint’s Marcarelli stunt stimulated more than 3 billion impressions but the conversation wasn’t exactly good. Few consumers talked about Sprint’s improved network. People wanted...

Snapchat for Student Housing Dec12

Snapchat for Student Housing

Of the top five most popular social media apps, Snapchat is the most cryptic to navigate and has the shortest content lifespan. Those are two reasons why young adults love Snapchat, and your student housing community can benefit from loving it, too. So Snapchat…Who Cares? Snapchat doesn’t offer traditional menus for navigation. It’s all about exploration and being in-the-know. The small nuggets of content posted by users can disappear in a fewer than 24 hours. If your student housing brand uses Snapchat, you’re demonstrating that you are relevant, timely, and engaging. Your prowess can place you in front of the eyes of more than 130 million students. About 77 percent of college students use Snapchat and they use it often. Nearly 80 percent of users log in into Snapchat daily. On average, they send 34 snaps each day. With your content in the midst of the action, you can make major impressions. How to Use Snapchat for Student Housing The content in Snapchat has a very short lifespan. As such, your posted content may have a quick expiration date. Use snaps to explore limited-time offers at your property. Maybe you take Snapchatters on a tour of an available unit. Perhaps you use the platform to market a move-in promotion. Snapchat provides an opportunity to highlight content with a short shelf life. Snaps are also great for “setting the scene,” depicting what it’s like to live in your neighborhood. Create short videos and pictures of daily life in the community. Excerpts of a resident pool party show the potential for fun and new friends. Residents enjoying sunset on the rooftop deck show to opportunities to relax amidst a hectic class schedule. Take residents behind the scenes of your community through Snaps. Such snaps can be an interesting way to showcase updates at the community that benefit residents. Think of big ticket items like pool deck upgrades as well as small things like seasonal flower installations. Spice it up with a quick Q&A with the crew. Residents may like getting to know people they may see in their community. Community events are perfect Snapchat fodder, especially when you have high attendance. Take advantage of the “crowd surf” feature, which stitches together multiple snaps recorded by users to create one continuous video at events. Let Users Find You Unlike a Facebook business page, your Snapchat profile provides minimal information about your student housing community. In order for prospects to find you, be sure to use geofilters on some of your posts. This creates a way for viewers to identify your location. When residents see your geofilter, they may be encouraged to use it as well. Geotags quickly and easily broaden your marketing reach. Learn more about smart managing and marketing of your community with the Yardi Student Housing...

Increasing Conversions Dec11

Increasing Conversions...

In last week’s post, we answered your basic questions about landing pages: What is a landing page? Why is it powerful? What should it include? But landing pages are tricky tools. What they should exclude is just as important as what they should include. When landing pages include undesirable features, your conversion rate suffers. That means that you sabotage your return on investment, paying more for less. The pointers below will help you craft a landing page that fulfills its potential. What should my landing page exclude? Landing pages aren’t like other pages on your website. More information and options is not better! The features below decrease the likelihood of conversion. Exclude them from your landing pages. Navigation links The menu on your website or any other navigation links should be hidden from view. Remember, prospects reach your landing page through an ad with a specific purpose. Presenting other options will be confusing at best. At worst, the links will navigate them away from your offer. Multiple calls-to-action (CTA) If a prospect clicked your ad for a studio apartment deal, there should be a single CTA for studio apartments. Other CTAs or even social media links are a distraction, resulting in a lower conversion rate. Presenting multiple CTAs on a landing page activates Hick’s law.  Increasing the number of options increases the time needed to make a decision. That extra effort and time decreases the likelihood of a successful conversion. If you’d like to offer multiple deals, create multiple landing pages for each one. There is no such thing as too many landing pages! Each page offers a tailored user experience. Long-winded copy When it comes to copy, or text, stick to details about the benefits of your offer. Prospects have short attention spans....

Increase Conversions Dec05

Increase Conversions

If your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign leads prospects to your home page, you’re missing out on conversions. Creating a landing page for your paid ads is a proven way to increase your conversion rate. What is a landing page? A landing page is not built into your website through the navigation menu. It is a stand-alone page that prospects land on after clicking your paid ad. The sole purpose of a landing page is to get your prospects to take action. The landing page should provide a quick summary of what you have to offer. It should then direct the prospect on how to take advantage of the offer (the conversion). That’s it. Why are landing pages so powerful? Organizations that use landing pages experience more conversions. Research reveals that more landing pages lead to more conversions. Paid ads placed in internet searches, emails, or social media campaigns should guide prospects to a landing page. In fact, landing pages help ads achieve a greater return on investment. They also improve your site’s quality score. Without a landing page, your cost per lead rises and your conversion rate lowers. You’ll pay more for less business! What should my landing page include? Keep your landing page informative yet simple. Landing page essentials include: Your logo Quickly reestablish your brand with by placing your logo near the top of the landing page. A captivating headline A solid headline does two things. First, it confirms that prospects have arrived to the correct page after clicking your ad. You can achieve this by using the same language in the headline as you did in the ad. Secondly, the headline entices the prospects to read more and take action. Copy and media that mimics the language of the ad Your copy...

5 Easy Tips Nov30

5 Easy Tips

Commercial property photos are notoriously unimaginative. Prospects have grown accustomed to mundane shots of empty spaces. But what if you offered something more interesting? Your property will gain the competitive advantage. Below are five tips for better commercial property photography that will help you stand apart from the crowd. Show Interactions, Not Spaces All commercial spaces have a ceiling, walls, and a floor. Skip the boring space photos. Instead, showcase interactions and operations within the space. Here are a few examples: Accentuate the room’s natural light by depicting an employee as she waters thriving, indoor plants near large windows Capture a team effortlessly unloading packages on the spacious and updated loading dock Emphasize your rapid WiFi availability with teams working simultaneously on their laptops and mobile devices Highlight your services by showing a vendor removing a recycling bin from the site Stage Like Sales Depend on It! As you’ve gathered by now, staging a commercial space may require models and supplies. It could be worthwhile to invest in office furniture so that you can stage spaces now and in the future. Otherwise, you can find models, photographers, and props on sites like MuseCube, Model Mayhem, and OneSource Talent. Commercial tenants want to see the potential of the space that you offer. If live staging is cost prohibitive, consider virtual staging. Virtual “renovations” are a great way to show potential uses for the space. Showcase Versatility Think beyond expected uses of the unit. Consider creative approaches for the space, such as coworking and CrossFit. By thinking outside of the box, you may attract a prospect that had not previously considered your site. Location, Location, Location Your property’s neighborhood may be a noteworthy part of your marketing efforts. Are there restaurants nearby that tenants may enjoy...

YMF New Orleans Nov19

YMF New Orleans

The Yardi Marketing Forum took New Orleans by storm earlier this month. This sold-out event drew top multifamily property marketers from across the country to The Big Easy for three days of fun, education and networking. View the photo album for a behind-the-scenes look. Attendees enjoyed focused attention from Yardi team members and exclusive guest speaker presentations. Google’s session on “The Age of Assistance” gave the audience three tips for winning in today’s competitive search environment: be there, be quick and be useful. Keep reading to see how you can apply these marketing takeaways from the forum to your property management business today. Be There You can’t win clicks if your customers can’t find you. Ben Waltzer from Google Fiber shared that today’s consumers are “more curious, more demanding and more impatient than ever before.” In fact, 15% of Google searches today are ones they’ve never seen before. Co-presenter Jeff Kirschenmann asserted that searchers “expect us to deliver relevant results at the right time.” Do you have a plan in place convert prospects by connecting during moments of intent? A successful marketing strategy includes being present at every stage of the customer journey. This might include SEO for long tail searches, paid ads for different demographics and nudge marketing that spurs website wafflers into action, as well as a healthy presence on review sites and social media platforms. If that sounds like a lot and you just don’t have the time or staff to handle it all, you might want to consider the advanced property marketing services of RENTCafé Reach. Be Quick Filmmaker Gavin Garrison’s talk focused on the emotional impact of storytelling – not just for video but for all forms of marketing. He spoke about using the power of relatable emotion to...

Purpose-Driven Marketing Oct29

Purpose-Driven Marketing...

Does your company have a purpose? It might seem like a trick question, but it’s not. The concept of purpose has seeped into brand-building conversations thanks in large part to Jonathan Mildenhall, one of the world’s most influential CMOs, who claims his success at super brands like Coca-Cola and Airbnb are a result of the power of purpose. In this post, we’ll examine what purpose-driven marketing is and how it can help differentiate and propel your senior living brand. What is purpose-driven marketing—and how does it relate to senior living? Purpose-driven marketing is, as Mildenhall describes it, “a compelling brand purpose that transcends the business model and reaches into culture.” It’s looking beyond day-to-day transactions and committing your business, publicly, to a broader social mission. In the senior living industry, most companies are not operating on a global scale. They’re serving communities, and they thrive only when they create bonds with residents and locals. For this reason, operating with purpose is a competitive necessity. Purpose drives performance The concept of creating a purpose for your business can seem like marketing fluff, but purpose-driven companies outperform competitors financially, creating much more shareholder value. They also attract and retain top talent more effectively, a struggle for many senior living operators. Building a philosophy—one employees can articulate in just a couple of sentences—is even more important in today’s climate, where Millennials, who value socially-responsible brands, comprise the largest segment of America’s workforce. Let creativity and humanity be your guide In order to effectively bring about change and find your company’s purpose, look at things creatively. “Bring your eight-year-old self to work,” says Mildenhall. “Geek out like it’s your first time playing Legos.” Seeing things as a child would breeds curiosity. It allows you to view things with...

Piggyback Marketing Oct09

Piggyback Marketing

In a perfect world, you’d create all of your own content. It would all go viral. You’d burst with success. All the content creation would all be completed in less than an hour per week. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. You likely excel in real estate, not content creation. Time minimizes how much original content that you create. Sometimes you have difficulty getting readers to engage with your posts. Piggyback marketing may be able to help. Piggyback marketing describes the use of recycled, trending content on your social media feeds and blog. It allows users to borrow and benefit from the popularity of someone else’s content. Sometimes piggybacking is sharing a video, meme, or post. Other times, it’s referring to a trend within your original content. There are advantages and disadvantages to piggyback marketing. When used wisely, it can build engagement and improve the reputation of your brand. When abused, it can erode trust and water-down your brand identity. The dos and don’ts listed below will help you use viral piggybacking to your advantage. DO supplement your content with piggyback marketing.Viral piggybacking of relevant content allows you to tap into what’s already successful. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, which is great when you feel creator’s block or you’re pressed for time. DON’T rely on piggybacking. Limit how often you use others’ content to market your brand. Keep the percent of borrowed content in the single digits compared to your original content. There is no substitute for content that reflects your brand, your objectives, and the unique tastes of your audience. DO stick to content that is relevant to your brand, market, and clients’ interests. Use tools such as Buzzsumo and Scoop.It to identify relevant content. Those tools allow you to...

Boosting Profits Sep10

Boosting Profits

Increasing rent rates is often the go-to method for improving profits at a property. These days, it’s easy enough to integrate the change into new leases and renters expect rent rises. Expect doesn’t mean tolerate, however, so you may find yourself facing an unwanted spike in your vacancy rate. Before you jack up the rent at your property, get the optimal price for your units. Then consider these profit-boosting ideas. 1. Upcharge for Amenities Allow renters to purchase some amenities a la carte. For popular amenities, you may actually gather more revenues this way than by bundling the offerings with the rent. Consider an upcharge for some of the following amenities: Nest or other smart home thermostats, on-site storage, covered parking, car wash, dog wash and play area, bike storage, recycling service, and trash valet. Looking for a quick cash cow? Consider charging for group classes at the fitness center. Rescour research suggests that 76 percent of consumers ages 18-29 are likely to participate in gym-type activities such group fitness classes. 2. Powerful Partnerships Your renters are likely using these local services, so why not get a cut of the action? Form a partnership with local dog walkers, massage therapists, bike repair shops, cleaning services, laundry delivery, and the local gym (if you don’t have one). Your recommendation brings customers to the local businesses. Their businesses offer value-add (read: revenue-add) services to your property. 3. Reduce Overhead If you’ve been with the same vendors and insurers for years, it’s about time to get new price quotes and see if you can work out more competitive deals. If you’ve received excellent service from your current providers, give them an opportunity to meet or beat the price. Landscaping and maintenance is a huge opportunity for cost savings....

Behind the Lens Jul25

Behind the Lens

Marquette Management, based just outside Chicago, manages properties in five states. Marquette’s mission is to increase the quality of life of their residents by building great communities and providing extraordinary customer service. To keep occupancy up across their twenty-seven communities, Marquette uses RENTCafé Reach to drive more renters to their properties. This year, our film team traveled to one of Marquette’s premier communities, Catalyst Chicago, to visit and film with Marquette’s senior vice president, Darlene Egan. Marquette’s Catalyst communities are luxury properties with high-end amenities designed to help residents live their best lives. After a call with Darlene where she relayed the high-occupancy Catalyst Chicago has been enjoying, we immediately got to work writing a video to highlight Marquette’s success. Keep reading to learn more about the video process and their digital marketing success story. Making the Video In Chicago, we filmed with Darlene over the course of two days – one of which had our team filming with Darlene in a snow flurry! Initially, the unexpected flurry threatened to shut down production for the day, but we realized that we could turn the obstacle into art. Working with Darlene, we made the flurry a central part of the video, filming in slow-motion amidst the impromptu storm in order to create a sense of mystery and awe in Chicago’s West Loop. We created this video to highlight not only Marquette’s success using RENTCafé Reach but also to tell the story of what a prospect might experience when visiting Catalyst Chicago for the first time. The video tells the story of a day-in-the-life on the property, from Darlene’s perspective. In the video, while Darlene discusses marketing with her team, a second narrative develops, telling the story of a young couple that finds Catalyst online, then...

Get More Leads Jul05

Get More Leads

Many content creators are only getting one use out of blog posts. You are missing out on countless opportunities to get noticed by potential renters! Get more from your blog with repurposed content. What Is Repurposed Content? When you repurpose content, you’re finding different ways to tell the same story. Each new way that you tell your story may appeal to a different group of people. For example, when you create a blog post, you tell the story to readers. You can tell that same story to visual learners using video on YouTube or pictures on Instagram. By appealing to different types of learners (or different types of entertainment) you reach a greater audience. A broader audience increases your prospect pool and your potential for leads. Below are a few ways that you can repurpose your blog content to reach new groups of prospects. Master Infographics Infographics are a great way to combine facts from your blog text with visual media. Infographics can be consumed anytime, anywhere because they are not hampered by audio access, buffering speeds, and data availability. Many content creators love infographics because they don’t require photography, video, or illustration skills. Many programs allow you to drag-and-drop into templates to create fantastic infographics. Try making your own free infographics using Venngage or Picktochart. Curate an Instagram Slideshow For a short blog post, you may only have one image. You can use that image to create an Instagram post, including a teaser excerpt for your blog post. (Unless you’re paying Instagram for clickable links within captions, be sure to put the link for your blog post in your bio.) For multiple images on a blog post, create a slide show. Rather than several posts on the same topic, a slideshow allows you...

Easy Virtual Leasing Jun13

Easy Virtual Leasing

There are several reasons why a client may not be able to tour the property in person. Our increasingly mobile and digital industry makes remote tours an excellent alternative, yet it also requires that agents are ready to sell to a client, sight unseen. The six tips below can make selling to remote clients easier and faster than ever. Master the Basics By now, you know that your website must have a virtual tour—or virtual reality tour—along with detailed a floor plan and a description of the condo. Make sure that all information is up-to-date. Even minor changes to appliances or fixtures may matter to a remote client. If any of those essential features are missing, get the tools you need for a better website. Request Client’s Must-Haves In Writing Let’s face it: you’re busy. A written list of your client’s must-haves, desires, and deal breakers is a cheat sheet for you. But most importantly, having a concrete list means that the remote buyer has a clear understanding of what he wants. This list will expedite the condo hunting process, especially if he can choose between several similar unit styles. FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom Tours with Clients The virtual tour on your website is the first step. A live video tour, however, gives the client greater control over what they see and how they see it. It’s like he gets to walk through the home himself. That greater control over the details will help the client feel more comfortable with the unit and ready to seal the deal. Send Listings with All the Local Details If your client has already said the school system, crime rate, or walkability score are important to her, why not email those details with the listings? Presenting a complete...

Boost Leases May31

Boost Leases

Emails can be valuable tools that convert prospects and build loyalty with existing residents. Below are seven emails that every leasing agent should send. Emails for prospects Prospects want to feel courted. They also expect information that anticipates their questions and interests. These three emails hit the spot, helping to forge the relationship between leasing agents and prospects. Automated (Yet Personalized) Introduction Email This important communication serves three purposes. It satisfies prospects’ expectation to receive prompt responses. Secondly, it lets prospects know that you received their inquiry or that you recall your encounter with them. Lastly, it gives them a way to contact you simply by responding to an email. Availability Updates Let your newly available units shine with a showcase email. Be sure to include high quality images and descriptions with plenty of personality. End each listing with a call to action such as “Schedule a Tour” or an option to see similar units. Just Leased Updates Remind your prospects that your property is a desirable place to live and that units are going fast! Consider including the number of days the unit was on the market, particularly if it’s less than three. This is a great incentive for prospects who are on the fence. Emails for residents Renewing a lease costs less than turning a unit, so use emails to build resident loyalty! These three emails reinforce the residents’ bond and promote higher occupancy. Property Newsletter Inform your residents of exciting value-add events for families and perks for pet owners. Such events keep your residents engaged in the community, which increases perceived value. The newsletter is also a fantastic way to notify residents of upcoming maintenance and upgrades to the property. Show your residents that you’re proactively invested in the quality of...

AIM Insights

Multifamily marketers gathered in Huntington Beach, California, for the 2018 Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference on May 6-9. This year’s event focused on the latest digital marketing trends and technologies. “Marketing executives are increasingly called on to shape the resident experience and manage the pace of innovation,” shared Steve Lefkovits, executive producer of AIM. “We’re delighted to have Yardi and RENTCafé as partners in educating the industry about the future.” Some conference highlights for multifamily marketers: Customer Experience Matters Customer experience is the new marketing. At the AIM keynote, Charlene Li, principal analyst at Altimeter and co-author of Groundswell, challenged marketers to examine relationships and experiences. “If you’re not focusing on the customer experience, you’re working on the wrong things,” emphasized Li. Why does customer experience matter? Because the data says so! According to resident satisfaction data from J Turner Research, Q1 2018 apartment reviews grew by 78% as compared to Q1 2017. The average number of reviews per property has grown 20% since Q1 2017, averaging more than 86 reviews per property. The study found a strong correlation between online reputation and resident satisfaction. Resident experience matters, and it influences renter and prospect purchasing behavior. In a session on customer engagement and loyalty, Joseph Batdorf, president of J Turner Research, stressed, “Resident satisfaction matters. Making sure they’re happy affects their willingness to renew a lease.” Customer Engagement Also Matters To create a better customer experience, you need to engage your customer from the get-go and keep them engaged throughout their time with you. Where can you innovate your customer engagement strategy? Create a well-rounded engagement strategy. Implementing a multi-source lead attribution model can help marketers more accurately assign value to each touchpoint in the buyer journey. Market to common values to bolster your engagement. Sticking to common...

Increase Leads May13

Increase Leads

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are mighty tools to increase leads and conversions for your properties. Odds are, you’re already too busy to master those tools. Below are three quick tips to make SEO and SEM work for you. 3 Quick Tips for Increasing Leads Don’t underestimate the power of SEO. Getting quality traffic to your website is tough. It’s even harder to convert that traffic into leads. SEO helps the right renters find your property through organic (non-paid) search inquiries. In order for this to happen, search engines need to understand who you are, what you have to offer and the content of your website. That doesn’t happen through chance. Detailed strategies ensure that your website ranks high on organic search results with the right audience. Are your strategies bringing the desired results? Don’t go in alone. Not sure how to make SEO work for you? There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The experts at RENTCafé Reach specialize in driving high quality traffic to your website. Catriona Orosco, manager of RENTCafé Reach at Yardi explains: “RENTCafé SEO account managers have the expertise and knowledge to help your website reach more qualified prospects. Our role requires us to stay up-to-date with changes made at Google. We work as a team to stay educated and aware of what’s important in gaining a competitive advantage in search results.” RENTCafé Reach account managers are also experts when it comes to RENTCafé marketing features. They can help you identify and test features to improve prospect engagement and lead conversion rates. “Often, people’s assumptions about what’s important are outdated,” says Orosco. “In addition to the initial optimization efforts and content creation, we’re checking website health on a routine basis, addressing issues and updating...

Blogging 101: Pt 5 May09

Blogging 101: Pt 5

On our previous post, there were a few loose ends to tie before hitting publish on your blog post. Once those important details are complete, you are ready to share your content with the world via social media! Why Use Social Media to Share Content? Without social media marketing and SEM services, the only way a person will find your content is by going directly to your website. Before you worked in the industry, how often did you visit an apartment’s blog? Precisely. By sharing the posts on social media, your content reaches more readers. Your social media followers will see the post appear on their news feeds. Social sharing draws attention to the blog post. Their engagement—likes, comments, and shares—will broaden the posts’ reach to their friends. Your efforts will be magnified even more when the platform’s algorithm robots pick up on users’ engagement. The platform may choose to share your content with an even broader audience. With more attention on your blog, you’re bringing more attention to your property! Social media marketing is easy, free marketing. Pick 2-3 Social Media Platforms Where should you share content? Select a few social media platforms that suit your brand. The prominent demographic of your community will determine which platforms are best for you. For example, Facebook is common for most organizations due to its broad user base–1 billion active users– and customizable features. Additionally, properties with young professionals may benefit from an Instagram account, whose 600 million users are mostly young adults ages 18-29. If you have a student property with an even younger demographic, 18-24 years of age, Snapchat may also be a beneficial platform to explore. Once you’ve honed-in on your platforms, learn the native marketing language for each. This allows you to...

Spring Cleaning May02

Spring Cleaning

It’s officially spring! (While it may not feel like spring in your part of the country just yet, rest assured, warm weather is coming!) This is the perfect time for quick, affordable property updates that will impress prospects and build loyalty with current residents.  Website Update Revisit your property’s marketing story. If you don’t have one, learn to tell a marketing story and then enhance your marketing story. Perhaps a component of your story has changed over time, such as the attributes of your biggest competition or the largest demographic in your community. Update your marketing strategy accordingly. Freshen up your website with new, recent pictures of the property. This is the perfect time to do so with flowering trees in full bloom and new arrangements in the gardens. The bursts of color present a property that is cheerful and welcoming. You’re regularly posting to your blog, right? If not, the start of a new season is a great time to initiate action. Check out our post on how to start a blog. Spring Promotions for Prospects and Residents Speak with your RENTmaximizer revenue manager to strategically plan incentives and promotions. Your dedicated revenue manager is an expert at pricing! The Yardi team can collaborate with your marketing and operations strategists to move stagnant units and keep new leads flowing. Don’t forget to show love to your current residents, too! This may include something as significant as renewal incentives (win-win) or altruistic like free grab n’ go breakfasts or a coffee bar. Site Upkeep There are several ways to improve water efficiency at your multifamily property. Each has a different price point to match your budget. If you decide to tackle a project that passes savings to residents, you’re building loyalty and showing that...

Blogging 101: Part 4 May02

Blogging 101: Part 4

Once you add great media to your blog post, you’re almost ready to hit publish! There are three tidbits that will help readers find your blog post and bring greater return on your investment. Add Categories and Tags Categories and tags are primarily used to organize your content and make it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for. These keywords are also used to help search engines identify what your content is about. This makes it easier for your blog post to appear appropriately in search queries. Let’s continue with the nursery safety blog example from our previous posts. In that instance, category may be “apartment safety” and tags may include “childproofing your apartment,” “baby proofing your apartment” or “nursery.” SEO Plugin  If you are working on a blogging platform that permits plugins like WordPress, an SEO plugin may be a worthwhile investment. It goes beyond the functionalities of Categories and Tags to help search engines “crawl” through your content. (That’s a nerd term for quickly scanning the content to identify its purpose and help it appear appropriately during internet searches.) The SEO plugin may ask you to identify keywords. Long-tail keywords are best here. “How to create a safe nursery” will be more beneficial than just “nursery,” for example. The plugin may also request a description. This is a brief summary of your blog post that may appear as an excerpt under your link and blog post title in a query listing. Keep the description to 2-3 sentences. Social Media Plugin Depending on the flexibility of your platform, you may also be able to add a social media plugin. The best of these plugins allow you to create custom posts for social media. You can add hashtags and use the format...

Blogging 101: Part 3 May01

Blogging 101: Part 3

Once you’ve chosen a blogging platform and written content, the next step in creating an engaging blog post is to include great media. Media includes visuals such as photographs, infographics, illustrations, and videos. For today’s post, we will focus on photography. Most modern smartphones are adequate to take a great image for blog posts and social media use. (If a staff member is competent with a DSLR camera and lighting tools, even better!) The tips below will give your images a professional touch. Select a Subject The subject of your blog post image will be influenced by the content of your post. Let’s say that you were writing about nursery safety as proposed in our prior post. Perhaps you choose to take a photograph of the nursery in your model unit. This subject is ideal because it’s relevant to the topic. Secondly, it’s a great choice because it is a custom photo taken on your property rather than a stock photo. Such an image showcases your product and what you have to offer residents and prospects. Identify Location and Lighting The best location for your image necessitates excellent lighting. It doesn’t matter how cool the location is if the lighting makes your image look murky or blurry. Indirect natural light is best. Directly natural light (i.e. sunshine at noon) can cast harsh shadows on your subject, especially faces. When shooting an image indoors, also pay attention to the way that the lighting casts shadows on your subject. In addition to great lighting, minimal background clutter is another key to a great location. Trash cans, signs, and unkempt landscaping can distract viewers from the subject. Includes Life Forms—Always! When it comes to your property blog, pictures with living creatures—humans, pets, or wildlife—are always more interesting...

Blogging 101: Part 2 Apr25

Blogging 101: Part 2

In our previous post, we compared popular blogging platforms WordPress, Wix, and Blogger. After choosing a platform and theme, then it’s time to start writing! Create a Content Calendar Planning pays off. When you take a moment to create a content calendar, you won’t miss timely events or feel the pressure to brainstorm hours before a due date. You will already have a list of topics on hand. Prioritize timely content related to seasons, holidays, and events. For example, it makes the most sense to publish a post on pool safety right before your pool opens in the late spring. Use the blog to promote timely events weeks in advance rather than waiting until the last minute. Identify Your Audience Your topic should be of interest to your residents. Consider the broadest demographic at your property as the audience for most of your post. You may occasionally choose to write for niche groups. Once you identify your audience, consider its needs and interests. Blog post content can stem from renters’ frequently asked questions, updates on the property, apartment lifestyle, local events and more. The possibilities are endless! Choose a Blog Topic The best apartment blog posts are those that will add value to the renter experience. Let’s say you check your content calendar and see that you’re due for a post on taxes. The topic applies to most of your audience since everyone pays taxes, right? You consider writing the post on local tax filing services. How can you make the list of businesses more valuable to residents? Perhaps you contact the businesses and request a discount for your residents in exchange for the business referral. Such a post could build loyalty. It promotes the benefits of living at your property and living in...