YMF Beverly Hills Apr20

YMF Beverly Hills

The Yardi Marketing Forum happened in Beverly Hills last week, drawing a crowd of marketing geniuses from property management companies around the country. Attendees caught a show at the legendary Magic Castle, strolled Rodeo Drive and indulged in a champagne and caviar tasting at Citizen. See the photos here. Sounds fun, right? It wasn’t all swimming pools and movie stars. During the day, the forum took a deep dive into all things property marketing. Influential speakers took the stage to talk about everything from video marketing and automation to lead attribution and the future of marketing technology. By the end of two days, it was clear: property marketers need to embrace customer-centric marketing to stand out from the competition. That means putting the customer first, ahead of your properties and your brand, to ultimately win more leases. 3 Ways to Embrace Customer-Centric Marketing 1. Connect with story If you think all property marketing videos look the same, you’re not alone. You’re probably picturing a camera panning around an empty display model, focusing on the gleaming hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances, while a voiceover lists amenities and throws the word “luxurious” around. The thing is, those kinds of videos don’t make a connection with the customer. You’re not just leasing them an empty apartment, you’re renting them a home, a lifestyle, a place to tell their stories. The easiest way to make an impact? Tell a story with your video marketing. A full 70% of consumers say storytelling makes them feel more connected to a brand. Want to learn more? Watch our keynote “Emotional Impact – Marketing Lessons from a Filmmaker” with cinematographer Gavin Garrison below. 2. Be a helper, not a pusher “Buying today – especially for larger purchases – is fraught with tension,” said guest presenter Kyle Rees, senior executive advisor at CEB, now Gartner. “Customers are looking to us for help.” He suggests making it easier for customers to buy by updating the buyer’s journey to make it easier for them to learn. “Instead of mapping how to buy from us, we need to map how to buy in general,” said Rees. Consider the research, questions and roadblocks that will pop up on the path to rent an apartment and then make sure your company has tools to help them along the way. The more resources you have in place to identify decision criteria (like floor plans and neighborhood maps) and explain pros and cons (like property reviews), the more likely you are to provide a positive customer journey and win the leases that are right for your property. Wondering what happens when you don’t focus on the customer and provide a bad buyer’s journey instead? It increases purchase regret by 54%, meaning those residents will be less likely to renew their leases or recommend living at your property. 3. Track the total journey Today’s online renters don’t make a leasing decision without doing a lot of research. In fact, at least half of them visit five or more property websites before visiting a leasing office. This means that our old ways of reporting on the customer journey – using either the first or last touchpoint to attribute the marketing source – is showing only a small piece of the puzzle. To effectively market to your customer, you need to know where your customers are coming from and what they’ve seen along the way. This means it’s time to embrace multi-source lead attribution for more accurate insight into the customer buyer journey. One thing attendees at the forum learned before anyone else is that RENTCafé CRM is evolving to do just that, and clients will soon have the ability to see multiple touchpoints on the prospect journey from lead to lease. Exciting News Our next Yardi Marketing Forum will take place in the Big Easy! That’s right, YMF is heading to New Orleans this November. Registration...

Blogging 101 Apr17

Blogging 101

You hear it all the time: to improve your organic ranking with Google, you need frequent, fresh content for your website. Blogging is a common best practice for keeping new content on your site while connecting with your residents. But how do you start a great blog? First, you need to select your blogging platform. There are several options available, varying in price points and features to fit your needs. WordPress WordPress has been the leader in the blog industry for years. It’s the most popular choice because it allows for the most flexibility. There are about 10,000 supported themes for WordPress and each one offers a degree of customization. That means that your blog can compliment your brand and stand apart from the crowd. With nearly 30,000 available plugins and hundreds of widgets, you can enhance your site in a multitude of ways. User-facing add-ons permit event calendars, image galleries, social media streams, merchandise sales, and all sorts of interactive goodies. There are also more technical plugins that impact the functionality of your site. While there are a lot of options, WordPress doesn’t need to be overwhelming. WordPress is as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Pick a theme. Write a post. Publish. Done. You can choose from WordPress.com or the self-hosted, open source WordPress.org. The latter allows greater customization and control while the former is a simple starting point for beginners. Wix Wix is the new kid on the block that has tons of personality and a growing fan base. This simple platform makes it easy for newbies to get started. Choose from a dozen, predetermined templates with a simple drag-and-drop user interface. These fresh themes give your site a clean, modern look that’s popular with top name...

RENTCafé + AIM Apr12

RENTCafé + AIM

Yardi has entered an exclusive three-year agreement securing RENTCafé as the title sponsor of the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference (AIM). “We are excited to announce our partnership with AIM. We believe this is a great opportunity for us, for AIM and for the attendees because ultimately, we are all laser-focused on innovative digital marketing,” said Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi. A Powerful Partnership AIM is the only industry event focused exclusively on educating multifamily executives on advances in internet marketing, advertising and branding. Executives gain insights into web technology and applications, mobile platforms, lead tracking and in-home technology as well as resident retention and communication techniques. RENTCafé, a leading multifamily marketing solution, unites marketing and leasing functionalities in a single, easy-to-use platform. Prospects, residents and staff benefit from its intuitive interface and groundbreaking features. “Marketing executives are increasingly called on to shape the resident experience and manage the pace of innovation. That starts with initial impressions of a community, and flows through to communications, social media, service and amenities,” shared Steve Lefkovits, executive producer of AIM. “We’re delighted to have Yardi and RENTCafé as partners in educating the industry about the future.” “RENTCafé has seen tremendous growth by adding innovative marketing features for the multifamily industry. Through this partnership, we can support the key foundations of the conference, providing exactly the kind of cutting-edge solutions that attendees have come to expect from AIM,” said Bonardi. What to Expect at AIM This year, keynote speaker Malcolm Frank will explore the topic of marketing automation with “What to Do When Machines Do Everything.” Automation is a key area of opportunity for organizations seeking to achieve greater efficiency and customer engagement. Frank will offer strategic guidance and actionable steps to help AIM attendees and their organizations excel in the...

Holli Beckman Apr10

Holli Beckman

Property marketers use lead attribution to determine where leads are coming from so they know what is working, what isn’t and where to spend their marketing dollars most effectively. But single source lead attribution models only credit the first or last source with the lease. “We know that 50% of renters visit five or more websites before they even set foot inside your leasing office. But we only give one source credit for the lease?” says Holli Beckman, vice president of marketing and leasing operations at WC Smith. “If 100% of attribution is going to the first touch, then you are indicating that none of the other sources have any value.” So how do we fix it? How do we more accurately assign value to all the touchpoints that prospects interact with on their buyer journey? The answer is multi-source lead attribution. It’s a relatively new model in multifamily, and it’s a topic Beckman is passionate about (check out her article “Why the Multifamily Industry Is Missing the Boat on Multi-Source Lead Attribution”). So is the development team at Yardi. We’re constantly evolving RENTCafé CRM to accommodate new data points and provide deeper insight into prospect activities and marketing sources. That’s why we invited Beckman to join us at the Yardi Marketing Forum in Beverly Hills this week to share her insights as we preview new lead attribution tools designed to increase accuracy and ROI for property marketers. Before the forum, we had a chance to catch up with Beckman and ask her a few questions related to her session and trends she is seeing right now. What limits property marketers’ ability to deliver leads? Beckman: A true understanding of customer behavior. For so long we’ve only reported on one step of the customer...

10 Ways to Win Mar29

10 Ways to Win

Your residents are the lifelines of your community. Where would you be without them? It’s essential to build resident loyalty by showing that their presence is valuable. Organizing a Resident Appreciation Week is an excellent place to start! Below are 10 ideas to help you win Resident Appreciation Week: Pet Photo Contest Cutest pet photo contests are a great way to get pet owners involved in social media—and receive free marketing! Have participants follow your chosen social media account. To enter, they must tag you in their pet photo and give you permission to share the image. Your social media handle circulates, you gain more followers, and residents get goodies. Win-win. Binge Night Host a movie marathon or binge watch a season of television series. Keep it fun and lighthearted with entertainment like Fast and the Furious, Star Wars, or Friends. You may want to skip out on This is Us unless you want everyone to go home in tears. Team Spirit Night Shuttle residents to the local high school to support student activities. Proceed the event with a family-friendly pregame party. Game (or Gaming) Night Board games, card games, and multi-player video games are a great way to get residents to interact. Don’t forget the snacks and plenty of napkins. #shoplocal Bar Crawl Provide a shuttle to take residents to locally-owned bars and breweries. If possible, negotiate with shop owners to provide discounts for residents. The shop gains new loyal customers and you earn points towards resident loyalty. Another win-win! Themed Costume Party Pick a decade, movie, or another creative theme for your party night. Prizes for best-dressed (maybe even rent discounts) are a good incentive for greater participation. Raffle A raffle is an easy way to let everyone participate regardless of his...

Video Marketing Mar28

Video Marketing

Gavin Garrison recently joined the team at Yardi as our resident cinematographer and editor. With experience that ranges from corporate marketing to TV sitcoms, we’re excited about the stories he’s going to help us tell about our clients, coworkers and brand. Gavin will be meeting multifamily marketing experts from around the country at the Yardi Marketing Forum in Beverly Hills next month to talk about the emotional impact of video marketing. We sat down for a chat to learn a little bit more about him and get some tips that anyone can use to engage an audience. Tell us about your experience in film before joining the team here.  Before joining Yardi, I ran my own television production company with my fiancée, Ashleigh. In Antarctica, we filmed and produced the Emmy-winning television show Whale Wars, which airs on Animal Planet and is now on Netflix, too. When not filming for television, we created corporate marketing pieces for hospitality, software, automotive and retail industries. Before getting my graduate degree in film production from the University of Southern California, I worked in scripted television on shows including The OC, Mad Men, and Malcolm in the Middle.  What excites you about your role at Yardi?  The stressors that come from running a small business aren’t present at a company like Yardi. At Yardi, I have access to big thinking and big creative. We have an excellent marketing team that’s a joy to work with. I’m looking forward to creating content together that engages everyone that’s watching. I think this industry desires good filmmaking and impactful storytelling, and Yardi has already spearheaded that effort. I’m a storyteller by trade, so that’s what I do best; I’m ready to bring the stories that surround Yardi to life on screens...

UK Perspective

The UK’s build-to-rent sector is booming. In less than a decade, the sector has grown by around 60% and is now worth some £1.5trn. This comes as no surprise. We all have, at some point in our lives, been looking for a place to live, whether it is a house or a flat, and build-to-rent is an alleviation in the midst of the UK’s housing crisis. The internet has made home searching extremely easy and the advent of the so-called ‘generation rent’ has seen millions of people turning to renting as their model of choice. The old days of pen and paper, endless phone calls and long rides in your car to view properties are long gone and the search is now almost entirely conducted on the web. Just as shopping no longer means showing up in a store, home searching has become essentially digital. But even so, the process might be extremely slow. Imagine you are on your lunch break, looking for an apartment on your laptop or smartphone. You are clicking on dozens of different sites, scrolling through pages and pages of dubious websites. Maybe the information provided on the website is incomplete. It lacks floorplans and energy ratings. There are no reviews or pictures. How can you trust this website instead of another one? Is the apartment going to be as good as it is presented? Are you just going to waste your time? Hunting for an apartment can be a very frustrating experience indeed. Turning to the other side, and looking at the situation from a landlord’s perspective, it is increasingly hard to catch a home-hunter’s attention. Due to the same chaotic web scenario, this challenge is now tougher than ever. How can a landlord make a prospective resident discover...

Marketing Automation Jan29

Marketing Automation

To stay competitive, your properties and services must remain in the forefront of the digital marketplace. From a prospect’s search to a resident’s lease renewal, marketing automation can help you exceed renters’ expectations. Marketing automation streamlines repetitive tasks, follows user behavior and delivers targeted content. Such content ushers customers into your leasing pipeline and then helps you keep them as loyal residents. Watch a quick video about marketing automation. In a recent post, we interviewed Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi. She explains the long-term benefits of automated marketing. “Attracting a new resident costs up to five times more than retaining an existing one,” explained Bonardi. “With automation tools designed to check in with residents, conduct surveys, provide contact support and offer timed renewal savings, both your retention rates and your bottom line will improve… automatically!” Learn to automate your marketing for an improved leads-to-leases experience! Below are just a few proven strategies for marketing automation. Nudge Marketing Nudge marketing is a website-based tool that tracks visitor behavior. You can use the tool to deliver targeted content to website visitors based on their actions. You can share a promotion with first-time visitors or prompt visitors to schedule an appointment after viewing floor plans. You control the content and the corresponding user behavior. Intelligent Text Response Text is the latest and greatest in rapid communication for businesses. Provide prospects with customized, automated responses that answer their questions without consuming leasing agents’ time. If a prospect wants to know more about outdoor living space, your automated response can give the square footage of the property’s decks. You can also use the service to send a link to available units. Timed Lease Renewals Increase resident retention and improve forecasted revenue with automated lease renewals. Send...

5 Resolutions Jan04

5 Resolutions

By now, your staff is making its way back to the office after enjoying the holidays. It’s the perfect time to set a few New Year’s resolutions that will usher your property towards success. Never Miss a Quality Lead Leads bring life to your property, but not all leads are created equal. RENTCafé CRM captures every lead. It then creates a hierarchy, letting your staff know which leads are most likely to convert. If you desire, you can then prioritize your follow-ups accordingly. Work Smarter, Not Harder Is your staff still wasting time with paper applications? Still answering the phone forty times a day in response to maintenance requests? Save time by allowing prospects to fill out their entire application online via RENTCafé. Tack on Screening Works Pro for online resident screening that is customizable and consistent. Boost resident satisfaction and loyalty with RENTCafé resident portal. Existing residents can pay their rent, submit maintenance requests, and receive community announcements 24/7. Improve Time Management Face it: no one at your site wants to be responsible for handling payments. Damaged checks, fraudulent money orders, and lengthy trips to the bank are just a few hassles that you can avoid with Payment Processing. When residents pay via ACH, credit card, or text, you never have to interact with a payment. For residents with a walk-in payment (WIPS) or a check, a quick scan reduces processing time and automatically uploads to your property management system. Simple! Stay Connected If your property is not consistently engaging with prospects and residents on social media, your property is quickly becoming irrelevant. Stay ahead of the competition with RENTCafé. Write timely blog posts that showcase the personality of your site. Easily create social media posts to share across multiple platforms, reaching residents...

Get Ready for ’18 Dec26

Get Ready for ’18...

The winter months signal a slow down throughout the multifamily industry. For marketers and site staff, however, the slow season is a great opportunity to get ahead for the spring. Below are 9 tips for a productive winter that will jumpstart your spring. Marketing Refresh Collaborate with sales and operations. The slow season is the perfect time for marketers to strategize with other departments. Assure that your spring goals have the budget to support them. Share insights that you’ve received from residents’ surveys, prospect feedback, and other sources that may influence changes at the properties. Now is the time to mention any needed site updates or value-add software for residents and staff. Maintain your online presence. All leases come to an end. When they do, you want to be on the forefront of prospects’ minds. Even if you dial back on spend, maintain a strong presence on your highest quality lead sources. Yardi RENTCafé makes it easy to manage your marketing spend while optimizing your exposure. Get a head start on your spring campaigns. The early bird gets the worm, so don’t wait until the snow melts to plan your local campaigns. Use the quiet times in the office to brainstorm new ideas. Create a content calendar for the blog and social media. Impromptu posting is a great way to take advantage of relevant, timely material. Content calendars, however, ensure that you always have a plan for keeping your social media up-to-date. RENTCafé makes it easy to create and schedule posts to your blog and social media platforms. Resident Retention Build loyalty with residents. With fewer prospects consuming your time, take this opportunity to pamper your existing residents and build loyalty. Issue resident surveys to understand what residents love about your property—and what can...

YMF Baltimore

A savvy group of marketers joined us for learning, networking and fun at the bi-annual Yardi Marketing Forum (YMF) in Baltimore last week. During the event, attendees explored the latest trends in digital marketing, tips and tricks to optimize outcomes, and real estate technology. As noted by Esther Bonardi, Yardi vice president of marketing, the event is “all about helping you tap into your inner marketing genius.” Here are some of the top digital marketing themes covered: Get in touch with your audience As marketers, we’ve traditionally divvied up our target audiences by demographic information. In today’s noisy digital landscape, we need to meet our customers where they’re at. Speakers Brad Downs, vice president of marketing for the Baltimore Ravens, and Brad Batesole, staff author at LinkedIn, shared strategies to better reach target audiences. Drawing from his fifteen years of experience in sports marketing, Downs stressed the importance of moving from brand first to fan first. “It’s that fan first mentality. Our fans are incredibly important to us. Fans want to feel as important as they are,” he said. By focusing on fans first, opportunities to engage and foster fandom become easier to identify. Downs demonstrated that life stage marketing goes beyond traditional demographic segmentation, resulting in better customer experiences, tailored events and increased engagement. For the Ravens, life stage segmentation resulted in targeted fan development campaigns focused around women and adolescents. This included Purple, a community building initiative to cultivate the female fan base, and RISE, a football outreach program for local children and high schoolers in emerging Ravens strongholds. Life stage segmentation helped draw 130,000 fans to Ravens marketing events,  development of an international audience, and an average attendance of 71,000 people at each home game. At Wednesday’s marketing master class, Batesole...

Meet Brad Batesole Nov07

Meet Brad Batesole

The Yardi Marketing Forum in Baltimore begins November 13! During this sold-out event, multifamily pros from across the country will join us to learn new marketing strategies from expert speakers from both within and without the real estate industry. Brad Batesole will be one of our guest speakers in Baltimore. Brad is the top marketing instructor for Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning, with over 10 million views on his coursework. He was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine as a young entrepreneur after launching his first successful business at the age of 15 and has helped bring upstarts like LegalZoom, Lynda.com and Warby Parker to where they are today. We recently caught up with Brad before the forum to see what’s exciting him now, both in terms of marketing and our upcoming event: How does your work with LinkedIn impact your ability to speak to different audiences? LinkedIn is home to an incredibly diverse member base — geographically, demographically and career-wise too. There’s a huge opportunity to speak to people that are in different stages of their career and even their lives. I’ve received incredible messages from all around the world and am often left speechless at what people are learning and how they’re applying it to get ahead. Marketing is such a universal topic, and LinkedIn has created the opportunity to teach to a huge audience and learn from that audience as well. Some of what I do can look very one-sided – put a course online, and let people watch it. But behind-the-scenes I’m answering emails, talking with our members and learning more about how people are putting their education into action. What new marketing technology or trends are on your radar right now? I’ll admit, I’ve been rolling my eyes at virtual reality (VR)...

Success Stories

Little makes us happier than hearing about a client’s success with one of our products. Unless that same client is experiencing success with three of our products! We recently had exactly that happen when we sat down to chat with Belinda Torres and Heather Palmer of Continental Realty Corporation (CRC) about their experience with RENTCafé. It turned out that CRC wasn’t just getting positive results and feedback from using RENTCafé, the company was also seeing measurable returns by extending its marketing platform with both RENTCafé CRM and RENTCafé Reach. Keep reading to see how CRC improved their online presence, lead tracking and organic traffic with a suite of integrated marketing solutions. Meet CRC CRC was founded in 1960. Headquartered in Baltimore, it’s a full-service multifamily and commercial real estate investment and management company. It uses Yardi software to manage a diversified portfolio featuring nearly 10,000 apartment homes and retail centers consisting of more than 3.5 million square feet of space. Better Websites Before adopting RENTCafé, CRC had a corporate website that hadn’t been redesigned in a decade and didn’t have individual property websites. “There wasn’t any SEO value,” said Torres, corporate marketing director at CRC. “Keywords and alt tags weren’t being utilized. There was nothing to help a prospective resident find us.” CRC used RENTCafé to create marketing websites for every multifamily property in its portfolio. CRC also uses COMMERCIALCafé to create websites for its commercial properties. “The websites that we have now are attractive. Photos and tours are what people want to see, and we’ve been able to give that to them with RENTCafé,” said Torres. The sites are mobile-friendly and allow the marketing team to upload videos and custom content for each community. Applicants can apply online and receive and submit all...

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...