Apartment Marketing

By on Jan 8, 2014 in Marketing

The digital environment gives you the power to transcend physical boundaries and reach your audience wherHappy man using computerever they are.

Virginia Love, Vice President of Leasing and Marketing for Chicago-based Waterton Residential, thinks that a good online reputation is crucial in today’s marketplace. The company partnered with survey company SatisFacts and their Verified Resident Program to strengthen and promote their brand image. The project utilizes the largest apartment rating site to do additional surveying and direct those answers to additional questions back to the rating site and improve ratings and review scores.

“For instance, it’s not about asking whether your dishwasher was fixed. There are additional questions in the survey after you get your dishwasher fixed, and those are the answers that affect your score on ApartmentRatings.com. Since it says that it is from a “Verified Resident,” there is a sense of gravitas. This is not some guy who drove by the property one time and didn’t like what he saw. It’s not someone who lived at a property 20 years ago when it was different management”, explained Virginia Love in an interview for the National Apartment Association.  “That has allowed our associates to tell prospective residents, “These are people who actually live here. These are the ones you want to hear from.”

When reviewing your advertising options and devising marketing strategies, one thing you should always consider is the type of audience that your product is addressed to and the tools you have at your disposal to monitor their engagement. When it comes to multifamily marketing, content should be personalized and relevant to prospective clients.

For example, things that might entice residents of suburban communities might not seem appealing to those interested in urban lifestyles or high-rise living; you have to find the right balance between meeting your promotional objectives, captivating your audience and delivering valuable content. Love believes it is really important not to think in terms of “one-size-fits-all”, especially when it comes to managing such a large and diverse portfolio as Waterton does.

“You have to see the big picture.  You have to know your audience and listen to your audience. We’re a big survey group, so we’re always verifying e-mail addresses so we can communicate with the residents so we can deliver what they are expecting.”

Whereas print will never lose its place in advertising, digital information is much easier to process, analyze and keep a track of. Both business-to-business and business-to-customer communication is now primarily made through e-email or more recently via social media channels. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have proven to be game changers in business marketing, opening up a world of possibilities for multifamily operators seeking exposure and improved community interaction.

“We’re probably 95 percent digital at this point. We have a huge, strong focus on mobile and on video, because Google loves video,” Love said. “And, again, everything we do leads back to having the e-mail addresses of our customers and of our prospects so we can communicate with them through a message center or get them signed up on social media. We’re always looking for avenues that keep our customers engaged. Since we added video to our site, it has increased [customers’] time on the site by over 400 percent. We’ve also made a strong investment in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), making sure that we can be found on those search engines and driving that traffic back to the individual property sites,” she added.

Moreover, since apartment communities need to enthuse a new breed of tech-savvy residents, leasing staff must be proactive and keep up the pace with the rapid evolution of property management technology. Today’s renters expect a highly digitalized experience, starting from the apartment selection to the rent payment options and maintenance procedure.

To ensure a seamless process, all your technology efforts must be responsive, meaning that your content must be able to flow impeccably between the various devices popular on the market today, be it ultrabook, smartphone or tablet. Therefore, it is essential to have both the tech and the manpower to achieve optimum results. Having an internet and web specialist on the payroll who can track property online marketing performance including website data, PPC leads and SEO effectiveness, will help improve communications and productivity.

As a leading developer of software solutions for the real estate investment, asset and property management industry, Yardi provides a number of mobile applications that allow property managers to deliver efficiency, transparency and effectiveness. With these innovative tools, office staff is now able to assist residents anytime during move in, move out, or renewal process, without being tied to a desktop or landline.

When it comes to tracking and following-up work order and service requests, tablets and smartphones can do the job nicely and more importantly from wherever you are. Yardi Maintenance Mobile, for example, allows maintenance techs to access their assigned work orders from the field, without being forced to come back to the office. They can add technician labor and inventory to work orders and record time, notes, and complete work orders in real-time. They also have the ability to create new work orders.