Using Real-Time Marketing to Fill Your Apartment Complex

By adroitly executing a real-time marketing strategy, property managers can decrease vacancies without breaking the marketing budget.

The velocity of online communication has never been more accelerated. Today’s hilarious memes or social trends typically curdle into irrelevance or irritation within a few days. Today’s breaking news comes faster than ever — and is forgotten about almost as quickly.

This is a significant challenge for marketers, who must do their best to stay fresh, relevant and vital. Real time marketing helps solve this problem by using breaking news — and emerging online trends and conversations — as a springboard for targeted and timely marketing campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at how real-time marketing can be deployed in property management, and how marketing analytics can help determine the best way to implement such a strategy.

Real time marketing and your apartment complex: a hypothetical case study

Let’s assume you’re the manager of a 1,000 unit multi-family property. Your tenancy rate is hovering around 85% and has been bouncing between 80% and 90% for the last two years. You’re seeking a new way to push it closer to 100%, and you believe a change in marketing strategy is the best way to achieve this.

Years ago, you considered incorporating real-time elements into your marketing strategy. Yet you decided against it, as the challenges seemed to outweigh the benefits. Tracking news developments and identifying the ones likeliest to resonate was a laborious job. The need to act quickly on breaking news created high levels of reputational risk, as brands raced to get marketing content out with limited context about the news they were leveraging. Additionally, you have limited tools for gauging the impact of your efforts. It seemed much simpler to pursue a conventional approach.

Today, however, you discover that the real time marketing landscape has shifted considerably. Social media, social listening tools, real time analytics and the use of a digital marketing dashboard made the process of monitoring and measuring media and marketing campaigns vastly easier. New marketing tools made it simple to build data-informed buyer personas and to connect these profiles with targeted, real time messages. These tools also allow you to closely track conversations and engagement on social media, giving you unprecedented insight into how conversations ebb and flow in real time.

Armed with these tools, you devise a real time strategy built around four elements:

  • The initiating event. What development is the impetus for real time marketing? This could be breaking news, a popular meme or pre-planned triggers such as holidays. In the case of an apartment complex, you’re looking for any event that can be related in some way to property leasing. It might be a news story that talks about the rising cost of interest rates, or a lack of affordable housing in the area.
  • The real time target. This helps you define who you’re trying to reach with this real time marketing message. Customers who fit certain demographics? Customers in specific locations? Customers with a search history that aligns with your property or the real time development you’re tracking?
  • The plan of attack. How are you going to send your message in real time? Social media? Text? Email etc.?
  • Objectives and measurements. What’s your ultimate goal? More sales? Higher brand awareness? In this case, you’re trying to increase tenancy rates. By defining objectives and tracking apartment marketing campaigns with real time analytics, you can determine how effective and engaging your messages are — a leading indicator for how much or little you’ll ultimately increase your tenancy rate.

The end result? You run the campaign, supported by social marketing tools and analytics. By following the four point plan, you generate much greater traction among your targeted audience by serving them timely and relevant messages that benefit from increased visibility thanks to their real time hook. Within three months, the tenancy rate has broken through to 95%. 

Adding real time marketing to your property marketing mix

Property rental is big business — generating roughly $4.5 trillion over the last decade. The business, however, is likely to grow more competitive. Tenancy rates have been propped up by a lack of new inventory coming online in recent years, as builders have not kept pace with population growth. That’s expected to change, however: The National Association of Home Builders projects multi-family construction growth to rise 4% in 2021, after a decade of remaining stuck at around 1%. Why? Because as more millennials and Gen Z renters and buyers enter the market, inventory will need to grow significantly. This means property managers will need tools such as real time marketing to keep tenancy rates at the desired level.

Sometimes working with a third-party agency with expertise in real time marketing is the best way to approach this.

Working with a real time marketing expert

At Bigeye, we help property developers and manager create the kind of real time campaigns that engage audiences and fill buildings. If you need help crafting your next marketing campaign, don’t wait to contact us.

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Your Property Branding Is All Wrong

If your property branding isn’t expressing the identity of your multifamily development, you’re not communicating your value to new or existing residents.

Why bother with branding?

Executive Magazine contributor Samantha Chalmers realizes that residential real estate managers may view branding as less important than optimizing operational efficiency and offering attractive amenity packages. “But make no mistake,” she warns, “one of the most crucial elements of your portfolio is your brand.”
 
Ask yourself how your apartment complex or multifamily development differs from other residential properties within a radius of five to ten miles. Then set yourself apart from the competition by launching a branding campaign that capitalizes on your specific strengths and driving values.
 
Do you own or manage a LEED-certified green community? Ms. Chalmers stresses the importance of engaging in comprehensive and highly strategic multifamily marketing to establish a brand name that is consistent with energy consciousness and environmental sustainability. In other words, when promoting “composting stations and community gardens,” property managers would be unwise to “place a print ad in a Range Rover catalog” or “serve coffee or water in Styrofoam cups in the leasing office.”
 
Use what makes your residential complex unique to tell a compelling brand story with a memorable organizational identity. The challenge is to make your brand come alive in the hearts and minds of your target audience. With a solid property development marketing strategy, you can develop a meaningful and evocative brand that consumers can see, feel, hear, taste, and even smell!
 
What follows are just a few key tips to help you make the most of your branding efforts and tell a cohesive story across all elements of your marketing plan.

Lead with your logo and put your best foot forward

Although small in size and scope, the logo may be the most important component of your branding efforts. After all, if your multifamily property development were a person, your logo would serve as its public face. This critical representation of your marketing identity should communicate the values that your complex holds as well as the benefits that your complex offers.
 
Jessica Ervin, professional digital designer and contributor to the leading Internet marketing blog The Next Scoop, presents the Apple logo as an ideal embodiment of this principle. “The apple bite is a perfect example of brand storytelling,” she writes. “Apple defined their core values of user-friendliness, good-looking designs, and simplicity through their simple logo design, product design, packaging, UX and UI.”

Craft your messaging with your narrative in mind

With your brand firmly united under an appropriate and captivating logo, you can begin crafting on-brand messages across all facets of media marketing and customer interaction. In her Executive Magazine article, Samantha Chalmers identifies differentiation as the most critical aspect of your messaging strategy. In other words, you must communicate a company narrative that is unlike those of your closest competitors.

Your company messaging embodies everything from the promotions that you present to the advertisements that you place to the face-to-face interactions that you have with your residents.

Although it is great to set yourself apart with your unique qualities, Ms. Chalmers warns against relying on cheap gimmicks to brand your residential complex. She quotes LMC West Region Marketing Director Kristen Mete Kingi, who says “I think there are circumstances where you can become too ‘theme-y’ with a building or brand, and that can turn people off.”

Design your website as the hub and heart of your brand

“Owned media” is a buzzword in the worlds of marketing and public relations for a very good reason. Encompassing all online media channels that a company maintains directly and controls entirely, owned media includes your official website as well as all of your social medial pages and blogs. Among its other benefits, owned media gives businesses the distinct advantage of carefully crafting and strategically curating all content and messaging. This makes it the best place to spell out the narrative of your brand.

Although your digital outreach should have multiple arms, consider establishing links to drive all traffic to your website. By making your website the hub of your online marketing efforts, you can also make it the heart of your brand. Using finely honed text as well as collaborative graphics, pictures, and videos, you have the power to tell your brand story on your website with absolute freedom and precision. 

Consider environmental branding and signage with care

Just like your logo, the promotional and identifying signage that you display on-site goes a long way toward defining your residential property development in the hearts and minds of your consumer base. But signs and banners are just one component of the larger marketing category of environmental branding. Briefly defined, “environmental branding “ refers to all efforts to represent brand values and communicate brand narratives on company grounds and within the brick-and-mortar environment.

In the multifamily residential housing sector, environmental branding is a key driver of both resident loyalty and on-site sales conversions. Use your property grounds as an opportunity to tell the story of your brand, whatever it happens to be. From the color of your interior walls to the types of refreshments in your sales office lobby, everything you do and say on-site reflects upon the power and quality of your brand.

Secure quality professional marketing assistance

If you want to learn more about the benefits of real estate branding that tells a compelling story, contact a representative of Bigeye today. This innovative marketing agency has the knowledge and skill to develop a brand narrative for your multifamily property development that captures its unique spirit and remains consistent across all marketing channels.

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Why You Should Craft a Longer Media Plan for Senior Living Communities

The unique values and sensitivities of the senior living sector require a specific media outreach and marketing plan with a decidedly long-term approach.

Short-term vs. long-term marketing approaches

As defined by the independent news source Business 2 Community, the fundamental difference between shorter and longer outreach/marketing plans is goal orientation. Put simply, a shorter plan will seek short-term results, while a longer plan will seek long-term results.

From effectively managing costs to meeting immediate business demands, the short-term marketing approach certainly presents many distinct benefits. The value of long-term marketing, however, simply cannot be underestimated. This is true in all industries and market sectors, but it is particularly true in the world of senior living.

Although it requires a bit of patience, a longer media plan for your senior living community will gradually build the brand credibility and trust factor that you need in order to attract a loyal consumer base.

Key long-term strategies for senior living marketing

Seniors and their families are not generally quick to place their faith in any random living facility. It takes a bit of time to establish trust and build confidence in this particular business sector.

In light of this fact, senior living community owners would be wise to concentrate on the following long-term marketing elements:

1. Branding 

From Coca-Cola to Apple, the brands that we love the most share one thing in common: familiarity. By building brand awareness and recognition over time, a company can firmly establish a positive reputation. This is particularly important in senior living and other business sectors that provide essential, sensitive, and/or emotionally charged services. To find true and lasting success with your senior living, you must take care to build your brand across a full spectrum of media channels from print to broadcast to digital.

2. Content Marketing

A key component of brand-building in the digital realm is content marketing. By maintaining a current blog and offering downloadable informative content online, your senior living community can both attract new clients and strengthen relationships with existing clients. Just maintain consistent branding elements (logo, slogan, etc.) on all content marketing outreach and make sure that all content marketing connects to a central pillar page that represents your brand with strategic precision.

3. SEO 

Another long-term marketing strategy that is absolutely vital to senior living community owners is search engine optimization. Better known by its acronym, SEO, search engine optimization is a specialized and time-consuming process that improves your company’s overall ranking on Google and other popular search engines. In short, when someone in your area searches for a senior living community online, you want yours to be among the first that appear at the very top of the page. SEO is your ticket to this type of immediate visibility.

4. Consumer Reviews

Another great way to generate credibility over the long haul is to accumulate positive online reviews. In addition to building a good reputation on independent consumer rating sites such as Caring.com and SeniorHousing.net, you should consider posting positive reviews on your official website and/or social media pages. Go beyond reviews from current and former residents by adding reviews from family members and loved ones.

For more information

If you have further questions about the value of a long-term media plan for your senior living community, contact a skilled and knowledgeable senior living marketing professional at Bigeye today. Bigeye has a state-of-the-art approach to good, old-fashioned credibility building that is perfect for the senior living sector.

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How to Strategically Target Students for Your Apartment Community

Students have long been a key driver in the rental real estate sector, but how do you reach out to this crucial consumer demographic through an effective marketing campaign?

Why should you target students?

The very thought of renting to college students strikes fear in the hearts of some apartment community owners. The international real estate firm Joe Fairless acknowledges that student-focused rental properties “may end up with messes, parties, and careless behavior,” but this detracts little from the awesome power of the student demographic in the apartment complex sector.

Because students are often far from home while attending college, they must find temporary housing either on campus or off. And as the price tag on dorm living continues to rise, more and more students are turning to off-campus apartments. 

Other benefits of specifically targeting college student renters include predictable periods of annual tenant changeover and frequent upfront rental payments from parents/guarantors. 

Tips for reaching out to college students

Here are just a few things to keep in mind when targeting college student populations with your apartment community marketing campaign.

1. Consider Price and Value First and Foremost
 
On the subject of cost, Multifamily Executive Magazine quotes Campus Advantage COO Scott Duckett, who points to the fact that many students grew up during the Great Recession. “That turned them into more cost-conscious consumers,” he says. Whatever the reason, today’s college students are more price-conscious than ever before. However, apartment marketers would be wise to keep class differences firmly in mind as well. In short, different students will have different lifestyle expectations, but they will all want to get the most apartment value for their buck.
 
2. Remember the Importance of Location
 
Is your apartment community close to campus? Is it close to public transportation or trendy shops, bars, or entertainment options? Students often get around on foot, so be sure to highlight location in your marketing materials.
 
3. Mitigate the Risk of Property Damage

Because student renters are typically less fussy than other consumer demographics, they may be perfectly satiated with older appliances and more basic decor. This can significantly reduce your overhead costs. To help protect your property, be sure to collect a reasonable deposit and clearly explain your deposit policy to every tenant. 
 
4. Offer Key Amenities

Basic and practical amenities such as fast Internet and dedicated parking spaces may be deal-makers for some students. Other perks that commonly attract students range from on-site fitness centers to secure bicycle storage.
 
5. Take Advantage of On-Campus Advertising

Depending on the specific policies of the colleges/universities near your property, you may be able to advertise on-campus and/or on official college/university websites. This is a great way to specifically target your consumer base and save big on your overall marketing costs.

6. Focus on Social Media
 
Multifamily Executive Magazine echoes countless researchers in declaring social media the absolute best place to reach the modern-day student. Not only do students use social media heavily, but they tend to respond positively to social media marketing.

For more information

If you want to learn more about the value of college student renters and how best to target them in the consumer marketplace, contact a skilled and knowledgeable apartment marketing and property development marketing professional at Bigeye today. A foreword-thinking agency with an eye on the future, Bigeye has a proven ability to connect with students of all ages. 

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Investing in Your Resident Retention Efforts To Reduce Turnover

While the majority of apartment complex owners understand the importance of reaching out to a targeted consumer demographic in order to fill vacancies, far fewer place enough emphasis on avoiding vacancies by effectively marketing to existing residents.

Financial and business experts agree that keeping current tenants in place is one of the best ways for apartment complex owners to build long-term value and boost overall ROI. Citing market information from Forbes Magazine, the National Apartment Association discusses many reasons that this holds true.

For example, attracting new residents often requires the delivery of contract signing bonuses, initial rent discounts, and other marketing tactics that can significantly damage your bottom line. By retaining your existing tenants, you can not only avoid these profit-destroying offers, but also eliminate costly vacancies and foster a climate of ongoing community satisfaction and togetherness. 

Key tips to keep residents engaged and avoid costly turnovers

So what measures can you take to increase tenant retention? Here are just a few key marketing tips.

1. Show Sincere Appreciation with a Gift

The value of saying “thank you” far exceeds the monetary price of a small seasonal gift or renewal bonus. Consider showing your appreciation for loyal residents with a gift card for a local shop, restaurant, or coffee shop. This can go an incredibly long way when it comes to fostering a positive community environment, increasing overall tenant satisfaction, and reducing your turnover rates.

Although more costly than a gift card, apartment upgrades, such as a new carpet or a fresh coat of paint, will also increase your overall property value, making them gifts that truly keep giving. The property video tour app Real NYC suggests thinking outside of the box with gift ideas like making a donation to a worthy charity in a resident’s name. Just be sure that you are tailoring your gifts to meet the specific wants, needs, and values of your customer base.

2. Keep Residents Informed

From distributing regular newsletters to sending text messages, there are countless ways to reach out to your tenant community with pertinent information. Discover your residents’ preferred channels of communication and keep them informed of matters of importance that relate to the property and its surrounding areas.

Residents who feel that they are kept “in the loop” by a fully transparent real estate company are generally far more comfortable in their living environments. You can further the retention marketing potential of your resident communiqués by ensuring that your messaging remains consistent with the defining values of your organization and brand.

3. Build a Sense of Community

In the words of the property management software company AppFolio, “a true sense of community can really keep residents around.” Help your tenants feel as though they belong in your apartment complex by hosting appropriate resident activities and/or appreciation events.

Holiday parties, donut breakfasts, and fun “how-to” classes are just a few ideas of on-site gatherings that can generate a true sense of togetherness and mutual appreciation. Consider welcoming new residents with social “meet-and-greets.”

Get professional guidance

For more information about the importance of resident retention and for assistance with resident marketing and resident advertising in general, wise apartment complex owners will secure the services of experts in these fields. An incredibly innovative multifamily marketing agency, Bigeye has the knowledge and skill necessary to keep residents happy and dramatically slash those dreaded turnover rates!

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What College Renters Really Want from Apartment Communities

Often in need of relatively short-term housing while completing their studies, college renters have long been key drivers of the apartment rental market. But what, exactly, are they looking for in an apartment?

From short-term tenet agreements to increased risk of property damage, renting to college students has its obvious pitfalls. However, college towns remain one of the best markets in the United States to own rental property.

This is particularly true of states, like Indiana, in which people generally own homes rather than rent. Forbes Magazine points to Indiana as a prime example of this fact. Although the percentage of renters in most Indiana counties is less than 25 percent, in Monroe County (home to Indiana University at Bloomington) that rate rockets to approximately doubles to 48 percent.

So what can you do to capitalize on the key college student rental sector? Here’s a brief look at what college renters really want from their apartment communities.

Cost, location, and overall value

As the cost of a college education continues to skyrocket, students are generally wise beyond their years when it comes to choosing rental apartments that are reasonably priced

Surveys of students and recent graduates have increasingly shown that on-campus dorm living has become incredibly expensive. In light of this fact, more and more students are turning to off-campus apartments as a way to stick to their budgets.

In addition to overall apartment cost, college students list location as one of their top concerns, indicating that they may be willing to pay a bit more for a place that is close to campus.

Security, home technology and access to public transportation

After coast and location, renters are highly concerned with security and convenience, ranking gated access high on their list of must-haves. They also value high-tech security measures such as app-controlled door locks. Other home technology devices and infrastructure that renters list as important include built-in USB charging outlets, smart digital thermostats, and Amazon lockers.

Among renters who must live a considerable distance from campus, the convenience of nearby public transportation is also a top concern.  According to Apartment Guide, 31 percent of renters are seeking properties with shuttle service to public transportation.

Specific amenities

Reaching out to a consumer base that tends to value practical concerns, apartment communities can forget about frivolous incentives. Apartment Guide points out that lease-signing gifts such as free iPads or gift cards may have effectively filled vacancies in the past, but today’s students are looking for something far more substantial.

However, there are many apartment amenities that might be potential deal-breakers regardless of their inessential nature. With 92 percent of renters listing it as a priority, air conditioning is an amenity that many renters simply won’t live without. Other top amenities, such as automatic dishwashers (86 percent) and in-unit washer/dryer combos (77 percent) are equally practical in nature. When it comes to less practical amenities, renters particularly value outdoor spaces such as patios, balconies, and rooftop terraces.

In addition to these key on-site features, apartment complexes can benefit from close proximity to a variety of off-site amenities. For example, 32 percent of renters want to be close to a café or coffee shop while 24 percent of renters want a library nearby.

For more information

If you want to learn more about the top concerns of renters in the college environment, you should talk to an agency with specific expertise in the fields of apartment marketing and resident advertising. A highly innovative and forward thinking marketing firm, Bigeye has countless ideas when it comes to reaching college students in the residential housing marketplace.

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