After spending 13 years in the property management world I became very accustomed to move-in specials and concessions.
Many onsite team members believe they need pricing incentives and specials to compete. Now being a part of the inbound marketing world I see the biggest way an apartment community can compete is by providing value. I believe many apartment hunters are looking for more than just four walls. They are truly looking for a place to call home, one where they are more than an apartment number.
I know some reading this might think “that’s all fine and dandy but how do I create value”? Well, let me start by explaining the Inbound Marketing Methodology:
The first step of the Inbound Marketing Methodology is attracting strangers and turning them into visitors. Isn’t this something that multifamily management companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on each year to make happen? What if you could reduce the spend on advertising and focus on creating valuable content that your potential residents and current residents really have a desire to consume?
Next, in the methodology is converting visitors into leads . Each time the phone rings and an apartment seeker is on the line don’t you try your best to complete a guest card. Making sure your script checks off each box and ensuring you get all the information needed for completion can be tricky at times.
Many people call for pricing and availability but are not wanting to exchange their contact information in return. This can leave leasing consultants just spinning their wheels. Now, what if the valuable content you created was so compelling that people had no hesitation with giving you their contact information? How many more workable leads (potential residents) would you have?
The next step is to close. This is where leads become customers, or in property management terms a prospect becomes an applicant (and hopefully background and credit check permitting a resident). A $199 move-in might be an enticing way to close the deal but you haven’t created any value for the prospect.
Instead, what if after their initial visit you sent them several personalized emails with resources that helped them work through some of the objections they had mentioned during their tour? Maybe they are moving from out of state and you send a personalized email with local hot spots that match the interests they mentioned to you in the model.
Closing for many organizations is a one and done kind of thing but everyone in property management knows that you have to always be closing. Once a resident signs their initial lease you need to start working on making that resident want to renew. Personalized email and content tailored to your residents' specific interests and questions is a great way to start doing this.
Delight. Delight is the final step in the process. According to Google to delight someone means to “please them greatly”. Doesn’t everyone want to be delighted? This, in my opinion, is where you can truly define yourself and your community and separate yourself from the competition.
One key component of this is social listing? Are you actively listening to your residents and potential residents on social media? This is a great way to get in their heads. Many people share their experiences with their apartment management and maintenance teams on social media.
Recently, a friend of mine took to Facebook to complain that her air conditioning unit was still not working after three service requests. If you aren’t listening and responding who is? I bet many of your competitors are actively listening and responding.
I can hear some of you screaming at the screen "who has time for that?!?" That's where marketing automation software comes in, it works for you 24/7. Not sure what marketing automation is? Find out here.
Another part of the delight stage is continually taking a pulse on the needs, wants, and concerns of your residents and potential residents. An easy way to do this is through surveys. In my opinion, one big yearly survey is not enough to get a true understanding of your community members’ feelings. Survey responses can help you shape you continue to provide your residents and prospects with the information and resources they want.
I whole-heartedly believe that inbound marketing is the way of the future for the multifamily industry. Savvy prospects are looking for more than cheap rent, they want a truly great living experience. Will you be the one to provide it?