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If you’re struggling to find ways to authentically market to prospective residents, this article dives into a timeless marketing technique.
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By MELISSA HOOPER, ParaWest Management
n outreach marketing plan should be included in every type of marketing plan available in order to get your name and brand out to the public. Memorable outreach marketing efforts, digital marketing on multiple platforms and utilizing key vendor partners are essential to maximize your exposure. Outreach Marketing Outreach marketing efforts take marketing back to its roots and focuses on a human-tohuman connection. With an apartment, or two, on every corner in Houston, it’s important to make memorable impression on prospective residents. Residents are more likely to lease when two things happen: When the basic needs they require are met and they actually connect with a leasing agent who made them feel important. Outreach marketing is about making a connection with your prospective residents instead of selling your property at them. One way to increase your traffic is to go out and meet people and introduce your community. Typically, no one can turn down food, so it is always a good idea to deliver your message with treats and collateral materials. Now, I am personally over the wad of candy twist-tied in a kid’s party loot bag with a business card. It’s overdone at this point. I’m not saying what you chose to buy has to be expensive, but it does have to be memorable. Always include a sticker that says “Compliments of your neighbors at XYZ Apartments,” with your website included. What’s that you say? Your property is already full and never has availability? It may be, but one day it may not and you will have to start from scratch and spend 10 times the money to get those prospective residents through your
door. Finding qualified applicants can sometimes take weeks. Outreach marketing is not designed for an immediate lease. It’s putting your name out there, making connections and creating positive energy in the community. Now it would be great for us to always receive immediate sales from our efforts, but mostly our return on our investment is in the form of delayed gratification. Word of mouth is a powerful thing and it will always catch up with you as a result of your efforts, because people inherently trust a third party recommendation more than anything. Digital Marketing The genuine benefit of digital marketing is that it allows you to connect you with a high number of prospects via the internet, generates higher conversion rates and connects you to the mobile prospective resident that captures 85 percent of sales today. It is also allows you to compete with large corporations and gives you a higher return on investment. There are so many .com options these days, and if you are anything like me you receive a dozen calls a week asking for meetings and wanting to capture your business. The resources you choose should reflect the need of each property and the goals you are trying to achieve. If you have a community that consistently stays above 95 percent occupied, you might not want to invest $1,000 into an internet lead source that is a pay per month contract. However, pay-forperformance set ups are ideal for almost any property based on the cost per lease and it’s generally cheaper than vacancy. Online locators are great resources, but it is important to do your own marketing for your property or portfolio. You are the best advocate for your community.
Key Vendor Partners No matter how efficient you might be or how tech savvy you pride yourself on being, we cannot do all things as efficiently as a quality advertising partner to supplement your marketing with you and to represent your best profile. Evaluate the quality of the leads you are being referred instead of the quantity. Audit your online presence often to make sure you are being represented accurately. Think outside the historical cookie cutter options of the past. Just because everyone has always done it that one way doesn’t mean things cannot change. Partnerships with local food delivery companies compliment your reach when coupons or mini flyers are inserted with their deliveries on a Friday night. This reaches areas you would never otherwise think of or maybe even have access to cover. Then you agree to sponsor a resident rewards night and promote that vendors special, created just for your residents on a specific day where the vendor needs more traffic to their location. It’s a win-win for both of you. Melissa Hooper is the marketing director for Parawest Management since 2013. Parawest Management won the 2016 Houston Marketing Association “Marketer of the Year” for real estate. ParaWest Management is a full-service acquisition, operating and investment platform for apartment investors and owners. Melissa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.