”Marketing means solving customers’ problems profitably” Randall Chapman
And how do you do that in the property management business?
Let me share with you how our friends at Urbane Apartments do it. My thanks to Eric and his team for allowing me to share all this over the top and insanely great stuff they are doing! I have never met them personally and I can say that they are class acts in my book!
Check out this beyond cool practice:
As opposed to paper leases and move in paperwork we started
using memory sticks with a key chain and our Urbane Logo on it a while back. The
resident has all of the pertinent paperwork and their apartment keys all in a
match stick sized device that they carry with them. We scan a copy of the signed
lease, pertinent phone numbers (we are very transparent at Urbane, every
resident has all of our cell numbers posted, we welcome problem calls, it an opportunity
in disguise to connect, the 1 in 100 calls that may be inappropriate are told
as such and then a different relationship is created, all which is good),
information map with our preferred vendors, bars, restraints, atm machines,
etc, information about how the resident logs on to the Urbane wireless internet
at their community and how they log on to their resident portal to file a
Service Request or pay Rent on Line. All stuff that we gave them before, but
they would lose them, misplace them, etc. And who wants that mound of paperwork
as you reference.
We are preparing to do the same with our marketing material
right now whereas to your point, the floor plans and associated collateral material
for the selected property would all be on a memory stick that the resident
leaves with, and can print off what they need. Plus, it creates a “cool factor”,
because for now it is different and interesting, for something that is mundane.
We are all clamoring to get our ads listed on Craigslist, what if we instead called the people looking in our neighborhood listed under housing wanted? Maybe we could farm leads out of that list and turn them into leases.
Give it a shot; type craigslist into the search box and find your city and then click on housing wanted.
You have undoubtedly heard of maximizing your mortgage payment by paying 1/2 of your payment every two weeks in lieu of once a month. The fact is you would pay one full payment more in the year than if you paid the traditional way.
Well with that in mind what if we as owner/managers partnered with a local community bank and promoted; All in the Name of Savings.
The promo would encourage people to pay 1/2 of their rent every two weeks thus creating a surplus that we would match $1 for $1 up to $200 or whatever we deem. And, if they renew with us what if we deposit their concessions dollars in their savings account in lieu of giving them rent credits.
With electronic payments becoming more mainstream, it could catch on.
Seth writes of the 7% solution [Read Here]. The basic premise is couched in the ever popular trend of discount brokers in the real estate industry. Seth suggests thinking about moving commissions to 7% in lieu of 4 or 5% as the discounters are now doing. His question is what would you do different in order to substantiate the value of being at 7%.
It is an interesting thought for our business. What if, in lieu if discounted rents or concessions, we came of with amazing value adds to substantiate raising rents in a down market.
"Now renters can see what other residents are paying at thousands of apartment communities. This is an important tool that helps renters find and choose the best apartments," said Jeremy Bencken, president and general manager of ApartmentRatings.com. "Our goal is to build services that focus on providing renters unique and hard-to-access information about apartments. Ultimately we believe our apartment ratings and apartment reviews, and now pricing survey information, drive more informed, more serious customers to our advertisers." [Read the full story here]
Let me get this straight Jeremy , the renter is going to give you the information that you will publish on your site? And, you are going to validate that in some way, I trust? I mean what is to stop the user from reporting a less than true rate not unlike some of the simply untrue reviews on the site.
Maybe you should back up and think about driving a more informed, more serious consumer to good quality communities, not to the advertisers. This important tool helps renters choose the best value, not necessarily the best apartment. It’s seem a bit disingenuous to suggest they would get "the best," don’t you think? And, I’m not convinced that it is hard to get this information. I did an anonymous shop of my market just about a week ago and it took all of 8 phone calls and about 25 minutes of my time.
I say all that and I am a fan of the site and consumer reviews believing that the astute apartment searcher would negate the many exaggerated comments that are posted.
What if one of these guys or gals lived at your community? I think I would make it a point to do some target marketing via real live customer service. Talk about thin lines, this could go either way in terms of casting a positive and or negative image of your community.