In order to be successful in closing, property managers and staff should plan ahead and try different ideas for marketing a property. Multifamily Insider’s Leasing Rescue webinar shed light on setting the stage for leasing success.
By IvyLee Rosario (MultiHousingNews.com Article) — In order to recruit new residents, community leaders and leasing experts should set up goals for the property, ensuring that marketing efforts will lead to a successful close. In Multifamily Insider‘s Leasing Rescue webinar, Lori Valenti Webb, director of marketing East for LMC Multifamily, and Misti McElwee, transition specialist for Greystar, review the steps one should take in order to re-evaluate a property and make the most of leasing efforts.
Before creating a strategic plan, property managers need to determine achievable goals for the community. It’s important to know budget, resources and that staff will be fully on board for any changes that will be occurring and how they play a part in making these goals happen. “Everyone should be open to new ideas. Some of the biggest successes I’ve had at a property were ones I didn’t think were great ideas at first,” said McElwee, “but people were excited about it. They has a reason to want to see these ideas win. Put certain employees in charge of different tasks, create a contest, explain the philosophy behind these ideas. Your staff will be more willing to participate if they understand why these changes are happening.”
Staff participation is key because these are the people interacting with prospective residents and leasing agents on a daily basis. It’s important to get staff involved and make sure they understand why this helps the community. Give examples of when the team didn’t work together as efficiently as possible and why that was hard. Ask the staff questions, come up with solutions for past issues as a team and listen to their feedback.
“I went to a site that had six leases within a three month period in the winter. Although we know that time of year is usually slow, there was something else going on that wasn’t leading to this community’s success. The team was so focused on why things weren’t working that they forgot why it should work in the first place, they lost their excitement,” added McElwee. “We talked about new goals and raised the rent five dollars. The team worked to tell potential residents that they needed to take the deal as it was at that moment, otherwise, the price will go up again. It was act now, or miss out. Within less than a week we got six new leases, the same amount as they were getting within that three month period.”
Analyze Current Efforts
In addition to team effort, there needs to be a full digital assessment of the property management system being used. Whether it be Google Analytics, Facebook, emails, phone calls—there needs to be a full understanding of what value needs to be added with how these platforms are being used. “Does there need to be more engagement on posts, pages, promotions? It’s important to know what needs to be happening and what is happening in a community,” said Valenti Webb. “Review traffic history, year-over-year versus month-over-month, conversion reports … identify how and why or why not the staff is successful with conversion, whether it be over the phone, through email or in person.”
Competition will always be around, but knowing what your community offers compared to others in the area is a big advantage and should be marketed as such. Something like a reality check board is a resource that will not only benefit your staff’s knowledge, but also shed light on why the property would be the best choice for prospective residents. The board can showcase information such as rent prices, amenities, unit features, resident events and more, compared to communities in the neighboring areas. Using this as a display item will show that you aren’t afraid to compare yourselves, no matter what the results are, and visiting leasing agents and residents will appreciate the honesty of staff members and the property itself.
Another way to analyze the community is by reaching out to current tenants. In order to find new ones, property managers and staff should know why the people who live there now chose that place. Have them explain the benefits of the community in regards to others they visited when first searching for an apartment. Getting information on what matters most to current residents will matter for new and potential ones. These efforts will help to highlight the SWOT’s of a property: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. “All this information being gathered will create a new opportunity to better your property,” added Valenti Webb. “It creates urgency and helps to identify changes that should be made, especially when comparing to competitors.”
Marketing to Win
When it comes to leasing, email and social media marketing will make the biggest impact when getting property information out to potential residents. Subject lines should be clear and concise, will a call to action. Sparking interest has to come from the property itself and the excitement of the staff. For new or current residents, welcome emails increase long term engagement by 33 percent, as well as reward programs. Something like a referral program will help to bring in new residents while rewarding the current ones. Social media is critical to any marketing campaign and can help potential residents see what they are missing out on by not living in that specific community.
“People want to feel, see and look at information. Using video is a great way to showcase what a property has to offer,” said Valenti Webb. “Progress videos, team activities, office staff, resident events, tutorials, testimonials—these are all ways of peaking interest and closing those potential leases.”
Pricing specials are also a great way to market a community because of how short the close time is. McElwee suggests raising rents for certain units so prospective residents can see the difference in what units are available. Giving a short window for a look and lease will ensure the point gets across that deals will never be as good as they are in the current moment. Limiting the number of apartments that are receiving specials helps to market them better. You can highlight a specific apartment of the day or week, showcase its attributes and make it known throughout the community.