Marketing in the multifamily industry has really changed this year. Everything is virtual and social media keeps growing by leaps and bounds. In a meeting last week I remembered some of the marketing we did way back when dinosaur’s roamed the earth. Join me on a walk down marketing memory lane. I hope it helps get your real world (not virtual) creative juices flowing.
I had a portfolio of USDA Rural Development properties in Tennessee. The property managers had little to no marketing experience, I had to get to work and fast to help them get the properties occupancy up. Some of things we did:
- Mini models (movable staging materials). Total cost roughly $35 per property.
- Filled bathtubs with light blue and white balloons (looks like bubble bath – people remembered).
- Family recipes on the kitchen counter for prospects to take with them.
- A skeleton in the tub under orange and black balloons at Halloween.
- Accessorized kitchens and bathrooms – make them feel homey.
- Candy and bottled water in the refrigerator (first thing most people look in), with a tent card saying “we want to spoil you from the start”. Make sure the bottled water has a label on it with the property website, email and phone number.
- Results at the properties were minimum occupancy increases of 10% in 30 days.
There was a property outside of Atlanta our company took over and needless to say there was a lot of work to be done. Occupancy was below 65% and it needed to get above 85% in 60 days . Our company president agreed to do a belly dance (in a belly dancing costume) at the company year end party if the manager got the property over 85% in 60 days. It was a wonderful party and our president kept her word!!! The manager got the property over 93% and in 30 days. What did we do? Take a look below:
- Rode the bus around Six Flags Amusement Park and passed out labeled bottled water with the property information on it. This resulted in 6 leases and the cost was only $25.
- Dressed in Halloween costumes and stood at the property entrance.
- Flyers anywhere and everywhere. Make sure you use a different colors to distinguish the different areas (you don’t want to waste money in an area you don’t get leads from).
- Marketing at eviction hearings? Well, why not?!
- Marketing at night school? It works!
- Ease dropping on the baggers at the grocery store? Yep – works too!
Out of the Box Thinking
A few more of my favorites from the Atlanta and Athens Georgia areas incldue:
- Taking a Christmas goodie basket to one of the popular radio stations at 7:00 am on a Wednesday morning, just to drop off and let the DJ’s know how much we loved their show. The result of this marketing trip gave us free air time during peak traffic hours and all we spent was $50.
- The off the beaten path property near UGA is quite an interesting story. The property can be a bit challenging to find, especially the leasing office. So I decide to paint blue UGA paw prints down the street (on the property) right up to the leasing office door. The maintenance team said it wouldn’t work, I knew it would. So, we bet if it did work, the entire maintenance team had to dress like UGA Cheerleaders (skirts, wigs, etc) and stand on the main drag in Athens on game day. If it didn’t work, I had to give them each a Friday off, with pay. I must say they looked amazing in the cheerleader outfits (they even wore lipstick)! The cost of the stencil and paint $50.
- An older property with a weird built in wall divider which looks cheap. The units were not renting because, well, face it, the divider was just ugly and awkward. UNLESS you make some minor (non structural) adjustments to the shelves and now you have a built in entertainment center.
Some of my favorites:
- This is one of my favorites but the idea came from a Kate Goode seminar I attended. Bootlegs that simply say “Apartment Clearance” and the property phone number. At one property we leased 8 apartments in 24 hours, which put the property at 100%. If you are like me, or my Mother, the word clearance makes you stop and make a beeline to the clearance section.
- A nice property in middle Georgia but it needed some updating and the units were smaller than their competitors. Best way to draw attention? Line the street with 50 flower bouquets made entirely of balloons. It was pretty and did help grab passing cars attention and generate some leases.
We all know The Three P’s of Marketing. However, have you heard of the Three R’s of Marketing?
Relentless – You have to be relentless in your marketing efforts. While social media marketing is great, you need to keep your real world creative juices flowing too.
Remarkable – People look at more than just a few properties before choosing their new home. You need to be remarkable in order to stand out from the rest.
Rememberable – When I moved to South Carolina I looked at 13 homes in 8 hours. After two hours they started to run together so my realtor and I began naming them. There was the “not enough time or paint in the world” house, the “weed whacker” house, the “time to clean” house, and the “island” house (which is the one I bought). Your show units as well as your marketing efforts need to be easily remembered by your prospects. I honestly don’t think rememberable is a real word, but I like it!
I hope this walk down memory lane was helpful, or at least some fun reading for a Monday.
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