Category: Marketing

Why You’re Making a Big Mistake if You Don’t Use Social Media to Market Your Rentals!

Internet Apartment SearchBy Tracey March

If you aren’t using the Internet to market your rental property and communicate with your tenants, you’re probably missing out. A new survey confirms what most of us already knew: people are relying more and more on the Internet to find rental homes and apartments; they’re using online review sites to make decisions; and you could improve tenant retention by using social media sites to inform your tenants about the great things happening in your neighborhood.

Researchers at J Turner Research recently surveyed 41,303 apartment home residents about how they use technology to find apartments and communicate with property managers, as well as how they use social media and online review and ratings websites. While this survey focused on residents in larger apartment communities, much of the information is applicable to smaller multi-unit rental properties and even single family homes that are either self-managed by landlords or being managed by property management companies.

The survey found:

  • 64% of apartment residents used a rental listing site on the Internet to find their apartment. Craigslist was particularly popular.
    TIP: use Craigslist or another rental listing site to advertise your available rentals. Because potential renters are becoming more and more nervous about rental scams, make sure you include a link to your business website. Most scammers don’t have the time to create a professional looking, functional website.
  • An overwhelming majority of people didn’t use Facebook or Twitter to find their apartment.
    TIP: Don’t advertise your rentals on Facebook or Twitter, especially if you have several available that could clog up your follower’s feeds. Instead, reserve those social media accounts for more friendly, useful posts, such as community events, or interesting photos.
  • Prospects rely heavily on apartment community websites when researching apartments. They especially like to see information on pricing, amenities, floor plans, and unit availability.
    TIP: If you have a website for your rentals, include a list of available units, with pricing, a page for amenities (including laundry, parking, wi-fi, etc.), and a page for available floor plans. Property management companies should consider listing available rentals on their websites, and should include detailed information for each one.
  • Most apartment research is done on personal laptops, not mobile phones.
    TIP: Make sure your full website is running well and providing the information renters want before you focus on a mobile site.
  • Residents are more likely to use their smartphones to pay rent than to mail in a check by 3:1.
    TIP: If you don’t use one already, it really is time to consider using an online rental payment service. Not only do these services make it easier for your renters to pay you, they make it easier for you to track rent payments, and you don’t have to worry about lost checks, or drop boxes getting broken into.
  • 1/3 of respondents prefer not to receive texts at all; 62% want to limit them to emergency announcements.
    TIP: When new tenants move in and fill out their contact information forms, include a question asking them if you can text emergency information to them, or let them know in your “house rules” that in some emergency situations, you may text them.
  • 74% of respondents used online ratings and review sites when they were doing their apartment hunting.
    TIP: Whether you’re a property management company for smaller properties or large apartment communities, stay on top of your online reputation by checking review sites and responding in a timely manner to negative comments with positive remarks. Set up a “google alert” with your company or apartment community name so you can track what people are saying about you. And respond to the nice stuff too!
  • Respondents visit their Facebook pages 1-3 times a day, and they’re interested in neighborhood information such as restaurants, theater information, and community events.
    TIP: Use your Facebook account to let renters in your local area or apartment community know about upcoming events, store openings, and special local deals. Knowing about these events helps your tenants realize they live in a great community. If you prefer to use Twitter, check out this list of Fifty Twitter Ideas for Property Managers and Landlords.

Does any of the information from the survey surprise you? Do you have any tips on how to respond to negative online reviews, or how to use Twitter and Facebook in your business?

December 13, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Fifty Twitter Ideas for Landlords and Property Managers

Twitter for Landlords and Property Managers

If you can breathe, you’ve probably heard of Twitter. You might even have a Twitter account, which you may or may not use. With its initial public offering this week (called the most anticipated stock debut of the year) Twitter is likely to become an even more prominent social media and advertising tool as investors seek to maximize profits from advertising revenue. Clearly, Twitter is going to be around for a while.

There are a couple of reasons why landlords and property managers should start using Twitter regularly. First, Twitter isn’t going anywhere, and knowing how to use Twitter will undoubtedly come in handy. Second, of all the social media platforms, Twitter is one of the easiest to use thanks to its message limit of 140 characters and simple, mobile phone-friendly interface. And third, Twitter is a great way to communicate useful information and reminders to your tenants.

While there’s lots of information about how to use Twitter on the Internet, there isn’t a ton of information about what to Tweet about–especially if you’re a landlord or property manager. The key to twitter is to post information that is “helpful in a friendly way” to your tenants. This means you shouldn’t post legal notices or reminders that rent is past due, but you should post useful information that might make your tenants’ lives easier, or maybe even more fun.

We thought it would be useful to give some specific ideas and inspiration, so here are fifty items of useful information your tenants might appreciate:

1. Tenant maintenance tips
2. Welcome new residents (with their permission for privacy reasons)
3. Local and seasonal events
4. Local offers, coupons, or deals
5. Maintenance announcements or reminders
6. Share blog posts
7. Road closures
8. Severe weather warnings
9. Share your newsletter
10. Photos of new employees
11. Post vacancies
12. Lost/found items (but no pictures)
13. Power outage reminders
14. Fire safety tips
15. Garbage day reminders
16. Link to community calendar
17. Parking rules reminders
18. Inspection reminders
19. Birthday announcements (with permission)
20. Resident meeting times
21. Reminders about upcoming utility work
22. On-time rent incentives
23. Price drops or move-in specials
24. Crime alerts or warnings
25. Photos of maintenance and repair work happening and when completed
26. Photos of available units and link to application information webpage
27. Link to state/local renters guide
28. Link to recycling guidelines
29. Link to water conservation tips
30. Link to energy conservation tips
31. Election day reminders and link to nearest ballot drop-offs
32. Daylight savings time reminder to change clocks
33. Changes in public transportation schedules
34. Link to “house rules/policies” web page
35. Link to online rent payment website or app
36. Holiday greetings and link to related events
37. Decorating tips that work well for your rentals (and that you approve of)
38. Link to area blood drive information
39. Link to local emergency services/urgent care information
40. Link to local public library
41. Link to your business Facebook or Google+ page
42. Reminders to submit maintenance requests, if any
43. Link to article on the value of renters insurance
44. Link to drop-off locations (such as Goodwill) for no-longer-used items
45. Reminder about your rental property’s landscaping/mowing schedule
46. New store or business openings
47. Reminder to check batteries in smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
48. Reminder to check area under sinks for water damage, and report any problems
49. Reminder about scheduled computer/battery/printer cartridge recycling
50. Thank yous for specific acts to residents, vendors, local businesses, and service providers

Are you a regular tweeter? We’d love to hear what works for you, and also if you’ve had any “Twitter fails.”

By Tracey March

November 8, 2013 | 1 Comment More

Successful Recruiting, You vs. the Industry?

These days, marketing is everything. Finding new owners and adding more properties to your portfolio is the name of the game. Yet budgets are tight, time is precious, and there is little room for error in this increasingly competitive market.

Ask yourself:

1) Are your marketing efforts recruiting new customers?

2) Are you spending your marketing budget wisely?

3) Where does the rest of the industry stand?

To help you answer these questions we recently surveyed 375 of your fellow property managers to find out what’s working and what’s not. And the results are in.

1) THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS IS FINDING NEW CUSTOMERS

In this new world of increased competition, fickle owners, and dynamic regulation, this comes as little surprise. 84% of property managers reveal that finding new customers is the biggest challenge facing their company in the next year.

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Biggest Challenges Facing Property Managers

What is surprising however is the intensity of this need. The second biggest challenge property managers reveal is finding and retaining quality employees, but this is ranked a full 26 points lower on the scale of importance.

2) PROPERTY MANAGERS FOCUS THEIR MARKETING EFFORTS TOWARDS ONLINE LEAD SERVICES AND WORD OF MOUTH

Next, we wanted to understand how property managers allocate their marketing budgets. We learned that the highest percentage (about 23%) is focused on Online Lead Services. Second is Word of Mouth, to which property managers allocate 19% of their marketing budget. Other sources of focus include Standalone Websites, Broker Referrals, and Print. TV/Radio and Social Media receive the least funding.

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What is interesting about these responses is how little property managers invest in newer marketing channels such as Social Media, or how little time property managers spend to plan and host Events. It seems that many managers are being cautious with their resources and sticking with known channels or using methods that don?t require a whole lot of time.

3) THE BEST SOURCES OF LEADS FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS ARE WORD OF MOUTH AND ONLINE LEAD SERVICES

Property managers told us that 33% of new customers come from Word of Mouth referrals, the most of any source. Online Lead Services come in second with 20.2%. Other sources of value include Standalone Websites and Broker Referrals. Social media, TV/Radio, and Events are the least effective sources of new customers.

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4) THE HIGHEST QUALITY LEADS FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS COME FROM WORD OF MOUTH REFERRALS

Lastly when it comes to quality, Word of Mouth and Broker Referrals received the most ratings of 1 or 2 and had the highest net quality ratings of 252 and 129 respectively. Property management companies said that their leads from the Yellow Pages, Flyers and TV are the worst quality, with the three sources having the three lowest net quality ratings. The most common response for each source was a rating of 3, as you can see on the graph.

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How Successfully Are You Recruiting New Customers Compared to the Rest of the Industry?

We know it’s hard out there. Finding new customers and retaining them is tough work. But that’s our area of expertise. Over the last 10 years, All Property Management has connected over 600,000 owners to property managers just like you, from coast-to-coast. Call us and talk to an account manager today: (888) 238-8948.

October 1, 2013 | 1 Comment More

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