The 360 Blog

Wicked Smart Lease Up Marketing Tactics You Should Be Leveraging But Probably Aren’t [Video]

If you’ve been involved in apartment lease ups or asset repositions then you understand how challenging the marketing process can be. Join industry veteran Lisa Young as she shares her wicked smart lease up marketing tactics to help you navigate the process.

Here’s the video transcript of the webinar:

Josh Grillo:

Hello everyone. It’s Josh Grillo here. Um. Welcome to this beautiful Friday morning here in sunny San Diego. And, what we have today is an absolute action-packed webinar with Lisa Young. Lisa Young, for those of you who don’t know or haven’t spoken yet to on the phone, she is our managing director here at Resident 360 and she comes with a ton of talent. She has 60 plus lease ups under her belt. She’s done over 25 asset repositions, so, she has a wealth of knowledge to share today on this webinar.

Lisa Young:

Awesome, awesome. Thanks, Josh. Hi everyone. We don’t want to start with how it begins, but we all know that brand-new construction obviously begins with the thought of what we’re going to do with the piece of land and some projects. I know that developers we’re working with right now are looking at even three and five years out. So, we want to kind of bring this all back to marketing.

Lisa Young:

So, some of the things we want to make sure that we cover today. So, for example, we’re kind of doing this in a three-phased approach. So, regarding naming, branding, and creation of assets, that’s one of the first things that you need to be able to get going to kind of prepare for your lease up – pre-leasing strategy and making sure that you have your certificate of occupancy scheduled and how that’s going to relate to kind of rolling out your marketing plan. And then also grand opening, through post leasing and stabilization.

Lisa Young:

We’ll talk briefly about some of the variables, which will be things like, are you doing a new asset or even a reposition? Is that going to be related into a rural market? Is that a heavily saturated market? What’s the number of units? Those kinds of things are all going to kind of play into your strategy. And then, just a few things at the end. Just a bonus consideration that we’re starting to utilize on a lot of assets that we’re seeing great results on, so we’d love to be able to kind of share those with you as well.

Lisa Young:

So, we have a lot to cover, like we said, but not to bore you with all the details, the goal here is just to really understand that, you know, lease opps and asset repositions, as far as a marketing perspective, continue to evolve. I know that when I first started doing lease ups, we weren’t working with things like bots or there wasn’t heavy video involved. Analytics were not as strong as they are today. So, really want to make sure that what we apply today will continue to, change over the next couple of years as consumers get smarter and savvier and how we’re going to be able to apply technology to just our overall lease up strategies.

Lisa Young:

So, we’re going to talk briefly about naming, branding direction, logo ID renderings, and also primarily a landing page. So, your conceptual branding direction, we want to talk about specifically, what that includes, and it’s things like, obviously, your logo, your ID, your collateral package, how your brand is going to apply across all the creatives, meaning signage, banners, what you’re going to do with your online presence, how it’s going to create to the Web, what you’re going to do when you hand out things in person. So, we kind of cover a lot of that, but as you’ll see, the thing is when we start doing brand, you want to make sure it applies across every possible asset consistently.

Lisa Young:

And then also things like even email blasts and things that you send out to pre-leasing prior to taking reservations, is making sure that your overall messaging is solid and consistent. So, if you have different vendor partners, for example, working on different creative assets, just making sure there is one primary director that’s going to kind of be the, the person who’s going to kind of direct the orchestra, if you will.

Josh Grillo:

I think this is a key point, and I see this, not just in multifamily, I see this across all kinds of verticals. For those of you guys that don’t know, I used to work in television. I had an ad agency for a very long time. Real live television commercials across the U.S. One of the biggest things that I always came across is brand consistency, right? So, nobody carries their brand properly through all their different channels. So, the thing to think about, when it comes to multifamily, you really want a driver of the ship, right? How can you make sure your brand stays consistent, maintains consistency? Especially when you think about things like social media channels, right?

Josh Grillo:

What do those social media mast heads look like, right? Do they carry your logo in the right way? Right? What does your signage look like on your property? Is it carrying that consistency of the brand? What about your collateral? What about your brochures? What about small things like business cards that you might not pay that much attention to, but are super important. Always be thinking about all of it and how can you make it consistent. And a lot of times when you work with different vendor partners, you lose a little bit of that consistency, so I think it’s really important to understand that you want a driver of the ship, right? You want somebody to conduct the orchestra, so very important point.

Lisa Young:

Just to piggyback on what Josh just said as well is making sure that not only is your brand consistent visually, but what are you going to do to ensure that that vibe is consistent? As you create your packages, if you were to take away all words and strictly have visuals, what message are you sending? And vice versa, what would your package look like if you strictly had words and no visuals? So, you want to play those off of each other to make sure they’re cohesive, as far as your overall message and that will be solid.

Lisa Young:

So, just generally, regarding naming and logo ID, here’s an asset for example that we named a little over three years ago. And it’s just now starting to, you know, shovels are happening. There’s a lot going on with this particular asset. This was a challenging asset to really make sure that we had the right name and had, um, a number of components to it; obviously, retail, apartment, hotel, restaurant, so, we just feel really good that we nailed it.

Lisa Young:

The, making sure that your logo ID, your overall concept and direction is something that’s timeless. That’s one of the things you want to make sure, because sometimes I know that when you are working with developers or a management company maybe inherits an asset, it’s just making sure that you understand that maybe things were decided three years ago. Revisiting that and making sure that you are consistent today with that message you want to get out and that also specifically – is this going to be the right name and the right logo ID that’s going to be good in five years from now, 10 years from now, 15, and so forth.

Lisa Young:

Briefly, I want to talk about renderings. I think it’s one of the missed opportunities that a lot of development and management companies miss the boat on. It’s because we’re so busy rushing to the finish line, that we forget that sometimes rendering in some of these key components do take time for quality. So, we can do a rendering in four weeks, but I don’t love to, to be honest. So, we’d like to see renderings more at six- to eight-week timeline, so it gives us an opportunity to make sure that we’re pulling all the right components in to ensure that it’s a truly come-alive rendering that is kind of picturesque if you will, rather than just something that just looks like it was created yesterday.

Lisa Young:

So, just a quick snapshot. Some of the things from your vendor partners that would be helpful to be able to give them is your 3D modeling of the building. Landscape plan is going to be really important if you’re doing exterior. Floor plans, elevations, material finishes, you know. One of the light fixtures, even to those little details. And then, more importantly, making sure you’re working with your interior designer so that you know exactly what kind of furniture is going to go in there, even if you’re not going to do custom, you want to be able to have an idea of what that looks like.

Lisa Young:

So, here’s just an example of an exterior rendering. Same thing is applied. Are the cards current? I’ve seen a lot of renderings that were done a couple of years ago and the question is, gosh, that car looks like 1950s, so just making sure your people and your cars and your color palette and so forth, if those renderings are old, it may be time to reinvest and kind of bring in some of new renderings.

Lisa Young:

Here’s a rendering of an amenity. These are really important. We’ve seen a lot more renderings of, obviously a fitness center, pool areas, common areas, dog parks, all of that. So, just kind of be creative on which renderings are going to be critical to help drive the value for your asset.

Lisa Young:

And then renderings with a human element. Sometimes, that can be challenging, but this particular asset has not yet opened. Keeping it a secret because it’s not out there yet, but we just finished this rendering and it’s still not quite there where we want it. For example, you see the air conditioning right there. We wanted to make that smaller and one of the things that the developer said was, you know, it’s hotter than heck out here. We really want to make sure that people know we have air conditioning. So, the air conditioning’s a little bit bigger than you would think that it would be, but it is true to size in the actual unit.

Lisa Young:

Making sure that the view is true, we added the human element of the person. I wanted to make sure too that I take time to stop, that when you’re doing renderings, you’re doing any advertising, we always recommend that you obviously adhere to fair housing. So, for example, if you’re doing renderings with people or you’re doing websites with people, just making sure that there’s diversity used throughout the site. So, this is just one example we’ve done where we actually took the rendering. This is truly what the unit’s going to look like and then adding the human side to it.

Lisa Young:

And then just talking briefly about landing pages; less is more on a landing page. And we’re going to talk about this a little bit more later. We also have a $35,000 phone call that we share a lot with a lot of teams that are doing lease ups or asset reposition. Just making sure that we understand the purpose of the landing page is enough for the prospect to actually give a call to us and/or to email us or reach out so that they can get additional information. So, hero image, tag line and message, call to action, and then contact form are really important.

Lisa Young:

Here’s a quick glance. Join our VIP list. You got your logo at the top. It says, when the asset is arriving. A little splash. Sometimes a floor plan is good if you happen to have those finished. A rendering map of where it’s located. Right. And then we go to the next one. With this one, it has not opened as well, but this is a true photo of what the asset will look like from that position. Renderings included, map, and then also just kind of making sure that we’re putting out there as far as this part where you say, indulge yourself. Add icons rather than just being very picturesque, so, this is still, you’ll see a lot of stock imagery there because we’re waiting for some additional finishing touches from our design team. We just think it’s important to understand that we’re following those key elements for a landing page.

Josh Grillo:

Really important when it comes to landing pages, we’ve just done so many of them. We’ve tested a lot of copy on landing pages and copy that we’ve seen work really well is, Join Our VIP List. It lends to that exclusivity handle and if you’re doing any email marketing. Let’s just say, you have this beautiful, one-page landing page for your new development coming up, you’ve got Join Our VIP List. You ask for their name, email, phone number, you know. And what happens then is if you have an email sequence that goes out to these people, what’s nice about the VIP list is your subject line becomes VIP List Update.

Josh Grillo:

And guess what. When you send an email that says VIP List Update as your subject, you’re open rate is going to be sky high on those emails. So, that’s why I like it. I’ve tested it. It works very, very, very well. It’s the number-one copy that I like to see when we’re doing landing pages. So, I just want to kind of share that quick tip with you.

Lisa Young:

Great job, Josh. And I think the other thing too is let’s say that you’re in a competitive market. There’s a lot of VIP lists out there already. You can also use things like, “Be first in line” or “priority list.” Just make sure that that tagline is exactly what Josh said. It’s more than just putting on your actual landing page, but it does apply towards additional mediums, for example, you know, e-blasts and so forth.

Lisa Young:

And then, really important for any landing page and/or any website is making sure that you have a good contact page. We do see a lot of times where someone just throws up a contact page and it’s not well thought out, so just visually, it needs to be inviting. Someone actually wants to fill it out. And what we’re finding in our stats right now, in the state of Texas and Northern California and a couple of others, we’re seeing 85% of prospects actually respond via the form, and they’re not calling the actual asset. So, being able to have those leads and track is really important for you to you have not only in your landing page, but your websites. Just understand the power and performance of what you can get from the right contact form.

Lisa Young:

And just the same thing here. I split this. This is not the whole website, but I wanted to understand this particular asset for you home builders. We happen to be doing this when we’re seeing ridiculous results, fantastic opportunity here with your call to action, on the right-hand side, the check availability, that’s a sticky navigation that scrolls down the page as you go forth. And again, it tells what it is and where it is and it’s got a great visual.

Josh Grillo:

When it comes to forms, less is definitely more. Lisa said that earlier, but I really want to point out how much information do you really need to capture to market back to these people? So, you know, we’ve seen properties that ask for 10, 15 fields of information, right? And a lot of times, guess what, people aren’t going to fill that out.

Lisa Young:

That’s right.

Josh Grillo:

So, name, phone number, email address, you know. It could be a comment or when are you looking to move? Or, what type of unit are you interested in? You don’t need much more than that to be able to capture these people’s information and market back to them. So, just think about that. Always review your contact forms. It is one of the biggest ways to increase convergence on your own websites.

Lisa Young:

Great point. And I think too, just from the leasing team’s perspective, the goal is to give them just enough information so they actually can follow up with the prospect. Too much information sometimes kills the deal from a sales perspective. So, less is more. The big thing is just making sure that your banner that we hang up on buildings actually tells the story. And the question with your banner is we’ve seen some pretty amazing branding going on and then we see this banner go up and it’s like, what is that? It has nothing to do with the brand. So, just making sure that your banners are solid and please make sure you’re using mesh banners whenever possible. The vinyl banners are old and dated, so let’s try to get away from those.

Lisa Young:

And just showing you some specific banners. Here’s an asset just opening. Obviously, we have the right call to action on here as far as telling someone now leasing. We’ve got the tagline here. We’ve got the logo IT. We’ve got it’s brand-new apartments. We have a phone number and we actually have the URL. Right? Now, here’s another one that is not yet open and the client is not ready to accept phone calls. So, it’s okay to put up a banner, just making sure that you have a landing page to be able to drive them to that particular space, so that they know how to reach out and that’s how you start that VIP list, as we mentioned earlier.

Lisa Young:

And then, same thing, if you’re going to do a banner, why not do two different ones, where they don’t have to be matchy, matchy, if you will, across the asset. Switch them out, especially if there’s a lot of good drive-by traffic. It’s really important to keep those fresh.

Lisa Young:

And same thing, here’s just another one of the one that we showed before. We did not happen to have time to be able to pull together a lot of creatives as far as renderings and so forth, so on this one, we did a stock image, but we wanted to make sure that the image mirrored the property as close as possible. That, you know, we wanted to give a vibe what it’s going to be like to live there. That you’re going to love living there and looking out your window, enjoying your coffee in the morning with these great windows. So, just remember that banners are equally important as some of the other collateral packages that you put together.

Josh Grillo:

I like to always implement a five-second rule. Right? Five second rule is this. You’re driving down the highway and there’s a billboard on the road, right? You pass that billboard probably within five seconds, right? If you glance up and look at that billboard, what’s your take away? What do you take away from that? So, when it comes to banners, obviously bigger is always better. Second part of that is you want to have your logo ID or your name of your community. You want to have a call to action, so something like Now Leasing, Coming Soon. And ideally, you need to have a place for them to go, so a domain is fantastic. If you can add a phone number as well, even better. But, in this case, simple usually works better, because keep in mind that five-second rule, especially if you’re in a highly visible location where you have a lot of drive-by traffic. Go big on the banners. Go big on your text all day long, and make sure to have that call to action, the domain, and phone number if you can.

Lisa Young:

Perfect. And then we’re not going to dwell too much on traffic, but we do want to say in Phase 1, you’re pretty much ready now. You’ve got your logo ID, your general planning drafts, and hopefully got some renderings or some visuals. And now you’re going to start driving traffic. We’re going to talk about that a little bit more in a further phase. But, just really important that those key components happen and then now we’re ready to start driving and hopefully, get some conversions.

Lisa Young:

So, just want to make sure that we understand that there’s a little bit of conflict. Believe me, I’ve been in the industry long enough and worked with enough partners that we can have a candid conversation where sometimes there is conflict between operations and marketing, and that is because operations has to make it so that they get the rents that they put into the deal originally with investors and so forth. And then marketing comes, sometimes late to the game or they may be on the front end, but there’s always a little bit of conflict of, are we driving the right traffic. We’re not closing the right traffic. Those kind of things. So, I just want to make sure that we’re understanding the importance of recording phone calls and there’s some real benefits to that. It’s not just the old school days where you listed the phone calls to see how our staff is performing.

Josh Grillo:

Well, I mean, recording phone calls, like would you recommend that, you know, people record the calls and then what, grade them? Or how should they go about kind of sorting through that?

Lisa Young:

Yeah, that’s a good question. So, a couple of things. Number 1, make sure that you set the tone with your team. Now, this is a marketing webinar; this is not about sales. This is not about, you know, motivating your team. So, I’ll try to keep that as much as I can out of it, but they do kind of all go together. So, you know, to your point, Josh, the thing is when you’re listening to a phone call, you’re listening for a couple of things.

Lisa Young:

Number 1, old school and still new school, is we know that you’re listening to phone calls to confirm how is the leasing team doing? Are they answering on the second ring? Are they listening to the consumer? Are they leading the conversation? Are they actually responding? Are they leaving a lot of dead air? You know, there’s things that we do to listen for to make sure that we’re actually connecting and engaging with that consumer to get them to want to convert.

Lisa Young:

The other thing is to make sure from a marketing perspective that every single time you possibly can, and this is where the marketing and the operations is going to more complement each other, is making sure that we’re listening to phone calls. Are they truly qualified traffic? If you’re getting an unlimited number of calls, we all know if they’re saying it’s too expensive, maybe our marketing is not correct. Maybe we need to shift our strategy. And that’s an opportunity for us to be able to go to the operations team and say, “look, you know. I don’t want to just record phone calls to see if the leasing team is able to convert, it’s also about making sure I’ve hit the mark. That I’m able to help make sure that we’re driving the right traffic.” So, sometimes for marketing, we get put on the defensive. We want to make sure that we kind of turn that around and make sure that we understand that we’re bringing this to the table because we want to be a partner with our operations team.

Lisa Young:

And then finally, consumer response. And that’s what Josh is saying. You know, what are we listening for? We had a property, we’ve had numerous properties, but I’ll give one example. That was losing upwards of fifty grand a month and it was a lease up property and they couldn’t figure out … they were getting all this traffic. We’re like, what is the deal? And we’re like, we’re driving qualified traffic, so we convinced them to listen to phone calls. The owner was against it in the beginning. We had a team meeting with the leasing team to make sure they were clear that we were listening to calls, and wanted to help support them from a sales perspective, but equally important to understand how the consumers responding to the rents and the specials and/or amenities or value that we’re selling. And so, I think that’s one of the biggest things that we miss in multifamily is we miss the point that the consumer response to our marketing and our efforts out there is critical.

Lisa Young:

So, any time you can take a step back and listen how I’m quoting that rent, how am I describing the amenities, how I may ask them for the appointment, and again, I don’t want to go on a tangent, I’m a big proponent obviously of recording phone calls, but we’ve had some lease ups where we’ve listened to phone calls and your rents for example are listed on your landing page or your website and the consumer’s calling to say how much is your two bedroom? And they see the price right there. Believe me guys, they’re not asking to confirm how much is the two bedroom. They already know the price. They’re calling to confirm truly is the price what was posted and more importantly, you’re going to get a major confirmation whether or not that leasing team believes in that price.

Lisa Young:

And one quick story before we move on. We had an asset that was a lakefront community. Here comes summer and we upped the rents overnight $300. The leasing staff of course kind of threw a fit and, and for good reason, were stressed out because they knew that they couldn’t, in their mindset, lease these apartments on the water for $300 more than they were yesterday. So, we took out the leasing staff for the weekend. We brought in a brand-new leasing person who had no clue that we were going to change the rents and that they were lower $300 the day before. Lo and behold, by the end of the weekend, she had leased four apartments. Now, it’s not because the rent was too expensive. It was because her voice projection when she quoted that rent, there was a confidence level, as vs. when you listen to a leasing agent and they maybe kind of talk about their rents. If there’s any kind of fluctuation in their voice or they don’t sound confident, the consumer picks up on that. We’re all consumers in all different verticals and we’re very in tune with people.

Josh Grillo:

I’ll add something because, you know, if you guys, obviously, a lot of you guys are, are readers of my newsletter and stuff and I talk a lot about phone calls and phone call coaching and you know, one of the big things is this. Look, people call and they’re looking for a warm body on the other end of the phone. Right. They don’t know you. They don’t know your listing agents. They’re on your website or wherever they have your phone number. And they pick up the phone to call. They just want to talk to a warm, confident body. And the biggest thing with warm, confident bodies is tonality. So, I tell everybody this, right? You want to improve your phone, improve your tonality.

Josh Grillo:

So, what is tonality? That’s talking high and then coming down low to make a point. Right? So, when people use tonality on their phone calls, it’s immediate. The person at the other end is listening to it, knows, like wow, this person is exciting. I want to talk to them more vs. just, you know, another normal call like they get every single day. So, that’s one really good way to separate yourself is by looking at your current people that are on the phone and work on tonality.

Lisa Young:

And then, how this relates back to marketing is we’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to drive traffic. And so really mirroring that gap between when the traffic actually reaches your website and then converts. So, that’s why we just feel very strongly about that.

Lisa Young:

Phase 2, we’re going to jump in to talk about signage design, floor plans, virtual tours, collateral package, and site map.

Lisa Young:

Signage design is a missed opportunity that a lot of developers and management companies missed out on. And the purpose of that is because you’re using generally local talent to build your signage package. Fantastic. That’s what you should do. But what we want you to do is consider having your branding firm mock up your signage designs as part of their package, their branding consistency package. You’ll save thousands. We had a client save $32,000 in their total project and the reason for that is because we built their branded package for signage into their total development, which costs several thousand bucks for us to do it vs. them putting out to bid to their local partners. And the biggest thing about that is, number 1, you do hold your local signage for the sign ordinance for that city and so forth accountable. We strictly just take the design element and say, look, this is what we want it to look like.

Lisa Young:

Here’s an ad we did recently. We didn’t do as in depth as we normally do because it wasn’t quite budgeted, but we did build unit IDs, common area amenities, even the trash receptacle area and the pool signs were branded to the asset. So, just one good example to where you can save thousands.

Josh Grillo:

So you’re saying whoever’s handling your overall branding for your community, let them actually create the mockups if you would. The designs for these signage, and then those are given to the signage company vs. the signage company itself creating the mockups. Is that what you’re saying?

Lisa Young:

No, absolutely. And generally, too, if you do this correctly with your branding firm, you create a custom RFP. And then you send out to your potential sign firms the actual signs, what they’re going to look like, what the materials should be made of. So, that you’re truly getting apples to apples in your proposals that come back to you and that’s how our client was able to save over thirty grand. So, that’s good. Not all signage companies are great designers, let’s put it that way.

Lisa Young:

So, floor plans. We know that this is the number-one portion of your website where consumers spend most of their time. We just want to remember that people write their check every single month because they live there and they live within that floor plan, so that’s why we see consumers spending most of the time on your website on the floor plan page. And sometimes, up to five minutes scrolling through floor plans. So, we’ve got a really good thing that we do here so we’re able to see what happens within the floor plan page and how people interact with the floor plans. Depending on your asset, depending on the kind of vibe, depending on just your overall brand, they’re simple black and white, which is coming way back. It was in for a while. It went away and now it’s back, especially with new development.

Lisa Young:

The other thing is 2D floor plans, making sure that your finishes are true to what they’re going to be when they actually arrive or delivered to the client or the prospect. 3D floor plans you see a lot of where it’s different furnishings. If you’re using a 3D floor plan company, make sure that you try to convert … have them do some unique features, whether it’s a pop of color or pillows. Let’s make sure because 3D floor plans are starting to get saturated in the marketplace, which were a huge proponent of, of believing in those. You just want to make sure what are you going to do with those floor plans that could be unique or different vs. other assets they’re competing with.

Lisa Young:

And then also, with dimensions. Sometimes, it’s really important to put dimensions. Sometimes, we don’t want dimensions because maybe it’s a small room and so forth. We don’t want to showcase that. So, just keeping that in mind that there’s different types of floor plans and there’s also student property, you know, floor plans. So, just tailor your floor plans and remember that that’s really what the consumers write their check for and then really spend a lot of time there. And then also, just kind of take in a floor plan that was strictly black and white and add in some creative to it.

Lisa Young:

So, we, we’re not done here at Resident 360 at pushing the envelope on what we’re going to do with floor plans. We have a lot of exciting things coming up in the future, especially with the whole rent by bedroom philosophy and then, you know, traditional and student and so forth. So, just work with a partner that really is going to kind of push the envelope and help you think creatively.

Lisa Young:

And then here is just a quick example of an asset that was going through a reposition and they wanted to be able to sell the existing residence on what it was going to look like in the common area. Why they were raising their rents. Why they were going to see renovation going on. So, you know, this is not the best quality because I kind of blew it up a little bit, but we were able to make this rendering to show the future of what it’s going to look like.

Lisa Young:

And then, virtual tours we know are super important. And the reason why they’re important is because you can get those done before the asset even comes alive. So, taking that floor plan and converting it to a virtual tour sells the story of what’s to come.

Lisa Young:

And then, their collateral packages. Now, there’s a lot of controversy on collateral packages because, based on your demographic, you may not want big collateral packages. You may want postcards to give out, driving the consumer back to your website. Then just keep in mind that your collateral package should be part of your whole overall branding strategy and try to, again, have that be done by whoever creates your logo and so forth so that there is consistency in that. But there’s different styles of brochures. There’s heavily printed brochures. Less copy is always more, if possible. Here’s one that was just a front and back flyer for an asset reposition. Serves the purpose. They’re doing a fantastic job leasing. We love working with this company because they think outside the box as far as insuring that not all properties are created equal. Some properties deserve a big brochure and some are fine with floor plans.

Lisa Young:

This particular one is what I call a gift brochure. It costs four to five bucks to print. Now, that’s not for every asset for sure. But this particular property happens to be an area that’s up and coming, and so we want to set the tone of quality. And so, the client was willing to spend good money on this brochure. It’s not for every asset but just make sure your vendor partner understands your strategy and what you want to accomplish.

Lisa Young:

This is an example of what we did for a management company. I just want to make sure that we take a step back when we talk about e-brochures. A lot of the e-brochures today you go in and you click on the floor plan, you pick which one you want, and it prints out this one pager or two pager, as far as what the floor plan looks like, what the price is, and so forth. But, remember, if you’re pre-leasing or you’re going through an asset reposition, the other great thing is if you do an e-brochure that’s right, it kind of tells the story with the pictures, you know, splash of copy here and there, you’re going to be able to get the consumer an opportunity to understand what’s forthcoming as far as that particular asset. Not everyone is great at visualizing what’s to come.

Lisa Young:

And then, just understand the difference between a site map, which is really important for new construction, so people want to know where they’re going to park and be able to talk about the legend of where everything’s located as vs. a floor plate. This is really important for like high rises for example to be able to show what floor plan you’re on. These can also be converted to your website, so you click on it and there’s interactive opportunity here. So again, this comes back to the brand name but also the collateral and then it can also be tied into your website.

Lisa Young:

A walking map is important if you have great walkability. We all are familiar with walkscore.com. We’re working on a 40-unit development right now. The client is spending a hundred grand on this particular development and I have to tell you that the property at 40 units as you can imagine does not have a huge amenity opportunity, so we’re pulling from the local area. It has a great walk score so we’re able to pull the vibe of what’s going on within that one-mile radius if you will. So, just think about a walking map if that applies to your assets coming up.

Lisa Young:

So, phase III is just your overall advertising strategy Josh mentioned earlier about social, professional photography, video, and then also your full website. So, making sure that as you’re planning this marketing strategy is making sure that you understand that you really have a lot more control than we think we do. Tying into long term contracts and not being able to make adjustments or changes is really unfortunate in our industry. So, just remember as property management, and I’ve been in your shoes, the biggest thing is to understand you have more control than you think you do and I’m not saying negotiate to death with your vendor partners, but make sure, as far as the lease up strategy, you are able to work through your advertising as you can as needed throughout the process.

Lisa Young:

One of the things we’re always a huge proponent of is making sure that you’re using Google as vs. traditional ILSs. Now. ILSs are not all created equal. We know that. Some markets, they’re fantastic and so some ILSs work great in some markets and not in others. We do a lot of media buy for clients, so we’re able to kind of see what particular ILSs are working in some markets vs. others, and it’s really important from a Google perspective that you really kind of control what you’re spending. So, for example, if you have a budget of X and you’re going to take that money and you’re going to give it all to an ILS, you’re putting your money into where everyone else is advertising. All of your competitors vs. if you put it into your own Google campaign. Whether you manage it yourself or you hire a third-party professional company to manage your Google, just make sure that you understand you can tailor your Google campaigns and your ads towards specific units. This is really important for CMO release schedules.

Lisa Young:

We have a couple of claims right now that have a massive amount of one-bedrooms available, so all of our ads are tailored to one-bedrooms. We know that there’s three-bedrooms coming up in another asset, so we know that we’re going to be able to start being able to focus on that. So, I think the biggest thing when it comes to advertising is, do what you can to keep your spend as close to the best as possible and Google is always a great way to go, even on smaller assets vs. just your traditional throw everything up under the ILS.

Lisa Young:

And then Google My Business, we talk about in one of our other seminars and also SCL, but understand that all that ties together as far as making sure you truly have control over your advertising.

Josh Grillo:

I just want to point out, if you’ve got a new lease up, there’s a good chance or, you know, a new development, there’s a very good chance you probably have a high-quality video. So, we’ve been running a lot of tests right now on YouTube, running pre-role videos. And hey, guys, if you go to YouTube at all, obviously, you’re probably being targeted with some type of pre-role video. Love it or hate it, but it is working. It is working for us, so we are taking luxury asset videos and we are running retargeting. So people are visiting our website, they’re leaving, and then they’re being retargeted on YouTube or whatever channel that person is going to look at. They’re being retargeted with that property’s video and we’re seeing conversions on that. Many people actually calling the property, filling out a form for a tour, and we’re seeing conversion prices pretty low on that.

Lisa Young:

Eight bucks

Josh Grillo:

Yeah, like eight-dollar conversions is what we’re seeing right now. So, just keep that in the back of your mind. Not a lot of multifamily properties are utilizing YouTube right now, especially in terms of ads and pre-role video. But, we are seeing solid results so far.

Lisa Young:

Absolutely. I think too the other thing is, please understand with social, and Josh mentioned it earlier do it or don’t do it. We really don’t care. Just pick a side. What we’re seeing a lot more of, and this is not just new construction or repositions, we’re seeing this across the markets. Everyone jumped on board quickly on Facebook and then we’ve seen pages on websites that are three years old, or we see someone post every 12 months. So, do yourself a favor and just, get real from a marketing perspective and also the bandwidth of your onsite team or whether it’s being handled by your marketing team. You know, it’s not a big deal if you’re not doing it, just hide your icon so you can simply work with your web development company. If you’re not currently active or keeping them current or they’re not, your messaging is not right, just strictly hide them. Don’t have them on there if they’re not going to be in real time.

Josh Grillo:

And I’ll just add this really quick. Super quick strategy for you guys out there. You’ve got a building that’s going up. What you could do, really easy social strategy, is you just post construction updates. Literally, that’s it. It’s like, new windows are going up, right? And you take a photo of the windows. That can be your social post. You can put that on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. If you want to do live stream, we’ve had clients in the past actually set up a live stream on their building. Now, I’m not sure who’s going to sit there and watch that for a long enough period of time, but clients have done it. It is kind of a unique, cool, different element, but again, construction updates work really, really well and they also work really, really well when you carry it over to email marketing campaigns. Right? New windows are going up. The roof is on. The pool is just being finished. So, just keep that in mind. It’s a very simple strategy to execute on.

Lisa Young:

Absolutely. And then just, you know, photography, it’s, it’s the one that, that people forget the power of, is they’ll have someone local go out and take a shot. Maybe it’s someone who does photography in another vertical. Multifamily photography can be challenging if you have a challenging asset. And even if you’re not just A assets, even Bs and Cs, just making sure that you understand the power of professional photography. It’s really not that expensive. You’re going to get a great return. You’re going to have high resolution photos that you can apply to both your social or crash your social, your print, meaning any collateral that you utilize and then also on your, your website.

Lisa Young:

And then also Josh already talked about video being a major player right now and there’s not enough people taking advantage of it. Drone footage has picked up, which we’re seeing a lot of great drone footage now, not all of those are created equal, so find the right company. And also, 360 tours are important.

Lisa Young:

And then just briefly on websites. Making sure that you have the right partner for your website.

Lisa Young:

But the main thing is just to create a plan and execute. Remember that not all websites are created equal. We get a ton of phone calls from clients, or potential clients, looking to update their website and, or more importantly, we’ll get a lot of calls that people want us to do their goal campaigns and I’ve got to tell you, sometimes I look at these websites and I’m like, unfortunately, you know, I’d love your business, but we just can’t drive traffic to your website because we know it’s not going to convert. We manage hundreds of campaigns, $2.5 million a year in Google spent. We know what’s going to convert. We know what’s going to work and at the end of the day, we do not want to be driving traffic to a crappy website. So, sometimes what we’ll do is we’ll just say, look, keep your website the way it is. If you don’t have the authority or the opportunity to make a change, let’s just throw up a one-page lander or a landing page to build to drive that traffic. So, just remember the power of websites and that applies across resteps, repositions and also all others.

Lisa Young:

Then finally, just making sure that you put your price on there. I’m sure everyone on this webinar, if you guys are forward thinkers, please get your people to put the price in there. Do not say call. The consumer today wants real-time information and then respect them enough to be able to ensure that you have your pricing on there.

Lisa Young:

And just finally, just make sure when you guys go to your website, do what you can to have integration. It’s really important that you could pull data feeds, your real-time availability in leasing is really important.

Lisa Young:

And then also, at the end of the day, your website results matter. So, just make sure that whoever your partner is, you get a really good opportunity to understand what’s happening with your website with your traffic, with every single thing that you put out there from a marketing perspective should be able to be tracked.

Lisa Young:

And then, another nugget that has been super, super popular lately and we’ve created this ourselves, is our own custom-built scheduler. But it’s really important if you have an opportunity to be able to allow the consumer to select an appointment time. We’re seeing a lot more conversions, and we’re actually being able to train the leasing team to follow up, preschedule before the scheduled tour happens and then also, after the tour happens. So, it’s really important if you have an opportunity to be able to do that and you can control your hours of when you want to be able to accept them. But remember the consumer is on our websites 24/7 and our offices are open 9-5, or 10-6, or whatever it may be, especially during the winter hours. I know we’re kind of coming out of that time right now, getting ready to head into spring. But, if you have an opportunity, your website is up 24/7, give an opportunity for the consumer to be able to schedule an appointment.

Lisa Young:

And then also, we’re seeing a lot more bot activities. So, for transparency, we kind of screwed up this past couple of weeks on our website where we have a client that we love and who allows us to make mistakes before pushing the envelope on a lot of different what I’ll call techniques out there that’s different that we’re stealing from other verticals and bringing into multifamily. We put a bot on his website and he calls me and says, “Lisa, I’m, I’m getting all of these people. They’re coming into our property and they’re saying, I’m here for my tour.” And the leasing team’s like, “I didn’t schedule a tour. Did you schedule a tour?” And everyone’s looking around and nobody’s scheduled a tour. Well, they had a ton of tours and guess what. The people would say, I scheduled it with the bot. And they’re like, well, who’s the bot, right.

Lisa Young:

So, the point is, it’s just making sure that you have an opportunity here. What we did was the bot was working fantastic, but we didn’t change the hours, so they were getting a flood of appointments and opportunities for tours where they were having too many people showing up at one time. So, what a great problem to have, but you know, the bot is a new thing.

Lisa Young:

If you want information, we can send it out to you but just remember if you don’t have the best leasing team if you will, then the bot is fantastic, because it interacts with your consumer. If you have a fantastic leasing team that works fantastic because they’re really proactive at making sure that they keep on, keep up with what’s happening with those appointments, and then also stats come back on how much the bot is actually interacting with your consumer. It can quotes prices, send an e-brochure, you know, all kinds of things. It’s pretty active.

Josh Grillo:

Cool deal. Uh. And Lisa, so with all of this information you’re sharing right now, is there one piece of things somebody should really think about first. Let’s say that you’re really just getting going. Is it to start with the naming? Is it to, you know, what are they going to name the asset or is there, is there a direction that they need to be thinking about first?

Lisa Young:

Absolutely. I think the most important thing you can do if you are just now getting involved with an asset is, number 1, really understand your submarket. You know, you guys are professional marketers. By that, I mean, making sure you understand what’s in the pipeline as far as competition. Taking a look and putting all of your, um, you know, just as a marketing firm, what we do for our clients, we do a, a branded package, is we’ll say what’s happening with all the competition. We’ll put it side by side and we’re saying what are we going to do to make sure this asset is different? What’s unique about it. What are we going to bring to the table in the submarket that is already saturated.

Lisa Young:

For example, right now, we are working with a client that has 5,000 units in a three-mile radius. Talk about saturation, right? So, we have to really take a step back and to your point, Josh, really what my first recommendation is to just understand your market. You know, reach out and start getting your proposals and budgets early. Work with your architect and your management team or the developer, whoever. We need to be able to bring these pieces together so your creative team actually has an opportunity to take the time they need to be able to give you the right marketing assets.

Lisa Young:

You know, we’re not for everyone. Our pricing can be higher than others. We’ve had clients not go with us recently. They went with another partner. And they were so awesome at calling back and saying, “Lisa, I screwed up. We have to eat the money but can you help us out?”

Lisa Young:

So, we can help with all of your different assets. More importantly, we’re here for support and Josh has been a huge proponent within the industry for years now to where we’re all about educating and sharing what we know. We have a real advantage by managing marketing campaigns across the 50 states.

Josh Grillo:

We’ve got a special offer. I want to put this out there to you. Obviously, with Lisa, as you guys all know, tons moving parts, especially when it comes to the marketing side.

Josh Grillo:

I’ve got Lisa to really give up 30 minutes of her time. If you’re interested, go to resident360.com/lisa, and you can schedule a call with her. She’ll do a free 30-minute consultation on any new lease up that you have going on. And what’s cool about that is this. As you can see, she is an education resource. She will take you through, give you a timeline for your asset. Really answer a lot of questions that you may have. Give you recommendations and really share in terms of stuff that we’re seeing out there and what’s happening right now. And really, your take away is you’ll benefit by saving a lot of time, money and headaches.

Josh Grillo:

So, if you want to take advantage of that, uh, please just go to resident360.com/lisa and if you popped up any questions, you can do so on your screen.

Josh Grillo:

Any parting, any parting thoughts there, Lisa?

Lisa Young:

No, I think the biggest thing is just find the right partner at the end of the day and just be transparent on what your goals are. If it’s a short term or a long-term strategy for the asset. Just be as transparent as possible with your partners. You know, we’re all smart at keeping confidential on what’s happening with your assets, but the more you can allow the branding company to know what’s happening and what your goals are, and we know it’s tough sometimes with a lot of decision makers, right? And so, we’re really good at understanding the differences of what’s happening with your management company or developer, your onsite team operations, and so forth. So, just be as candid as possible. Find the right partner and you’ll be in a good place.

Josh Grillo:

Awesome. Well, guys. Thank you so much for joining us. We’ll be having another webinar in approximately two weeks’ time. Different topic. And go out and make it a fantastic weekend. Hope you enjoyed it. We’ll talk to you guys soon.

 

Written by Josh Grillo

Josh Grillo is a #1 Best Selling Author, Speaker and Co-Founder of Resident360.

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