The Problem with “Outside Marketing”
Why advertising flyers at retail and office business locations don’t work…
Many markets experience a significant downturn in potential rental clients starting in the fall. People seem to be less willing to move due to weather, school schedules, and maybe even lease terms. In an effort to supplement the online, drive by, and referral traffic, many onsite professionals arm themselves with flyers and posters and hit the street. We used to call it “guerrilla marketing.”
The idea is that we canvas the major employers and other places where our target renters work and play. If we get out enough, distribute enough flyers, shake enough hands, create enough relationships, surely we will find people that are interested in renting one of our apartments. Right?
While the effort may be sincere, the results are minimal. I would even say this is a waste of time. The problem is that you cannot create a trust relationship with a shotgun approach to outside marketing. Hitting the street is a version of “cold calling” and is not strategic. It takes a very special type “salesperson” to be effective at this aggressive marketing style, and most onsite teams don’t have this player. Furthermore, apartment communities don’t have the staffing to allow someone to spend enough time marketing this way to make any impact.
A Better Strategy For “Outside Marketing”
- First, focus on the marketing basics and make that the priority. Appealing and captivating online presence, effective and immediate response to internet leads and phone traffic, calculated and timely follow up on all prospect visits, and a product that WOWS every visitor. These are the most overlooked fundamentals in marketing!
- Second, develop a kick-ass leasing team that truly knows how to connect with people, not just sell prospects. Leasing can be a learned skill, but you start with friendly people who care about their job. Find team members who really want to put people in apartments. You can train your folks to lease but you have to start with the right person.
Focus on what you are already doing great!
Identify those current residents that are visibly happy and telling you so thru notes, referrals, social media, and online ratings. These are your “fans”. Seek them out and offer these supporters a good reason to refer to you. Send them out with the tools and knowledge to become your “Insiders” at their workplace. Because they are employees at these target companies, they get access to people and places you will never infiltrate.
Source: Multifamily Insiders
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