The Demand Solutions Blog

Is the Multifamily Industry Still Missing Out on Marketing Opportunities?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 6, 2017 3:00:00 PM

In 2014, we partnered with On-Site to release a study that focused on how effectively multifamily operators were utilizing email marketing. Three years later, we revisited the study to see what, if anything, has changed.  

The initial 2014 study surveyed online responses from 31 different communities. The communities represented a wide range of companies—public and private, national and regional, owner/operator, fee manager (and mixed), with an equal distribution of geographic locations. We made contact with the various communities through their company website (not through apartment marketing sites) and requested information about a one bedroom one bathroom apartment.  If required, we asked for a move-in date one month from our inquiry date, and specified a 12-month lease. We intentionally did not give a phone number so that we would experience how operators responded through online means exclusively.

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Topics: apartment marketing, Multifamily Trends, Email ReMarketing

5 Tips for Effective Multifamily Email Marketing

Posted by Doug Davidoff on Mar 31, 2017 5:23:32 PM

The possibilities with email marketing have come a long way.  Greater functionality and the plethora of automated email marketing platforms represent an apartment marketer’s fantasyland.  However, just because more is possible, doesn’t mean multifamily operators are using email marketing more effectively.

Research we conducted a couple years ago (that we are in the process of currently updating) shows that very few operators are effectively using emails as a marketing tactic. In fact, surprisingly few use it at all, so “Tip #0” is that you should have an organized email re-marketing campaign.

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Topics: apartment marketing, multi-family housing, marketing programs

AIM Conference Recap - Three Take Aways

Posted by Donald Davidoff on May 17, 2016 2:00:00 PM

I just got back from AIM last week, and it was quite the inspirational experience. As usual, the networking was great…a chance to catch up with many old friends and meet a few new ones. Here are key themes I took away from the sessions I attended and the conversations I had:

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Topics: apartment marketing

Winter is Coming - 6 Areas for Multifamily Operators to Review

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Apr 21, 2016 3:00:00 PM

With HBO about to premier my favorite currently running series, Game of ThronesI couldn’t help but see many signs of that show's catchphrase in recent pronouncements from various media, that absorption rates are now below new delivery rates, thus likely driving moderation in occupancy and rent growth in many markets.

Winter is indeed coming.

Unlike the never-ending contest between the Lannisters and the Starks, we in multifamily can step away from the battle and prepare to face the Windwalkers of the next recession. Here’s my checklist for just a few areas in demand management to review for any sophisticated multifamily operator: 

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Topics: Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management, apartment marketing, multifamily sales, business intelligence

Connecting Marketing to Sales Outcomes In Multifamily

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Mar 22, 2016 10:00:00 AM

One of the strongest trends over the last five years in multifamily demand management is the increased focus, investment and sophistication of the marketing function. As more multifamily operators have adapted to the heavy “digital” world we now live in, the focus and use of data and analytics to drive decisions has multiplied.

While that is certainly a very good development, there is still significant room for growth and improvement. The next barrier to address from my experience is the ability to close the loop and connect marketing investments into revenue outcomes.

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Topics: apartment marketing, multifamily sales

Tips for Starting a Conversation

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Apr 17, 2015 2:00:00 PM

As we’ve shared before, the first two minutes of your interaction with a prospect can determine if you win or lose the sale. Given the brief amount of time, it’s important that you have a clear process to start strong.

Here are five rules we recommend you follow to ensure your conversations start strong, and stay that way throughout the process.

1. Best Friends Conversation

As we shared in our post about the first two minutes, the first (and most important) rule is that your goal shouldn’t be to make a sale. Instead, it should be to have a “best friends conversation.”

Think about it, if an old friend just walked in knowing that you have expertise about apartments and asks you, “Where should I live,” you wouldn’t jump right into features and benefits. You’d catch up with them, learn what’s important, and advise them on what they should do. If there was a match and it meant moving into your community that would be great, but if your community weren’t a match that would be fine too.

Prospects can sense your intent. If you’re not aligned with them, they’ll feel it. They may not be able to put words to the feeling, but it will have a material negative impact on the rest of the process.

2. Assume Positive Outcomes

Whenever I meet with someone I always assume that I can help them. I assume that they’ll value my opinion and that things will go positively. This assumption creates a confidence that is attractive to prospects. Just as they can sense if I’m not aligned with their interests, my confidence will have a material impact on the outcome (and enjoyment) of the sales effort.

3. Don’t Interrogate

It is true that the most powerful thing you can do as a salesperson or leasing associate is to ask good questions. However, it is critical that the conversation never feels like an interrogation for your prospect (and it’s a fine line).

Questions should be conversational. Keep them open-ended and ask follow up questions. Use the “tell me more” technique to keep your prospect comfortable and sharing. Remember, you’re in this together.

4. Take Control

You’re the expert. You manage tens to hundreds of moves a year. Your prospect does it less than once a year. Relocating is one of the most stressful events of anyone’s life. Walking into a building to meet with a “salesperson” just adds to that stress.

When people are nervous, they’re looking for someone else to control the process. Controlling doesn’t mean being a jerk or rambling on incessantly. It means having a process and sticking with it.

When you visit the doctor when you are sick or have an ailment that needs to be addressed, how would you feel if the doctor meandered through and didn’t control the process? Your prospect will feel the same way.

5. Make Them Feel Safe

This leads us to our last point. The whole process of finding a place to live is stressful. When people are stressed, their flight/fight response kicks in and shows itself in a variety of ways.

The best way to counteract that pressure is to create a feeling of safety. This means empathizing with your prospect. It means taking the judgment totally out of the conversation. Your job is to make your prospect feel comfortable enough that they can share whatever they are thinking and feeling in a safe environment.

Following these five rules will put you in the position of authority, while also increasing your likeability factor. Together they’ll increase your positive results!

Relationship Selling Whitepaper

 

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Topics: apartment marketing

Pricing and Longstanding Vacant Units

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 6, 2013 2:36:00 PM

In my last blog, I promised to talk a little more about longstanding vacant, so here we go. I am not an advocate of automatically reducing rents just because a unit has been vacant a while; and as discussed in a prior blog, I don’t recommend putting leasing bonuses on longstanding vacants.

Here’s what I do recommend:

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Topics: apartment, apartment pricing, pricing and revenue management, apartment marketing

ApartmentRatings.com: Critical for Marketing?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jun 17, 2013 10:45:00 PM

There are many different opinions about the value of social media in multi-family housing. Readers of this blog should be pretty aware of mine. But the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that ratings sites are important. There’s a lot of debate about what to do with ratings sites, but everyone seems to agree there’s some “there” there.

So I thought it would be a good idea to get a sense of exactly how important ratings sites are. The first step I took was to dig up some research I had done for a client back in February. In it I wanted to identify whether there was a clear “category killer” or whether multiple ratings sites were important. In an admittedly un-scientific way, I just looked at 10 communities in the Washington, DC market.

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Topics: social media, apartment operations, multi-family housing, apartment marketing, marketing programs, apartment ratings

Should we offer and price really long lease terms?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on May 19, 2013 1:18:00 PM

So I’m at the NMHC Market Research Forum in Boston this past week to sit on a panel/workshop on revenue management. Mark Obrinsky, who heads up Market Research at NMHC and has been a good friend and colleague for roughly decade brings up an interesting question:

“(paraphrasing) So what do you think about longer lease terms? And by longer lease terms, I mean 3-, 4- or 5-year leases.” He hypothesizes that there’s a latent, older “renter by choice” demographic that could be tapped, particularly in urban markets. The theory is that these folks would choose to rent but for the fear of unknown and thus uncertain future rent increases.

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Topics: Revenue Management, apartment, apartment pricing, pricing and revenue management, apartment marketing

The Most Effective Marketing (and Other Lessons from AIM)

Posted by Donald Davidoff on May 6, 2013 1:25:00 PM

At AIM last week, I was up early for breakfast and wandered into the roundtable Lisa Trosien was leading, called “Talk Nerdy To Me.” If you’ve never experienced Lisa, you’re missing out on a true force of nature. I’ve barely woken up, and she’s already full of energy and just moving the discussion along—presenting interesting websites, asking the group questions and just generally always pushing forward.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this blog. About a third of the way through, she asked a senior marketing person (someone I’ve known for years and always watched what she’s doing as a bit of a bellwether for the industry) what she’s found to be the most effective marketing tactics these days. After a pause, the answer came back, “Well, I hate to say it, but it’s still the traditional stuff—driveby, website, referrals, …” [note: I would add ILS although this executive said they'’ve really cut back on ILS without any pain —maybe a good topic for a future blog].

I found that response incredibly interesting on two levels.

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Topics: apartment, property management, social media, apartment marketing, marketing programs