You want to make a change to your apartment property website but it hasn’t been touched in years. What to do and how do I do it? Google reviews for your property need to be monitored but no one can find the password or the email that was used to create the account. Sound familiar?
Building a professional online reputation for your apartment property portfolio takes time, skill and money. Facebook, Google, Instagram, Yelp, websites, search engine optimization, listings optimization are all components of 21st century digital marketing. Apartment owners who do not embrace a robust and carefully branded online presence for their properties are sending prospects directly to competitors who do. Managing the digital process effectively and profitably can be challenging.
Apartments ownership changes hands. We buy, we sell, we add properties to our investment portfolios. That’s what makes a market in real estate. Part of this exchange of assets upon sale of a property must include transfer and access (with logins and passwords) to existing online digital accounts.
Some online reputations are worthy of transfer of ownership. Others should be scrapped, buried with a small ceremony and putting a previous bad reputation to rest. Starting fresh with a whole new perspective. Still other apartment owners have not even begun to build an online marketing presence.
Where to start? A professional property management company that understands branding and marketing can help you create and manage this often formidable task. Gathering your online resources under one roof can save loads of money and loads of pain in the future.
1. Branding versus Marketing
Branding is how your property makes existing residents and prospective residents feel. Marketing consists of educating your market while offering specials and incentives for people to become part of your apartment community. Branding and marketing are quite different, yet each go hand-in-hand and must be managed carefully. No one likes to be sold. Everyone prefers to make their own decisions. Guiding this process in a knowledgeable way can positively contribute to your ROI.
2. It All Starts with a Name
Naming a property can be fun. However, the name selection process also needs to speak to the personality of that particular property. If this is not done properly, the new name and identity can be a bust in the marketplace. Competition must be taken into consideration as well as copyright issues. Developing the personality of a property is an art. Spend time to understand your property, your market and your goals. The name is critical and a first step in this process.
Well over one third of prospective residents will check your property out on Facebook. If your property is not there or it has loads of lousy reviews, they will never find you or quickly move on to your competitors. A personal Facebook page is needed to create a Facebook business page. Employees come and go. And there go logins and emails. For an apartment community, both pages should be created by the property owner or the property management company with documented logins and passwords. Optimizing Facebook to reflect a successful brand takes time and knowledge. This is the digital face that your property presents to the market. It is an important component of your branding.
4. Google Listing
Google listings carry weight with potential residents and others who interact with your brand including vendors and investors. Google is also a review site. Managing and optimizing your Google listing to reflect your brand is important. Responding promptly and in the correct manner to apartment Google reviews can set your properties apart from others. Airing dirty laundry online, getting down in the weeds or into arguments with reviewers never ends well. If there is an online complaint, quickly acknowledge the complaint and guide the reviewer to contact the office so that the complaint can be addressed and amicably resolved. Reviews can remain online. Forever. Prompt replies and professionalism is paramount. This is a skill that is taught in top Leasing 101 classes.
Know who owns your website and where it is hosted. We have many stories of apartment owners being held hostage financially to gain control of websites. Or being locked out of websites because logins and passwords have been lost. Let your property management company manage this process for you so that your access and digital management is all under one roof.
6. A Photo is Worth a Thousand Words
It doesn’t matter if your property is 24 units or 544 units, high quality, professional photos are a must. Good lighting with photo retouching when necessary goes a long way. Low quality cell phone photos and poor quality videos reflect a low quality experience at your property. Spend the time and money to do it right. The Selfie Stick It is a handy, wireless smartphone mount that sticks virtually anywhere so one can get a bigger perspective with hands-free video. When creating on site videos, give careful thought to creating the lifestyle that resonates with your prospective residents. Tell us, why do we want to live in your community and how much fun we are going to have once we’re there?
7. Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, Yelp
Depending on your property’s market statistics and defined audience, certain digital platforms can be more helpful than others. Managing what is posted online needs to consistently support your brand. Being everywhere, but doing it poorly can hurt your reputation rather than help it. Work with your property management company to successfully weave a golden thread through all of your online digital communications.
Where are your properties in the digital marketing arena?
Is it time to step up your game on your online apartment portfolio identity? At the Better World Family of Companies, we thrive on these questions and finding solutions.
Whether Class A, B, or C conventional apartments, senior living or condominiums, there are specific strategies that work amazingly well depending on where your properties are in the life cycle and where you are with your investment goals. We work on multiple levels to improve apartment processes including branding, marketing, operations, leasing, exit and growth strategies and more.
Is it time to sit down, take stock and develop a plan for your apartment properties? The most common response after going through this enlightening process is: “We wish we would have done this years ago.”
Better World Properties LLC, Better World Holdings LLC and Better World Consulting offer complete apartment life cycle solutions. All under one roof.
Give us a call. Better yet, come visit. We love to talk apartments. We’ll be happy to show you around the Lone Star state and help you uncover real investment opportunities that abound here.