Steps to Simplify Marketing & Retention at Your Apartment Community

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Last month I was speaking to a group of property managers, and I asked the question, "Who has time to spare?" Of course, they all just about shot daggers at me. The notion of time to spare is pretty much ludicrous. 

The question, although it seemed asinine (why do I love that word so much!), wasn't meant to frustrate. The goal was to start the conversation of operating with a maximum for minimum mentality; getting more out of less. 

One of my favorite maximum for minimum hacks as a property manager is the full-circle approach to marketing and retention. 

Here's how simple it can be: 

THE PLANNING PHASE: 

Print and download your Sprout calendar pack. It includes the Sprout calendar that is pre-populated with things that are happening that month. It also includes a blank monthly and weekly calendar that you can make your own. If you are a Sprout Seedling Member, you have access to the full kit each month. If you aren't a member and would like our basic calendar pack, sign up on the homepage to receive it. 

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THE FULL-CIRCLE APPROACH PHASE:

Pick ONE theme or initiative for the month. This is the theme you will carry out for all of your marketing and retention efforts. This theme can have a seasonal feel (spring, summer), it can be focused on a preferred employer (teachers, government services, medical), or it can highlight an aspect of life at your community (healthy living or pet friendly). PRO TIP: Change themes on a monthly basis to cast a wide and diverse prospecting net. 

Note: The example we are sharing on this page is a pet-friendly theme. We are using this for every interaction we have with prospects and residents because we want to really showcase this aspect of life at our community. 

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THE SCHEDULING PHASE:

It's time to take your theme from idea to action! If things aren't scheduled, they aren't likely to happen. So the scheduling phase is a critical step. 

Start with the action items that have to happen each month. This includes rent collection times, end-of-month reports, owners visits, weekly phone calls, etc. Plug those in your calendar to show a realistic overview of what has to happen within that month. 

Next, it's time to add your marketing and retention to-dos for the month. There are eight critical pieces that you don't want to neglect within the month. These include outreach marketing, renewals, referral initiatives, follow-ups, new resident welcomes, resident events, monthly notices, and your social media. 

As you are scheduling each of these items on your community calendar, add initials next to each task for who will be responsible for the task. 

When deciding who to assign to each task and when to schedule them, here are a few things to consider:

Who is best suited for this task? 

What is the outcome that we want for this task? 

How will we measure success? 

Is this the best time to schedule this task? 

Can we batch similar tasks? 


THE TEAM HUDDLE PHASE: 

Schedule a team meeting to discuss the plan and review the calendar. This part allows for some flexibility. Some community managers handle The Planning, Full-Circle, and Scheduling Phases on their own, while others enlist the help and feedback from their teams. We've seen both approaches work well as long as in the end, the team has bought into the plan.  

Recommendations for TEAM HUDDLE: 

Schedule the meeting at a time where all team members can be present. 

Try to eliminate distractions. This might mean coming in 20-30 minutes early one day per month or closing the office during lunch for a bit. (For those of you that are gasping, this extra effort pays off huge!) 

Make it fun! This should not be something your team dreads. (Snacks help!) 

ACTION ITEMS: 

Make ONE run to the grocery store to pick up everything you need to bring these ideas to life. 

Make it a team effort to put together your welcomes, renewals, referrals, events, and outreach marketing. 


START ON YOUR HOME TURF: 

Carry out this themes for all of your internal resident interactions. 

  1. Resident welcomes

  2. Renewal notices

  3. Referral initiatives

  4. Events 

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THE OUTREACH MARKETING PHASE:

Now it's time to hit the road! With your theme in mind, you can take your outreach marketing to a new level. With the example we are showing here, our focus is to go to businesses where it makes sense to showcase a pet-friendly lifestyle. With pet treats in hand, we head out to make those in-person connections with nearby businesses. Get as creative as you can. Want another example? Let's say you decided on a summer theme for your full-circle initiative. How could you really make your outreach marketing memorable? Give out pool floats, sunscreen, or sunglasses as your giveaway. Wear a tropical shirt for your day of outreach marketing! 

THE SOCIAL MARKETING PHASE:

Take some time to make sure your online presence matches all of your other efforts. Here are a few of the digital images we used when featuring a pet-friendly lifestyle. 

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These are just a few steps you can implement to simplify your marketing and retention efforts AND get the maximum results for your efforts. 

Sprout Members have access to TONS of full-circle campaigns to use at their communities through The Seedling Membership. 

It is the number one way we offer our Sprout Members the maximum for minimum.

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