How to Create Better Blog Posts for Your Apartment Community

Image of female touching virtual icon of social networkAs a property manager, you know the importance of keeping up a blog. It helps promote your brand, keep residents informed, and makes your apartments a little more personal. But to keep your tenants (and hopefully prospective tenants) reading your blog, you need catchy posts. Here are a few tips to help you create better, more tenant-focused blogs.

Know Your Target Audience

Think about your target reader. Most likely, your readers will be current tenants, but you may have a few prospective tenants keeping up to date on your blog too. If you’re not sure what types of posts your tenants want, create a survey and ask the top ten things your tenants want to read.

Create Killer Titles

Your title ultimately determines whether someone will read the blog post. So, make sure you use blog titles that get their attention. That might mean using a controversial title or just using a list approach, such as “5 Ways to Create Better Blogs”.

Make Your First Paragraph the Attention-Getter

Your readers aren’t going to bother reading your entire blog if the first paragraph is boring. Make the first paragraph really count and keep it catchy. It should sum up what the reader is about to get if they read the entire post. Some ways you can make that first paragraph more interesting can include:

  • Asking a question
  • Sharing a statistic
  • Presenting a common issue your tenants are likely looking for an answer to.

Break It Up and Make It User Friendly

Have you ever opened a website or blog and found nothing but a wall of text? That’s not interesting or easy to read. Break up your blog posts using small paragraphs, but also use subheaders to really grab your reader’s attention. That way they know what they’re getting in each paragraph.

Keep It Conversational

The purpose of having a blog for your apartment community is to really speak to your readers — your tenants. So, write as though you were speaking to them in person and keep it interesting. Readers shouldn’t feel like they’re getting a lecture and your posts should be written in the first or second person — never in the third.

Use SEO Effectively

Your posts will need some keywords and a stellar meta description to get the attention of search engines too. By using SEO and ranking in the search engine results, you can attract people who aren’t tenants and encourage them to read your blog as well, which could help fill your vacancies faster when they pop up.

May 2014
POSTED IN Market Tips

Five Ways to Turn Away Potential Renters

Apartment Lease SignYou might have an attractive advertisement, but if you aren’t doing all that you can to keep interested renters at your property long enough to sign a contract, your vacancy rate could remain high. There are some things about apartments that turn away potential renters for good. So, if you’re looking to fill those vacancies, make sure your apartment complex isn’t committing one of these five turn offs.

Bad Smells

Any type of bad odor will turn someone away from a property. Things like pet urine or feces, backed up sewage, cigarette smoke and other odd odors are a few things to look out for. If you are noticing foul odors in your apartments or in the community center, hire a company to do a thorough cleaning — possibly steam clean the carpets, rugs and walls too — to get rid of it before showing it to potential renters. Nothing leaves a more positive impression than clean smells.

Having Carpeted Bathrooms

Carpeting in the bathrooms went out in the 80s. If you see carpet in the bathroom, you think of everything that carpet can absorb — including fungus, mold, etc. Do your renters a favor by removing carpet. It will not only make units more appealing, but also reduce the likelihood you have to hire mold abatement services in the future.

Appliances That Don’t Work

People rent so that they don’t have to buy appliances or worry about repairing them — that’s the property manager’s job. But, if you have a unit with broken appliances or appliances missing, it’s unlikely a potential renter will take the apartment. Broken appliances tell renters that you don’t take care of your units or your renters’ needs.

Gross or Dirty Carpets

It’s likely your apartment units will have carpeting. Potential renters won’t care why the carpets are dirty, but if they are dirty, it tells them that you don’t’ regularly clean or require renters to care for their carpets. Have carpets regularly cleaned, especially in leasing offices and new units. If the carpets cannot be cleaned thoroughly, then replace them.

Inadequate Storage

Apartments don’t always have adequate storage. While there are some things you cannot fix, you can add extra storage for your renters through storage units. This can be included in the rent — which is more appealing to renters than having two rental payments. If you can, modify the interior of units to maximize space — especially if the units come with a small square footage.

May 2014
POSTED IN Market Tips

Need More Tenant Reviews? Four Friendly Ways to Encourage More Reviews

Hispanic family outside home for rentThese days renters look online to see what others have to say about apartments in their area. In fact, 80 percent of renters use reviews as a critical component in their apartment comparison. Because they are looking for reviews, it is important to have reviews on your site. But, how do you convince current and past tenants to leave good reviews for your complex? Sometimes all it takes is just asking them. After all, a lot of renters don’t realize that you’re looking for reviews or even accept them. Renters are more likely to write reviews if they’re asked, but it is also how you ask that determines whether or not you get the reviews you need to stand out among the competition.

Ask the Renter in Person

When you have a current or leaving resident in front of you, ask them for a review right then and there. You can give them a contact card to fill out or you can give them the address of the website where they can leave a review. Instead of making it a testimonial format, consider setting it up like a survey. This can encourage better feedback, but also tell you where you need to improve for future residents. Cover areas like maintenance, rent, and how they enjoyed their stay with you.

Send an Email

A lot of residents and property managers communicate through email. You can send a survey or ask for feedback and direct them to your website via an email or newsletter. Use a call-to-action statement that lets them know you’re collecting reviews. You could even encourage them by offering a small gift for sending a review.

Add It to Your Website

Add a page or button to your website that encourages visitors to read and leave reviews. It should be accessible for your renters – such as at the top of your website. Write some blog posts or have a catchy header that also helps renters find the review page. Don’t forget to add links and information about it on your social media sites.

Use Print Advertisements

A flyer taped to the door of each resident’s apartment could get their attention. Or you can send postcards out to past tenants and encourage them to leave a little feedback on your site. Add the address to your review site to all of your printed materials – including brochures, newsletters and even notecards. That way tenants always have access to the review site.

Apr 2014
POSTED IN Market Tips

Are You Connecting With Potential Tenants Over the Phone?

Talking to some clientsThese days there are a lot of ways for potential renters to get in touch with your property — social media, email or even online chat. But, when renters truly want more information regarding what you have to offer, they still go for the phone. The phone is the only way renters can get answers to the questions they need right away; therefore, it is still a powerful tool for turning lookers into actual tenants.

It is important you convince a potential renter over the phone to come down and check out your property — and that all starts by making a connection over the phone.

Schedule Your Staff Accordingly

There is no bigger turn off to potential renters than waiting on hold or having no one answer when they call. You can usually predict what days your office gets the most calls; therefore, schedule your staff accordingly. Try to have someone there at all times to answer the phone while someone is showing an apartment. If you can’t, return calls that you miss right away and always have an answering machine ready to capture calls you can’t take live.

Be Friendly

If you answer the phone or are rude to potential tenants, it’s unlikely they’ll ever stop by to visit your units let alone rent from you. Always answer the phone with a friendly greeting. Ask the caller how you can help them, what you can do for them, and answer as many questions as they have — even if it takes a few minutes.

Be a Listener — Not an Annoying Sales Person

It is your job to fill vacancies, but you don’t have to make that your sole purpose while talking to potential renters. Listen to what they have to say, ask questions and have an engaging conversation. Don’t just keep spouting off reasons to check out your apartment or spend the entire time convincing them to come down. It is easier to get renters to visit your apartments if they connect with you over the phone and don’t feel like they will be pressured into signing a lease just for visiting.

See How They Found You

Accepting calls is a great way to measure what marketing techniques are bringing in the most business. Ask every caller how they heard about you and write it down. That way you know if your online listings or local advertisements are working.

Close the Call with Action

Instead of throwing out the request for the caller to come down and see the apartments first, ask them at the end of the call once you have made the connection and answered their questions. When you close the call with an action, it is more likely the caller will take you up on the offer.

Mar 2014
POSTED IN Market Tips

Tips for a Successful Property Website

House-Buying On The InternetConsumers rely heavily on the internet. Before they visit a property or even consider renting from it, they review it online. The first impression you give to a potential renter is important. You can do this by having an excellent website for your property. Before you just put something haphazardly together, you need to implement some good practices to take your website a step above the “average” site.

Always Keep Your Site Up to Date

No one wants to read outdated information. If you are running a special in December and it’s still posted in February, it tells visitors you don’t monitor your site that much. Also, update rental information as soon as it changes. If rental rates have gone up, update that right away. Include updated photographs, floor plans and other info about your open units as well.

Use Professional Language

A website should never be unprofessional or have inappropriate language. Don’t use slang and keep your sentences well-written. Proofread your work before you publish it onto your site to catch any spelling errors, typos or awkward phrases as well.

Get Reliable Hosting

There is nothing more detrimental to your reputation than a website that is always down. Use a reliable hosting company that ensures maximum up time. The longer a website is down, the less likely you are to pull in more leads from your site.

Promote Your Site More Efficiently

While apartment listings help drive traffic to your website, you need to promote it through other outlets as well. Use social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest to promote awareness about your site. You’ll not only boost your traffic, but your brand recognition as well.

Have an Easy Contact Method

Your website is the place people go to learn more information, but it can also be the place they go to connect with your or a manger. Consider adding a live chat feature to your site or have a contact form that visitors can complete. Your phone number and applicable email addresses should also be listed on your homepage and every sub-page so that visitors know how to get in touch.

Use a Friendly Design

Not everyone is used to browsing on the internet. Have a user-friendly design that keeps navigation simple and a template that isn’t busy. When your site is too complicated or you have multiple flash banners distracting the user from the text, you will have a higher bounce rate.

Add Testimonials

People like to know what others think about your property. Leave customer testimonials on your home page and have a separate page where you can encourage others to leave feedback or you can list all of your best testimonials.

The more time you take to build your website the more likely it will provide you with reliable leads. You will have to spend some money developing your site, but the return on that investment is priceless.

Feb 2014