Every marketing plan includes the activity of community contacts, marketing to local businesses or the all generic OUTREACH.
At the end of week, a quick review of tasks not completed, needing to be rescheduled, the outreach activity leads the way.
- the office was too busy
- someone called in, the office would have been shortstaffed.
- outreach was completed last week, didn’t want to bother the vendors.
- not sure what to do
The list goes on. Outreach efforts do not immediately remedy an occupancy problem. Visiting local businesses, realtors and community service agencies will not generate an influx of visitors to a property. Community Outreach is partnering and becoming involved with the neighboring community.
The choice of staffing for Outreach assignments determines the success of this marketing effort. Effective outreach contact conversations with a local business owner or general manager offer support in return for referrals.
“We’ve noticed that several residents at our property are employed at your business. We wanted to let you know your business has been selected as a preferred employer. Any of the employees of your business that move in to our property will receive a rent discount (or discounted application fee, etc)”
A large real estate office or relocation specialist:
“Here’s some information on our short term and furnished leasing options. Families looking for new homes may not immediately find what they’re looking for, or someone may encounter delays in construction with a new home. Our property has furnished suites available for weekly stays, and short term leases. Both for furnished and unfurnished homes. ”
Effective Outreach will grow into General Referrals for a property. But only if the outreach activities are completed consistently. There is a misperception, “I visited this business last month, I don’t want to be a pest.” Repeated visits to a business will either get introductions to all of the staff or reveal changes in staffing that had no knowledge of your visits in the past.
Scheduling Outreach is imperative to its completion. Visiting during “busy” times is not going to allow for a quality conversation. Don’t try to chat with the owner of the local cafe during the lunch rush. Be prepared with brochures, business cards and current flyers in the event the business owner is not available. This will assist in scheduling an appointment at a more convenient time.
Outreach Builds Partnerships
When requesting a local business to display your information, brochures, flyers or floor plans, be prepared to offer a service in return. Coupons in a move in package or as a advertisement in the newsletter, a link on the property web page. Creating the partnership is much more effective than “Can I leave some flyers here?” Being aware of the local community economic developments can develop outreach leads; if a new business is opening, an existing business is expanded or opening a new location. Congratulating a business owner on their success shows interest and knowledge of the area. Again, building a partnership, not a cold call to drop brochures and run.
Some possible partnerships might be:
-Veterinary services or pet stores for a pet friendly property.
-Insurance companies for short term leases.
-Pharmacy for elderly residents.
Creating relationships in marketing develops into General Referrals but it takes time to develop these relationships. A new acquaintance doesn’t become a best friend overnight.
Consistent contact with local businesses builds the foundation for a friendly referral relationship.