We are all chasing the elusive magic ticket that brings prospective residents to the apartment community. We invest our marketing budgets in AdWords. The staff is scheduled to update Craigs List. With every visit, the guest card documents the source of traffic. “How did you hear about us?” And we drill down to evaluate the cost of bringing traffic to our community. Sometimes overlooked and too often assumed, is the answer to an equally important question. “Why are you moving?” The answer to this question could be the doorway for an Outreach Marketing opportunity. Learning about the local businesses and their hiring practices is the foundation for effective development of community contacts.
-An employer is adding to the workforce.
-A new employer is coming to the area.
-Another apartment community has been sold and rents are being increased.
-A business is opening a new location.
The occupancy at an apartment community can be quickly affected by economic development in an area. Actively participating in economic organizations such as The Chamber of Commerce or The Rotary can provide new leads for marketing outreach. Connecting with community contacts can provide an inside track to Human Resource Departments.
Participation Is The Key
The key to membership in community organizations is participation. Having a membership because someone might include print material in their welcome package, or will include a link to your property webpage has little chance of generating leads and potential move ins. Attending the meetings, networking with business leaders has the opportunity to create general referrals. It’s the personal contact and relationship that will result in referrals, not the membership fee paid to the organization.
The local newspaper is a good source to monitor (print or digital) to find information on local business growth. Trade publications will announce new businesses coming to the area . Apartment communities are somewhat unique in the business community, providing the essential service of a place to live for employees and customers. We are also a business striving to be profitable.
Choosing the Ambassador
It is important to selecting the “right” staff member for this responsibility. The wrong choice to represent the property will determine whether or not networking will be successful. This is not a opportunity that falls to the new staff member or loser of paper, rock, scissors. This role is the ambassador to the business community. The importance of training and selection for this responsibility was included in Planting Outreach Seeds for a Crop of General Referrals.
Building Community Contacts
We have an opportunity to partner with businesses in the community. These relationships create General Referrals, both from the workplace and as personal recommendations.
Like throwing pebbles into a pond, the ripples of contact, spread generating positive word referrals throughout the business community.