Exciting and new cutting-edge developments are rising in nearly every market and seem to be on every corner. The increased competition entering markets are giving established properties obstacles and hurdles to overcome. The success of today’s older communities will lie in focusing on their strengths as well as the unique qualities that give them the edge over the new guys on the block. Newer may be a choice for some; however, many prospective renters are searching for a unique value that fits their needs. Different can be better and “quirky” angles can stand out against the newer cookie cutter standards. Consider the below ideas and strategies to maximize your “different” factor:
#1 Your Uniqueness Is An Advantage
Many communities become distracted by the looming lease-up’s brand new amenities, services, and specials, in turn, causing them to lose focus on their own marketing and leasing efforts. They squander precious time and energy, and the strategies that they had in play at their own communities end up getting derailed. Many on-site teams believe they are losing leases because they don’t have specific amenities or features, or that if they had a certain service, they would see higher demand. This may seem counterintuitive, but not all residents desire the latest and greatest bells and whistles.
To get back on track and bring the focus back to your own communities, zero in on what you DO have. Then, embrace the uniqueness and advantages of your offering, and learn how to maximize it in leasing and marketing.
A perfect example of this is to boast of your high grade and sound construction that helps to create a higher quality resident experience. Let your age can be your particular advantage, especially if you are a historic building or situated in a notable neighborhood by stating, “Living history, Live in history.” Also, according to the 2016 Satisfacts Index, the 6th reason that resident cite as making them “Very Likely” to not renew their lease is their neighbors. A grand majority of inter-neighbor complaints relate directly to noise issues, so if you have high quality construction, play up that you are in a worry-free, construction noise-free, and dirt-free zone. That is music to many people’s ears!
#2 Different is Targeted
Established communities already have the target market identified and they
know their customers’ preferences. Put this information to use by developing and executing a strategic marketing and leasing plan that highlights what makes your community unique. Determine what your niche values most, and adjust your leasing techniques and marketing messages to highlight those points. By determining what is valuable to your residents and target market, you can speak the language of your customer during tours and telephone calls, and respond with appropriate messaging in all marketing efforts.
Your niche market may be pet lovers, those with an active lifestyle, and empty nesters to whom walking trails, pet parks, exercise classes, and lock-n-go options will all be very appealing. By adapting your sales and marketing strategy to niche markets, you will increase your allure and generate quality leads.
#3 Find Your Unique Story
Maximize your community’s competitive advantages by highlighting your unique attributes and “distinctive” story. Brainstorm what makes your property so special by asking questions such as “What does our community have that no others possess?” Also ask, “What do we want to be known for in the market?” To determine your community’s story, free flow as a team and create a list of the attributes, advantages, benefits, or characteristics that may make residents lease, renew, or even refer others. Then, trim that list back to the highlights, and tell your community’s “experience story” in 1-3 sentences.
You may find that the common thread of the story is your team’s high level of passion for stellar customer service. If so, your marketing messages can exclaim, “We are serious about stellar ‘same-day’ service! 80% of service requests are completed on the same day!” Or your draw may be your welcoming and warm team spirit. Toot your own horn with, “Big hearts with the biggest floorplans!” and highlight that you have, on average, 20% larger apartment homes by square footage than your competitors.
#4 Poven Track Record and Reputation is Special
Having a proven track record, a responsive team, and loyal residents that often refer others to you, are all additional bonuses. Value those brand ambassadors and encourage them to spread the word to others about your community. Your positive reputation was earned through hard work and it can pay off in spades, as prospective residents place a high value on service and attention. Utilize residents’ testimonials and reviews to place emphasis on the sense of community and the outstanding resident experience.
#5 Different Is In It To Win It for the Long Haul
Proven properties have a customer-centric focus and they have developed relationships with their residents, which contrast dramatically against the “lease-them-and-forget-them” attitude of many new developments. The advantage of this service mindset can be highlighted through the strength of the community, an increased comfort level and peace of mind with the strong bond and reliance on the onsite team, and be a win-win for all.