We live in an “on-line” world. The demographics of potential apartment tenants are definitely connected through all the channels you already know from Facebook to Apartments.com. Consider, however, that most of your new customers are from a very small radius, anywhere from one to five miles from your multifamily asset.
Whereas most may be on-line” this is a presumption as Internet connectivity rates vary significantly from place to place. And, for those that are connected, their search abilities also vary significantly.
So, we know many (but not all) of our potential customers are connected and we know most are from a radius close to our asset. What can we do with this information? We make sure our advertising mix has depth versus breadth. We want to have a high level of coverage close to the asset. This requires some ‘old school” foot power visiting places close to property going to where our customers work, worship and go to school.
Thus, while it’s nice to advertise in the newspaper that covers the entire city (making sure y0ur ad is in the on-line version), most of your new customers already live right around the corner. Literally. Here are eight places to look for new customers.
Craigslist still works. We place a phone number only and no email as email seems to attract too much “junk”. Those that call, however, are usually good prospects.
The Real Wall.
Not the Facebook wall. Just about every place of business has “the wall” where people place information for everything from “free puppy’s” to places to rent. It’s a captive audience, really. And for those businesses close to your property it can be a great place to find new tenants. The connection is that given the choice people prefer to live close to their place of employment. Well, help them out. Ask permission to place a flyer on the employee wall. This is where to start: draw a one or two mile radius around your multifamily property and identify any and all employers of size.
The Church Bulletin.
Do a google map of churches within close proximity of your asset. Betcha there are more than five. We have one asset within one mile of a church with over 5,000 members. Granted, it may be a stretch to advertise in the church bulletin, but any church with real size may have other printed material with sponsor/advertising opportunities. And the likelihood is high yours will be the only apartment property with a display ad capturing the eyeballs of these potential customers.
From the bingo parlor to grocery stores, people really do read community boards. And, just like “the wall” post at places close to your multifamily asset.
Cash Register Receipts.
What makes this viable is the low costs and because they are repetitive. People tend to be creatures of habit so they do their grocery shopping at the same place every week. That means every week they will be seeing your advertisement.
When it comes to sponsorships, most people think of very big or very small options, like Little League t-shirts or stadiums. Like all advertising, we want the most targeted eyeballs for our dollar. One place that is low costs and high volume is school newsletters close to property. Consider placing advertisements (sponsored ad’s) in the local elementary school newsletter. This will be low cost and targeted. An elementary school with 400 kids has almost as many families and they are all right in your neighborhood.
Single-family “for rent”.
Depending on the size of your city, the newspaper apartment advertising section may have hundreds of listings. By comparison, in the same print version you will find only a few single-family homes for rent. If your asset is patio homes or duplexes, consider placing an ad in the “single-family” section clearly stating “apartment homes” (two bedroom with den and great view, etc). The intent is to provide your multifamily asset and potential tenants with another avenue for finding your property. This can only be accomplished with full disclosure to the newspaper classified staff. This works great for multifamily duplex communities.
Many neighborhood restaurants have turned their tables into advertising venues. These are very permanent so be sure to double-check your web address and phone number. The costs may be higher than other forms of advertising but the staying power and repetitive nature of the ad’s make them a viable consideration. If the place is close to your asset and a mainstay in the community this is a win/win.
Can you add to this list? Where do you find new tenants?
www.MultifamilyInsight.com by John Wilhoit Jr.