When is the last time you reviewed all of the materials you provide to your prospective renter or resident? And I mean ALL of the materials, including papers left behind after a service request, applications, notices, event invitations, ads, flyers, outreach materials, stationery…the works. Here’s what you need to do:
Take all of those items I mentioned above (and any others I may have missed) and lay them all out.
Review each one carefully. Then ask yourself the following:
Are all of the logos the same on each piece?
Should the logo be updated for a more contemporary look and feel?
Are all of the fonts consistent?
Are the colors consistent?
Are the colors contemporary, or do they need an update?
Are there any typos or misspellings?
Have any of the pieces been copied to death (and show it)?
Is the contact information for the leasing office correct?
Does the contact information include the leasing office email address?
Do the pieces include social networking logos and ‘follow’ information?
Should the leasing office hours be included on any of the pieces? Are they included?
Are there photos on the materials and if so, are they current?
Do the photos contain images of people and if so, do the images comply with Fair Housing?
Do you have the Fair Housing logo on all of the materials?
After completing your audit, you may have some work to do.
If so, get started as soon as possible.
That's where we can help to create the strongest possible statements.
Remember, anything that ‘touches’ the customer sends a strong marketing message.
What are your materials saying about your company?
1. Standardize your process
Creative work is started from an email, or a meeting action item, or a desk drop-by. Sometimes pieces needing review are emailed, sometimes they’re posted to YouSendIt or an FTP. Reviewers are selected on a case-by-case basis. It’s too confusing!
Establish this: Put a formal process in place that applies to every piece of work created by your department. Write it down, distribute it, and stick to it.
2. Make status reports centralized and transparent
Wondering what the status of a project is? Somebody’s got to dig through their email, see who’s responded, check their handwritten notes from a meeting, call people up. “Did you get a chance to look at this yet?” That’s time wasted!
Create this: One central place where project statuses are updated. Let everyone know where it is and keep it updated regularly.
3. Create an audit trail of sign-offs and approvals
How long would it take to figure out who signed off on a six-week old project? How about a six-month old project? Don’t wait until there’s a fire to buy an extinguisher!
Track this: Start keeping an accountability log of who signed-off on what, when. Include project, reviewer(s), designer(s), sign-off date, and notes.
4. Establish a productive review culture
Reviewers want to communicate their change requests, content producers want to receive feedback that’s clear and actionable, and managers want to minimize friction and increase productivity. But sometimes teams need a little guidance on building a culture of productive reviewing.
Share this: Give your team the tools they need to work together to get the best content out the door quickly.
5. Adopt an Approval Workflow Solution
Many of the above strategies can be more easily accomplished – and even automated – with a content review and approval solution.
Consider this: Determine what your organization’s specific review management needs are and look for an online proofing, approval workflow, or content production management solution to fit.
the Property Marketing Group can help you manage your creative process and organize your approval workflow.
Have you ever spent a good portion of your marketing budget on a direct mail postcard and then felt like something just wasn't right? After waiting and waiting for the phone to ring or new prospects to show up, you finally realize you're not getting any new leads, much less leases. You can't help but wonder what went wrong. Why didn't your direct mail work?
There's a reason why the Property Marketing Group is known throughout the apartment industry as "The Direct Mail Experts." In our 20+ years of experience, we've seen just about every direct mail mistake an apartment marketer can make. We've studied what works with direct mail and what doesn't. We know how costly even a small mistake can be, and because we're committed to providing the best service in the apartment industry, we want to share the "5 Direct Mail Mistakes You Can't Afford To Make." These mistakes can sabotage even your best efforts to generate leases and can keep you from earning the highest possible ROI.
Direct Mail Mistake #5 - Mailing A Low Quality Postcard
One of the first decisions you'll make on your direct mail journey is the size & quality of your direct mail postcard. You may think that postcard size & quality doesn't matter, but don't be fooled. While some marketers opt for a small, low quality postcard to save a few bucks, those informed marketers who know how to generate leases through direct mail won't even consider this option.
At the Property Marketing Group, we offer only the highest quality direct mail postcards. We know that if a postcard doesn't grab your prospect's attention instantly, then it never will. Since small, low quality postcards don't have the same impact or marketing power to prompt an immediate response, let's just leave them for the competition. When your beautiful, large postcard begins delivering leases the day it hits the mailboxes, you'll know you made a wise decision.
Direct Mail Mistake #4 - Printing The Back Of Your Postcard In Black & White
When considering the design of your direct mail postcard, you must think about first impressions. 50% of your postcards will be seen first from the front, and 50% will be seen first from the back. If you try to save a little money with color on only one side, then half of your prospects will be drawn to what appears to be a beautiful, full-color postcard, while the other half will ignore it completely. Why? Because it looks like every other piece of black & white mail in the box. Think about it. You paid to reach 100% of your target market. Why settle for grabbing the attention of only 50%?
With our 20+ years of experience, we know that two-sided, full-color postcards absolutely command more attention and yield better results than black & white versions. Because we are so sure that it's the right choice, the Property Marketing Group will only print your postcard in full-color.
Direct Mail Mistake #3 - Not Using 100% Of The Postcard's Real Estate
Much too frequently, we see direct mail postcards that leave the entire back, right side of the postcard blank! We can't decide if the apartment marketers producing these are opting for an artsy, minimalist design, or if they are just unfamiliar with the postal requirements. Either way, they are forfeiting large areas of the postcard's real estate for absolutely no reason! We simply can't understand why someone would pay for the space and then not use it to its best advantage. What a missed opportunity.
Again, our 20+ years of designing ads for apartment communities has taught us to use every available inch of your postcard. the Property Marketing Group thinks your property deserves the right to achieve the best possible results without being shortchanged. We care about how your postcard looks, and we care about getting you results!
Direct Mail Mistake #2 - Not Mailing To Your True Target Market
Note: Ordinarily, Mistake #2 would really be Mistake #1, but there's another mistake that is so important in today's environment that we had to put it first.
Failing to mail to your true target market is a hazard that we can't over-emphasize. It will not matter if you have an exceptional postcard design, if your selling points are more than convincing, or if your special offer is incredible. If you send your postcard to the wrong audience, your entire direct mail campaign is doomed. If that sounds like an exaggeration, please consider why.
If you were to direct mail entire zip codes, single-family homes or local businesses, there is no way to tell if the prospects receiving your postcard are qualified! It's very likely that 60-70% of the postcard recipients are homeowners, have a permanent living situation, or are anything other than an apartment renter! Why would you want to waste your advertising dollars on people who are not looking to rent apartments?
The only way to be 100% positive that your direct mail postcard is reaching qualified apartment renters is to direct mail the apartment communities that you compete with every day! The residents that live in these communities are your true target market! They already live in your area, they pay rent in the range that you charge, and they are looking for the same amenities that you offer. There is not a more perfect prospect to reach with a direct mail postcard than one living at a comp property within a 10-mile radius of your community. The more comps you have, the larger the pool of qualified prospects you can reach.
When you commission a direct mail campaign from the Property Marketing Group, we first ask who your competitors are and then build your custom mailing list with the addresses of the residents who rent at those communities. This is the only way to guarantee that your postcard will reach your true target market without hitting any unqualified prospects. You'll be giving more community tours, receiving more referrals, and signing more leases than ever before because you won't be wasting time with unqualified traffic.
Direct Mail Mistake #1 - Not Offering A Good Special
These are extraordinary times, and extraordinary measures are required to maintain and increase your occupancy rate. A well-designed direct mail postcard is the best marketing decision you can make, but it includes a golden opportunity that too many marketers miss completely.
The #1 direct mail mistake we hate to see is when a community won't offer an irresistible special to entice renters to move. Right now, more than ever, prospects are deciding whether it's to their advantage to renew their leases at their present communities, or to explore other opportunities. Why not make it an easy decision for them?
Moving costs are high, and the economy is down. Zero or minimal savings will not entice renters to lease at your community! To get your prospects in this frame of mind, you must grab their attention with a beautiful, full-color postcard that includes an irresistible offer that will make them want to sign a lease at your property today! There's no better way to make use of your advertising dollars. Not sure what that irresistible offer might look like? Don't worry! the Property Marketing Group can provide ideas and examples that are proven lease-generators.
If you've tried direct mail marketing on your own, or used another direct mail vendor, you've most likely been exposed to one or more of the direct mail mistakes listed above. We wish we could have helped sooner, but we can offer you a solid, proven direct mail method that will help you avoid any and all mistakes in the future. We've gained the trust of major management companies across the nation, and plenty of smaller ones as well. We know what we're doing, and you can rest assured when "The Direct Mail Experts" are in charge.
Let us help you get leases fast with a direct mail program from the Property Marketing Group
Call us today at 919-562-6000