I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a guerrilla marketing class at the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO). The instructor, Shad Bookout from Cort Furniture, has years of experience doing lots of crazy things to help his apartment clients lease their units. At the end of the half-day class, 4 things really stood out to me. Ironically, none of them were guerilla marketing ideas. Instead, they centered on creating an emotional bond with your prospects.
1. Great language creates great emotion. Think about that for a second. How much thought are you putting into the ad copy that you’re placing on your ILS… your website… or your social media? The key is to use colorful, descriptive language… and “sparkling pool” doesn’t count. Make sure that you’re showing what’s truly unique about your community… identify your competitive advantage.
2. Make your photos emotional. This is in line with a trend I’ve noticed where my clients are using models to bring photos of their property alive. Clearly, this is more time consuming and expensive… and there are Fair Housing rules that need to be followed. But active, even emotional photography can give your prospects a great feel for what it’s like to live in your community. And that’s what they’re looking for in your advertising.
3. Post photos of your team. This can be in your social media, website, ILS, or all three. Show your caring manager solving a problem for a resident. Show your great leasing staff giving a prospect a tour. Or show your responsive maintenance staff taking care of a resident’s request. Again, this can help to subconsciously build a feeling of trust in your prospects – even before they step in your door.
4. Have your prospects video tape their tours. This might work for everyone, but I could see a good percentage of renters really gravitating to this opportunity. Shad’s idea was simple. Hand your prospects a flip camera (available for around $100) and let them video tape their own tours. When they’re done, you can transfer the entire tour to a thumb drive for them (perhaps branded with your logo?). With this video in hand, they’ll be able to visit with their family or friends and show them how great your community was. If the video is particularly good and the prospect doesn't mind sharing it, what better to post in your social media? The icing on the cake: Shad suggests that you give them the camera if they sign a lease within 24 hours.