J.C. Hart: How to Market Your Apartment Community
These days, marketing your apartment community is not for the faint of heart. The first challenge is sifting through the seemingly endless array of amenities that will help your community stand apart from the pack. What follows is the hard part: actually deciding which value-add amenities will actually attract more residents and which amenities will fall flat.
So, we sat down with our client Mark Juleen, V.P. of Marketing at J.C. Hart Apartments, to hear how he manages the wild beast we call multifamily marketing. Here’s a few of our favorite takeaways:
Draw From Your Own Inspiration
If your only source of marketing inspiration comes from industry trade shows and conferences, think again, says Juleen. While multi-family conferences and trade shows are a great way to understand where the industry’s headed, Juleen encourages multifamily marketers to also think outside of the box.
For Juleen, that means drawing on a few of his own role models, including entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk and marketing icon Seth Godin, to create his own Marketing Minutes. In these short YouTube segments, he seeks to engage multifamily experts on industry best practices. In his latest episode, he asks other multifamily professionals what they think are the best digital amenities to offer in their own apartment community. What Juleen learned here is that engaging with non-traditional sources of industry information, even your own personal inspiration, will put a unique spin on your own marketing rollouts.
In Marketing, Hiccups Are OK
The savvy marketer accepts a minor setback in stride, says Juleen. His marketing mantra is: “If you’re not failing at something, you’re not doing a good job.” In his own practice, this means accepting marketing “duds” along the way and using past experiences to better execute his next marketing project.
He shared one such marketing “dud” with us. He explained how in past years, his marketing team had encouraged all of J.C. Hart’s property locations to launch their own blog. While it sounded like a great way for residents to connect with their local property on paper, it ended up opening up its own set of challenges: Staff needed to be trained on how to blog, the brand needed to remain consistent across all properties, and at the most basic level, blogging took a lot of time and effort. Juleen soon realized that maintaining one blog would represent a more cohesive brand experience for residents. Since then, J.C. Hart has launched a successful blog and newsletter that sees higher levels of resident engagement than ever before. The lesson here: marketing fails are part of the job — and a great way to better deliver your next marketing campaign.
Low-Risk Technology Testing is Key
As a multifamily marketer, you’re bombarded with messaging about the digital amenities that will add the most value to your property and your residents. At this point, it becomes difficult to sift through what’s a dud and what’s actually going to make the most impact in your own apartment community.
To tackle this, Juleen likes to keep it simple: he tests things first. “Trying out a piece of your technology first is a lot easier than building a physical amenity and then realizing later that it’s not reaching your community.” Personal testing will not only help you gauge how the product works, but will incur minimal risk for your company, he says.
It’s Not About Getting Followers – It’s About Engagement
Juleen’s top social media advice? It’s not about getting a certain number of “likes” on your Facebook post about your community’s updated gym. It’s about ensuring that your residents are actually engaging with the gym.
For Juleen, this means that even if just one resident is taking advantage of an amenity you’re offering, that’s nothing to brush aside. Engagement with the community is worth triple the value of a tepid following.
With these tips, you can get out there and start improving your amenity adoption and marketing rollouts. All it takes is a bit of out of the box thinking, a willingness to tackle hurdles by the head, and a bit of testing on your part!