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5 Inexpensive and Creative Ways to Market Your Community

If you’re looking for ways to market on a tight budget, here are some simple ways to stretch your marketing dollar. Whether it’s for resident retention, or to create more prospects for your community, we’ve got you covered!

Use Four-Legged Friends to your Advantage

Everyone has pets these days! Communities who don’t allow pets can lose up to 60% of their potential resident pool. So marketing to your four-footed friends (and their owners) is a given. Consider having a “Pet of the Month” feature on your community Facebook page. You’ll get lots of entries, and the winning pet owners will undoubtedly share your content with their Facebook friends. You’ll get exposure, happy residents and maybe some prospects in the process.

On the resident retention side, make sure to host a “Yappy Hour” once a month as well. You can probably get a local pet store to kick in some dollars for food if they are allowed to market to the residents who attend. Yappy Hours are fun for everyone. Stock up on dog treats and have plenty of water dishes and toys around for everyone to play with at the event.

Make Model Units Memorable

If you’re looking to add some interest to your model apartments, don’t leave out some unique and different items to create interest. “Statement pieces” – basically very unique pieces of furniture are well worth their investment. People will remember the model and probably want to take a selfie or two of themselves with the statement piece, especially if it’s a great chair that photographs well.

Theming your models can also create greater interest and even help create a storyline with your prospects. OneEleven, a luxury high rise in Chicago, features a one bedroom apartment they simply call “Brad”. It’s obvious upon arrival that Brad is a single male who LOVES to bike in the Windy City. His bike is prominently placed on a rack in the dining area, and his closet has biking shoes and clothes. Leasing Professionals talk about Brad and his lifestyle while they tour the model with prospects. Both memorable and smart!

Looking for more model magic? Planned Property Management has a “Magic Fridge” at every one of their communities. What is a Magic Fridge? It’s a refrigerator loaded with snack food and beverages – both healthy and unhealthy. And no prospect leaves a Planned Property Management building without stopping at the ‘fridge for snack and a drink before they leave.

Don’t forget to put some funny and interesting items in as well. One of my favorites is a framed Hershey bar with signage that says, “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS”. I’ve never had anyone break the glass, but it might be wise to stock Hershey bars in your model just in case.

Get Creative with Signage

Eye-catching signage is critical as well. Make sure your bootleg signage features photographs as well as text. A photo of a cute puppy or kitten carries a much stronger message than one that simply says “Pets Welcome”. Balloons don’t have to be boring, helium ones attached to your sign either. Find an eye-catching, creative and fun balloon sculpture. They are not expensive or hard to find.

Banners don’t have to cost a fortune either. Staples sells amazing banners that you can create yourself. For less than $20 you can have a full color banner with custom graphics and verbiage. And best of all, they can be created online and ready for pickup in less than four hours.

Amenities don’t have to be Expensive Either!

Add unique amenities to your communities without breaking the bank. Creating a lending library of resident-donated books is easy. Upgrade the pool area by installing a mister fan. Installing a USB outlet in the master bedroom of your apartments will cost about $25 for the materials and will be a huge hit with today’s tech savvy renters. Use chalkboard paint to create a message center in your kitchens of your available apartments. Chalkboard paint is available from any hardware or paint store for about $10 for a 30oz can.

Add a Personal Touch

Other ways to stand out that don’t cost a thing? Take a tip from the AT&T store and walk every prospective resident to the door when they are leaving your property. Or create a signature ‘goodbye’ like Walgreen’s, whose “Thank you and be well” is universal.

Speaking of free marketing, your PayLease team has some great freebies to help you market your online payments plan to your residents and prospects. Ask them how they can help you to succeed.

It doesn’t cost a lot to stand out. You just need to take the initiative and go for it.