Districts and Neighborhoods Manifesto; How It All Started

Districts and Neighborhoods Manifesto; How It All Started

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I wrote the below listed manifesto Districts and Neighborhoods; a Fresh Approach to Apartment Marketing in January, 2013 and sent it to a few industry friends. Little did I know at the time that I would be able to transform these ideas into reality at MC Companies a year or so later. Never be afraid of your ideas, put them out there and somehow find the courage to push back your fear, and the inevitable passive aggressive behavior of your peers. Push through anyway. The past (30) Months of building a marketing infrastructure that serves over 8,000 apartments, spread across seven regions and three states, and the MCLife Apartment Brand have been some of the most rewarding time of my career. It has been a great run, with some great people. I heart Lesley Brice, President and Partner at MC Companies, she rocks, and she let me run wild, and for that I am grateful. I learned a new and different way to manage that will stay with me. Although I completely underestimated the challenges surrounding Scale, collectively we forged through. But it is time for me to wind things down here in the Southwest. I need to get back to my own business, Urbane Apartments. It needs me, and I need it, if that makes any sense. After two and a half years, we are headed home to Detorit. With that we are actively looking for the right fit candidate to hand off the day to day marketing and branding efforts for MC. This is a kick ass cool job. Drop us a line should you know of anyone looking. MC is NOT a normal company, otherwise my crazy antics and ideas would not have been tolerated, except they were. Perhaps being able to create something special is one of many reasons  why MC Companies were voted as Most Admired Company in AZ

More to follow,……………………, below was the idea, and what we actually created was eerily close.

A Fresh Approach to Apartment Marketing        January 5th, 2013

Apartment Community Web Sites across the land are broken. Most are stagnate with few updates in years. They have a low or no Google PageRank. Prospects cannot find a lost web site. The “content management” solution has failed. Apartment managers do not really know what to update regularly. Having a blog attached is a fragmented approach at best. Then there is Facebook and Twitter and You Tube and LinkedIn. Who manages and creates the content, the property manager, leasing, someone from corporate? This mess needs fixed.

We are proposing a product that enhances the users leasing experience, specifically designed to replace the typical static apartment community web site. This apartment marketing and leasing website will incorporate hyper local articles and be everything local, similar to what Airbnb recently launched with Neighborhoods . With a fully automated web based Lead to Lease, lead collection and tracking system woven into the fabric of the site as a seamless part of the user experience, effectively managing leasing leads is easy.  Being fully automated is a key component. Too many leasing leads are lost sticky notes.

Each component and touch point must enhance the leasing experience. The site will sport strong and pleasing graphics, photography and video illustrating all things local via a variety of content mediums and reviews.

The website framework will be organized by geographical regions, referred to as “Neighborhoods” or “Districts”. The site will incorporate a streamlined Guest Card, which auto flows into a Lead to Lease Management System. The Guest Card would also be placed on the apartment operators “regional” Facebook page and all information would flow directly into the Lead to Lease System. The “regional” Facebook pages would mirror the brand images of the regional web pages. One of the key points of organizing the apartment operators affairs and digital assets regionally, by Neighborhoods is to steer away from single one off apartment community Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Pinterest accounts, You Tube and so forth. This creates an excellent opportunity to brand the property lifestyle. Every apartment community has a persona and a certain lifestyle. This new web site will better convey that. The challenges of managing one off social marketing at the community by community level does not scale. Most apartment operators with scattered communities still break down into only a handful of regions. Content marketing, partnership marketing and social outreach become much more effective and manageable by region.

Unit Availability by “region” or by Neighborhood will be incorporated and will be a centralized, real time place for daily updates of unit availability. The Unit Availability will include unit photos, 3D floor plans and videos cataloged by unit type and be clickable link that open a window on the Unit Availability.

The web site will be clean and simple. Less is more. Fill the space with great photography, local reviews and all things hyper local. Each page will have clear Call to Action leading prospects into the sales funnel, however this is an “opt in” experience, meaning the prospect decides when the conversion process starts. We expect that prospects will stay on the site much longer and may visit several times before renting.

The site will make every effort to “match” the prospect to a certain apartment community based on the property strengths and personality. Each apartment community will be assessed and categorized. Each apartment-landing page will include the Walk Score Widget, and will expand a window with all things local. The site will include articles and reviews to coincide with these local neighborhood businesses that are in alignment with the apartments brand and core targeted demographic.

Partnership marketing opportunities will be negotiated with these core businesses that make the match. These rich relationships provide excellent cross marketing opportunities. For instance, helping promote the local burger joint is an opportunity to give away something as a promotion from the burger joint on the apartment operators Facebook page at no cost to the apartment operator.

The site will automatically capture email address for with each Guest Card. Appropriate language will be embedded to allow the user to request future emails about neighborhood events, new business openings, festivals and local news happenings.  Regular email offerings would be processed to keep in touch with prospects and residents a like on all things local.

RDA Press, (Rich Dad Advisors) are publishing Eric’s first book,Apartments to Hot Sauce; RED HOT RECIPES FOR YOUR BUSINESS START-UP, to be on the bookstore shelves in MARCH-2017!

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Eric Brown
Written by Eric Brown

Eric’s background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2002, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established Urbane Media, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested. Eric has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and Business Week Magazine, the New York Times and Harvard Business Review . You can connect with Eric at  UrbaneLife on Twitter. Eric also writes regular articles for the following publications:

Multi Housing

News Social Media Examiner

Search Engine Guide

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