Knowing that you need to use check-moves is half the battle, the other half is creating a strategic step-by-step process of contacting your potential tenants, current tenants, and perhaps even former tenants. Whether you have 5 steps or 20, every single step needs to be planned out in a strategic path.
In the before element of your marketing plan, each step is designed to take your prospective tenants from being introduced to your property to wanting to rent with you. In the during element, each step is designed to perfect the experience that your tenant is having to encourage them to continue renting with you. In the after element, each step is made to complete the experience, and turn your former tenants into raving fans who advertise for you.
So lets take a look at a few specific things you can do which make for great check-moves.
A Phone Call
A phone call is one of the best moves that can be made. For a property manager, this may be a bit tricky. Obviously you don’t want to be spending your time calling everyone who shows an interest in what you have, but there is a power in the phone call. I think it’s best to utilize this tool to help people. If you have a prospective tenant come in that is looking for something specific, utilize the phone call to update them on some new information that you may find – or to help them with their search.
Postcards are awesome. They are cheap, and an incredibly easy way to get people to raise their hand. You can use these to open your prospecting channel, you can use these to follow up in the middle of your before element, you can use these with your current tenants, and with your former tenants. The key is to make postcards simple. Don’t try to sell – your only goal is to get them to respond, or raise their hand, and contact you.
Tell a Story
This can be done via PDF or printed out on a few pages, or perhaps in a small booklet. The best marketing is when you aren’t trying to sell, but when you are trying to educate your prospects and tenants, to motivate them to chose you. So tell a story about a tenant that found happiness while renting with you (it doesn’t need to be a true story, just paint a picture).
Email is the obvious choice, and easy. The problem with email is that everyone get’s flooded with emails these days, so don’t be surprised if you have low response rates. That being said, email newsletters are a fantastic tool for keeping mass people updated (and for increasing the amount of check moves you make).
A Thank You Letter
This one is simple and so often never done. After someone visits your property, send them a thank you note for taking the time to visit you. BAM! Who does this? And who wouldn’t love that?
This is merely taking advantage of the holidays to have another contact. Most people utilize holiday cards, but I doubt most people use it in conjunction with a strategic check-move system. Obviously this move can’t be used in your primary check-move process, but during the holidays you can slip it in.
I think people are afraid to utilize text messages – after all you don’t want to be seen as spamming people. Text messages however can be a great way to keep in touch and notify folks about events. The way to get around the spam issue is to offer this as part of your email newsletter service (let people sign up for SMS updates as well).
I think most properties utilize pamphlets, but I think most do this wrong. Don’t make it about yourself. Certainly brand your pamphlet with your property, but create it such that it’s helpful to your tenants. This goes for every check move – use them to teach your prospects and tenants. For the pamphlet, consider creating one that teaches people about tenants rights, or provides useful resources for finding out about tenant law in whatever City/State you are in.
Send a Card to the Pet
This is really for those places that allow pets. If you know your prospective tenant has a pet, and what the pet’s name is (which you can of course ask), send a postcard addressed to the pet, teaching the pet about what a great living experience can be like in an apartment complex (which just happens to be yours). Trust me, this one is gold.
A ‘What Can We Do Better?’ Questionnaire
I like this one for current tenants. Once every month or every 2 months, send a short questionnaire to your current tenants and ask them what their thoughts are and what they might like you to do better. If you have problems getting responses, consider tying in a small reward (baked cookies or something).
The overarching theme is – teach your prospects, your tenants, and your former tenants with every move that you make. Don’t try to sell, just reach out and help people.