Archive for the 'Marketing to Your Needs' Category

Spring Out Of Hibernation

This week marked the first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox, derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night,” where daylight equals that of night. We the soggy people of Seattle welcome this time of year with longer light-filled days and more sunshine. I spent my first days of spring walking the dog, taking photos of daffodils that have sprouted all around, watching a sunset, eating homemade vegetable soup and listening to bluegrass at a local tavern. But more than all the fun springtime stuff, this time of year is also the time of plans and projects, and my list is long: deep clean and declutter the whole house, yard work, take more walks, etc.  Speaking of plans and projects, what marketing plans do you have for your apartment community to attract or retain residents? It’s a lovely time of year to tackle both, while also helping residents reach their springtime goals, which are likely to be similar to mine. Below we have some ideas to help you and them get started on such projects.

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people, and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast


Alright, Hemingway, don’t be grumpy, it’s springtime, after all. But speaking of people and happiness, what is your apartment community staff doing to help make residents happy? If you’re due for some activity in this area, now is the time to spring out of hibernation and engage your community.

Now is the time when spring cleaning urges arise with the need to purge. While residents are likely taking this transition time into the next season to get their apartments in order and purge the stuff that no longer serves them, help make it easier for them by holding an apartment-wide tag sale. Invite everyone out to a common place to gather with their things for a good old fashion yard sale. Who doesn’t like to get rid of their junk and perhaps find that one-of-a-kind treasure from a fellow neighbor? This gives residents time to bond with each other and with you. Whatever doesn’t sell, make your residents happy by scheduling a Salvation Army truck to pick up the rest for donation or have your staff box it up for a trip to Goodwill. If such a tag sale sounds like a springtime activity that will help you retain residents, we have done the marketing for you and have a campaign with all you need, from posters and door hangers to postcards and e-flyers: The Ultimate Tag Sale


Dear Marketing D-Bags:

I’m not the type who does well making decisions, particularly when I have too many options.  For example, when I was buying a car, I knew off the bat that I liked Civics, but then my mom suggested I lease a car so I looked at the CR-V.  Then a close family friend suggested I go to a local VW dealer, and I started to look at the Tiguan.  Then I realized I would rather just buy up front instead of lease, so I started looking at used cars that the dealers had in stock, and just as I was starting to feel guilty for not buying American and was on the verge of having a nervy-b from looking at too many cars, I gave up and got a Civic.

Now, this ended up working out because what I really wanted was a Civic, and I just let too many other suggestions cloud my judgment during the buying process.  (I can only imagine what’s going to happen one day if I get married and am planning my wedding.)  But let’s say you’re looking for an apartment in a new city and aren’t set on a particular building because, well, you don’t live there and don’t know the city.  So when you hop on Craigslist and start browsing through postings, you really do want a wide array of options.

Speaking from personal experience, it’s when you don’t have enough choices that browsing Craigslist can get quite annoying.  Has anyone else experienced something like this?





There are more, but I think you get the idea…and I’m already bored with this.

Now, I should give the poster a little credit (they didn’t cut and paste, but changed up the “infoprmation” – see September 20 – a little every time), but really cutting and pasting would have been the smart thing to do to save some of their time.  It’s not like the message changed so drastically that the most recent posting on September 27 suddenly compelled me to go rent the apartment.  Where are the pictures??  Where are the amenity lists??  And those aren’t the only questions raised:

  1. Is it the same unit they keep advertising?
  2. If it’s not the same unit, why are there so many units available in this building?
  3. Why does this person consider Craigslist to be a server for him/her to pump as full of spam as a pantry from a 1960’a nuclear bomb shelter?
  4. Who made the decision that re-posting ads every other day was somehow a benefit to their renters?
  5. How much money is the company wasting paying interns to re-post these ads ever other day just so annoyed Craigslist searchers can take time out of their day to flag them for removal, when those ads would stay up for seven days if you just left them alone?
  6. What would it take to make this person go away so I can look for a new house without having to wade through all of your worthless ads???

Sorry, got a little sidetracked there…

Maybe instead of posting this Craigslist ad AGAIN tomorrow, the culprit can take the afternoon and read through all of my previous blog posts (or just go ahead and call Beyond Wine and Cheese) for some tips and inspiration.  The apartment marketing message may remain the same, but it is always presented in a unique package!

Are your Craigslist postings starting to sound like a broken record…broken record…broken record…broken record…broken record?  Share with us at!

PS:  Thanks for inspiring this blog post, Kevin!

Baby It’s Cold… Inside?

I suddenly find myself again facing that awful task of searching for a new apartment.  And this time, I’m looking for something special.  Last year my concern was finding something affordable, close to school, and on central bus lines; however, I now have real job and a car, so my priorities have changed.  I don’t want to end up in some cookie-cutter apartment with no character.  When friends visit, I want their jaws to drop with jealousy because they couldn’t find an apartment nearly as unique as mine.  But at the same time, the rent does need to be reasonable (sadly my starting salary is not $100,000 a year).

So where am I going to find this amazing apartment?  Why, craigslist of course!  I mean, these days, what can’t you find on craigslist?  And luckily for me the apartment selection on craigslist is expanding.  Say I was looking for a cozy studio apartment that made me feel at one with nature:

Say whaaat?

This can’t be for real…

Yeeeeaaah!  Welcome home!

Cost: $200/month (Affordable: check.)

Neighborhood Security: Campus Police (Safe Area: check!)

Water: Must be melted by occupant (Utilities Included: check!!!)

The only downside here is that the landlord won’t be held responsible for loss of walls/roof/entire structure of the building.  But then, it’s not like I’ll be signing a 12 month lease, so bring it on!

Is your apartment community providing unique, if not long lasting, qualities?  Share with us at!

When Your Newsfeed Turns Into a Broken Record

Social media is one of those marketing tools that can work to your advantage if you know how to use it, or give you a bad rep if you don’t.  Well, I guess that’s true for ALL marketing, but since social media is still so new to many people, I see it hurt a lot more than I see it help.

One of my biggest pet peeves, as both a Twitter follower and Facebook fan of businesses, is seeing a misunderstanding of how to use the two websites differently.  I get really bored when I get on Twitter after checking Facebook and see the exact same things posted on both websites.  I understand this practice to an extent, but come on, you can put in a little more effort than having Facebook and Twitter connected so that your FB statuses are Tweeted (and vice versa) by the magical Internet fairies.

Along the same lines, if you are in charge of social media for numerous apartment communities under a larger company, you need to spice things up.  As a FB fan of yours, I want to see posts relevant to the area that your apartment community is located.  I want to feel as though you actually are engaging me in conversation.  However, if I am a fan of all (or even just a few) of your apartment community’s FB pages, any insincerity or repetition will be more than obvious.

So, for the sake of experimentation and proving a point, let’s check my Facebook News Feed for the latest:

Wow!  They sure care about how my week is going!  Let’s tell all of Indiana (and Miamisburg, OH) how I’m doing!

“My week is going pretty well!  I’m busy too – lot’s of Facebooking to do!”

“My week is going pretty well!  I’m busy too – lot’s of Facebooking to do!”

“My week is going pretty well!  I’m busy too – lot’s of Facebooking to do!”

“My week is going pretty well!  I’m busy too – lot’s of Facebooking to do!”

“My week is going pretty well!  I’m busy too – lot’s of Facebooking to do!”

“My week is going pretty well!  I’m busy too – lot’s of Facebooking to do!”

“My week is going pretty well!  I’m busy too – lot’s of Facebooking to do!”


Anyone else sick of this?  I thought so.  Point made?  Good.  Next time, change the wording or throw in something about the weather specific to each city… Geez.  In their defense, though, at least it wasn’t repeat posts letting me know they have a two-bedroom apartment available and I should lease now.

Is your Facebook community filling up your newsfeed with repetitive messages?  Share with us at!

You Can Get It Free, But Does It Suck?

Whoever said, “The best things in life are free,” was a big fat liar.  OK, maybe if you’re talking about friends and family and the first day of sun after a long, overcast Seattle winter, it’s true.  But from a business perspective, it’s a load of bull.  The truth?  You get what you pay for.

Take customer service for example.  I am the type of person who likes to be treated well when I go shopping, so I’m willing to pay that extra $70 on a pair of shoes at Nordstrom because their salespeople are so nice, instead of going to TJMaxx for the bargain that comes with no service.  And as someone who works at home, I welcome that 15 minutes of small talk with a stranger during which we find out that we both know people who have studied abroad in Florence.

Now, I know there are also quite a few people who would rather creep through racks of clothes and go unnoticed by salespeople – shopping might be the only time you have to yourself all week.  But what if we’re talking about the business that you run and are trying to promote?  Wouldn’t you want vendors who provide you great service?  Even if it’s just showing up with a box of delicious cupcakes in exchange for a few minutes of your time?  Well, if the cost of their service is FREE, don’t pour yourself a glass of milk anytime soon…

One great example of this in the apartment industry is Craigslist ads.  Anyone can post an ad on Craigslist (which is a whole other topic for another time), so big apartment communities with luxury units need to do something to really stand out from the crowd.  This might include…

Posting a poorly designed ad that doesn’t even mention the name of your community?  And that links not to your website’s homepage, but:

That’s right, the homepage for GoGoPin so you can get a free account!  I gotta give it to GoGoPin – that is one smart way to advertise your own service while “providing a service” for another company.  Is it things like this that give the business world a bad reputation?  Nah…this is just innovation and creative thinking (although not so much on the part of the apartment community who attempted to advertise this way).

I’m sure the community realized the problems with this ad though, both the content and the link to GoGoPin’s website, because it looks like they decided to try posting another ad using photobucket this time:

It’s still graphically challenged, but at least they got the proper information in this one.  Let’s try clicking on the ad and see where we end up this time…

SURPRISE!  It’s photobucket’s homepage!  Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?  Man, they tricked us real good that time.  But ultimately, I think the joke is on this apartment manager in Fremont, eh?

So apartment communities, I know the economy is tough, but shopping at TJMaxx instead of Nordstrom isn’t going to get your units leased at the end of the day.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and those of us who can return just about anything and get our shoes repaired at Nordstrom are going to win.

Is your apartment community providing free advertising for a free advertising company?  Share with us at!

My Nomadic A** Ain’t Stoppin’ Up In Here

Young people have a history of being misunderstood.  Why that is, though, is anyone’s guess:

I call it, “Disgruntled Youth”.

We go from living with our parents who insist on us keeping our rooms clean, to dorms where the opposite sex is not even allowed in our rooms, to apartment buildings that won’t let us hold raging parties past 10pm.

But fear not, there is someone out there who understands us, and is making an effort to communicate in a way that does not include yelling our full names when we’ve done something wrong.  Better yet, he wants to be your roommate…


You bet your nomadic ass it is.”

Wow.  I already feel like this could be a very special place to live.  I definitely want to read more!

“ZOMG THE LOCATION IS THE S**T. You can WALK to Washington Avenue from here. So you can get your drink on and do some mackin playa. 10 mins from UH and Rice cause we all about higher education up in here.”

Um, well, I’m not completely sure what the “Z” stands for in “ZOMG”.  All I can think of is “Zoinks!” – but that’s Scooby Doo era, so maybe I am not as hip with the scene as I thought.

However, my grammar fails me not, and saying “we all about higher education up in here” somehow suggests to me that you are not in fact “all about higher education”.  But us cool kids don’t care about talkin’ right, does we??

Maybe it’s just me, but I am still really curious to hear about what amenities this place has!

“We got carpet up in this hoe too. They wanted to come put in hard wood floors. But I was like F**K THAT. I don’t want my feet to be cold when I get out of bed at night. Carpet. So soft. Transcends the walking barefoot experience.”

Dude, I love carpet!  The day my parents made me move to a new house where my bedroom didn’t have carpet was one of the worst days of my life! 

I can’t help but notice, though, that he should have used the correct spelling of “ho” as opposed to “hoe,” which belongs in my garden.  No worries though, I am sure there is something to make up for this small mistake…

“AWWW S**T! YOUR OWN PRIVATE BATHROOM!!!! WTF!?!?!? YUH! You can shower and take a s**t w/o anyone being up in your business!!! I’m not bullsh**tin either… I’m talking HOT WATER IN THE SHOWER.”

WHAT??  HOT WATER??  I would NEVER expect that at an apartment I am paying $500 a month for…

Does this guy really think that just cause I’m young this “amenity” is going to win me over?  Really?  Really??

Well, you know what, at least I have been fully entertained by reading this post.  And the author even posted a picture!!!  I’m sure he isn’t a creeper at all…

Yeah… Not a creeper AT ALL.

Is your attempt to attract Gen Y residents creeping people out instead of getting leases signed?  Share with us at!

Apartment Hunting in Your Birthday Suit?

Quick follow-up from Wednesday’s post: it isn’t just apartment communities in the industry trying to spice up things up with a “catchy” name. 

This new apartment search company is bound to leave a few of you red in the face.  My advice: don’t do a Google search for it, who knows what else will pop up. 

And make sure you have the URL correctly typed in before you hit enter!

*Article link from The Apartment Expert – Lisa Trosien

Tweets from Beyond Wine & Cheese Marketing

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 639 other followers