Posts Tagged 'apartment advertising'

SURVIVING CRAIGSLIST’S APARTMENT AD CHANGES

By now you’ve heard about the Craigslist changes and how the site no longer allows HTML code in the description box (leaving you with an error message “IMG, FONT, DIV, TABLE tags are no longer supported”). This significantly affects property management marketing and the way communities can post housing ads on its site, and the new policy sent the apartment marketing industry into a scramble.

What matters now? The best, first image you upload to grab attention in the thumbnail and gallery views. But here’s the crazy thing — perform a quick search in your area and you’ll notice about 50% of housing ads have no image, not even the very important first photo. Their only hope for a click is a few keywords in a short headline. We telephoned a sampling of communities and asked why they’re missing images and found they don’t know how a housing ad displays on Craigslist.org, most likely from using a third-party listing service to create ads.

Beyond Wine & Cheese Marketing quickly launched a solution for members and their apartment advertising by creating dozens of Craigslist Image formats featuring leasing themes — they’re eye catching and work within the revised requirements. Our new Craigslist Images are JPEG files sized to fit perfectly as the featured image to grab attention of prospective renters.

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Above: Our new Craigslist ad to promote pet-friendly communities

Craigslist also changed their policy on links – clickable external links are not allowed. You can and should still post the URL of your website in your text and encourage users to copy and paste it into a browser to explore more info on your site. But here’s the thing: Can you add two links? Many communities have a link to an HTML ad and then further challenge a prospect to click a second time to reach their leasing website. Will they do it? It remains to be seen.

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Above: Our new Craigslist ad to promote communities with locations near major employers, transportation corridors and landmarks

 LESSONS LEARNED:

1)   Your marketing strategy should not solely depend on Craigslist. As we’ve seen, the site can and does change its policies – and you have no control over that, so you will always be scrambling to conform to their rules. Craigslist is great because it’s free and has a huge viewership, but you are pitted in the same place side by side with your competitors, which is great if you have what it takes to outshine them. Not so great if you don’t. If you want to learn about other ways to handle your apartment marketing, call or email us and we’d love to share what we know about:

  1. Using your own website
  2. Keeping up with the masses on Facebook, social media, blog
  3. Sending blast emails
  4. Partnering with local businesses
  5. Targeting companies near your community with a large number of employees

2)   PHOTOS are more important than ever in your Craigslist posts (and otherwise). If your property photos are not great, you need to WOW readers with an image that draws them in, which is why Beyond Wine & Cheese offers professionally designed eye-catching ads (saved as a JPEG) for members to upload as their “first” image to be featured.

  1. A property’s photos are huge in snagging potential renters, so if you do not have high quality images of your community, you should spend the effort to make this happen.
  2. Not many readers will get through a big chunk of plain text about a property, but if you capture them with outstanding photos first, then they’re more likely to dig deeper into your paragraph of words to find out more. Photos really help to illustrate the personality of a community. Text “tells” – photos “show.”

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Above: Our new Craigslist ad to appeal to renters about moving

Have questions, want to learn more, or need a CUSTOM Craigslist ad featuring your brand colors and photos?

Beyond Wine & Cheese Marketing

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Attention Kmart Shoppers: I Just Shipped My Pants!

By now you’ve probably seen the controversial Kmart commercial showcasing their shipping services. The company injected humorous wordplay into the ad whereby actors performing as Kmart shoppers say they shipped items in such a manner that it actually sounds like they did the unthinkable:
Standing in the store, a customer says, “I just shipped my pants!”
Another claims, “I just shipped my drawers.”
“I just shipped my nightie.”
And my favorite, “I just shipped my bed!”

The commercial went viral, getting 17 million hits on Youtube, which is every marketing team’s dream. But it also got bombarded with a lot of criticism due to its crass nature. Watch the “Shipped My Pants” commercial on Youtube and decide for yourself.

Really? I can ship my pants, right here, right now?

Really? I can ship my pants, right here, right now?

I’m not a Kmart shopper and have never noticed their marketing besides past obvious catchy slogans like “blue light special,” but the shipping commercial is one where I’ll stop, watch, laugh and remember and talk about it to others instead of fast forwarding through it on my DVR. It doesn’t make me want to shop there any more than I did before, but it has everyone talking about it, which is half the battle. And a good laugh never hurt anybody.

Kmart followed up the shipping campaign with a similar one: Big Gas Savings. Say that phrase fast over and over and it sounds like something else:
A woman in the ad says, “Sounds like you could use some big gas savings”
“Thirty cents a gallon, that’s a big gas discount,” says another.
A kid proclaims, “Dad, look at that big gas truck!”

Watch the big gas video here.

Kmart says, “Creativity is important in Kmart’s advertising to engage our members and share new information on promotions and initiatives. We believe that humor is a natural part of the strategy.”

What do you think – brilliant advertising or clean up on aisle 9 with marketing gone awry? What are some ways that community managers can include creativity and humor in apartment marketing? Can you think of any apartment advertising that was so funny you had to share or that it was so bold it crossed the line? Let us know in our comments section below.


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