When I say “Outreach Marketing,” what is the first thing to come to mind? Is it the image of endless goodie bags? Is it the stack of a thousand color flyers that almost broke your office printer? Or do you begin to count the time it will take you out of the office and away from your bottomless inbox and reporting deadlines? Long gone are the days of beating the parking lot of your local grocer with a stack of flyers in tow in hopes of tagging the vehicle of that one potential resident. In my experience, it sometimes leads to a nasty gram or angry call from the store manager or a trip back to gather flyers that have become littered with hopes for leads from mass parking lot marketing. Does this sound familiar?
Quantifying the conversion and effectiveness of “old school, hit the pavement” outreach marketing gets a little tricky. With the aid of lead management software and tools, it is much easier to configure cost analysis, marketing budgets and determine the cost per lead. After several years of trial and error with outreach marketing, I have this thing down to a science, and I can’t keep it to myself. (Besides, I figure I’ll save you the sore feet and loitering fine of hitting those parking lots). The conversion of Outreach Marketing is determined by the strength of your relationship with your network of leads. In other words, Effective Outreach Marketing = Relationships. In case you are wondering, “who do I build relationships with, and how do I build them?” There are two key relationships to establish for your Outreach Marketing, and they are Influencers and Ambassadors.
Influencers are people who affect the decision-making process of your potential prospects. They are the people and organizations that your prospects go-to for resources, services, and guidance on their decision-making process. Influencers may not always have a direct relationship with your property, and they may have never experienced your product or encountered your team. They have second-hand information from the reputation of your property, and they share this knowledge with their network. The common denominator between you and the Influencer is the best interest of the potential prospect and ensuring they are a happy customer. Influencers are the top employers in your market, local businesses where your prospects frequent,
Ambassadors are people who also directly affect the decision-making process for your potential prospects, but they do so with first-hand knowledge of your community. They have had a customer or vendor relationship with your product and property. They trust the guidance of your team, and they contribute to your reputation by sharing their experiences with others through referrals, ratings, and reviews. Your property and the Ambassador have a shared relationship with the potential prospect. The Ambassador may be a close acquaintance, colleague, relative, trusted advisor, or friend of the prospect, therefore their referral holds more credibility due to the nature of their relationship with the potential prospect.
Understanding these two archetypes are key to bridging your outreach marketing to the community around your property and ensuring they help carry your message to your true target audience of potential renters. As in any relationship, you must identify the benefit and cultivate them in times of low and high occupancy.
Here are the Top 5 Tips to Turn Outreach Marketing into Valuable Relationships (and Leases):
Tip #1- Identify the Influencers and Ambassadors in your market.
- Now that you understand the difference and value of Influencers and Ambassadors, make a list of the relationships your community has with neighboring businesses and service providers to determine which category they fall under. Once you identify your list, create a monthly outreach calendar, and strategize your plan to introduce your community and how the relationship can be mutually beneficial.
Tip #2- Be A Problem Solver.
- A flyer is merely a piece of paper with a catchy slogan until it resonates with the person who is holding it. Before handing a marketing flyer to the gatekeeper receptionist at the local office park or even your residents for referrals, ask yourself “how does this solve a problem for them?” When presenting your property marketing material during outreach marketing, take the time to inquire about how your property provides a solution for them.
Tip #3- Confirm A Single Point of Contact.
- Having a single point of contact ensures you have secured direct communication with the Influencer/Ambassador to nurture the relationship. I often tell our teams that if you return from outreach marketing without a business card or contact info from the person you spoke with, it’s incomplete outreach. This is vital. Not getting contact information for your outside community to who you deliver your marketing message is like not getting the phone number of a prospect during a sales call.
Tip #4- Treat Outreach Relationships Like Leads.
- Follow up is essential to the lifeline of conversion. Statistically, it takes 6 follow-ups to see the conversion of qualified leads. This doesn’t mean that all follow up has to look the same way. This actually creates an opportunity to nurture the marketing relationships you’ve worked so hard for. Follow up should be purposeful and with intent, such as sending an email invitation to upcoming events or educating them on a new development with your community. Most importantly, schedule time for outreach follows up. Just as with any other leasing or operational task, it must be scheduled and managed for consistency and purposeful implementation.
Tip #5- Involve the Entire Team.
- Every team member has unique relationships within your market that can be of benefit to your outreach marketing plan, and this includes your maintenance team. Consider having all team members drop ideas into a hat during your weekly team around meetings and drawing from an idea a week. This will ensure that everyone contributes to the goal of lead generation.
By identifying your relationships and engaging your team to contribute to your new and improved Outreach Marketing plan, you are now prepared to take outreach to a new level. Outreach Marketing is an instrumental part of your plan and should be managed as an important task before it becomes an urgent need. So break out the marketing calendars, take to Pinterest for new goodie bag ideas and get in touch with the outside community to turn your outreach into relationships!
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