A huge part of being a property manager is learning how to market yourself and your company.
You have to do it twice, after all: once to your client owners, the property owners who allow you to look after their buildings, and once to your client tenants, who live in those buildings. For all that, you’re no “middle man.” Most of the minds sharp enough to succeed at investing in real estate aren’t really the same guys who want to get their hands dirty underneath a sink or spend their time chatting up the old lady with the seven cockatoos to convince her to pay the rent.
You’re the go-between who makes sure everyone gets as much of what they want as they can get.
Unfortunately, it’s rare that either side sees you in such a positive light, so mastering the art of marketing is part and parcel of the job. As you learn about marketing, you learn about a concept called the “USP,” or the Unique Selling Proposition. In short, it means, “What do you do differently than everyone else, and why does it make you better than them?” Or in even more easy terms: how do you stand out from the crowd?
Every business needs to have an idea of what makes them better than their competitors, but not many businesses actually have that idea. If you’re struggling to separate yourself from the crowd, here are four tips you can take to develop something outstanding.
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5 Tips to Stand Out From the Crowd
1. Create Something Exclusive
Exclusivity sells — if you can describe to your clients and/or tenants something that you do that very few other people are doing, you create a firm “anchor point’ in their mind to hang their thoughts on.
Everyone is constantly competing for “price” and “customer service,” so you’ll have to come up with something that isn’t part and parcel of either of those.For example, perhaps you could offer the opportunity for tenants to pay their rent via an app or a mobile website. This appeals to tenants because it makes paying easy, and it appeals to clients because it means tenants pay on time more often. It’s also not something that many property managers are doing yet, so it presents the air of exclusivity.
2. Be Who You Are
When you sit down to brainstorm things you can do to stand out from the crowd, don’t try to become something you’re not. Consider your strengths, be authentic to what you (as an individual and as a company) do best, and above all, avoid insincerity.
If you’re not “green” by nature, don’t try to force-start a recycling program in your building. If you’re not tech savvy, skip out on the online rent payment. If you do something that doesn’t come off as genuine, you’ll end up chasing people away.
3. Build Anticipation
Whatever you create, spend the time to brainstorm some ways that you can whet your clients’ and tenants’ anticipation for that program. Oftentimes, the promise of a reveal is more effective of a marketing technique than simply laying out all of the details of a program or service up front.
In this case, you’re focusing mostly on the tenants — your clients tend to be more of the analytical, return-on-investment type who will respond better to a complete understanding of what you’re going to do for them.
4. Keep It Simple
A vast quantity of good ideas fail ultimately because they require too much effort. They sound good on paper, but when it comes time to actually implement some special program, it turns out that it’s more important to keep the normal flow of business flowing. Similarly, if an offering is going to be too challenging for a client and/or tenant to take advantage of easily, they simply won’t, and you might as well have never come up with the idea.
5. Be Consistent & Be Memorable
Very few property owners will hire you when they first encounter your marketing. The simple reason for this is that they’re usually contractually committed to one of your competitors.
So you want to be top of mind when they are thinking about switching companies. The only way to do that is by repeatedly exposing them to your company. They’ll more easily remember you, even with less repetition, if you can be memorable somehow. This is the reason people do crazy things in marketing!
If you can combine simplicity, authenticity, exclusivity, and anticipation consistently, while throwing in something to be memorable, your chances of standing out from your competition increase exponentially. Standing out means more business on both sides of the desk!
What steps do you take to stand out — as an individual and as a company?
Let us know in the comments!