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Marketing: The Earlier The Better

AMA Newsroom ,

The Earlier The Better!

Inspiration for Holiday Marketing by Elaine Simpson

 

Having your own holiday marketing theme needs to be planned ahead and kicked off early no matter which holiday you are planning for.  Creativity and effort spent on marketing campaigns help you stand out from the crowd.  While it might seem odd to plan early for a holiday, it isn’t!  The earlier the better!  For example, if Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and your community is in a colder climate, if you fail to fill vacancies by Thanksgiving you may have an occupancy challenge on your hands. 

Emotions drive actions so get emotional with your marketing.  Holidays instill powerful memories into everyone’s minds so enticing them with fun seasonal marketing is a great way to connect.  There are many ways to have fun and spread the cheer throughout your marketing campaigns. 

We offer the following actionable and easy to apply ideas:

  1. If you want FaceBook to be an effective tool for holiday marketing, you may have to invest in FaceBook Ad Campaigns to target the right audiences and create the right message.  Use information you gleaned from your recent resident surveys so you can be “highly specific” using features and filters such as geographic location, marital status, income, and age to ensure the right people see your ad then ensure your content will give them a reason to take action, pick up the phone or provide an email address.

  2. Create a holiday themed landing page for your website with holiday content.

  3. Film an exciting and fun holiday video.  Use your staff members and involve your existing residents.  If you have the budget for it, use a professional, but if not, your more advanced smart phones applications might be the ticket.

  4. Video is the new trend for content marketing so create a holiday themed video about your community.  Share it using your social media channels, post it on your “About” page and use parts of it in your signature.  Sharing is a form of referral so create valuable content then encourage prospects and residents to share your posts, articles, video, photos, etc. If a share results in a new lease, give them a referral discount on their next month’s rent.

  5. Looking for video content?  Try asking local musical artists to allow you to record them for a virtual holiday event.  Think choirs, bell ringers, carolers, harpists, etc.

  6. Use your staff members and create gift-making or decorating tutorials.

  7. Run holiday e-mail campaigns.  Pay close attention to your email subject lines when marketing for the holidays to connect in their inboxes.  Instilling urgency is still a great strategy so try it in your subject lines too.

  8. Create a social charity campaign and give prospects and residents a cause to raise donations while building relationships and community ties.  Utilize press releases to inform the greater metropolitan community of the campaign.

  9. Organize a Secret Santa Giveaway in December with several small gifts and one really big and exciting one like a $1,000 gift card or big screen smart TV and don’t forget to include an ugly Christmas sweater or two.

  10. Print up some attractive themed T-shirts with your community name and logo on them and use them as prizes and move-in gifts.

  11. Create places to share holiday recipes, virtual or real.  Consider creating a community cookbook from the shared recipes.  How about sharing holiday photos, stories and other seasonal content such as musical play lists?  Our goal is to generate feelings of goodwill and togetherness.

  12. Don’t forget about your regular display ads.  Put those paid advertising reps to work and ask them to put pressure on their designers to create several festive and entertaining display ads to choose from.  You want your ads to be relatable, entertaining and festive all at once.

  13. Write, update and post your holiday-themed Craigslist ads using high quality photos.

  14. We can still offer free gift wrapping, with a twist.  Post your wrapping paper, ribbon and tag choices and allow residents to make appointments to drop off and pick up their gifts.  Do this for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas!

  15. If your community is allowed to offer incentives, get creative with those too.  Have you ever considered offering Amazon Prime subscriptions?  If not, try it.  Ordering online is now the norm.

  16. Include your previous prospects that did not rent with you in your holiday marketing campaigns.  Reach out to them again using all of your channels.  Retailers call this tactic “remarketing” and it works!

  17. Remember small acts of personalized kindness towards your residents make a huge impact and can strengthen relationships… and those are free!

Keep following CDC guidelines.  As the CDC says, many traditional holiday activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses.  The CDC listed activities in three categories of risk:  high, moderate and low.   It appears their approach is trying to balance science with personal freedom.  Basically, they want us to avoid the 3 C’s:  1. Crowded places; 2. Close-contact settings and 3. Confined and enclosed spaces. Visit their website to review safer alternatives for all upcoming holiday activities at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

Lower risk holiday activities include having a small dinner with only people who live in your household.  Prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors and deliver them in a way that does not involve contact or hold a virtual dinner party.  Shop after holiday sales online and not in person.  Stay home to watch sports, parades and movies.

Higher risk activities include large indoor celebrations.  Participating in crowded indoor gathering or events is discouraged.  Avoid having large dinner parties with people from different households coming from different geographic locations.  Avoid using alcohol or drugs which can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.

Holidays help us maintain our sense of rituals and “normalcy” during a not so normal time.  Whatever you decide to do, stay safe and make it fun!