2. Define (and learn about) your target audience.
We can’t stress this one enough. Audience is everything.
Residents are real people with real interests, hobbies, and lifestyles. They’re looking for a building that aligns with all of those things and more. Take the time to learn about them because it’ll impact your ability to position your building as a place that they can call “home”.
Get started with some of these questions:
Who is your target audience?
What are the demographics?
What activities do they enjoy?
Where do they hang out?
Which social media platforms do they use?
How do they like to communicate?
What do they want out of their living space? Their community?
How does your location interact with demographics?
Don’t stop there: take what you learn about them and apply it to your marketing strategy.
By understanding your ideal resident, you’ll have the knowledge you need to communicate with them in the right place, at the right time, and with the right message. This is all critical to lead generation.
Audience insights can inform:
Content you produce
Channels or platforms you select
How you position your units, amenities, and location
For example, if you know that most of your audience is more active on Instagram than Facebook, then align your marketing strategy to include Instagram as a primary channel for organic posts or paid ads.
However you do it, make sure you get clear on who you want in your building and find ways to target those individuals.
3. Be conservative when projecting construction timelines.
Unit delivery and construction timelines are two of the biggest lease-up challenges. And what’s worse is that they’re both out of your control.
When looking at construction timelines, be conservative and assume there will be delays. Doing so could help you potentially avoid any timeline conflicts with future residents, like when a unit won’t be finished until after a future resident’s move-in date.
4. Stand out from your competition with excellent customer service.
While living spaces and amenities contribute to the tenant experience, sometimes unit finishes or luxury amenities are indistinct from building to building.
This is where your team can give you a competitive edge with superior customer service. A prospective tenant may not remember exactly which amenities you had compared to another building they toured, but they’ll remember how your team treated them and made them feel. That can go a long way in setting your building apart from the competition.
5. Make your team’s happiness and engagement a priority.
Burnout is common during lease-ups. Everyone’s working on all cylinders with heavy workloads and aggressive timelines. Needless to say, all of this pressure can create a stressful work environment.
Prioritize team engagement to raise morale, reduce turnover, and maintain strong performance against your goals.
How do you keep them going?
Celebrate all wins, big or small
This could be anything from signing one lease to celebrating occupancy milestones at 30%, 50%, 80%, and so on.
Maintain positive working relationships
Create opportunities for your team to connect outside of work
Encourage respect and listening
Remember: a happy team makes for happy residents.
6. Hold weekly meetings with every department in the room.
That includes sales/leasing, maintenance, assistants, concierges, and anyone else who is part of the lease-up team.
Lease-ups are massive projects and require a coordinated, all-hands-on-deck effort. Getting all of these folks in the same room creates:
Clear lines of communication
Collective awareness of project progress
Diverse perspectives for brainstorming and problem-solving
7. Hyperfocus on community building, resident engagement, and resident retention.
Resident engagement directly impacts resident retention. In fact, when a resident has at least one friend in the community, their likelihood to renew their lease increases by 9% (and continues to increase as the number of friends increases).
Being in a lease-up is advantageous because you have the opportunity to start engaging residents from the very beginning. Whether it’s a welcome gift, a resident event, or a discount at a nearby restaurant, creating a community in your building will ultimately increase your retention rate (and your bottom line).
Resident engagement = resident retention = NOI growth.
The key to getting started on this is to create opportunities for residents to meet each other. If you’re having a hard time balancing community building with other priorities, then lean on tools that allow for resident-led engagement.