Apartment Marketers Hop On The Digital Coupon Trend
The word “coupon” might bring to mind inserts in the Sunday newspaper, but it’s no longer necessary to pull the scissors out of the drawer in this world driven by mobile devices. Thirty-one billion digital coupons will be redeemed worldwide within the next five years, according to Factbrowser, and apartment marketers are using this trend to their advantage.
Ryan Perez, Vice President of Marketing for Landmark Apartment Trust, started using digital coupons this year in some of the company’s more sluggish markets where a little extra help was needed. She’s run coupon specials in Dallas; Austin, Texas; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; and Jacksonville, Fla.
Landmark Apartment Trust will rotate one coupon through five different communities in Jacksonville every 30 days, and Perez says she’s seen benefits as a result.
“We’ve had a pretty good response rate,” Perez says. “We have seen a spike in online and walk-in traffic that correlates to when we’re running the coupon specials. It’s an easier add-on for the properties to follow because we don’t always anticipate the occupancy highs and lows and when they may need extra help.
Rotating the coupons between communities in a given market also has helped manage costs for Landmark Apartment Trust. Often, the communities that need the extra help are the same ones that can’t afford it. Rotating allows them to break up the costs.
Other apartment communities are using digital coupons to assist in the marketing of lease-up communities.
Kim Swanigan, Business Manager at JMG Realty’s Veridian Spring Apartments, in the Atlanta area, credits the use of digital coupons with helping to move 22 people into the lease-up community last month.
“”We had a goal of 16 move-ins for last month, but for the Atlanta area during the month of October, even that goal number was a little high for us,” Swanigan said.
The key to a successful marketing campaign with digital coupons is to be specific, according to Crystal Tolen, Regional Property Supervisor with Case and Associates Properties.
“Whether you’re offering $700 off the first month’s rent or a free month of rent, you have to specify this in the coupon,” Tolen says. “I think if you’re ambiguous, it’ll turn people off. If you’re on the Internet, you want the information right then rather than having to call and see what the special is.”
Tolen has been using Apartment Finder’s On-Demand Coupon for lease-up communities for the past several months.
Marcia Bollinger, President of Apartment Finder, concurs with the need to be specific in digital coupons. Bollinger has been monitoring what works and what doesn’t since the company launched its On-Demand Coupon earlier this year
“You want to have a compelling tagline, along with a limited time offer that has a specific expiration date,” Bollinger says. “This will help create a sense of urgency.”
While Tolen has seen success offering coupons for discounted rent, Perez has been running portfolio promotions for items such as a Kindle Fire or iPhone.
Regardless of what the coupon offer is for the month, Perez is mindful of keeping her onsite staff aware of the latest marketing efforts.
“I go through once a month and grab screenshots of the coupons… and make sure that the onsite staff sees it,” said Perez. “Visibility and communication help the site associates become more engaged and aware of their advertising sources.”