Lease-Up PR: Reach and Results for Residential Real Estate

March 15, 2016

Selling an exciting and appealing lifestyle has become the sweet spot of modern marketing: associate your product, experience, service or space with a desirable lifestyle and chances are you’ve got a winner.

Digital platforms and multi-media content marketing strategies have made this strategy even more effective.

When people think “dynamic lifestyle” – they often think about living spaces above all else. That means there is tremendous opportunity to enhance the marketing programs for new living spaces by focusing on the overall lifestyle a new project represents, as opposed to just the features within four walls of a unit.

O’Neill and Associates has created a specialty PR practice that supports the marketing of higher-end as well as middle-market multifamily (multiunit) residential housing developments. We’ve been calling it “lease-up PR” because the objective is very simple: help the developer, project owner, and management company lease all of the apartment units as quickly as possible. Rapid lease-up of a new project is critical to meeting and exceeding financial goals on a multi-family housing development. Falling short of those goals means more carrying costs and less profit on the overall deal. And a project only gets to be “new” once – so you need to make the most of a small window of opportunity.

Lease-up PR creates storylines, media pitches, digital and social media content that robustly supports other marketing efforts to get apartments in these newly developed projects leased up. We build those around the project’s amenities and the lifestyle it offers; the design features and culture of the property; the demographic that is being targeted; and the features of the surrounding community when it comes to nightlife, shopping, dining and culture. Every community has exciting and unique features that make it desirable. Don’t just talk about “location.” Entice your audience with proximity to the experiences and amenities they want. Today’s renters – especially millennials – are looking for a complete experience when they choose a new living space. Give them that and you’ve got a big advantage over competitors using only traditional marketing techniques.

Premium earned-media placements and digital/social content with high levels of engagement are critical. But that’s really just the beginning. Success is ultimately measured by signed leases – and responsibility for that is jointly held by all members of the marketing team. The sales team and leasing agents are the true closers. An excellent PR program and content marketing effort will help deliver a steady stream of prospects to a project’s marketing office.

Measuring success is critical. Good PR programs MUST be a key player in delivering bodies through the door in the form of people coming in to take a tour of the project and look at a model unit. They must deliver marketing web site visits and click-through engagements; and they must deliver phone calls to the marketing center and new appointments for tours of the property.

The practice we have built is based on repeat business from successful engagements. Good lease-up PR delivers clicks, visits, appointments and tours. The correlation is easily identified when a new media piece or social media content push enters the public realm. Those engagements lead to appointments, followed by closed deals on leases.

And that, after all, is the bottom line.

Cosmo Macero Jr. is a Senior Vice President in the O’Neill and Associates’ communications practice. To discuss PR and content strategies that enhance marketing programs for multi-unit residential projects, email or call 617-646-1017.

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