Even the most modest budgets can help drive traffic
There was a time when only professionals and partners could help you market and promote your property. You either hired someone with the knowledge and expertise to create a marketing strategy and an advertising plan, or your forged relationships and utilized referrals through networking partnerships. In that age, chambers of commerce and local newspapers were still relevant, reliable options for growing your referral network and reaching your local audience.
And then, seemingly overnight, everything we thought we knew went out the window, right?
Not exactly. With the introduction of free or nearly free marketing channels, also known as social networks, we finally have a way to build and connect with a global audience. But that doesn’t mean that marketing and advertising have gotten any easier. To the contrary, with every business, organization, and individual holding a virtual megaphone, the volume is now so loud it is a real wonder any one company can reach their intended audience.
Add to all that the fact that younger, media savvy folks navigate around advertising through blockers and hiding in social feeds, it has become more affordable and more difficult than ever to effectively market your property.
Or has it? If we zoom out and focus on proven marketing strategy techniques, the path to reaching, enticing, and maintaining an audience has never been easier. You just have to know what to do and what traps to avoid.
Before You Create a Facebook Page
You get to the office on the day you have scheduled to build or fix your property’s marketing strategy and what is the first thing you do? If you are like most out there, you create a Facebook page. It’s the free way to reach potential residents, and it’s the largest network available. You should have a page, just not yet.
Starting your strategy by opening a social networking profile and filling it with posts to entice your audience is like deciding to advertise your property by printing a flyer off and dropping them in a pile somewhere in town. No one is looking, No one cares. And worst of all, if they see your name on all this junk, they are not going to make very positive assumptions about your property.
An effective strategy involves a campaign. Before you create a single login, take several days to strategize about what kind of content would appeal to the audience you are trying to reach. Then, think about how you would like potential residents to view your property. That’s the voice and tone you will use in all your communications.
Once you have your voice, your target audience, and the beginnings of a plan for creating and sharing the type of content that would appeal to your audience, you are finally ready to open those social networking pages.
Start With Facebook
It is still the biggest. And since your property is not likely to be filled exclusively by folks in their very early twenties, it’s still the most effective and egalitarian of platforms. Don’t start buying ads and boosting posts right away, though. Use the platform the way it was intended. Share and connect with a steadily growing audience by telling the stories you have brainstormed during the strategy phase.
If you went to an old school chamber of commerce mixer to meet fellow business owners to grow your network of referrals, you would not plaster strangers with information about yourself. You would listen to them, give them a bit of what they want to hear, and slowly build a relationship. Then you would ask them to send business your way.
Social networks are about two-way relationships. Nothing is as valuable as the information you will gather about your audience as you learn more about your followers. Listen carefully, and use what you hear to inform how you connect and build relationships with your virtual network.
So you have your strategy. You have a voice and an idea of what your audience is looking for. Now, offer that content in creative, fun, or informative ways. Always give your audience something that will make them laugh, learn, or think.
And tailor your message to match the platform. What looks good on Instagram does not connect as well on Twitter or Pinterest. You don’t have to be everywhere, but once you do choose a channel with which to advertise, you need to match the message to the platform.
To tell the same story in different ways across each platform, you do have to get a little creative. But you have a firmly understood strategy, and you know what your audience wants, so most of the hard work is done. Now, you can have fun posting videos, articles, and blog posts that help your audience to laugh or learn as their connection to you and your property strengthens.
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