Targeting millennial and post millennial residents
By now, you are probably tired of hearing about the needs, wishes, and realities of the millennial generation. The truth is that millennials are already running the show, and their younger counterparts, the post millennials, are fast on their heels. As thousands of baby boomers retire each year, millennials are quickly taking over as the dominant generation in today’s workforce.
Attracting residents from this thoughtful, well informed generation requires some changes or adaptations to your offerings or marketing efforts as a property manager. For starters, unlike Gen X or the Boomers of yesterday, millennial and post millennial people are going to find your property online, and they are going to initiate and carry out all of their first interactions with you via email or text. They are also going to be as well informed as you can imagine. Millennials grew up with information at their fingertips, and they research everything from dining and lodging choices to movie and book reviews. You can bet they are going to look thoroughly into anything they can find about your property.
We’ve assembled a few ideas and thoughts to help you connect and build relationships with millennial and post millennial renters. While some of it may be a challenge, it’s important to remember that you need to engage your potential clients in a way that works for them, and you need to offer the things they are looking for, or they will simply look elsewhere. These folks are today’s hardworking employees and business owners, and they are reshaping their world to better match their collective image of the future. Simply put, get on board, or get left behind.
Engaging and Relationship Building
You have probably heard jokes about millennials never knowing what the “phone” function on their iPhones does. It’s largely true. Many people born between 1980 and 1999 have little-to-no interaction on the phone. Their younger, post millennial friends use the phone even less. And yet, their faces are always buried in those screens. So, what are they doing? Messaging.
The application or format of the message varies. Sometimes it’s texting, but often they’re communicating on chat platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat. Email is almost as archaic as snail mail as far as the youngest adults are concerned. So how do you tap into these closed channels to promote your property and connect with potential clients? Easy, you use the apps.
Digital interactions need to be as measured and professional as personal or phone interactions would be, so hire the help you need to engage and connect on these platforms if it’s not a strength for you.
Let the potential resident determine the method with which they want to communicate. If they email you, do not call them back. Email them back. You should make it as easy as possible for them to have a simple question answered or to inquire about vacancies. You might consider a chat function on your website, so that interested people can ask questions without having to give you any info on themselves, like their email, phone number, or even name. You can capture all that later, after you have piqued their interests.
Managing Your Digital Reputation
Younger renters are going to perform thorough research. They are going to look for reviews and ratings of your property. They will likely seek out your company on multiple social media platforms to read comments and to see how you interact with people. In other words, how your property is represented online matters greatly.
For starters, treat social media interactions with the care needed. They are public interactions. Many times, a question comes into your Facebook page or appears in the comments under a post. How do you approach answering it? For starters, you have to remember that this is being read by everyone who looks over your page currently and anyone who visits your pages and posts well into the future. A botched customer service interaction doesn’t go away. In fact, it often turns into a poor rating on Yelp, Facebook, or some other forum, and for years to come, anyone who looks at that review will ask you about it, or worse, pass up on your property in search of one in better digital repute.
Publish and promote the things you want people to see. One way to make sure people are reading good things about you is to promote and publish content regularly. Then, when they search for you, they see your blogs, photos, videos, or posts. This becomes their first impression of you, and it’s a lasting one. They might even overlook a bad review they stumble upon later, because they trust and enjoy your online personality already.
Promoting the Right Things
So what do millennials and post millennials want in a property? How can you entice them? We’ve written before about offering the proper mix of amenities to attract today’s renters, so we’ll be brief here.
Don’t assume you know what someone wants. Especially someone of a different generation. Instead, ask them what they want. You have all these social and digital platforms, and you are now interacting well with your potential renters on these platforms, so take a moment to ask them what they are looking for and what they would like to see offered. It sounds simple because it is simple. Engage your audience with great customer service and then ask that captive, interested audience what you can do to entice them to your property.
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