In a year when our community’s budgets are running with razor thin margins, we have to trim some fat, without sacrificing occupancy or service. Luckily, there’s an easy way to trim money from the budget, up our resident retention, and be eco-friendly all at the same time!
Your community newsletter is one of the most important resident retention tools, but, unfortunately, it's also one of the most under-utilized. Many communities send out a monthly/quarterly newsletter that has a little bit of relevant information on the front page, but the rest of the letter is brimming with space filling articles like recipes for chicken casserole or reminders about the postage price increase. Whenever we use a filler article, we are robbing ourselves of a valuable opportunity to connect with our residents! Instead of contracting out your newsletter to a company that doesn’t know your community, why not take a few moments to produce one in-house? Rather than giving residents a crossword puzzle that they won’t do, you could choose to view your newsletter as a chance to do some great marketing about up and coming events, mention some easy preventative maintenance tips, or even put your new residents in the know about local hot spots. It's important to get everyone involved in the process, from your maintenance to your leasing and all the way up to some notes from property manager's desk. When you make it a team effort and everyone has a stake in it, your employees are more likely to talk about the articles they wrote, and they're likely to be approached by your residents with questions or comments. Opening the door to communication is just one of the great things that can come from producing a newsletter in-house! Essential to the process is remembering that when we communicate with our residents, it's about presenting things in a positive tone and never nagging them with our newsletters.
You can either use a ready made service, such as Illustratus, that allows you to choose their articles or write your own, or you can choose cut even that cost with a program you might already have on your computer and a little quality time spent learning how to effectively use it. There are some very easy to use publishing programs already out there, ranging from something as simple as the text box tool in MS word to something as complex as MS publisher, and many of them offer the option of converting your product into an html, jpg, or other internet friendly file type allowing you to disperse an e-newsletter, rather than paying for a paper one. Not only does it cut our costs, but going green is a message we can all get behind. To simplify the process, you can also find a lot of free templates on line for ready made news letters where all your team has to do is fill in the content.
Most property management teams are bubbling with creativity, so embrace the unique talents in your office to produce something that rings true to your property! Remember: When We Connect, We Retain!