5. MARKETING:

Another branding essential you cannot overlook is on-site and off-site marketing.

It is everything from curb appeal to banners to flags… to balloons. It is what you do to draw the prospect into the community. It usually is very visual or promotional, and must also be connected to your image or brand.

Temporary marketing usually refers to a lease-up. This is a promotional time segment in order to reach a particular occupancy goal. It may be for financial reasons, performance, or in order to achieve an attractive asset for a property sell.

Whatever the reason, communities need a strategy that attracts prospects and lease-up quickly. There are, however, several challenges with promotional materials. Let’s look at the pros & cons of marketing materials and how to make them work.

There are two types of promotional marketing… On-Site and Off-Site.

The Essential 6 - Marketing

On-Site Marketing

Banners/Avenue Banners
The most popular on-site marketing is banners. They are usually inexpensive, quickly produced, and can be placed on a fence, building, or freestanding poles. Banners are typically the “go-to” solution. But banners have also evolved. They can be attractively framed on a building or even utilized as an upscale avenue banner on lightpoles or fences. Even mesh materials have been introduced to fight the intense winds that can quickly destroy banners. This allows the banner to breathe instead of restricting the wind.

Building Wraps
During construction or regular operation, building wraps can grab attention like nothing else. Unlike banners, these are very large and encompassing. They can be made of mesh material so they cover a larger area, including windows! The mesh allows graphics to be seen from the street yet ensures residents can easily see out their windows… Graphics can be bold, much larger and less restrictive compared to banners.

Trailer Wraps/Window Graphics
In urban areas during lease-up, we suggest you wrap a leasing trailer with graphics. This grabs the attention of the passerby, directs them and creates excitement. Graphics make a trailer unique and exceptional when using your established brand. If you have space in your under-construction building, illuminate it with window graphics and enhance with air-filled balloons, temporary parking bandits and other marketing items. In urban city areas where space is limited, window graphics are a fantastic way to promote! When you need a temporary leasing office but don’t have your building, utilizing another building within walking distance of construction may also be an option. You can add window graphics, building wraps and bandit directionals to lead them to your door!

Fence/Wall Graphics
Occasionally a city will allow multiple graphics on a fence or wall surrounding a community under construction. It is a great opportunity to replace the otherwise ugly construction mess with a vision of what life will look like at the new community. Branding and colors should, of course, be incorporated. As in all marketing, whether off-site or on-site, must connect with all other advertising and branding. It makes for an undisputable impression that is truly unforgettable.

Temporary Marketing Signs
Freestanding marketing signs are very popular when a community is under construction. Usually made of wood with printed graphics, they often announce the upcoming opening with a phone number or contact info, so leasing can start an interest list. Cities may restrict sizes but these are usually standard and, in some areas, do not require a permit. The trick is positioning the sign in the best location for optimum viewing. You must be careful also not to place the sign where construction vehicles can destroy them.

Balloons
For years, helium-filled balloons have been a typical practice in promoting any real estate property. Color and motion attract the eye. However, the balloon cost is on-going with expensive helium tanks and daily balloon replacements. In addition, helium-filled balloons only last a few hours and almost instantly lose their luster. It was one of the reasons Robinson Creative started offering air-filled balloons through BalloonsOnAStick.com. Air-filled is the new way to display balloons! No more replacing balloons daily or awkward helium tanks. Air-filled options also maintain their luster and are available in interior or exterior clusters, columns, light pole bunches, ceiling drops and more. See all the air-filled options at: Balloons On A Stick!

Flags & Other Options
The old standby, when cities don’t allow balloons or banners, or even bandit signs, has been an American flag and/or logo flags. If these are your only option, the movement and color will help attract some attention. But make sure you position them behind your identity. Try not to compete with monument signage – always enhance it. Curb appeal is always evolving with new products. For example, we really love the new air-filled balloon options. Try to avoid too many bandit signs, obnoxious flags or inflatables as they quickly can turn the signature branding you have worked so hard to achieve into a used car lot!

Off-Site Marketing

“Building familiarity with a target market is as simple as displaying your company’s name, logo and message near a busy road.”

– Startup Nation

Temp Off-Site Marketing Signs
Some cities allow off-site signs. This means if you work a deal with the owner of the lot next to a busy intersection or freeway, you could place a marketing sign on their land. Even though your community isn’t located on the lot, it only takes a letter from the owner for the city to approve – other codes may apply. However, even if you work a lease deal with the landowner, it could potentially open your community to more visibility.

Kiosks
Billboards work great for large traffic awareness and are fantastic as a directional off the freeway. If you are located close to a freeway or interstate and directions are simple, you may want to think about outdoor advertising to direct potential residents. Just know billboards can be very expensive, (depending on traffic flow counts) and you must sign, at least, a six-month contract. The biggest mistake people make is putting too much info on a billboard. There is an art to designing outdoor advertising. Remember, traffic travels at 50 – 70 mph on many interstates. Too much information will not be read. However, rush hour could be your friend!

“Since billboards are generally placed along highways and busy streets, you’ll be guaranteed that people will see your advertising. Also, unlike with commercials or magazine ads, you cannot flip the channel or turn the page on a billboard. Therefore, people will notice the billboard whether they like it or not.”

– Chron

Use Marketing To Pull In Traffic!

Utilize the above options to attract attention and guide prospects to your door. Always remember your brand and consider it when marketing.

When ordering balloons or flags and other stock items, work hard to find colors that work with your brand. These can be contrasting or complimentary colors so they pop and draw attention, without clashing with your established theme. Also, holidays are a great excuse to bring in new colors and celebrate! It says to potential clients that this is a fun place and residents enjoy the celebration too. In addition, holidays are a natural and warm way to welcome them in. Use the holiday as a special promotion opportunity with holiday colors and themes.

City Restrictions/HOA

City codes, Home Owner Associations and Architectural Review Committees can be very restrictive when it comes to on-site marketing. Research and find which items the city will allow. You also may need to check with your area HOA or ARC as they restrict promotional items in a given sub-division or planned development. Sometimes, they may allow certain items like banners for a 30-day time limit or bandit signs only on weekends.

Many clients may choose to place temporary marketing and ask forgiveness later. Just know there may be fines associated with your decision. You must decide if it is worth the extra traffic and expense.

See MORE Marketing Ideas in the RC Gallery.

Continue to Number 6: Essential 6: Reachout!

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