Whether you want to admit it or not, your competitors are out there, and they want your prospects and residents. Savvy community managers monitor not only what is being said about their own property but also what is being said about their competition. You don’t have to be a spy or feel like you are lurking in the background. There is loads of public information – including apartment reviews – available on the web. Start reading the information you can find and leveraging it to your advantage.
You want to find your competitor’s weaknesses and their areas of success. Apartment reviews give away glimpses of what it is actually like to live at a property. Really understanding how your competitors are leveraging reviews successfully (or unsuccessfully) can give you a better understanding of what marketing your prospects will be receptive to when looking for a new apartment. Review what works and what doesn’t work for the competition and you’ll be a step – or three – ahead in the game.
These three steps will help you gain an edge over your competition:
Compare yourself to your competitors
Try to be objective and really evaluate how your apartment community stacks up to the competition. Ask yourself some tough questions, answer honestly, and share the information with your team in an open discussion.
1. How do you both emphasize your value propositions? Are they clearly communicated?
2. What are their prices like compared to yours? If you are priced higher and have a similar product, you might need to find another way to sell value. Maybe it is a service guarantee program.
3. What are their calls to action, and how obvious are they? Do you think it works?
4. Who has better product photography? What about video?
5. What is their social media presence like? Check out which platforms they use and how often they interact with customers. Is it truly thoughtful engagement?
Fix any obvious problems
This might sound too obvious to even state, but it is often a challenge. You get used to seeing the little issues around your own property and become comfortable with it or even unaffected by it. It happens to all of us. Bring in a friend or a manager from a sister property and ask them to evaluate your tour path, leasing office, sales pitch, and even your model apartment. Review their findings with an open mind. This will help you get your property prospect-ready.
Develop a strategic edge
It is much more logical to focus on developing your own strengths rather than exploiting your competition’s weaknesses. It is also much nicer! If you notice that a competitor’s value offering is weak in a specific area, make a point to turn that area into one of your strengths.
By monitoring competitors on an ongoing basis, you get to know their behavior and can spot patterns. This allows you to anticipate what they will likely do next. With this information and knowledge, you can develop your own strategy to keep your prospects away from the apartment community down the street. In other words, keeping tabs on your competition is a great strategy for growing your business.
Do not lose what makes you unique. When we spend time trying to understand the competition, we become susceptible to emulating them. Stay true to your own values and business goals. Focus on being your very best.
Social Insight Thought Leader