In the age of digital-first marketing, traditional marketing strategies sometimes become an afterthought for real estate brands. But even if a prospect’s connection with your brand begins in the digital realm, the physical realm is where it reaches its fullest form, and savvy real estate marketers are always looking for ways to bridge that gap.
Branded promotional items are one great way to connect with prospects and residents beyond the digital sphere. Whether it’s branded apparel displaying your community logo or a handy multitool featuring your community tagline, branded swag helps you make a lasting impression that residents and prospects can literally take with them as they consider where to live or whether to renew their lease.
But not all swag is created equal. In fact, most of us in our time have received some branded trinket or other gift that we found completely useless and immediately threw in the trash. How do you ensure your marketing dollars are well spent on promo that makes an impact rather than being wasted on empty gestures that go unappreciated? The following tips can help you use swag to maximum effect, earning more attention, loyalty, leases, and renewals.
Surprise & Delight With Unique Branded Items
Everyone offers T-shirts, mugs, and magnets, so try standing out from the competition with something uniquely tailored to your community. While these standbys are popular for their universal appeal and cost-effective pricing, sometimes you’ll make a bigger impact by offering something unexpected.
Consider including something that your audience will use often, whether at your community or in the surrounding neighborhood. For example, if your community is located somewhere hot, consider branded sunglasses or even sunshades for their car windshield. Or if you’re located near great golf courses, consider a branded cap clip and ball marker combo. If your community features a lot of pet-friendly amenities, a branded pet bandana or chew toy could be the perfect touch. Think about what your key differentiators are and what your audience is likely to actually use and appreciate.
Go All Out on a Giveaway Prize
There are lots of ways to run a giveaway that encourages new leases, renewals, referrals, or social engagement from residents and prospects. Branded giveaways give you the opportunity to splurge on swag that is truly special without spending all your marketing dollars trying to include everyone.
Branded messenger bags, coolers and camping gear, travel bags and tags, laptop sleeves, portable chargers, bluetooth headphones, and other items on the pricier side can become great swag for a lucky giveaway winner.
Plus, giveaways are great opportunities for social media content. Remind prospects and/or residents about giveaway deadlines and generate buzz by posting about it on your social media accounts, then showcase your winner by posing for a picture with them when they pick up their prize (with their permission, of course). You might even choose to incorporate social engagement into the giveaway rules, requiring people to share, tag, follow, or comment in order to be entered for a chance to win.
Turn New Residents Into Brand Advocates With Welcome Packages
A welcome kit with branded swag is the perfect way to wow new residents and make them feel at home in their new apartment. Marketing shouldn’t end when the lease is signed, after all. Delivering an excellent move-in experience helps turn new residents into natural brand advocates, leading them to share their experience with others in person and online. That means you get word-of-mouth marketing, a great online reputation, and maybe even direct referrals that contribute to higher occupancy rates. Of course, happy residents are more likely to renew their lease as well, and retaining residents is far more cost-effective than what you’ll spend on getting new leads in the door.
A little thoughtfulness can go a long way when putting together your welcome package. Consider what someone would enjoy receiving as a housewarming gift. It could be magnets for the fridge, a nice set of coasters, or a mug. It could even include a customized 12-month calendar featuring photos from the community (and the resident’s move-in date marked on it, for bonus points, plus any upcoming community events you may have planned). Including something for their pet too, if they’re moving in with one, can sometimes be the most heartwarming option of all! Pet toys, bandanas, bag dispensers, brushes, and food and water bowls can all be customized with your branding and included in your welcome kit.
Support a Worthy Cause Your Residents Care About
Branded swag can provide unique ways to showcase what’s important to your brand and demonstrate to prospects that you share their values. For example, a branded compost bin or plantable postcards with wildflower seeds can demonstrate your support for sustainability goals like reducing waste and supporting local bee populations. Branded reusable shopping bags and reusable straws (made of metal or bamboo) are also good options.
Start by doing some research on the causes that are important to your target audience, be it sustainability, supporting local artists, animal rights, education, or other causes. Some causes are more challenging than others to show your support for through branded swag, but this can also become useful inspiration for future resident events and partnerships with local organizations.
Boost Brand Awareness With Swag for Employees
Residents and prospects are typically the first priority when it comes to swag, but don’t forget that employees can be your best brand advocates! Giving your employees branded apparel can be a great way to boost brand awareness in your community, especially when worn at events like housing fairs, grand openings, or bring-a-friend resident events.
Plus, the more you reward your management and maintenance staff, the better your resident experience will typically become. That’s because employees who feel appreciated are more passionate about the communities they serve and better equipped to create positive resident experiences that lead to great online reviews and referrals. Plus, their interactions with prospects will be marked by genuine enthusiasm that becomes infectious, leading more prospects to begin an application.