Hyperlocal Marketing Offers Powerful Returns
Chicago restaurateur Michael Lachowicz has studied the mechanics of daily deals and applied what he calls a “surgical” strategy. In the past two years, he has run six Groupon deals, which have brought in $120,000 in revenue—an impressive figure, given the bad rap Groupon has gotten from some unimpressed small businesses.
The trick, says the chef-owner of Restaurant Michael, is putting restrictions around the deals—limiting when they can be redeemed and how many are available to purchase. With the revenue generated by these deals, Lachowicz built an addition onto his restaurant—and he says 30 percent of the people who’ve bought his coupons have turned into repeat customers.
At Street Fight, where we focus on hyperlocal marketing trends, we recently conducted a series of interviews with local merchants to find out why they’re turning away from print media, including yellow pages, and trying new advertising options like daily deals. We looked at the three most prominent hyperlocal marketing channels—including location-based services (like Foursquare) and hyperlocal publishing (like Patch), in addition to deals. The result is a new white paper, “The Local Merchant: Inside the Minds and Motivations of the Business Owners Driving a $43 Billion Market.”
We spoke in-depth with more than 50 small-business owners from across the country, whose annual revenue ranged from less than $100,000 to more than $5 million. In the survey, the largest group of respondents (those with annual revenue below $100,000) said they are just beginning to dip their toes into the water while keeping their spending on hyperlocal limited for the time being. Across the entire small- to midsize business (SMB) landscape, many have begun experimenting online—an estimated 70 percent of SMBs now use social networks for marketing, and 32 percent use check-in services like Facebook Places.
What we found is that just as merchants are feeling a squeeze on their budgets, these new platforms offer low or no upfront costs to launch a campaign. And, not surprisingly, because of the low barrier to entry, more of these businesses have begun taking an active role in their marketing activities.
“One of the good things about the daily deal phenomenon was that it really got the small business to think about marketing,” said Jonathan Dyke, COO of EDO Interactive. Dyke, who frequently works with small-business owners to develop performance-based marketing platforms, sees local online marketing in the midst of a rapid evolution: “When Groupon and company came along, you had alternatives. It really woke up a lot of merchants to think about their options. Now you have the second generation of the daily deal space, and that is more refined, more surgical, and has better economics—solutions to all the things that merchants were frustrated with in version 1.0.”
Our survey also indicated that merchants are only spending a small portion of their marketing budgets on hyperlocal, clearly pointing to the early days of experimentation and education. We’re not alone in expecting this market to grow in 2012 and 2013 as business owners become more familiar with hyperlocal channels and begin incorporating them more prominently into their marketing mix.
Noah Elkin, a principal analyst at eMarketer, believes that location-based technology in particular is poised for wider adoption by local marketers. “We are really at the very early stages of the adoption curve here in terms of location-based services,” says Elkin.
“One of the things that differentiates mobile devices—and smartphones in particular—from other devices is that they allow marketers to deliver on the things that make offers, content, and advertising much more relevant and compelling; location, context, behavior, and timeliness. I think [location] is going to play an increasingly important role,” he says. “As we have this increased adoption of smart devices, it is making it easier for consumers to move more in this direction.”
And as go the consumers, so go those who want to reach them.
“Local merchants have been the bread and butter of local media for decades. But as local media struggles and new technologies have emerged, hyperlocal marketing platforms are becoming not just more effective ways to attract the customers you want, but cheaper—and with clearer ROI too,” said Laura Rich , CEO of Street Fight.
For Immediate Release
Resident Places Offers Zero Cost, High Value Amenity to Multifamily Industry.
Philadelphia, PA FEB 13, 2012 – Resident Places is pleased to announce the launching of Residentplaces.com into the Philadelphia Marketplace. Now Philadelphia property managers can leverage the explosion of online coupons to enhance resident satisfaction without adding top line costs or increased work load on leasing staffs!
Resident Places is a zero cost amenity where residents receive valuable money saving offers from local businesses through a co-branded portal. These neighborhood deals are made available without any sales activity by leasing staffs or IT teams. Every coupon printed through the co-branded portal will include the name of the property, which expands the reach and audience of the community’s brand. Best of all, the cost of our program is covered by local advertisers. No recurring charges, no software upgrade charges, no per user charges.
For business owners, our unique offering gives access into a typically difficult advertising market – multifamily communities, with a low cost, high tech solution. Business owners can be sure that their marketing dollars are focused on potential customers who are immediately proximate to their location.
Resident Places President and Co-Founder, TJ Goulet, stated, “We are very excited to bring a high value, no cost amenity to the multifamily industry. Coupons offer a great benefit to residents and Residentplaces.com will give leasing offices a tool to connect with local businesses.” Exec VP & Co-founder Rob Remus added, “Resident Places is a perfect offering, adding real value to the rental experience for residents and by creating a bond between leasing offices and local businesses. It is the Spunkmeyer cookies of digital amenities.”
- People use coupons – $3.7 Billion worth were redeemed in 2010, 74% of coupon users search multiple coupon sources each week and one in four consumers made a special trip to a store just because they have a coupon in 2010.
- Matches target demographic – 76% of households that are enthusiastic about coupon usage have annual incomes in excess of $35,000.
- Digital Coupon use is exploding – 47% of Internet users will redeem a digital coupon in 2011, digital coupon redemption rose 268% in 2009 alone.
Source: NCH Marketing, Inc. and Nielsen Company – Homescan and Premove.com
Co-Founder and President TJ Goulet, has been a leader in sales and marketing for almost 30 years. His background includes both entrepreneurial endeavors as well as nationally recognized achievement with a Fortune 500 Company. He entered the local search and coupon industry in 2005, when he launched his first directory and coupon portal. In less than two years, he successfully added 2,500 paid advertisers distributing over 8,000 coupons monthly in the Western Philadelphia Suburbs. Rob Remus, Exec VP, has over 20 years executive experience in the multifamily industry as both an owner and a manager. Rob also Co-founded Apartment Solutions and was National Account Manager for industry newsletter provider Illustratus. The third founder, Michael Fortinberry has 18 years in multi-family technology. In 2007 while at AIMCO, then the largest owner of apartments in the US, Michael was named one of the top 5 executives under 40 in the multifamily industry. After tenure as President of one of RealPage’s operating divisions, Michael has helped launch several new multi-family technology companies ranging from eProcurement to environmental services.
For more information about Resident Places, please contact Contact Us.Read More
A quarter of all landlords have never used a coupon to lease up, are you one of them? Many that have tried to use coupons have given up…sound familiar? Fact is there isn’t a Groupon or Google Offers or a one-stop site for rental rebates, coupons or deals for renters. Tons of sites push time-shares, vacations and so on but little for consumers willing to commit in contract to spend $18,000 for 12-months (2 bedroom/modern averages).
If you are buying a car there are hundreds of websites dedicated to rebating and coupons – Why not Residential Multifamily?
How are the Lead Aggregators sorting out coupons? A quick review of MyNewPlace, ApartmentGuide and Rent.com illustrate and maintain some staple elements in the apartment ad presentation across the board. There are photos/videos, price ranges, details and a shopping basket (for lack of a better word). But to the point of couponing, ApartmentGuide lures you in with a “Current Rent Specials” button which opens up email communication with the apartment manager which seems like an unnecessary step instead of jut listing the move in specials. Rent.Com lists the special in a pop-up screen with “Move-In Specials”. Coupons have secured placement on the initial presentation – which is the most important take-away. In fact, I think most ads are incomplete without one. Consumers are expecting deals – so let’s give them one.
Coupons have come a long way since the days of printed ones attached to your apartment ad in the guide books. And those were a bit suspect because often potential residents were urged to retrieve the guide for the coupon as sales tactics by leasing staffs. Renter referral programs are great but really help the incumbent renter and not the prospective one. Our industry also offers current renter’s deals to release so all the existing forms of couponing are still in use today. However, online distribution, bar-coding and CRM campaigns are taking complete advantage of tracking our consumer’s fascination with coupons. Here are some quick tips for your campaigns.
- Whatever the deal is – Make sure all staff (leasing to maintenance) know about your current Coupon Deals. Nothings worse than a consumer inquiring about one and staff fumbling about the details. Consumer distrust of the value sets in.
- Keep our Coupons at a 15-day shelf life. End of the month too. Set incentives for your Leasing Staff to remarket old rental prospects and set urgency for new ones walking in the door.
- Learn or re-learn how to update and maintain your deals, specials and coupons on the lead aggregators and guides. Document it and make it handy. It’s the first thing to teach new staff on the first day. A poorly managed Coupon Program can hurt your reputation on apartmentratings.com. LOL! – Just what we all need but yet another thing for people to complain about.
- TRACK IT! Long gone are the days of the printed coupon stapled to the lease application being the end of the process. The tracking doesn’t stop there. Aggregate it on a spreadsheet. Compare what services are bringing you coupons; are their similarities in the applications, apartment sizes rented, what seasons which work better and so on.
- Treat your Coupon Programs like GOLD. After all, it’s money coming off your bottom-line. There should be an excitement around them. Prospects should use them and tell their friends. Renter referrals work that way and coupons are more viral. Ask the renters to use them to gloat about it in Facebook, Twitter and all. It’s a win-Win.
And the last tip – Remember the ABC’s of Leasing - Always Be Closing
About Resident Places
Resident Places is a zero cost amenity to residential and mixed use properties where residents receive valuable money saving offers from local businesses through a co-branded coupon portal. These neighborhood deals are made available without any sales activity by leasing staffs or IT teams. Every deal printed through the co-branded portal will include the name of the property and is shareable via social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, which expands the reach and audience of the community’s brand to their residents, prospects and area businesses. For business owners, our unique offering gives access into a typically difficult advertising market – multifamily communities, with a low cost, high tech solution.
All the pre-IPO discussions about Groupon’s business model and accounting methods didn’t seem to reduce the demand for that stock. I think Groupon will resolve the underlying issues and continue to develop their model to make huge profits off their distribution network…but that maturity process will take time.
Welcome to the public markets, Groupon.
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Since the start of the Great Recession of 2007, coupon usage has exploded here in the US. The idea that coupons are used by poor people or cheap people is being replaced with a vogue sense of intelligence and hipness by people that make money but still know a good deal when they see one. Apartment residents (AKA super consumers by marketers) are using them everyday and expect you to start soon.
Let’s review some recent statistics on their usage and growing popularity In 2010, marketers distributed more consumer packaged goods (CPG) coupons than the prior year, reaching 332 billion – the largest single-year distribution quantity ever recorded in the United States, exceeding last year’s prior record by 6.8% or 21 billion coupons.
Now we know why consumers like and use coupons but how about the businesses couponing. What do they get really? Here’s some great insight offered by WhaleShark Media – 80% of respondents say that coupons and promotion codes improve a company’s brand image, with 88 percent saying that they have positive feelings toward companies that offer coupons. Their study establishes a direct correlation between online coupons and increased consumer spending and reveals that online coupons and promotion codes drive new business and build brand for merchants. Is branding important in our industry?
Coupons and Daily Deals like Groupon and Living Social are becoming part of our society. The stigma associated with coupons has been lifted, for both consumers using a coupon and for businesses using coupons and daily deals to promote their business. No longer are coupons just for grocery stores and pizza places. Daily deals and expanded coupon distribution on the Internet and through social media has created an opportunity for non-consumer products and food. They will be used in Multifamily but Landlords have to do it right or it will get costly.
The changing culture has created a tremendous opportunity within the Multifamily Property Management Industry. Coupons are the next Craigslist! Over the next few months I will be writing a series of articles that will outline how the multifamily industry can turn coupons and there many applications into a great way to generate new lease applications, re-lease existing residents, increase social activity and best of all, greater profits for your properties. Stick with me and I’ll train you on how to create a incredible coupon program that benefits your bottom-line.