Print is not dead. It is in a state of remission. It has good days and bad days. It goes to the hospital every day to get a dose of internet support. If it doesn’t it will surely die. But with the healing powers of internet support, print advertising has managed to stay fairly healthy. In some cases it has proven to be the top producer of traffic to many apartment communities.
My advice to decision makers is simple: do your research, gather as much data as possible and create a customized advertising program for each apartment community individually. Refrain from making blanket advertising decisions. Create an individual advertising strategy and budget for each apartment community.
Blanket advertising decisions often include exclusivity in one print medium or another. For example, only advertising in Apartment Guide for print. What if one of your properties is better served by For Rent or Apartment Finder? Don’t limit your strategy with exclusive relationships. If you are effectively managing your print advertising you should have solid relationships with a sales rep or publisher from each of these publications. These people are very knowledgeable and can be a tremendous resource.
Continue to evaluate each ad’s effectiveness and determine if you are getting the most out of it. Sometimes it’s not necessarily the medium by which you advertise that isn’t effective, but the content you provide. Make sure you are effectively managing the content of your ads. Plan in advance what your ads communicate to prospects. Don’t wait until the deadline and settle for mediocre photography and copy. If you don’t have good photography yet, use stock photography until you have an opportunity to get high quality photos taken of your best features. If you don’t have an in-house marketing department, use a third party to make sure your words jump off the page. It will cost you a little more up front, but in the long run it should prove to be most cost effective.
Don’t give up on print yet. It still proves to be a proven source of traffic and leases in the apartment industry.