By Pamela Alton
Is it me, or do the seasons seem to fly by these days? Here we are in the midst of winter, with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming upon us faster than any of us seem prepared for. Now is the time to think about "specialty marketing," which will incorporate these holidays and perhaps make your facility stand out above your competition.
Now is the time to think about a canned-food drive for needy families in your community. Contact your local church, chamber of commerce, homeless shelther, etc., and inform them that you wish to participate in a canned-food drive. You may elect to offer a small reward to your existing tenants. If they bring in so many canned goods, you will give them $5 off their rent for that month. New rentals should also receive some sort of discount if they bring in goods at the time of their rental.
Have a big box decorated with holiday themes and place it in front of your office for donations. Post notices throughout the facility so current tenants know about your efforts. You might also consider offering a "free turkey" drawing: Each person who contributes canned goods or other nonperishable food items fills out a form for a drawing on a $25 gift certificate for a local grocery store. Offering a $10 grocery gift certificate on each new rental is also a great marketing tool during this time of year. And don't forget to have that special banner made and hung on your building or sign that notifies the public you are collecting canned goods. Be sure to notify your local media as well.
Christmas, Hanukkuh, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice...
This time of year is perfect for your local "Toys for Tots" campaign. Contact your local Marine Corp and volunteer to participate in its program. A local children's hospital is another good place to contact. Similar to the canned-food drive, get a large barrel or box, wrap it in festive paper and place it in your front office. Again, post notices throughout your facility with information about the drive. You may also elect to offer a free drawing for a ham or turkey, like you did at Thanksgiving.
Other ideas include some creative promotions. Purchase several small Christmas trees and give them away with each new rental. Offer a "Photo With Santa" promotion each Saturday afternoon in December and announce it on your outside advertising, sign and fliers. This will bring in existing tenants, as well as prospects who might not have otherwise visited your site.
Make sure with any specialty promotion that you mention it in your telephone sales presentation. Any community involvement should be noted with your local newspaper, which may include a press release in its community section. This is a free service offered by most newspapers and will provide you priceless exposure.
This is the time of year when specialty marketing will pay off for you and your facility--as long as you promote your efforts with advertising, fliers and banners. If you don't notify the local community of your efforts, then you aren't making the most of your time and energy. Start decorating for the holidays and thinking of ways to reach out to those in need. Happy Holidays!
Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management®, a nationwide manager- placement service. Mini-Management also offers full-service and "operations-only" facility management, training manuals, inspections and audits, feasibility studies, consulting and training seminars. For more information, call (800) 646-4648.