Discovering your ideal resident profile (IRP) is the best way to create a community that can align its branding with its audience—and be successful. But how can you determine your resident demographics? Why do you want to spend the time doing it? What’s the IRP really for?
How to Dive Into Resident Demographics
Ready to understand the thoughts behind every decision of your enigmatic residents? Behavioral demographics and psychographics during the Research & Discovery phase are the most important stats we can obtain from customers (residents in our case). It’s what drives your brand message—or should, at least.
However, resident demographics aren’t as easy or simple as a one-page report. You also need to learn about your ideal resident. This will allow you to profile them completely, and predict their next move so you can be two steps ahead.
Write up some quirky surveys and toss them into the digital wild and see what happens. Quirky? Ask about hobbies, dreams, and whether they think their pet goldfish can read minds.
Survey Tools: We like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey.
STALK VIA SOCIAL MEDIA (LEGALLY!)
Time to really go for the gold. Plunge headfirst into the social media abyss. Take a look and see what they like, share, comment on, and don’t be creepy about it. Just take note and try to piece together patterns. Think of it this way: It’s like investigative journalism in the digital age—and it’s helping your business offer them something they want, eventually.
Social Media Shortcuts: Searching location pins for nearby attractions can help you locate the people you’re looking for!
GOOGLE ANALYTICS WIZARDRY
Abra-ca-dabra! Unleash the absolute magic of Google Analytics on your website. When you’ve got the data, you’ve got the power. You can peek into the pages they frequent, the mystical paths they tread, and the secrets they’re seeking out. This means you can up the ante on whatever pages you see they’re visiting, focus on providing the answers they’re looking for, and finding ways to guide them where you want them to go. A little A/B testing on your site (think different CTA buttons) could be useful as a little practical magic, too.
Google Analytics Tips: This Google page on Google Analytics for beginners will get you off on the right foot.
You don’t have to do all the research on resident demographics yourself. Look for reports in the multifamily housing realm. You’ve just hit a treasure trove when you pore over those juicy industry insights. When you know you’ve got reputable sources, you know you’ve got something useful and helpful in narrowing down the best versions of your IRPs.
Our favorite industry report sources:
- NMHC – Free Insights and Annual Renter Preferences Report
- Cushman & Wakefield – Free Insights
- Zillow – Data
- U.S. Census Bureau
- Prizm Premier/Claritas Segmentation – Behavioral Data
Like surveys, but less clicky and more chatty. Gather with your residents when you schedule some casual interviews. Find out more about their lives. Figure out what drives them, what their desires are. Ask about their favorite pizza toppings (keep it casual!) When you have a few customer interviews under your belt, you might see some patterns throughout the answers. It can help you determine how to reach your next group of prospects through targeted branding and messaging.
Tip: Our blog about stock photography use in branding cites a real-life focus group that led to some pretty interesting results.
ONLINE FORUMS AND GROUPS
If you thought social media was a weird little place, buckle up. Join online forums and groups to get an inside look where users bare their souls. Discussions will tell you a lot more than any one-sheet data page will.
Tools: Reddit and specialized forums on various sites, like Houzz are a treasure map.
PURCHASE DATA DELIGHT
Don’t duplicate efforts. You can go fancy and purchase resident demographic data from market research companies. It’s what they do, and their charts, graphs, and numbers will give you the special sauce for the branding efforts that will reach your IRP.
Don’t just research your audience, or your ideal residents. Take a look at what your competition is doing. Be a savvy entrepreneur, and match or exceed what they’re doing. If they’re effectively wooing those residents who are so elusive, take a page from their book! You’ll be able to see where you’re falling short, where you’re absolutely killing it, and how your market functions.
Mailchimp actually has a pretty good work flow here for competitor analysis. Happy competing!
HANG OUT WITH THEM
Suddenly business and pleasure actually do work well together. Be a party crasher at local events. Blend in, strike up conversations, and play detective. Learn more about the neighborhood by actually visiting the hot spots in the area, and enjoy the schmoozing while you go around (lightly) boozing. Talk about the inside edition!
See our post on the importance of location in branding. It’s so hot right now.
What’s the bottom line here with the ideal resident profile? Do the work. Do the research. Have fun doing it (and find a few shortcuts along the way). And then apply it to your branding. When you know your audience, you can tailor your branding and messaging to meet their preferences, hopes, and dreams—and whether they’re a fan of dogs or cats.