Urbane Apartments turns rental business into new media start-up

Managing apartment buildings isn’t just
about helping people move and fixing the occasional leaky pipe. It’s
also about finding people to put into those units, a job that spurred a
whole new revenue source for Urbane Apartments.

Digital Sherpa, the downtown Royal Oak-based firm’s marketing arm, and
The Urbane Way, its blog,
focus on attracting tenants through viral and social media methods at minimal costs. Eric Brown, co-owner of Urbane Apartments, calls it moving the Google needle for apartment complexes hungry for tenants.

The
circa-2003 firm now employs its regular management team of six people
and is in the market for hiring another person to help satisfy the
demand for the company’s new marketing services. Brown’s expertise has
become so in demand that he regularly serves as a speaker on the
subject at conventions across the country.

“A lot of folks are
following what we are doing,” Brown says. “We have scrapped the
traditional marketing methods in place of social marketing.”

Urbane
Apartments has taken on four clients who have apartment buildings all over
the U.S., including Denver, San Francisco and Chicago, among others.
Brown’s team helps these complex websites move up toward the top of
Google searches and establish a presence in places like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to attract more tenants.

“These
are the tools,” Brown says. “Bottom line is, the direction of marketing
has changed so you can’t just buy block ads these days. You need a more
personalized touch.”

Source: Eric Brown, co-owner of Urbane Apartments
Writer: Jon Zemke