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COMING SOON: “Yodel Boy” Renewal Campaign

This Renewal Season Cardinal Marketing is preparing to launch one of our BIGGEST campaigns yet!
We hired one of this year’s biggest viral stars, Yodel Boy (aka Mason Ramsey), to yodel in and around one of our apartment communities with the tagline “Yodel Worthy Apartments”.
We had Mason yodel new “songs” that have to do with renewing and signing new leases as well as funny skits throughout the amenity areas to create a series of around 5-7 videos total. This series of videos offers content for everyone (value, location, amenities, etc) and will allow us to extend the campaign for up to three months by releasing a fresh video, eblasts, photos, or gifs every 1-2 weeks.
In addition to the videos, we’d incorporate print versions of each video concept to post around the community, on packages, eblasts, etc.
Keep an eye out for this content coming very soon!!

Tips to Have a Successful Renewal Season!

This month Cardinal Marketing wanted to provide you all with a list of tips to having a successful renewal season. As we all know renewal season as already here and if it isn’t for you, it’s right around the corner! We want to make this year our best renewal season yet! Making sure you are using these tips as guidance for your community will only further your success this renewal season.

  • Review Resident Surveys in JTurner and Respond Appropriately
    • If someone fills out a survey with poor marks reach out and help resolve their issues. If someone mentions they are likely to renew in the “How likely are you to renew” question reach out to them and ask to get their renewal started.
  • Create Urgency!
    • People will naturally wait to renew and in many markets have been more or less trained to wait until the summer when incentives hit their peak. Combat this by creating urgency through deadlines (dates or amount of leases) for price increases and incentives. Additionally, explore a “best special guarantee” for people that renew ultra early. One community is offering a “golden ticket” special to early renewals. They can exchange this ticket once any time during the year if a better special pops up that they’d like to claim.
  • Offer Group Renewal Incentives
    • For example, if an entire unit renews offer a new TV or other improvements to their unit. Or look at incentives for the entire community. For example, for each person that renews $20 is added to a jackpot. One person that renews during the campaign will win whatever the jackpot is.
  • Overcome Objections
    • You’ll likely hear a plethora of objections on why someone isn’t renewing yet or at all. Look for ways to overcome their objections just like you would with CWoL and a new lease. Below are a few strategies for common objections.
      • Not ready yet: Tell them you are offering the best rates and specials of the year and that they may pay more if they wait. Inform them that if they don’t renew by X date their apartment may be rented out to someone else.
      • I don’t like my roommates: Help them find roommates they would enjoy more and waive their transfer fee if they renew at the same time. Create a Facebook group or an event where people can meet others at the community that may need new roommates. This allows them to choose their roommates rather than you!
      • It’s too expensive. Layout the cost of moving for them. This could include moving supplies, new application fees, utility setup fees, etc. and show that it actually costs more too move.
      • I’m graduating. This one might be hard to overcome but try and leverage them to fill their spot. Offer a special referral incentive to graduating seniors.
  • Fix-It Fridays
    • Every other Friday have the maintenance teams proactively knock on doors asking if they have any maintenance related items needing fixed. If they do fix it on the spot. During this process bring a CI that can introduce current renewal specials and sign leases on iPads.
  • Work Order Call Backs
    • When a work order is completed have a CI call the resident to ensure everything was done to their satisfaction. If not send maintenance back out that day. During this call also ask if they would like to renew.

The Importance of Monitoring Your JTurner Dashboard and Ratings Tracker

The new lease term has now begun! Now is the time to start putting a big focus on the JTurner Dashboard and Ratings Tracker and really understanding how important it is to monitor these two platforms.

I think a lot of you may be a little confused with these portals and what each is used for and how to even use them. So check out the below for some tips!

A good online reputation starts with your residents. Your online reputation should be directly related to the reputation you have built offline with your residents. Embracing the Cardinal culture across all our communities and promoting a fun and enjoyable living environment for residents will in turn make them was to share their experiences online.

Ratings Tracker

Ratings Tracker is the reviews platform. You should login to this platform at least twice a week. Ratings Tracker is where all of your reviews across multiple sites feed into. You are able to respond to all reviews in one simple location and even have response templates to choose from. While these templates are in there, I suggest you only use these for guidance and really aim to personalize each response. Remember, the goal is to respond to each new review within 24-48 hours.

Where do I respond to the review/see all reviews?

Once logged into Ratings Tracker, you will see a menu on the left hand side. Click the “Details” tab and you will see all your reviews. You can filter by not responded, responded, or all.

Can I see what my current ORA Score is?

Yes! You can also see a 6 month running and your overall average ORA. To do this click the “Properties” tab on the left hand menu.

JTurner Dashboard

Managing and logging into your JTurner Dashboard everyday is more than just logging in to attend to “red alerts”. It is a useful tool that gives you so much insight as to what people are saying about your community, and literally it’s right at your fingertips, they are telling you all you need to know. I highly encourage you all to start taking a look at ALL surveys coming in both resident and prospect even if they didn’t request a contact. You will only further benefit your community and what is going well and what needs improvement when it comes to resident satisfaction and online reputation.

TALi (Resident Survey Overview)

As you guys know, 1/6th of your resident count is surveyed each month. These surveys monitor your resident satisfaction. The biggest takeaways from this survey that I think should be our biggest focus right now is:

– Interactions with community personnel
– The property is cleaned and well maintained (amenities, landscaping, common areas)
– The manager or someone from the staff knows who I am

Prospect Survey Overview

After every tour, a survey is sent out ot that prospect. They have the opportunity to tell us what they thought of the community, the value, amenities, the location, the staff, etc. The biggest takeaways from this survey that I think should be our biggest focus right now is:

– Greeting when entering the leasing office/felt comfortable with leasing agent
– The model, amenities, common areas, landscaping was outstanding

Good Read! Resident Attitude Towards Renewals and Online Reputation

It’s no secret that having a good online reputation means you’re doing something right at your community. And what comes along with that is renewals! I mean if they love living there and are posting about it online, why wouldn’t they renew? 

But have you ever really thought about what their attitude actually may be when it comes to us asking them for reviews and if they want to renew? Probably not. JTurner recently released a study giving us all that info and more! 

The entire study is linked if you would like to read further in depth, but I summarized some key takeaways and answers to some important questions below!


We all know renewal season can be a stressful time. But we also know that resident satisfaction is the core driving force behind renewals. Therefore, you want to take the best approach when it comes to contacting residents to renew and making sure they are satisfied in their current lease term. Through JTurner’s research, they have given us some tips on when the best time to renew is, what form of communication residents prefer, and the correlations between resident satisfaction and the desire to renew. 

When is the best time to ask residents to renew?

The majority of residents look for management to contact them 3-5 months prior to their lease expiration. JTurner also stated that the good majority of residents, 57%, start to consider renewing their lease 1-3 months before expiration. 

What is the best form of communication when it comes to renewals?

Email hands down. I think it is pretty common for most of our communities to lean more towards phone calls. While that is a good approach, and definitely something we don’t want to eliminate entirely, let’s start to focus on emails because that’s what they want!

Online Reputation: Our Responses, Facebook, and Getting Reviews

Online reputation is so incredibly important in today’s housing industry. It has even become a deal breaker for prospects when searching for apartments online. Say you have one of the most gorgeous properties with the best amenity offerings in your market but have a bad online reputation. This can definitely deter your prospects before you’ve even said one word to them. 

How are our responses to reviews influencing resident perceptions?

They are influencing them a lot! While we have templates in Ratings Tracker as guidance, I always encourage personalizing each response and staying away from cookie-cutter responses! Residents and prospects are paying attention to our responses. That is why it is important to show that we value what they have said, and have taken the time to address or respond appropriately. According to JTurner, our responses can significantly improve residents perception on the community. So much so that this influence rated a high 8.12 on a 10 point scale. 

Facebook: Is it really that important in the housing industry?

Yes! Facebook is a platform that provides a lot of services and information. Not only can people write reviews, but they can get a first-hand look at the community through pictures, events, etc. JTurner found that Facebook is increasing in popularity as a search medium. However, it is mainly for students. They are looking at your reviews and also your pictures. It is a good idea for all of us to take a look at our community’s page and make sure our pictures are in tip-top shape. 

Getting Reviews: What’s the Best Way to go About It?

Taking a proactive approach is best! Cardinal Group has always encouraged this and why we have our monthly review goals for each community. J Turner found that most residents are more likely to write a review upon being asked. Almost half of residents who posted a review indicated that they were asked. 

Incentivizing reviews is not something we discourage at Cardinal. However, we do not ALWAYS want to rely on this method. Why? (And I think all you know the answer)… It’s because the trust level of reviews that appear to be incentivized is very very low. So next time we offer an incentive, let’s just make sure that’s not the only method we are relying on. We want to be strategic when it comes to asking for reviews because we want the most authentic and also the best reviews!


Move In Day-Make It Memorable

It’s that time of year again where we are working around the clock to make sure our upcoming residents and transfers new homes are ready to go for their big day! If only our residents knew what our teams go through in a short 15 day period to turn their units from looking like a frat house, to a never lived in apartment….but they don’t, so keep this in mind when move-in day rolls around. Your new residents are very unaware of all the hard work it took and the lack of sleep you have experienced, but try looking at things from their perspective.

How would you like it if you were a student who looked forward to this day and you get to the community and someone hands you a key packet with a number on it, a folder with some FAQ’s and sent you on your way with no smile and nothing to make your experience special? You are basically letting all the hard work you did from leasing through the year to turning units go down the drain if you don’t deliver a positive experience on move-in day.

**First Impressions Matter People!

So how do we achieve a memorable move in experience that our residents will share with their friends? The easiest way to do this is to offer something exciting the day of that gets people talking and more importantly “posting.” If we can capture our residents on social platforms the day they move in then we won’t have to work as hard during the year to build our audience, which will help make our marketing and retention efforts much easier.

Move in day should be looked at as a fresh start, not a daunting task that you dread year after year. I’ve rounded up some easy ways to provide an experience that will get your new residents following and posting their move-in day experience on social media.

Rent A Photo Booth

This is a great way to get people excited to pick up their keys! Contact a local company and have them set up in your move in center for the day. While people are standing around waiting they can play around in the photo booth with their new roommates or maybe even their parents? Make sure to get one that requires little staff involvement and one that also allows the photo’s to be shared digitally to social media outlets.  Come up with a creative hashtag and encourage residents to tag your community in these photos. These booths can range anywhere from $350-$800 in most markets. (Call and schedule them, before your comps do!)

Fun Food Display 

Having something “instaworthy” on the day of your move in will definitely get your new residents buzzing about your community. Think of something unique that pertains to your community, market, university, or state and go with it! People love food, so think outside of the box (literally, do not lay out pizza boxes, this isn’t memorable) GET CREATIVE!

(These cookies can be customized with your logo and ordered on etsyMake sure to place your orders to get these in time for move-in day!)

(Have a creative team member or maintenance lead? Buy a peg board and create a custom designed donut wall!)

Ice Cream Or Popscicle Delivery

Continue the customer service experience after you’ve handed out keys by offering your new residents a tasty treat or drink while they are moving in. Typically August is a hot month and moving can be stressful so try to make this experience more enjoyable by assigning a few of your team members (temp help or hire a company) to go around and deliver popsicles, ice cream, or smoothies while people are moving in. This is just another level of customer service that’s cheap and easy to do. Your new residents and their parents are more likely to remember the amazing move in experience that you created which makes them less likely to find things to complain about within their unit. (Everyone Wins!)

Always remember to keep first impressions in mind when you are prepping for move-in day! If you create a memorable move in experience, you are setting yourself up for a successful year!

Feel free to reach out to your PSM’s or GMM to brainstorm ways to make sure you are prepared to make your move-in day unforgettable!




Event Idea: Post Move-In Day Festival

Alright, everyone has moved in and most things are beginning to settle down. It’s now time to make a great first impression on all your new residents by putting on a day full of resident events soon after move-in. This is the perfect opportunity to bring your community together as a whole and get everyone out to meet their new neighbors.

One of our communities here in Denver recently did an all day festival with informational and fitness classes during the day leading up to a silent disco with food trucks and yard games at night. It was an excellent turnout and really brought the whole community together.

So how do you put on an all day festival and what are some ideas on activities to put on? See below!


Start off the day by giving your new residents some fun and healthy events. Utilize the gym or yoga room at your community to host this. Events could include;

-Yoga Class

-Zumba Class

-Meditation Class

Maybe a resident is an instructor who would be interested in hosting one of these classes, otherwise reach out to local instructors who can host these classes!


Group Painting Class– It’s time to bring out the creativity in everyone. Utilize a community room, clubhouse, or study room to host this event. Hire a local artist to host a painting class. Provide canvases, paint supplies, and wine/snacks for the 21+ crowd. The artist can take residents, step-by-step, through the process of creating an amazing work of art, perfect for some new decor in their apartment!

Cooking Class– Maybe this is some of your residents first apartment. And most college students probably only know how to make some Ramen and pizza rolls. So why not bring in professional chef to teach a cooking class. They’ll share some great and simple recipes and some kitchen basics. You’ve got a recipe for resident event success!


The night events are going to be the biggest and where you’re really going to want to put in the most time/money. Pick a couple activities to host during the night. Ideas for the night could include;

Food Truck Extravaganza– Food trucks are an awesome way for your community to throw a party without stressing about catering. It’s also a great way to introduce new residents to the culture, sights, sounds, and tastes of their new home. Invite the best local food trucks to park in your community. You can provide residents with tickets to try a variety of different foods.

DJ or Live Band– Rent big speakers, hire a local DJ, and throw the dance party of the year. From a conga line to breakdancing, let your residents lead the way!

Yard Games– Have a variety of different lawn games set up for residents to play such as corn hole, bucket-ball, human sized foosball, soap hockey, and sand volleyball.

Bonfire S’Mores Under the Stars– Have a fire-pit at your community? That’s going to be perfect for having s’mores around the fire!

Movie on the Lawn– Rent an inflatable screen and project a popular movie on the lawn! Residents can bring blankets and relax getting to know each other.

Remember, you don’t have to put on all the events above. Just pick and few here and there that you think will fit your community festival the best! A little inspiration goes a long way so let’s kick off the year to a great start and set the bar high for resident retention at events!

Instagram Highlights

Instagram highlights are an awesome tool that all communities need to be utilizing. As we know students are steadily heading home for the Summer but one thing that isn’t changing is the fact that they are always on their phones. Making sure our social media outlets are up to date and engaging is a great way to continue to connect with prospects and residents even when they aren’t in town. If you are an avid Instagram user then you are aware that Instagram Stories are one of the most popular social media tools right now, slowly edging out Snapchat.

People enjoy watching live short video content and this is a great way to reach people that wouldn’t typically see your posts. Instagram works on an algorithm that shows your content to those who are engaging in your feed. So your community may have 1000 followers, but only a small percentage (less than 100 people) will actually see what you are posting based on how many users are liking and commenting on your posts. This is where it’s important to keep your stories active to expand this reach. The perks in using stories is that they play continuously. While users may skip posted content in the feed, your content will absolutely pop up in their stories stream. They can click past it if they want, but since it’s taking up the full screen, they’ll at least get a quick glance before they click away.

Now let’s talk about Instagram Highlights and how this all ties together. Like snapchat your stories will delete after 24 hrs, but now with the Highlight tool you are able to save videos and categorize them for users to see anytime they want. We can tie this feature into our industry by posting and saving things like Specials, Tours of the Community, Resident Events, and Photos and Videos of our Amenities.

So how do you get started? Check out the two communities below to get some ideas on how they are utilizing this tool.


Step 1.

Decide on what you want to highlight for your community. After you have decided, you can put in an RFC for custom Instagram highlight icons based on  your communities branding.

Step 2. 

When your icons are ready email them to yourself and save them to your phone or ipads camera roll. (whatever device your community posts from)

Step 3.

In order to add covers to your Instagram Stories Highlights, you first have to post them as part of your Instagram Stories. Your new covers must be active in your Instagram Stories for a full 24 hours (you can’t post and delete them!) and then remain in your Instagram Stories Archive. See instructions below.

instagram stories highlights

Next up, after you’ve added your cover into your Instagram Stories, select the ‘Highlights’ heart icon on the bottom right.

instagram stories highlights

After clicking the highlight icon you will then be prompted to add a title (ex: Tour, Specials, Amenities, Events, etc)

instagram stories highlights

Step 4.

Once these highlights are created start posting photos and videos of your community and add them to the specific highlight. Check out Coronado’s Tour icon where we filmed a leasing team member giving us a tour of the community. After filming then save each individual video to your highlights and point these out to prospects. This is a great tool they can take back to their parents and show them a look inside the community. Using an energetic leasing agent and adding some fun to these videos makes them much more engaging and creates a realness aspect that some professional community videos can lack.

If you guys have any questions about getting started or how this process works please reach out to your GMM (myself or Ryan) and we are happy to walk you through the process.

I can’t wait to see all of your highlights!

Totally Festive 4th of July Drinks

There’s no better way to celebrate America than with some red, white, and blue drinks! And as always, we’ve got you covered! From boozy to non-boozy, here are a few of the best drinks to enjoy at your 4th of July party!

Red, White, and Blue Vodka Lemonade Slushies

Your everyday slushie gets a patriotic makeover. Enjoy this refreshing drink at the pool. Get the recipe HERE.

Red, White and Blue Pina Colada

Beat the heat and let this 4th of July Piña Colada take you away to Mexico! Get the recipe HERE.

Captain America Mocktail

Be the superhero at your poolside party by creating these red, white, and blue swirly drinks! Get the recipe HERE.

Firecracker Jell-O Cups

Kick off your BBQ with JELL-O SHOTS! Red, white and blue Jell-O shots with a cherry on top. Tasty and festive all in one. Get the recipe HERE.

Frozen Triple Berry Smoothie

This good-looking fruit smoothie will keep your guests cool and satisfied out there in the summer heat. Get the recipe HERE.

Red, White and Blue(berry) Margaritas

These margaritas will sure get you in the 4th of July spirit! Get recipe HERE.


Some other fun activities to have at your community’s 4th of July party could include:

  • BBQ
  • Tie-Dye Shirts red, white, and blue
  • Yard games set up such as corn-hole, bocce ball, water balloon toss, tug of war
  • Hot dog eating contest
  • Provide information for residents on the closets fire work shows in your city

How to Master the Creation of a Custom Snapchat Story

Putting on an awesome event and want residents to be able to share their moments on one story? Snapchat has introduced custom stories, designed to make the sharing of big events easier! This is a great feature to utilize during your next big event. You’ll be able to invite your friends, friends invite their friends, or even have it set to show to anyone who is in a designated area known as the “Geofence”.

Creating this custom story is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4! See below on how to!

Take a Snap– You will need to start this off by taking the first snap! If you’re doing this for an event, take a quick snap of event set up, residents arriving, or anything else you’d like.

Tap “Custom”– this will be in the top-right corner of your story.

From here you can choose the privacy settings. Choose either Private Story, Custom Story, or Geo Story. We suggest using the Geo Story option as that allows you and anyone else in that area to have the option of adding to this story.

Name Your Story, Select Geofence Area, and Choose Who Can Add To and View– Select a name for your story. Be creative and make sure the name reflects the content you and others will be adding to the story. Next, utilize the geofence toggle. Simply enter in the address of where the event is taking place and that will make the story appear for anyone inside the designated area. Finally, choose who can view and add to the story. Friends of friends is suggested because this will not only allow that user to view and edit but their friends as well.

Click “Create Story”– Once clicked the story is published for use! The story will appear under your “stories” section. You and others can add as many snaps as you want to the story. Just like any other story, it will only last for 24-hours and you will be able to see who has viewed and manage other settings.

This is a great way to encourage user generated content amongst residents and market your brand!

Tips and Tricks to Bring in Reviews

It’s no secret that prospects are turning to online reviews when shopping for a new apartment. These reviews have a huge impact on whether a prospect decides to rent at that community or not. According to JTurner Research, the effect of online reviews on students’ decision to visit a property is rated at 6.26, while in conventional housing it is rated relatively higher at 7.33.

At Cardinal, we take reputation management very seriously as we have set monthly review goals for each community. The goal is to obtain a monthly goal of 2% of residents leaving new reviews. But some of you may wonder what is the best practice in terms of asking for reviews? And what is the best way to generate positive reviews?

Obviously, they key to generating positive reviews is by providing the best customer service to residents. The next best way is to ask for them! However, we know asking for reviews can sometimes feel like a daunting task. So we’ve put together some ideas and practices for bringing in those reviews and helping you hit your monthly goals!

  1. Asking a resident for a review in person is definitely the preferred method. Personal connections matter. Therefore, is so important to build rapport with residents before asking for a review. The best way to build rapport with residents is at events, when they pick up packages, etc. Asking happy residents for reviews always gets us the best reviews! But it is also important to get feedback from residents who may not be happy, learn why, and address those concerns.
  2. Have an internal competition with your teams. While this is not the most encouraged method, due to review sites strictly prohibiting against this, this is an option to use every now and then to bring in reviews. Use a cash prize or gift card for the winner as an extra incentive to get participation.
  3. Send out Jturner collateral! Not only does JTurner send out monthly surveys to residents they also send out to prospects upon completion of a tour. Use JTurner to you advantage, they are here to help! Remind TMs to ask for those reviews AND let residents/prospects know that surveys are in their inbox. Also utilize the simple survey links (​your PSM has these). It is also important to review trends (keywords) in Ratings Tracker and JTurner Dashboard and if possible make the changes reviewers are referring to. Once the change is made, email residents letting them know we listened and ma​de the changes they asked for.
  4. Leave maintenance cards in unit after service request is completed to satisfaction. Utilize FIFTY3 to get these made. Maintenance does a lot for the community! There is nothing better than to bring in some reviews for the maintenance team members and all the hard work they put into the community.
  5. Find ​which reputation sites are lacking in reviews and focus on asking for reviews for that site. This is an important one! The review sites with the least amount of reviews will have the most impact on your ORA score. Bring in a lot of 5 star reviews to a review site with very few reviews and see your ORA score boost!
  6. Have a monitor or screen set up just for reviews. Setup in leasing office so happy residents, prospects or event “goers” can leave a reviews while in the office.