About SeattleRentals.com

SeattleRentals.com is the advertising solution for landlords & managers with rental vacancies in the greater Puget Sound. We have thousands of renters searching our site each day & give you tools to easily distribute & manage your advertising. We can help you fill your vacancy quickly & easily. Visit our website or give us a call at 206-284-2554. Reachwerks provides highly effective, easy-to-use marketing solutions to businesses via our social networking content management, website design and development, email marketing campaigns, and advertising distribution system.

How to Use Reachwerks: Statistics

All righty then – so you wrote a bunch of awesome ads and started using our fabulous Craigslist Scheduler.  But are those ads actually getting clicked on?  And did you actually remember to post all the ads you wanted to post?  Which ones are working better than others?

Don’t fret.  We keep tabs on all that stuff for you.  With our Statistics, you get two different views of how your ads are doing – the Summary View (for those who want to just pop in and see at quick snapshot) and the Detailed View (for those nerdy folks like us who really like to dig into the numbers).

The Summary View is a simple, graphical analysis of how many Craigslist ads you had scheduled and how many you actually posted.  If you’ve posted over 50% of the ads you had scheduled, your status bar is blue.  If you posted less than 50%, you’re orange.  We also give you the total number of hits that ad has received on Craigslist so far this month.  (You can scroll to other months using the arrows at the top.)

The Detailed View gets into the nitty gritty, including when your ad was scheduled to be posted, when it actually WAS posted, and how many hits it got on each day.  We color code this for you, too, so you can quickly see which days and times perform better than others.

Whether you just need a quick glance or you want to do some real analysis of your ads, Reachwerks has got you covered.

How to Use Reachwerks: Statistics Email

Do you ever wish that everything you ever needed throughout the day could just be delivered to your inbox?

Yeah, we do too.  That’s why Reachwerks created the Craigslist Scheduler and the To Do List Calendar – so that whatever you need to deal with gets sent directly to you.  You can manage your ads and your to do’s from the same place you spend most of your time – your email inbox.

That’s also why we’ve created the Monthly Statistics Emails.  If you’re swamped, you don’t need to try to remember to login regularly and check on how your ads are doing.  We track everything for you and email the results to your inbox at the end of each month.

You’ll receive a Microsoft Excel file showing all your Craigslist ads, along with when they were scheduled to be posted, how many hits they got, and a percentage showing how well you did (for example, if you scheduled four ads and only posted three, your success rate percentage would be 75%).

To sign up, just click on Statistics in your account, and hit the “Sign up for Email Statistics” button.  Select the ad you want to receive stats for, and enter the email address where you want to get them.  Then hit “Save.”  You can have as many stats as you like, to as many emails as you like.  Reachwerks will then deliver the stats in those email inboxes automatically at the end of each month.

Want to dig into more detail about your ad statistics?  Click on “Statistics” again to go back to the main stats page. (We’ve got more info about that section here.)  Have questions?  Shoot us an email!

How to Use Reachwerks: Craigslist Posting Reminders

You’ve written a bunch of incredible ads for all your vacancies, and now you’re ready to post them to Craigslist.

This is where Reachwerks comes in.  We’re kind of like a personal assistant, reminding you when you need to do things.  (Only we don’t get sick, and we can’t pick up your dry cleaning – yet).  What we CAN do is schedule and organize everything for you, and make your life a little simpler.

With the Craigslist Scheduler, we save all the ads that you want to post on Craigslist (along with all your photos, contact info, etc.) and then let you schedule when you want to run those ads.  When it’s time to post an ad, we email you all the content for your ad, ready for you to post to Craigslist.

Here are the answers to some FAQs about how things work:

Why would I use Reachwerks to manage my ads instead of trying to do it myself?

Some of the main reasons people love using Reachwerks to help them with Craigslist are:

  • We make sure you never accidentally post the same ad more than once every 48 hours (so you don’t violate Craigslist’s rules and end up getting flagged or ghosted)
  • Our professional designers have created a ton of classy, professional and enticing templates for your ads that display your vacancies in the best light possible
  • We place your ads automatically on dozens of other classifieds websites as well (like Zillow, Trulia, RentBits, Oodle, Vast, Trovit, OLX and others) – so you can update pricing in one spot and have it carry through all your advertising
  • We track statistics on your ads so you can see what’s working for you (and what’s not)

How do I create a Craigslist reminder? 

First, you’ll pick a day of the week, and then you’ll choose which ad you want to run.  Next, you choose the time you want to post the ad on that day, and the template you’ll be using.  Hit the “SET” button, and that’s it!

Once it’s set, you’ll receive an email reminder from Reachwerks with the content of your ad, ready to go, at the date and time you picked.

What’s the photo gallery checkbox for? 

A lot of our ad templates are designed to have just a few photos in them (usually between 5-8).  If you have more photos than that, you may want to make sure renters see ALL of them in your ad.  To do so, check the Photo Gallery checkbox.  That will add a copy of every photo you’ve uploaded for that ad at the bottom of the page.

Why don’t you just post my Craigslist ad for me?

Because that’s a big no no.  We are super strict about following the Craigslist Terms of Use (and you should be too).  Craigslist says:

“It is expressly prohibited for any third party to post content to craigslist on behalf of another. Users must post content only on their own behalf, and may not permit, enable, induce or encourage any third party to post content for them.” 

And they also say:

“It is expressly prohibited to post content to craigslist using any automated means.”

OK, I see a box of gobbilty goop letters.  How do I turn that gobbilty goop into my Craigslist ad?

Craigslist will let people use basic HTML code (the same stuff people use for creating websites) within their ads.  This means that instead of just using plain text for your ad, you can bold, italicize, underline, add images, format things into columns, make links, etc.  Our designers and web developers have taken Craigslist’s guidelines for what HTML code they allow, and used it to create some really fabulous-looking adtemplates.

So now, instead of you having to figure out how to use HTML (or just always using boring, plain text), you can just type up your ad normally and select which ad design you want to use, and we’ll convert all your photos and text into a cool looking “mini-web page” within your Craigslist ad.

The HTML code looks like a bunch of… well, gobbilty goop.  All you need to do is copy all of that code and paste it into the box where you’d normally type your Craigslist ad (called “Ad Description”).

Thanks, but I’ve still got questions…

Shoot us an email!  We’re here to help.

How to Use Reachwerks: Craigslist QuickPost

So you’ve already written your ad, and you want to post it to Craigslist.  You can either use our Craigslist Scheduler, or use the Quick Post tool to pop an ad online right away.

First, pick the ad you want to post from the drop-down box at the top – then, choose a template. We have a ton of awesome ad templates for you to choose from (even if we do say so ourselves).

You can add a photo gallery at the bottom of your ad if you want by checking the Photo Gallery box.  (A lot of our ad templates are designed to have just a few photos in them – usually between 5-8 – so if you have more photos than that and want to make sure renters see ALL of your photos, check this box. It will add a copy of every photo you’ve uploaded for that ad at the bottom of the page.)

OK – now it’s time to copy your HTML code.  (Craigslist will let people use basic HTML code within their ads.  We’ve taken Craigslist’s guidelines for what HTML code they allow, and used it to create our adtemplates. )  HTML code looks like a bunch of… well, gobbilty goop.  You need to copy all of that nonsense to your computer’s Clipboard so you can paste it later.

To copy the code, either right-click with your mouse and hit “Copy,” or you hit the CTRL key and the letter C at the same time (If you’re on a Mac, hit the CMD key and the letter C at the same time.)

Finally, hit the Go to Craigslist button.  This takes you to Craigslist where you’ll follow their usual steps (which area are you posting in, what type of ad are you posting) until you get the page where you type up your ad.

You’re now going to paste that HTML code you copied into the box where you’d normally type your Craigslist ad (called “Ad Description”).  Remember – the HTML code already contains all your photos, all your text and your contact info, so there’s no need to retype anything in the description box.

Fill in any other blanks that you want to enter on that page, and hit Continue to finish posting.

Ta da!  You have a beautiful looking ad on Craigslist now.

Still need help?  Shoot us an email!

How To Go From Craigslist Rule-Breaker To Expert Marketer

So – you want your property to be on Craigslist.  And potential renters want to find your property on Craigslist.  Sounds like an easy enough equation.

Ha!  Yeah, right.

If you work at a large apartment community, you probably have a love-hate relationship with Craigslist.  We feel your pain.  But trust us – it doesn’t have to be painful.

First, let’s take a step back.  Why are you posting on Craigslist?  Because you want to get your vacancies in front of renters, right?   So, those renters are your target market.  And you need your advertising to appeal to your target market, and get found by your target market.

Now, what does your target market want to see when they do a search on Craigslist?  A variety of advertisements fitting their criteria.  What DON’T they want to see?  The same ad over and over and over again.  If they don’t like it once, will they like it the third or sixth time they see it?  No.  Your risks from over-posting are:

  • You frustrate your target market and lose that person as a renter
  • You get flagged as spam and your ads go down
  • You get ghosted and can’t use Craigslist at all anymore

Why do those things happen?  Because Craigslist is built for your target market – the renters.  They want them to enjoy their experience so they’ll keep using Craigslist for everything they need.  If renters see Craigslist as a site full of spammers without unique content, they’ll stop using them.  So Craigslist wants to put a stop to crappy renter experiences.

So – you most certainly don’t want to make your target market AND Craigslist angry.  What do you need to do differently?  Follow Craigslist’s Terms of Use religiously .  We say ‘religiously’ because over at Reachwerks, the Craigslist Terms are kind of our bible.  And here is the Term that we see being violated most often:

“A user may post the same or substantially similar content no more than once every 48 hours.”

The same or *substantially similar* content.  Think about that.  If you post more often than every 48 hours, are all of your Craigslist ads substantially different from each other?  No?  Then you’re violating the Terms and are just waiting to get flagged or ghosted.

This means that you need to have unique content in each ad.  Those ads don’t just need to LOOK different, they need to actually have different content.  You can’t just copy and paste your generic property description over and over again, even if it’s laid out in a few different pretty designs.

Yes, it takes some leg work to create unique ads.  But it’s what you have to do – both to abide by Craigslist’s rules, and to avoid frustrating renters who see you as a spammer.  Here are some examples of unique ads to get your creative juices flowing:

  • An ad geared towards a specific target market, such as commuters, that describes your 1 bedroom + den vacancies and explains your ZipCar, bike storage racks and bus routes
  • A unique description of a particular 2 bedroom floorplan at your property that sits along the south side of the building and gets great light from the large balconies
  • A summary of your vacant ground floor units with details about what pet breeds you accept, any pet fees, a description of the dog run you have on-site and a list of nearby off-leash parks
  • An ad about your 3 bedroom vacancies that talks about your great new kitchens, the rooftop pea patch, and nearby farmers markets

So – now it’s time to silence your cell phone, close your email program, and start writing cool, unique, descriptive ads.  Think of who lives at your property currently.  What do they love about your building?  If you don’t know, ask them.  Can’t write well?  Have someone else in your office write for you.  Or hire a savvy resident to help you out.

Once you have a bunch of great, unique ads written up, you’re sitting on a marketing gold mine – you don’t just have to reserve those creative masterpieces solely for Craigslist.  Use them on flyers that you drop off at corporate HR departments.  Add some pages to your website to help you creep up the search engines.  Pop it on your Facebook page with links to the local stores you mentioned.

Congrats!  You’ve officially graduated to Expert Marketer (Reachwerks certified!).  Now go forth and advertise those vacancies – without breaking the rules.

Reachwerks’ web-based solutions for the multi-family housing and real estate industry simplify your marketing and daily operations so that your day runs more efficiently – without breaking the bank. We help you tackle your online advertising, document management, appointment and to do list, and more.  Contact us at interact@reachwerks.com

The Top Four Blogging Platforms for Property Managers

Why should you be blogging?  First, it’s a great way to keep fresh content on your website (search engines love fresh content). Second, it’s the quickest and cheapest way to communicate your news or advice to a broad group of people. Third, what other work task lets you be a hard-hitting investigative journalist for a few hours?  OK, maybe soft-hitting.

If you haven’t started blogging yet, here are the top platforms that we recommend for property managers:

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1. Tumblr
This is the easiest and most fun blogging platform out there.  Instead of being geared towards long articles of text, Tumblr gives equal weight to different types of short posts: photos, links, quotes, chat conversations, audio, video AND text.  It makes it super easy to post more interesting, user friendly content that people will want to read or look through.

How Properties Can Use It:   Attract renters with a fun Tumblr blog showcasing your property. Put photos of your vacant units, a video walk-through or virtual tour, then an article about a featured neighborhood hot spot.

2. WordPress
Wordpress offers more than just blogs.  It’s a full content management system, and savvy developers can build an entire website off its platform.  There are gobs of tools and plugins out there that make it easy for you to manage anything you need in your website straight from WordPress.

How Properties Can Use It:   Have your web development team build a quick WordPress website for your property. You can have a photo gallery, your Twitter feed, contact us page, maintenance submission form and more.  Now it’s easy peasy to make updates to your site.

3. Blogger
Blogger was a popular platform in the early days of blogging, and in 2003 Google snapped it up into its pile of ever-growing products.  If you already have a Google account, you can start your own blog in less than a minute for free.

How Properties Can Use It:   Since it’s so easy to set up and use, create a few Blogger blogs with different focuses – say, one for current tenants about updates or news from the property, and one for potential tenants about why someone should live at your property.

4. Posterous
If you can email, you can Posterous.  All you need to do to create a new blog post is to send an email to post@posterous.com from the email account you signed up from. You can also have a private Posterous group so that you can share photos, text, videos and links with a select few people.

How Properties Can Use It:   Set up a private Posterous Group for your property staff.  You can then brainstorm on ideas, share links and more without your competition knowing what you’re up to.


Need help deciding?  Or need help with your social media campaign in general?  Give us a call at (206) 284-2441 or email interact@reachwerks.com!

Hacker Smackdown: 3 Quick Ways To Prevent Someone Hacking Your Facebook Account

1. Unless you’re in the movie Spaceballs, your password should not be 12345.

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Never underestimate the power of the Schwartz

Yeah, I know it’s annoying to have different passwords for each account. And trying to remember your password when it’s 7K!nn4@3 is far more difficult than when it’s jenny1.

But having vulnerable, easy-to-guess passwords means that even if you don’t fall prey to a phishing scam (more on that later), evil robots can easily run through their databases of most common passwords and take control of your account.

Don’t let the evil robots win.  Reset your passwords occasionally, and make sure at the very least that they’re not on the list of the top 500 worst passwords of all time.


2. Trust no one.

Fake login screens are so dang realistic these days that you won’t be able to spot the difference.

If you get an email or follow a link that looks like your bank, Facebook account, Twitter account, etc., before you login to ANYTHING, make it a habit to look at the URL structure.

Does it say http://facebook.com first?  (Not http://i-swear-this-is-facebook.com/facebook?)  Can’t quite tell?  Then just close the window, open up a new one and type the Facebook URL in there directly.


3. Your mom wouldn’t really like that Sexy Beach Babes video on Facebook. Would she…?

Facebook is awesome, but it’s also a breeding ground for viruses.  Much like my office.

Don’t click on any “Billy likes this link” posts unless you are very, very certain it’s real. It’s tempting to want to click through to see what Billy’s been ogling, but if Billy’s account has been compromised, clicking that link could also compromise your account.


Do you feel a bit safer?  We hope so. If you need social media advice, or just want to complain about how your mom falls prey to these scams daily, give us a call at 206-284-2441 or email us!

The Five Most Important Search Engine Optimization Tips For Property Managers & Landlords

You want your property management company or apartment complex to be at the top of Google’s search results.  But how do you get there?  We’ve put together a step by step list of the five most important things to do to your website to help it move up the ranks of search engines:

1. Create a list of targeted keywords that you can actually compete on

If you want to be at the top of the search engines for the keyword “apartment,” well, that’s going to be hard.  But “luxury Belltown apartment” or “Bellevue property management company?”  There’s a lot less competition on those keywords, and you have a much better chance of making headway.  Create a list of the keywords that are likely to be searched and fit your demographic.

2. Divvy up your keywords throughout the pages of your site

DON’T overload your homepage with every keyword you want to do well on.  It will dilute your efforts.  Instead, use the other pages of your site. Focus individual pages each on a small handful of specific keywords.

3. Incorporate your keywords (tastefully!) in your text, Page Titles, Meta-Tags and Image Alt-Text

One very important thing to remember — your clients will be READING this text (even the page titles and meta-descriptions — they show up on search results), so make sure it flows and makes sense.

4. Use your keywords in your page names and in your internal links

Does the page on your website about your services say “xyzcompany.com/bellevue-property-management” or does it say “xyzcompany.com/1424.html?”  When you link to that page within your site, don’t use an image – make sure it’s keyworded text instead.

5. Walk through your whole site like a Crawler

Make sure all the links throughout your site work, that it’s not heavy on Flash or JavaScript plugins that search engine crawlers have a hard time slogging through, and that you have a site map (or at least link to every page from every page — say, through a good navigation bar or links in the footer).

So – have you checked all these off?  Is your website up to par?  If not, contact us and we’ll help you get a website that is!

Socially Savvy Landlords: How to Use Facebook & Twitter For Your Properties

So you’ve played a little Farmville, perused your cousin’s vacation photos and read the words “repost this status if you agree!!!” far too many times.  You’re ready to use social networking for more than just a way to procrastinate.

Tweeting: Not Just For Nerds and Birds

There are 140 million tweets sent each day.  That’s enough twittilating power that Google has taken notice, and now tweets and the links within those tweets are quickly climbing up the ranks of their search engine.

If you want your management company or apartment building’s webpage to be #1 on Google, throw in some tweets regularly that link to content on your website and have relevant keywords (such as in this example from a rental tour company: “We’re excited to announce that we’re expanding our rental finding tour services http://bit.ly/rental-tours to Portland, OR!”).

Follow Me! Please? I Swear I’m Interesting!

Need more followers? Get found with “hashtags.” Hashtags are when you insert the # symbol in front of a keyword — when people search for that keyword, you’ll come up.

Have a price concession on a rental unit?  Tweet about it and include #rentspecial or #apartments at the end of your tweet to get it noticed. (Taking advice from Charlie Sheen is not usually a good idea, but he’s definitely started a #winning trend by attaching #winning to all his tweets.)

Be sure that all of your tweets aren’t self promotion, though. People use Twitter as a way to find useful or entertaining information.

The best way to get more followers is to engage your audience with interesting content. Tell them what would make YOU want to live at this property. Or, why you would never rent to Charlie Sheen.

Face It, You Need Face Time on Facebook

Ah, Facebook. People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on that site.  No, really – 700 BILLION

And the next generation of renters grew up with Facebook – they’re getting their news from there, using it as their primary tool for communicating with their friends, and figuring out which products to buy from there.

The Movie Was Called The Social Network For a Reason

If you only think of your Facebook Page as a mini-website for your company, you’re missing the “social” part of social networking. Facebook is a communication and interaction tool. Your property or company’s Facebook Page is a place to ask questions, answer questions and solicit feedback.

It’s a scary prospect — if you’ve ever been badly reviewed on Yelp or ApartmentRatings.com, you probably still grind your teeth when you hear someone say “review” — but being a good listener and proactively asking for advice will gain you respect (and interaction) from your followers.


Breaking Down The Wall

Also, remember that there’s more to a Facebook Page than “The Wall.” Having a resident get-together? Post it on the Events tab. Want to figure out if your tenants think you need new washing machines? Pose the question on the Discussions tab. Trying to decide between two paint colors for the hallway? Take photos of both and ask them to vote.

Real Fans, Not Just Your Parents

Of course, if no one is a fan of your Facebook Page, you’ll just be doing all this awesome stuff for… your mom? (Thanks, mom – just don’t post those photos of 3 year old me in a swimsuit and rollerskates please.) You need to make sure you’re promoting your Facebook Page everywhere that you can.

Once you hit 25 fans, you can create a “vanity URL” – say, Facebook.com/BeautifulApartments. It’s then really easy to pop that URL everywhere – on your email signature, on your business cards, on a sign at your front desk, or on a t-shirt for your mom to wear.


So – now that you have some insider tips, you’re ready to get your Mark Zuckerberg on. Can’t find the time to do all of this?  Call (206-284-2441) or email Reachwerks and we’ll chat about how The Reachwerkers can help you tackle the world of social networking.

A little bit about Reachwerks

Our team started out in Seattle working in the rental housing industry. After launching SeattleRentals.com, we realized quickly that our clients didn’t have an easy way to manage their marketing and advertising plans.

With these goals in mind, and with many cups of coffee, we formed Reachwerks. Web development, social media, ad distribution and email marketing can be confusing, but they don’t have to be. We work with you to create an easy-to-use marketing solution that fits your needs and can be managed from one place.

For more information, visit our website or call us at 206-284-2441.