Interview with Hales Inc.

In the age of global competition, we at Little Jack are increasingly interested in learning about how small businesses establish a local presence in the global marketplace. This week, we picked the brain of the leader of one of our client companies, Hales Property Management, for some insider info on how to get your business noticed locally.
Property management is an inherently “local” business, because the property manager needs to be in the physical vicinity of the buildings he or she manages, and because certain property management companies dominate certain neighborhoods. For years, Hales Property Management had been gaining new customers mostly from referrals, but decided that they needed to improve their local visibility to boost the growth of the company.
One fact that might surprise you is that there are still many small businesses that are either not utilizing online marketing at all or just started to very recently. Hales Property Management has been in business for over 10 years, but only started looking at its online presence seriously about 1.5 years ago.
First, we helped the company put their best foot forward by completely rebuilding their website. Our main goal during this process was to frame Hales Property Management as a leader in the field and as a property management company for the 21st century, by making the website reflect the company’s goals of professionalism, reliability, and technological innovation.  Mr. Hales agrees that this was a turning moment, calling the professional and sleek website “key to marketing the company”.
Your first marketing efforts don’t all need to be rocket science either. The techniques we utilized to bolster Hales Property Management’s local visibility started with the basics. One technique was gaining popularity in the social media arena by delivering useable content to their audience, in this case, content valuable to building owners and tenants, such as building maintenance tips and local events.
Using the correct keywords and tags in the content helped search engines correctly classify it as locally-relevant, which boosted the company’s search rankings. Mr. Hales believes that this has made the largest difference in the company’s bottom line: “What has really helped increase requests for RFPs, however, is having a strong SEO partner to pump up our rankings.”
Right now, when someone searches “chicago property management” on Google, Hales Property Management comes up fourth, after two Yelp category pages and a much older and more established property management company (of course, Hales is ultimately striving for number one). This is the kind of visibility that helps to boost organic leads.
How is Hales Property Management dealing with the influx of new business? They’ve been adding new employees, for one, at the rate of 3 new people just this year. The other big difference has been the luxury of being able to choose who to work with. “We now are able to pick and choose the properties that we decide to manage if they make financial sense,” said Mr. Hales.
But, just because you’re on a roll doesn’t mean you should slow down. In fact, gaining marketing successes is a great opportunity to raise expectations, focus your energies, and get even more specific about your marketing goals. For 2014, Hales Property Management will be increasing its new client goals by 50%, and looking at having stronger marketing efforts in focused areas to reach that lofty goal.
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