Cottonwood Residential News

Cottonwood Residential Presents Annual Leadership Awards
Salt Lake City, Utah , April 14, 2014

Cottonwood Residential culminated its March 18-21, 2014 Annual Leadership Conference in Charleston, SC by announcing awards recipients for the national property management team. Performance leaders were honored in every area of excellence, from leasing to renovations, and from on-site to Corporate. Debra Spohn, Senior Vice President of Property Management, along with Kathy Felix, Regional Vice President, presented the awards to individuals and on-site teams. President and co-founder Chad Christensen was also present and participated in the ceremony.

Community Honors

Results from 2013 were carefully tallied from communities across the portfolio in the final selection of the top fifteen Cottonwood Residential community honors.

- Management Team of the Year: Hunter’s Chase Apartments
- Property of the Year: Arbors at Windsor Lake
- Highest Per-Unit NOI (Under 250 Units): Pavilions Apartments
- Highest Per-Unit NOI (Over 250 Units): Retreat at Peachtree City Apartments
- Highest 2013 Rent Growth: Springfield Apartments

Individual Honors

Individual contributors were recognized as embodying the Cottonwood Core Values of empowerment, professionalism, optimism, and “yes” attitude in achieving outstanding results during 2013. Here are several of the awards that were extended.

- Community Manager of the Year: Ashley Jones, Lake St. James Apartments
- Service Manager of the Year: James Tackett, Belmont Apartments
- Regional Property Manager of the Year: Pam Snelling
- Leadership Award: Jennifer Randall, Arbor Crossing Apartments
- President’s Award for Outstanding Vision, Dedication and Commitment to Excellence: John Edwards, Director of Database and Utility Billing

What's New in February 2014? In this edition we'll take a look at Cottonwood Residential's continued refinement of its online marketing program in 2014.
Salt Lake City, Utah, February 25, 2014


Our current strategy takes on the “whole hamburger” of online marketing, encompassing all areas from reputation to traffic, from social to e-mail, and customer experience.

  • The Top Bun - Implementing Comprehensive Reputation Management
  • As of January 2014, Cottonwood now monitors and responds to all reviews on the major review Google+, Yelp, and

    The company will also be moving forward in 2014 to increase its scores by soliciting more positive reviews across all review sites.

  • The Meat - Optimizing Traffic Sources
  • Cottonwood is working with communities to streamline paid listings and invest in SEO.

    The goal is to help each community consolidate and stick with its single-highest-ROI listing. The savings are then invested in SEO to get on page one of search results.

  • The Garnishes - Amplifying Social Media
  • Cottonwood's social media efforts in 2014 are designed to connect with residents while giving prospects a better flavor for the lifestyle and benefits of living at each community. A monthly content calendar is distributed to each team with out-of-the-box social campaigns designed for engagement.

  • The Bottom Bun - Rolling Out Targeted Email Marketing
  • E-mail is still king of online marketing. With this in mind, Cottonwood is developing a new e-mail program for release early Q2. This new strategy will act as an ongoing outreach to past and current prospects. Separately, it will be used as a channel to keep residents up to date on community happenings.

  • The Plate - Raising Service Standards
  • Cottonwood's marketing success hinges on quality of service. Beginning in February, residents will be automatically contacted for feedback at key service touch-points, including move-in, work order completion, and renewal. Managers will be notified immediately of results, and monthly outcomes will be monitored via dashboards and benchmark scores.

    As the online marketing world continues to change, so too will Cottonwood Residential's strategies. We value our partnership with you and pledge to provide the highest level of service and innovation in all facets of property management.

    Cottonwood Provides Resident Services on Facebook
    Salt Lake City, Utah, February 4, 2014

    The traditional rituals of paper-based maintenance requests and stopping by the leasing office to pay rent have long been replaced by cloud-based tools that put control back in the hands of the resident. Through Facebook, Cottonwood Residential is taking that a step further by extending these functions even closer to the resident.

    Each community Facebook page now has a “Resident Services” app where residents are able to visit the community Facebook page, securely log in to manage their account, and pay bills or submit maintenance requests. Residents can easily log into their secure portal right from the community Facebook page.

    Oftentimes the community page can be a destination for complaints, but now it can also be a tool for resolution. Social media managers at communities are thus more empowered to engage and solve the problem. A common complaint might be responded to in this way: “You would like us to fix your leaky faucet? You bet! We’re especially speedy if you submit your request through Resident Services – right from this Facebook page! Click here!” The result is more satisfied residents, one request at at time.

    Cottonwood Brings the Full Resident Website Experience to Facebook
    Salt Lake City, Utah, January 14, 2014

    Cottonwood has retooled its Facebook pages with interactive apps to act as a conversion path for prospects as well as a service portal for residents. This provides better service to apartment searchers and community residents who are more frequently using Facebook as their gateway to the internet.

    Apps are now front and center on each community Facebook page, offering a clear call to action for both residents and prospects.

    This addresses the EdgeRank conundrum of needing more “clickable” content in order to increase visibility. It also means that Cottonwood communities do not have to play by the “pay to play” rules of sponsored content.

    Followers of the community page will be a channel within their friend groups that can now lead directly into a property’s sales funnel. This makes the pages more viral in nature as well, which positively influences the relevance and ranking of the property website according to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm.

    Creating a Seamless Online Presence at Cottonwood Residential
    Salt Lake City, Utah, October 10, 2013

    Cottonwood Residential is keeping pace with this new reality of web omnipresence by creating a seamless experience for its community websites and Facebook pages. Each now has identically integrated features for converting and connecting with online audiences.

    The web has evolved to where a single-site strategy is no longer effective. According to Nina Zagat, co-founder of Zagat Restaurant Surveys, “Any business that begins today has to put a lot of effort into making sure that information about their company is available everywhere."

    Overcoming Facebook’s EdgeRank

    Facebook’s 2012 implementation of its EdgeRank algorithm made relevant content a necessity. While creating accounts on the various social sites is by now a standard practice, it’s all the more critical that what is created on the web in any touch point is engaging.

    With the Facebook change, it’s no longer a given that a business will reach all of its Facebook followers. Unless content is engaging, or a company is willing to “pay to play” with sponsored posts, the average update will only reach 10% of its intended audience.

    Without taking its community Facebook pages to the next level, Cottonwood was facing the problem stagnation and lack of exposure in this primary social channel.

    Google’s Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird Algorithms

    Google’s algorithms are its “special sauce” that entirely determine if a multifamily community’s website is found or faltering online. Google rocked the search world with its 2011 and 2012 Panda and Penguin. More recently, Hummingbird was released on September 26, 2013.

    All of these animal-themed changes have demanded the most relevant and accurate content for search. Multifamily communities are now even more pressed to provide information across all touch points that is seamless and gets clicks.

    Cottonwood’s emphasis on continuity between website and Facebook falls within its broader strategy to improve search rankings in the context of Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.