As new generations of prospective residents become more and more technology- dependent when deciding on their next apartment community, it’s imperative to meet them in their preferred channels. This can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Whether you are trying to get found online or convince more prospective residents to sign a lease, here are five online marketing and lead management tips to get you more leads and residents from your multifamily marketing.
Know Your Consumer’s Buying Journey
Before discussing the best ways to reach multifamily prospects, you need to understand your consumer’s buying journey. To do this, you need to know who your target prospects are and the information they are looking for online, so you can drive more visitors to your website. Because, increasing the number of prospects who visit your website, even by a relatively small amount, can lead to a much higher number of leases. Some steps you can take to increase website visits include: implementing a combined search engine marketing strategy to improve your site’s organic and paid positions on search engine results, and boosting those results with online display advertising and retargeting efforts. These tactics, in conjunction with the rest of your multifamily marketing mix, can keep your property front and center as prospects search, surf, and socialize online.
Update Your Website
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the community where your apartment property resides and its residents are always changing. A website that worked well a couple of years ago may no longer resonate with the majority of your current market. Make sure to review resident data from your own property and research trade organizations like NAA and trade publications like Multifamily Executive to create a clearer picture of your target audience, what messaging they respond to, and how they want to contact you. You can survey your current residents to see what kinds of information they like to see on your website that may resonate with your prospects, such as resident quotes or videos and photos of your property. Staying in tune with your property’s online reputation on review sites and other social media should be a priority as well.
Once you are successful at getting contacts from your online marketing and website, you have the challenge of responding to them with the information they will use to make their decision. When new contacts call you, make sure your staff is armed with the right information and is asking the right questions to qualify the prospect as someone who is interested in your property. To ensure that you stay on top of leads who reach out via email or after hours, follow up with them within an hour – not days – and avoid hard- sell responses. Even better consider forwarding calls to a call center to handle inbound traffic to ensure timely response and higher likelihood of scheduling a tour.
Stay In Touch With Leads
A “high-touch” approach to communicating with a prospective resident that isn’t quite ready to sign a lease produces the best results. Keeping good notes about their needs, wants and even personal facts like a pet’s or child’s name helps make that connection when you follow-up personally. This puts them more at ease and allows them to imagine themselves as a resident at your community. Follow up on leads multiple times within the first 48 hours of receipt to improve your close ratio. For prospects who are just “looking,” stay in front of them over time with marketing emails that contain messages like testimonials, events, and move-in specials so they are more willing to follow through with a lease. Employing a lead management program that integrates with your property management software can make this time and data intensive process easier.
Measure Twice, Spend Once
In a perfect world, we would all have unlimited multifamily marketing budgets to spend on filling our properties. The reality is we do have limits to what we can spend. To make sure marketing budgets are being spent effectively, track all incoming leads by source. This is, of course, easier said than done. To help manage this task, you can employ software like call tracking or Google Analytics that helps you attribute leads to the appropriate source so you know which marketing tactics are working to get you the most leads.
Getting and converting prospects into residents requires a robust marketing plan that includes online marketing, a great website, and lead follow-up practices that are fully embraced by your staff and integrated into your property management software. Once in place, a strong lead generation and management plan will result in higher traffic, more efficient marketing efforts and, ultimately, an increase in conversions.
About the Author Doug Jackson is a Sr. Marketing Manager at ReachLocal. He assists real estate organizations with information on local online advertising, social media marketing and content marketing through the ReachLocal blog.