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Behind the scenes of the renter journey

The best word to describe the renter journey is “complicated.” There are multiple points along the path to lease, and recent marketing data tells us that the experience should no longer be considered linear. Instead, it’s a multi-stage journey in which the renter visits multiple sources within the marketing lifecycle.   Even though the marketing funnel has clearly identified stages, each channel can be applied to various stages of the renter journey, depending on the type of information the renter is looking for.   Awareness. This is the discovery of an unmet need or opportunity. In the case of renters, this stage is often triggered by a life event that necessitates a move, such as a new job, the need to relocate to a new city, marriage, or pregnancy. Interest. This stage is motivated by a person’s interest in solving a recent problem. With renters, this stage often occurs when conducting research to narrow down a large selection of communities. Evaluation. At this point, customers are actively evaluating their list to further narrow it down. This is when they are likely to read reviews from residents, call properties, explore pricing and floor plans, and do onsite tours. Selection. This is when the customer makes their decision and purchases the solution to a problem. In our case, this is when the prospect signs a lease.   Technology and the Renter Journey The abundance of technology today complicates all stages of the renter journey. Research tells us that most apartment hunters look at three o......
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Hey Property Managers — Branding isn’t just for Apple and Google

BrandingResidentLoyalty Most companies think branding is for giants like Apple and Google. After all, these tech monsters yield a combined $270 billion in value from their efforts. All the result of a well-coordinated branding effort that includes frequently focused messaging and a consistent visual presence at every touch point.However, just because you’re a smaller property management company, don’t think for a moment that branding isn’t just as important for you.Branding maintains consistency with messaging, emails, and other regularly used outreach tools that over time leaves with the consumer a lasting impression of the quality of your company. Done properly, branding can also influence the reactions and thoughts prospective residents, current residents and first-timers have when they interact with your property. First impressions last a lifetime - and with so many other choices out there for your potential residents, it's important that you're building trust and brand loyalty every step of the way - whether they're still a potential lead or an active member of your community.Think about it—a potential resident is evaluating whether or not they want to live at your property (or continue living at your property.) If they walk away feeling like your company is “cheap”, lackluster and disorganized, they’re going to pass you over and set their sights on somewhere else. Having a strong and consistent internet presence is more important than ever - resident communities have become a world full of choices. Properties are a dime a dozen in the mind of the resident, so it’s your job to present y......
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Revenue Marketing: What is it and How Can Your Teams Achieve it?

The world of multifamily is ever-changing. As renter demographics shift and the ways in which they search for their future apartment home evolve, we’re recognizing a similar evolution in effective marketing strategies. Traditional marketing built around cost-per-lead or cost-per-lease metrics still has a strong hold on our industry. However, forward-thinking marketers are examining how revenue marketing can lead to a fundamental change in how we do business. The Four Stages of the Marketing Maturity ModelAccording to the Pedowitz Group, a leading marketing consultancy, the four stages of the marketing maturity model span from traditional marketing - built on the foundation of the “4 Ps” - followed by lead generation, demand generation, and, finally, revenue marketing. Our industry is highly comfortable following the “4 Ps” of marketing – product, promotion, placement, and price. We are in tune with our brands and how to promote our apartment homes through many tried and true methods. Revenue management has also empowered us to be more effective in pricing apartment homes. Yet, there is still room for growth, both in terms of optimizing the lead funnel and accelerating revenue. Moving Beyond Traditional MarketingMany owner-operators are already exploring a lead generation model. They’re highly focused on the quantity of the leads they’re generating from their investments and whether their leasing teams are converting those leads to leases. But performance within this model is still bound to vanity metrics like ad impressions, click-through rates, and form submissions to determine a cost-per-lead and lease. While a focus on lead generation move......
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The Cost of Untrained Leasing Consultants

The Cost of Untrained Leasing Consultants
Most of us have published an ad looking for “experienced leasing consultants” and received an array of resumes that may have included a rookie or two. Sometimes, we try our luck with first-timers; maybe because something sparked our eye, or maybe we’re just desperately in need of new talent. Sometimes, we find people with experience, and sometimes an impressionable candidate finds their way onto the top of the pile, regardless of their experience in multifamily. I’ve had the pleasure of training diamonds-in-the-rough a few times, but more often than not, due to time constraints and manager obligations, consultants are thrown into the fire, head first, and told to take an online leasing class or wait until a company trainer comes in. So smile, answer the phone, and lease. The number of leasing consultants that are on the front line that lack proper training is surprising. This is often because companies either don’t accurately assess the legal and financial ramifications of untrained staff, or they have not allocated the time or resources necessary. I preach an old saying that multifamily vets know all too well, “It costs money to make the phone ring.” And how much does it cost? Usually quite a bit. Even with a minimal marketing budget, you’re ideally still allocating funds for “curb appeal” i.e. flags, banners, signage. With larger budgets, allocation for ILS services for lead generation, SEO, answering services, chat bot, websites, and tracking systems are standard. Not to mention the presence of any outreach marketing, resident and employee events......
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CLM: Multifamily's Next Big Thing.

Multifamily Customer LifecycleWhat is Customer Lifecycle Marketing? Everyone knows in business the customer comes first. Customer Lifecycle Marketing is founded on this principle. The goal of Customer Lifecycle Marketing is to send content to leads based on their stage in the customer lifecycle. What is exciting for a prospect may not matter to a dead lead and vice versa. So why would you send them the same content? Plus, customers who received emails specific to their stage in the customer lifecycle have a 72% higher conversion rate. Did we mention? Marketers who use segmented email marketing campaigns experience a 760% increase in revenue! Let’s see what this looks like for Multifamily. Still confused about CLM? Download the Customer Lifecycle Marketing Infographic.   How Does it Work? Every potential Multifamily customer falls into one of the following zones: Prospect Zone Resident Zone Dormant Zone So let’s take a look at the normal lifecycle for a Multifamily customer.   The idea is to get every lead into the Resident Zone. A.K.A.the zone where you are making money. Obviously having full occupancy forever is a fantasy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t form your strategy with that goal in mind. Norman Vincent Peale said it best, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” That’s what we are doing with Lifecycle Programming.   How to Put it into Play We have developed ready-made ‘plays’ to make the transition from each stage to the next as easy as possible. And maximize the number of customers in the Resident Zone!     By engaging with each customer at every step of th......
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How to Build your Apartments Knowledge Graph for Google

How to Build your Apartments Knowledge Graph Knowledge Panel BreakdownSo far we have covered how Google will take over the Multifamily ILSes’ business with their Apartments Knowledge Graph. But, property management companies (PMC) can get more leads from Google by building their Apartments Knowledge Graph. How Can a PMC Build Its Apartments Knowledge Graph? Google does not single-source the data for its Apartments Knowledge Graph. Here is an example of the different sources needed to build Google’s Apartments Knowledge Graph:   Let’s dive into how you can use each source to position your apartment well with Google’s users. #1. Fill in the Info Section on Google My Business Your first change should be made in Google My Business: Go to Google My Business Pick your location Select the “Info” section  Fill out the fields to make your knowledge graph as complete as possible #2. Write a Wikipedia Article Next, write a Wikipedia article about your property. Google loves to use Wikipedia as a resource and will use it to enhance your knowledge graph. For example, here is the description of a property from a Wikipedia article being displayed in its knowledge graph: #3. Push Information to Google Using Structured Data on your Website Google uses structured data to assemble its Knowledge Graphs. Structured data is a machine-readable format to pass information to Google. Here is an example: The following steps are slightly technical, but not crazily so. In general, web developers should provide this functionality out-of-the-box, so you don’t have to do this. If your web developer does not provide this, you can build one yourself: Go to s......
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Google is Putting Apartment Shopping on the Map. Literally.

Google Maps Hotels and Apartments ResultsTake a deep dive into the three differences between apartment and hotel searches on Google Maps. A Shift is Coming The Apartments Knowledge Graph is very similar to the Hotel Knowledge Graph. Above, we compared the two on a search page. Now, let’s compare them on Google Maps. A close look at the comparison shows there is a shift happening in the Multifamily industry. Maps View Google Maps’ results for a Hotel and an apartment building are almost identical. But there is one vital difference: there is no pricing info for apartments.   List View The story is the same for its list view. They are very similar except for pricing.   Single Property View How about the result view for a single hotel vs. a single multifamily complex? Once again, the only differences are: Price-based Search Amenities Let’s zero in on those differences:     Difference # 1: Price-based Search Google has sophisticated price-based search for hotels. Specifically, its knowledge graph has prices for the same room: From different online travel agencies For various travel dates     There is no pricing on the apartment side.     Difference #2: Amenities For a person searching for a hotel, its amenities are key in the decision-making process. While the Hotel Knowledge Graph has amenities, the Apartments Knowledge Graph does not.           Difference #3: Booking Options When a prospect is ready to act, it is important that they have the option to book a tour online, just as they ......
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Rethink renter communication in today’s hyper-connected world

Electronic communication is dominating our waking hours.   According to Adobe Campaign’s third annual consumer email survey, people spend 5.4 hours every weekday checking email. Add that to the nearly two hours per day consumers spend on social networks, and that’s nearly seven-and-a-half of our 16 waking hours.   Getting consumer attention in this saturated, hyper-connected consumer environment isn’t easy. So, how can you make your messages stand out?   Data-driven personalized interactions Prospective renters are tired of having to set the same preferences and fill out the same forms over and over again in order to shop for their next home. They want to complete these tasks once and for the property managers to provide some degree of personalized interaction based on those preferences.   This expectation will be even more important when Generation Z, the next big multifamily market, reaches renting age. According to a WP Engine study, 50 percent of Gen Z consumers said they would stop visiting websites that don’t anticipate what they need, like or want.   Property managers need to utilize technology that remembers a person’s browsing history, automatically redirects a prospect to the floor plan they spent the most time on, and auto-fills their contact form or online leasing form.   Leverage advancements in social media marketing The industry has been talking about the role of social media since Facebook was a private company, which in tech time was a hundred years ago. Yet most multifamily owner/operators still aren’t leveraging social media to advance thei......
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Meet Renter Demand, Put Mobile First

The average time spent browsing on a smartphone per month in the US is 87 hours, compared with 34 hours on desktop, and more than 70 percent of total digital minutes are spent on mobile devices. Additionally, Google reports that more than half of its search queries globally occur on mobile devices.   If that isn’t enough to convince you to put mobile first in your marketing activities, nothing is. While mobile plays a significant role in multifamily business today, that pales in comparison to its role in the lives of renters. Despite this, few property managers offer mobile apps to residents so they can pay their rent, let alone run mobile-based marketing campaigns that drive leads and leases.   The good news is that making your mark on mobile isn’t as daunting as it seems. There are three primary ways you can make mobile work for you to improve prospect and resident engagement:   1. Optimize your community websites for mobile. Google announced in 2016 that it would index sites based on their mobile versions. Optimizing for mobile can be as simple as moving the site to a platform that includes responsive web design on all websites.   Several multifamily software vendors, along with most content management platforms, offer automated responsive web design that makes it easy for you to get up and running. Custom systems may require more time and effort on your part to set up, though the ROI could make the process worthwhile.   2. Create a per......
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Four Reasons Why Property Managers Must Embrace Text and Email

Text and Email      With 88 percent of residents preferring to communicate via email and 90 percent of text messages being read within 3 minutes of delivery, property managers can no longer ignore the fact that the mainstream expectations on how a resident prefers to communicate has changed. It makes sense - texting friends and family is second-nature, it’s only natural that they now prefer to communicate with their property managers in the same immediate and convenient channel. It's also minimally time invasive and gives your residents the opportunity to stay connected no matter where they are or what they're up to.Still not convinced? Here are four reasons you should seriously consider embracing text and email as a day-to-day way to communicate with your residents:Reason 1: Bye-bye Baby Boomers, hello Millennials We’re all witnessing a paradigm shift away from baby boomers and over to the future of business growth in millennials, specifically in the housing category. According to Pew Research, millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the largest living generation and are driving up the rental market every month. To meet this shift, property managers need to embrace the communication channels that this new generation has grown up with. More importantly, they must provide experiences that allow everything to be resolved on a smartphone without them having to pick up and call. This new-age group is a large percentage of the renters that will be shopping and comparing your community, and ultimately determining whether or not they want to sign or renew a lea......
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