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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 personalized experience that caters to resident search trends. A mobile website that uses technology to create a more personalized experience for its users will increase engagement and can lengthen the time those users spend on the site.


The youngest generation that multifamily marketers are beginning to target today -- Generation Z -- is taking the desire for personalization to the extreme. As the first generation to grow up entirely in the digital age, the digital experience is their human experience, and it’s all taking place on their smartphones.


In fact, millennials and Gen Z are around 25 percent more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomers to opt for a predictive Internet, according to a Center for Generational Kinetics for WP Engine study, “The Future of Digital Experiences.” That study also found that  50 percent of Gen Z users stated they would stop visiting a website if it didn’t anticipate what they needed, liked or wanted.


Thus, multifamily marketers can and should create mobile web and app experiences that anticipate what each prospective renter and renewing resident will want. For example, prospects who have already viewed floor plans on your mobile site should go directly to the floor plans page when they return to the site. Renewing residents could be sent directly to the online lease renewal page within your mobile app.


3. Empower residents to complete important transactions via mobile devices. According to the US Census Bureau, mobile commerce spending (smartphones and tablets) contributed $22.7 billion, a 45 percent year-over-year growth. Overall, mobile accounted for 21 percent of total digital commerce dollars in the fourth quarter of 2016.


Your residents are already accustomed to purchasing goods and services via their mobile devices. It’s likely that many want to pay their rent without having to log in to their computer or, worse yet, write a check. Most property management software vendors offer mobile payment platforms, yet there are still many property managers who don’t empower renters to pay rent via their smartphones. This is an area that is worth exploring.


Making your mark on mobile and meeting the demands of today’s tech-savvy residents isn’t rocket science, but it does require a commitment to putting mobile first. How you implement the mobile experience for your properties, and how much time and money you invest, is up to you.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great article Kunwar! This is especially important in some sectors like student housing and if you are trying to reach young professionals in multifamily. We've seen a switch too for a lot of sites being indexed as mobile-first since they have a majority of traffic as mobile. It's definitely great to keep your mobile experience top of mind! I'd recommend keeping the phone number - as the main conversion point - visible on the top of the site on every page for mobile. That way it only takes one click for renters to reach out to your property.

  Gitel Celnik
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks for the thorough note, and for your recommendation - something we will definitely consider as we continue to experiment (AB Testing) moving the CTAs.

  Kunwar Gadhok

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