In today’s marketplace, growing and sustaining renter conversions has evolved into a science, rewarding evidence-driven marketers with the ROI that’s simply not feasible when marketing decisions are driven by hunches, personal preferences, or even past experience. That “evidence” bit can be a tough nut to crack when you can’t tell with mathematical certainty how peers and competitors are performing, how prospect behaviors are evolving, and what tactics (or combination of tactics) have proven effective across the industry.
With that in mind, PERQ established the Multifamily Marketing Quarterly Report (MMQ for short). A performance guide for multifamily marketers, the MMQ dissects tens of thousands of multifamily website sessions and prospect interactions via email and SMS to reveal industry benchmarks and emerging trends. As the name implies, PERQ repeats that analysis each quarter so insights are always relevant to what’s happening in the industry now.
In all, each issue of the MMQ is designed to accomplish three things:
- Identify how renter behaviors and preferences are changing.
- Reval how various marketing tools and tactics have performed in attracting, engaging, and converting renters.
- Help you prioritize and defend your marketing investments.
It’s worth noting that each report so far has focused on distinct themes, so it’s worth going back and reading previous issues as well! In any case, we’ll highlight some of our latest findings in this post.
Digging into Q3/2022 findings
MMQ data from Q3/2022 focuses on the types of website experiences that move prospective renters to click, engage, book tours, and sign leases.
What experiences do prospective renters love or expect? What sways them to leave their contact info behind, and reveal their moving plans or preferences? And what gets them to come back for more, choosing your property website over a competitor’s and engaging across channels?
As the data shows, the answer can be summed up in interactive website experiences.
We know first impressions are lasting impressions. We also know renters are spending considerably more time doing their own research before they’re willing to speak to a leasing agent. Often, we’re taking months of research before you know they exist.
A property website that enables instant, personalized answers (plus personalized nurture and nudges post-visit) scores big points in rapport, earning repeat visits and a big boost in engagement.
Fueling engagement with interactive tools
Modern consumers expect to be guided digitally through their renter’s journey with the same ease they enjoy with Alexa, Google, or other AI engines – without having to call someone or stop by a leasing office. With that in mind, prospective renters respond well to being prompted to engage, as long as you’re providing value in return.
Our data shows websites with pop-up prompting converted 88% more leads, on average than those that do not. And websites with interactive website tools booked 32% more tours than those without. In all, interactive property websites captured 622% more leads than those that only offer a “book a tour” option.
Specifically, interactive tools that led to significant increases in engagement include the following, ranked by popularity:
- Floor Plan Match
- New Visitor Welcome
- Special Offers
- Expense Calculator
- Save Floor Plan
- Neighborhood Explorer
- Virtual Tour
- Email Bot
- Consumer Profile
- Text Messaging
The MMQ looked into each interactive experience and its impact on lead engagement, conversions, and tours. The Floor Plan Match widget was the most frequently engaged tool, representing 34% of conversions. Expense Calculators were neck-in-neck in popularity with Special Offers for second most popular, with 10% of conversions coming from these tools.
Selecting the right mix of tools
Curiously, the most popular widgets do not always lead to the highest quality conversions to tours. For example, one of the most popular tools, the Floor Plan Match, was also one of the lowest in conversion.
Instead, the most effective interactive experience in leading tour conversions was the Neighborhood Explorer, followed by the Pre-Qualify tool. Experiences with Chatbots came in at third for conversion to tours.
One takeaway from these findings is this: For your property website to maximize conversions and tours, you need to combine both popular interactive experiences with experiences that rank higher for conversions.
A high-converting website experience that is not popular will produce fewer tours than a popular website with low conversion. It’s the combination of the two that optimizes the efficacy of your website.
Think of it like a cake: Eggs, milk, or sugar may hold individual appeal, but baked together, it’s an entirely new experience if you’re craving a sweet treat. Similarly, interactive website experiences are most compelling when you combine high-engagement with high-conversion tools.
It makes sense, right? A variety of experiences enables your website to appeal to diverse renter interests at diverse stages of their journey. It’s a way to give prospects a sense of control over their search with information that’s relevant to who and where they are at the moment.
The more experiences, the higher the engagement, our data shows: Renters that engage with only one website experience convert to tour at a lower rate (17.89%) than those who engage with three or four experiences.
Keeping prospects coming back until ready to commit
In previous issues of the MMQ, the data revealed a much lengthier renter’s journey, with renters taking far more time to reach, ponder and narrow their options than in the past. That means prospects considering your multifamily property will visit your website, leave, return on a different device, engage with your nurture email or SMS, and repeat that process a few times before they call your leasing team or sign a lease. Like dating, you need a plan to keep them interested and coming back until they’re ready to commit.
Interactive experiences have the added (and vital) benefit of capturing valuable prospect information so you can personalize your nurture communications with information and prompts that are relevant to individual interests, nudging them to take the next step that makes most sense given each prospect’s past interactions and what they’ve revealed about themselves.
MMQ data shows the top three personalized prompts when prospects first visit your website are the Floor Plan match, Chatbot, and Pre-Qualify. By contrast, the top three prompts for welcoming a visitor back to a website were the Floor Plan Match, Request a Tour, and Chatbot.
Allow us to underscore just how important it is to prompt the next step for your prospect. Back to our data, multifamily marketers who used post-experience prompts drove significant, additional engagement, including direct requests to tour.
MMQ data shows offering a tour is less effective than offering an experience, which is a much easier “yes” for your prospect than committing to a tour. The top six post-experience engagement prompts are as follows:
- Expense Calculator
- Right Neighborhood for Me
- Virtual Tour
- Request a Tour
- Floor Plan Match
Discerning how to prioritize your marketing investments
If it feels like this post is missing some metrics or key aspects of this analysis, you’re right. The insights shared this far don’t do justice to the depth of intel and contact you’ll find in the full report. It’s our pleasure to help you dive into the data for the best chance of success as you map out plans for the months ahead.
We invite you to download your own copy of the MMQ below. We trust you’ll find that writing your 2023 marketing plan will be far easier once you have solid data to back up your recommendations.
Here’s to a profitable year ahead!
Grab your copy of the latest Multifamily Marketing Quarterly Report, Community Websites & the Modern Renter’s Journey, enjoy!