How a Marketing Cloud Solves Common Multifamily Industry Problems

How a Marketing Cloud Solves Common Multifamily Industry Problems

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]The “cloud” may seem like an obscure notion, an ambiguous technology we use often despite understanding very little about how it works, but once mastered a marketing cloud for multifamily properties can address pain points across every level of a property management company.


An AI-driven marketing cloud centralizes a multifamily property’s various technologies and data, streamlining internal business processes while also delivering a better customer experience for prospects who start their apartment search online. Every member of a property management team stands to benefit from the multi-pronged approach to generating, tracking and converting leads.


From asset owners and C-suite leaders to on-site property managers and leasing specialists, to the staff working in marketing and regional management, a marketing cloud gives everyone at the company clear, cohesive and actionable insights into prospect data and calculates return on marketing investments. The cloud also frees up time and energy for the staff by utilizing marketing automation and artificial intelligence for a personalized, yet automated approach.


“Having all of our data in one location to search through, versus having to go to each individual [database source] would be great,” says Trent Jones, Regional Marketing & Training Director at The Worthing Companies, which manages apartment communities in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. “You could plate it up by zip code or other parameters, so you can get a snapshot of likes for multiple properties and prospects at one time.”


The possibilities a marketing cloud presents a property are endless, particularly when created specifically for multifamily communities. Here’s how a cloud can help property management companies tackle common problems the industry faces at every level of operations.


Improve Property Websites Using AI Technology


With online search engines changing algorithms to focus on local and voice-based searches, which is expected to soon account for half of all searches, more prospective renters land directly on a property’s website instead of first visiting a general third-party leasing website.


Optimizing a multifamily property’s marketing strategy begins by bolstering the website with AI technology, so it can serve as the No. 1 lead and lease source for property managers. The property website is often the first point of contact for prospects, which do most of their apartment research online well in advance of contacting someone at the leasing office. By improving the website so it captures and nurtures more leads, properties can solve multiple problems at once.


Pain Point: Competing against properties on third-party websites.

Why spend more money to compete against other properties on apartment listing sites when more people search direct these days? Stand out from the local search competition with an exceptional property website. With just a single line of code added to an existing site, a property management company can add interactive leasing tools automatically personalized with AI-guided software and behavior tracking.


Pain Point: Only get name and basic contact info from leads, instead of robust profiles.

Websites augmented with web conversion software collects detailed lead data from prospects as they go through the online experiences that help them narrow their list of potential places to live, such as a community assessment that evaluates the neighborhood priorities of individual renters and then shows them related Yelp reviews on places of interest nearby.


“The data gathered on our websites helps us be more personable on our responses,” says Chris Berry, Senior Regional Manager at First Communities Management in Atlanta, when talking about the advantages to collecting more robust lead data on their property websites. “We’re able to tailor our responses, whether it be in an email or phone call.


“I encourage my team to use that information and not just send a cookie-cutter response that’s telling the prospect something they already know about the property. They’ve already been to our website and answered questions. You have to really think about it and put those things they’ve told you into action.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Automate Lead Generation and Lead Nurture to Increase Leads


Investing in a marketing cloud solution that includes quality lead generation tied to an automated lead nurturing system can save properties significant money by collecting and converting exponentially more leads, without extra work from the leasing or marketing teams.


Pain Point: Expensive and poor conversion rates on third-party leads.

Online visitors who spend several minutes engaging on an interactive site and volunteer personal information are much more likely to convert to a lease than generic leads generated through third-party websites — and at a much lower cost per lead and lease.


Within three months of adding AI-powered software, First Communities experienced an average online lead lift of 865% across four properties and a 200% increase in time online visitors spent on the websites. PERQ data pulled from the website analytics shows the software influenced 25% of all leads at those properties during the first 90 days, with a lead-to-lease conversion rate of 4.78% (industry average hovers around 1%). At a cost of $3.82 per lead conversion and $91.92 per lease, the website software performs well above any other lead generation source the company invests in, according to Berry.


Pain Point: About half of online leads not followed up on properly, or at all.

When connected to a marketing cloud, the website feeds detailed consumer profile information into a cloud-based CRM database where property managers can organize leads based on estimated move date and other essential personal information gathered from online visitors. They can also track who in the leasing office touched a lead, along with when and how they followed up, and how successfully they converted leads into leases.


An AI-driven cloud solution that’s digitally linked to a property’s prospect database also offers properties a way to automatically send lead nurture emails and text messages based on where they’re at in the leasing journey. Leasing specialists can then focus their time on renters ready to sign a lease right away, while prospects who are months away from leasing receive timely, helpful content and incentives that drive them back to the website to re-engage with the property and eventually set an appointment through an online scheduler.


When automated, every lead gets acknowledged in a timely fashion with a personalized, relevant message. No more leads slipping through the cracks of a manual database and tracking system.


Calculate Online Advertising ROI and Base Marketing Decisions on Data


To make better marketing decisions, properties need better data. Marketing clouds featuring next-generation tracking software and machine learning capabilities deliver big data insights into the targeted online audience for a particular property and the ROI of all online marketing efforts, then automatically take appropriate action in response to the real-time results.


Pain Point: Inability to optimize marketing spend based on quality data.

An AI-based CRM tracks multi-touch lead attribution across multiple online platforms and channels to give multifamily companies the complete leasing journey for prospects, as well as broader analytics to spot trends and marketing opportunities. Regional property managers and executives can easily peer into the cloud-based system to see which marketing efforts converted the most leads into leases and evaluate a leasing office’s performance.


“By tracking our leads, we know whether or not our teams are following up and how they’re doing so,” Berry says. “You’ve got to be able to prove it out, that you’re getting the value out of your investment in the software and the people who work for you.”


Pain Point: Difficulty seeing which advertising channels drive leads and leases.

Because it accounts for multi-touch attribution and identifies anonymous leads to build in-depth profiles, a connected CRM gives properties the power to run detailed analytics reports that calculate the exact ROI of every advertising and marketing spend.


Sophisticated marketing clouds utilize machine learning, a subset of AI technology that evaluates large sets of data to predict outcomes and automatically adjust settings, to present properties with an “ideal renter profile” and how to best target those type of prospects. It compares a property’s proprietary data to millions of other data points stored in the cloud to show the best path to conversion for their specific target audience.


Based on the real-time data, the unified cloud systems can work together to evaluate every online advertising campaign for a property and automatically adjust spending to maximize results.


“Feeding them too much data is overwhelming,” says Bob Romine, owner of R.C. Romine and Associates, a full-service marketing agency that primarily serves multifamily clients. Many businesses use enterprise cloud systems designed for big corporations that aren’t industry-specific. A cloud-based system built for the multifamily industry instead makes the data more manageable for local property management companies.


“They’re basically saying, ‘Hey, I just want to know who my perfect customer is and then give me more of those kinds of people,’” Romine says. “Being able to bring all of that data into one integrated system and look at it in one place, to identify your avatar, that works really well for any business, big or small.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Additional Multifamily Resources


How PERQ Data Helps Your SEO Team Optimize Property Websites

How PERQ Data Helps Your SEO Team Optimize Property Websites

Over 74,000 consumers perform a Google search per second. That’s a lot of opportunities to improve your property management company’s digital marketing and SEO efforts.


As renters use technology to access the vast amount of information available online to help them find an apartment or condo, an expansive amount of valuable data becomes available to your business. Imagine capturing detailed online data for every potential tenant who visits your property website, any time of the day, every day.


“It has significantly opened our eyes to how many current prospects will be reviewing a single community at one time,” says Caleb Bartlett, Digital Sales & Media Manager at Nolan Real Estate, of the website conversion software the multifamily company added to several property websites. “We see about 150 unique visitors to our individual websites each day, and PERQ has changed how we go about managing all of those qualified leads.”


Use Website Data to Improve SEO Strategy Across Channels


Capitalize on your property’s website data to help your leasing specialists better meet a lead’s needs and enhance prospect engagement, while also gaining insight into what renters in your market are specifically searching for and which trending keywords your SEO team should target on your website, in digital ads, social media and content marketing. By constantly tweaking your SEO strategy based on real-time data, you’ll drive more organic traffic to your website, and improve your search page ranking and visibility.


PERQ assigns a unique ID to online visitors in order for clients to take anonymous Google Analytics data and marry it up to lead and PERQ analytics in order to accomplish the cross channel/device tracking but also to see who is signing a lease at the physical property. This goldmine of information helps property management companies connect the dots between a prospect’s online activities to spot common words, phrases and renter trends that your SEO team or third-party vendor can use to maximize website growth and attract more leads.


Your Market, Customers and Ways to Search Continue to Change


SEO is not a one-and-done type of task; it is an ongoing effort. To add to the dynamic nature of search, Google continually updates its algorithm. In 2018, Google reported 3,234 improvements to its search platform.


Optimizing your website requires continual analyzation and modifications. Data collected from customers’ online behavior using artificial intelligence is automatically analyzed and updated to provide properties with a treasure trove of information to influence search engine optimization.


When stored in a marketing cloud, that data can flow between your property’s various technologies and data collection systems to give you a broader picture of each prospect’s journey and your customer base as a whole.


Trying to anticipate how the market, your prospects or search methods will change or evolve is tricky business, but website data provides a view into what’s popular at the moment. When analyzed alongside big sets of industry data, your property can also make predictions on what’s coming next and make automatic adjustments to your digital marketing accounts.


Audit Online Consumers to Make Better SEO Decisions


Ryan Cox, Digital Marketing Manager at J.C. Hart Company, gives this advice to any property looking to improve their digital marketing: “No. 1, even if you have to hire outside to do so, do a comprehensive online customer audit of your residents and potential residents. Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”


He urges property management companies to examine customers’ purchasing habits, styles, likes and dislikes. “Just because you have a budget, doesn’t mean you’re spending it effectively,” Cox says. “If you’re just throwing money at [digital advertising], and spraying and praying, you’re doing it wrong.”

Turn Your Website into Your No. 1 Leasing Tool

Turn Your Website into Your No. 1 Leasing Tool

While it’s a common belief in the multifamily industry that property websites don’t directly drive leads, many property management companies have transformed their websites into their No. 1 leasing tool by adding AI technology and marketing automation to the online mix.


“We consider the property website as a primary leasing tool,” says Jenny Richard, Director of Marketing at Gene B. Glick Company, which manages multifamily rental communities in 13 states.


“We know prospective renters are completing their apartment research online and making decisions about where they want to live well in advance of speaking to anyone on the leasing team,” Richard says. “That means we must provide the best online experience and ensure we are offering the most up-to-date information regarding pricing and availability, as well as what’s in and around our community.”


Add AI on Multifamily Website to Capture Online Leads


AI and marketing automation allows your website to guide the prospect automatically through the leasing process, collecting their data as they interact with engaging online tools, quizzes and calculators to help them figure out the best rental community for them. That puts properties that utilize AI light years ahead of their competitors who present cumbersome, boring websites that look more like a static brochure and oddly similar to one another.


Nolan Real Estate implemented AI technology on several of its multifamily property websites because the company considers the website its No. 1 leasing tool. “No question about it,” says Caleb Bartlett, Nolan’s Digital Sales & Media Manager. “We have structured our entire digital strategy for our leads to touch our website as the first point of contact. In short, it is becoming 100% prospect engagement.”


Digital Marketing Cloud Unites Data for Automatic Lead Nurture


Easy to implement on an existing website, AI-driven technology can also be used to power an integrated digital marketing cloud to better leverage the website data and convert more online leads by helping the prospect along and providing leasing offices with in-depth insights into each person’s leasing journey.


Through the cloud, companies can tap into the centralized consumer data to automatically nurture online leads in email and text campaigns, personalized with content and incentives related to their current search.


The content drives the consumer back to the website to schedule a tour or engage with more of the interactive website research tools, such as a quiz to match them with nearby activities they indicate as important, a pre-qualify loan assessment to give them a head start on the leasing process, or a calendar where they can instantly schedule a tour of the property.


Cloud Computing Helps Leasing Consultants Connect with Renters


A marketing cloud gives companies a way to track a prospect throughout the entire renter journey, taking into account all of the various digital and offline touchpoints to deliver detailed consumer information to leasing consultants. That information allows them to make an immediate connection to a prospect when meeting in person for a tour or following up with an email, call or text.


“Finding the connectivity between what they want in a home and the desired lifestyle they are looking for is essential to making a connection and converting to an appointment,” Richard says. “Our website is key in capturing this experience, and providing those experiences in a way that lets our leasing team members receive information about what’s important to each prospective renter, which allows them to build relationships.”


Target Your Ideal Renter Online with AI-Driven Insights


Companies also gain insight into the exact ROI of each digital channel, broken down into cost per lease and per lead. With AI-driven technology on a website, those numbers show a significant improvement over traditional lead generation solutions commonly used in the multifamily industry.


The business data can be analyzed in conjunction with big sets of data stored in the cloud that come from similar stores. Using machine learning, cloud software can use those millions of data points to compute a property’s “ideal prospect” and configure details on the type of person most likely to rent at that property based on the processed data as well as the best ways to target those particular prospects.


Convert Prospects with Convenient Online Experience


Since The Worthing Companies added interactive AI software to a dozen of its property websites, the average time a visitor spends researching on those websites has jumped from 2-3 minutes up to 7-8 minutes. “It’s crazy the traffic that we’re getting off this, and it’s driving people to stay on the website longer,” says Trent Jones, Regional Marketing & Training Director at The Worthing Companies.


Jones says the engaging website leads them through the process, making it such an enjoyable and helpful experience that prospects don’t feel the need to branch out and look elsewhere for a place to live.


“We’re getting tons of leasing off of it,” Jones says. “By the time they talk to a leasing agent, the website has answered all of their questions. When they get here, it’s usually just a tour and then a done deal. Some of them even lease online without coming to tour.”