Boosting Multifamily Marketing Performance with Next-Gen Renter Journeys

Historically, multifamily marketing has lagged behind other industries when it comes to inbound marketing capabilities, hindering PMC’s ability to deliver that famed “Amazon” experience characterized by ease, speed, and hyper-personalization. That’s changing, largely in response to consumer demand for more virtual conveniences and on-demand support with just a tap or two on their smartphones.

For renters, shopping experiences that were considered premium not long ago are now minimum consumer expectations. Specifically, prospective renters now expect your multifamily property website to deliver the same level of ease, access, personalization and support they enjoy from retail and media platforms.

71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized experiences. 79% report feeling frustrated when that doesn’t happen. 

On-site leasing teams also share those expectations, craving the flexibility, automation, and remote access they’ve observed in other industries. As workforce dynamics and expectations shift, marketing automations that have long been prevalent in other industries provide much-needed relief to multifamily marketers, while accelerating multifamily marketing performance and revenue growth. 

In this resource, we share some of what we’ve learned in working with scores of multifamily marketers and property management companies. More than anecdotal evidence, the advice presented below is rooted in data from tens of thousands of multifamily website sessions and digital interactions with prospects, which our team analyzes quarterly. 

Our hope is that, by the end of this resource, you’ll walk away with actionable ideas and greater clarity for improving the performance and profitability of your multifamily marketing program. 

Identifying “stealth” shoppers and building lasting relationships

Today’s prospective renters begin their property search early, and mostly online. Between work, daytime errands and other distractions, prospects often browse your website late at night, during holidays, or when leasing staff is unavailable.

What’s more, our data shows the renter’s journey is far longer than in the past: Today’s renters take 46 days, on average, to choose a rental property, and many spend more than six months searching.

During that time, nearly 43% of rental prospects visit a property website multiple times, evaluating the information, comparing it to competitors, and narrowing their options. For a large part of their renter’s journey, prospects are making decisions about your properties long before you know who they are.

With that in mind, astute multifamily marketers now employ automations to give prospects on-demand support from the very first visit. In doing so, they’re also able to capture individual prospect data that will be crucial for long-term, personalized nurture as part of their multifamily marketing strategy.

By 2025, consumers will expect white-glove service for all, or hyper-personalized “care of one,” as McKinsey puts it. “If consumers don’t like the experience they receive, it’s easier than ever for them to choose something different.” ~ McKinsey

If consumers don’t like the experience they receive, it’s easier than ever for them to choose something different.

Engagement as a launch pad for conversions

How do you get prospects to leave their contact information, and even reveal personal insights like their move-in timeline and other preferences? Put simply, you offer enough value that it becomes a no-brainer for the prospect to exchange personal information in order to access helpful tools and information.

Multifamily marketers we work with make that possible through interactive website experiences.

Examples of interactive website experiences include the following:

  • Floor Plan Match: Widget asks questions and matches a floorplan to the visitor’s preference.
  • New Visitor Welcome: Function greets new visitors and encourages them to take a specific action, such as entering a sweepstakes.
  • Special Offers: Helping visitors find special or time-limited promotions.
  • Expense Calculator: Clarifying the expenses and affordability of a particular unit to facilitate budget considerations.
  • Save Floor Plan: Widget allows visitors to save a photo of a particular floor plan for easy reference at a later time.
  • Neighborhood Explorer: Helps visitors understand neighborhood amenities and characteristics.
  • Virtual Tour: Allows visitors to virtually tour the property.
  • Pre-Qualify: Wizard tool collects the data necessary to tell users if they are pre-qualified for the unit of their interest.
  • Chatbot: Enables visitors to submit questions and get instant responses via a website chatbot.
  • Email Bot: Enables visitors to email their questions and get responses via email from a conversational bot.
  • Consumer Profile: Allows visitors to share their contact information and move-in window to receive customized follow-up.
  • Text Messaging: Allows visitors to text their questions and get responses in SMS from a conversational bot.

In examining data from those tens of thousands of multifamily website sessions and digital prospect interactions, we found that websites that offer tour scheduling alone, without other kinds of visitor engagement, capture less prospect data and far fewer tours. Conversely, websites that offer tour scheduling alone, without other kinds of visitor engagement, capture less prospect data and far fewer tours. Conversely, websites that offer a menu of interactive experiences capture 622% more leads and 69% higher conversions from visit to tour. That’s quite a jump!

In all, the data is quite definite: Prospective renters show a strong willingness to share their personal information and engage with interactive tools in exchange for an easier and more personalized renter’s journey. Prospects gravitate to different experiences at different stages in their apartment search, so providing a variety of interactive experiences helps you meet diverse needs that are relevant to what’s most important to each prospect at that moment.

It’s worth noting that prospect communications can only be as personalized as the data you have. Interactive website experiences are rich sources of prospect data capture, increasing your ability to personalize lead nurture and reap greater engagement.

Interactive website experiences >> capture more prospect data >> more personalized nurture communications >> improved lead engagement >> higher lead conversions

Reasonably, the success of any inbound multifamily marketing program hinges on how well you can satisfy consumer expectations for on-demand, personalized guidance and support. 

Automating personalized support and experiences at scale

Researchers from reputable think tanks like McKinsey, Forrester, Gartner and more agree on one thing: Meaningful personalization is the new baseline for consumer expectations, no matter what they’re buying. In the realm of multifamily marketing, there’s a lot of catching up to do in terms of matching the experiences customers are accustomed to in the ways they play, work, shop and navigate just about every other aspect of their daily routines.

Futurists at Stylus, a market forecasting firm, use our relationship with smartphones to illustrate how consumer experiences in one industry affect their expectations of other industries. As they explain it, when you look at apps on your phone,  you often make comparisons between apps sitting next to one another: “Why can’t my health app data be as protected as my bank data? Why can’t the dashboard on my school app be as intuitive as my Amazon app?” The takeaway is that your customer-facing marketing channels aren’t just being compared to your direct competitors. Instead, consumers are judging you against leading platforms across multiple industries and categories.

Reasonably, no leasing team or static website can deliver on such expectations, 24/7, at scale. Rather, your multifamily marketing tech stack must include powerful automations to make this possible.

PMCs and marketers we work with tell us that the multifamily automations they find most effective include the following traits or capabilities:

1. Ability to deliver instant answers to prospective renters in real time, ’round the clock.

2. “Self-serve” tour scheduling: Enabling prospects to schedule property tours outside of office hours or when agents are busy with other tasks.

3. Engaging cold leads and warming them up for leasing agents, moving those leads through the sales funnel without requiring manual/human interaction until “agent-ready”.

4. Automating support for unqualified or lower-priority leads so leasing agents can focus on high-potential prospects or activities.

5. Delivering consistent follow-up and lead nurture across marketing/sales channels.

6. Capturing prospect preferences and behavior insights, with the technology learning from every interaction and adapting messaging so follow-ups are increasingly relevant and personalized.

7. Shortening the sales cycle, accelerating leases, and helping to achieve and maintain high occupancy.

8. Automating responses to prospect inquiries made via phone, email, website, or SMS.

9. Capturing and syncing prospect data with the CRM. (Read: No manual data entry or having to log into disconnected systems.)

10. Integration with the team’s chosen CRM and internet listings, centralizing all data and enabling efficient lead attribution.

Not all multifamily marketing platforms can check all of these boxes, of course. But clarifying your must-have functions helps you discern which tools are worthy of your consideration.

Multifamily marketers share real-world outcomes

So far, we’ve touched on a few ingredients of a high-performing multifamily marketing program:

  • Automated lead capture, engagement, and nurture
  • Interactive website experiences
  • On-demand, personalized support

What outcomes are possible when you employ these components for automated personalized renter journeys?

We’ve asked a few multifamily marketers to share their experiences.

“Our conversion rates went up and we saw immediate impact on our team,” said Anna Shea, senior director of marketing at Laramar Group, which manages a portfolio of nearly 150 properties. Following a 90-day pilot with PERQ, Laramar reported significant improvements: 2,858 fewer hours spent managing leads, 182% increase in lead-to-tour conversions, 113% increase in website traffic, and $43,116 savings. or cost avoidance. in lead generation (more “free” leads generated from web traffic, plus more tours from nurtured leads).

Christopher Bartlett, director of marketing at CA Ventures, reports similar successes. At the end of three months using the PERQ platform, Bartlett reported a 226% increase in lead-to-tour conversions, 157% average rise in website leads, and 1,002 hours saved for staff.

The rate of tours scheduled automatically, requiring zero staff interaction, were 90.4% for Laramar and 99% for CA Ventures.

Allow us to stress these results were documented in just three months, confirming it doesn’t take long for teams to experience big wins after automating and personalizing renter journeys. Not only are multifamily marketers seeing a big jump in return on marketing spend, they’re also easing the workload of on-site teams so they can devote their time, energy and talent to other areas of need.

Just as significant, these aren’t isolated examples. Rather, they’re quite common for multifamily marketers we’ve worked with, and are well within reach for marketers adopting a similar approach.

Vetting a multifamily marketing automation solution

While there are scads of technology solutions making lofty promises to multifamily marketers, discerning your ideal tech stack doesn’t have to be stressful. It helps to start with the end in mind, clarifying your must-have capabilities and what you wish to achieve.

A few sections above, we covered popular automation capabilities among multifamily marketers we’ve spoken with. Aside from those, we suggest two “non-negotiables” for your consideration.

▷ One connected platform

If your goal is to make your team more efficient, the last thing you need is inconsistent data and disconnected systems, forcing your team to manually stitch together incomplete info from disparate sources. Your multifamily marketing platform should integrate with your PMS and CRM systems, plus online traffic sources like property listings, Google, and more. It should also be able to communicate with prospects across various channels, and give you visibility into how each channel or lead source is performing.

▷ Simple implementation

When adopting new technology to accelerate revenue goals, you want the learning curve to be as minimal as possible. And with the speed of change in the market, you want a platform that’s easy to adapt to your needs as they evolve. You shouldn’t have to hire a data scientist to activate, manage or upgrade marketing capabilities. Similarly, you can’d do your job efficiently if you’re constantly troubleshooting technology hiccups, or if mastering the technology is so complicated your team refuses to use it.

You might also find the following simplified checklist helpful in narrowing your options:

  • Automate responses to routine prospect inquires via website chat, SMS, email or phone.
  • Personalized nurture and cohesive experiences across channels (e.g., a prospect who’s shared a specific preference or intent on your website gets relevant messaging when engaging via other channels like email or SMS).
  • Automated lead management (i.e., the technology nurtures leads in the background until they’re closer to a “yes” and ready for agent follow-up).
  • Ability to capture personal prospect information for the rental card, and sync that data with your CRM — no manual data entry or CRM clean-up required.
  • Track lead performance to the original lead source so you know how your marketing channels and investments are faring.
  • Ability to access individual prospect data, lead source attribution, and unified data insights via a centralized dashboard (versus having to access separate platforms with disconnected data and multiple logins).

Giving prospects what they crave

According to McKinsey, personalized support at scale is increasingly affordable and the stakes of getting it right (or wrong) are multiplying. “Organizations able to activate that capacity at scale can put customer value on a new trajectory, driving double-digit revenue growth, superior retention, and richer, more nurturing long-term relationships,” they say.

That’s a heck of an advantage, and one that PMCs and multifamily marketers can’t afford to neglect in the months ahead.

Relevant Multifamily Marketing Resources:

Multifamily Data Reveals Impact of Interactive Website Experiences on Renter Conversions

Case Study: Laramar Group Catapults Conversions, Savings with 3-Month PERQ Pilot

Case Study: How CA Ventures Automates Lead Capture, Nurture and Conversions with AI

Peer Insights: Blending Automation and Human Touchpoints to Enhance the Rental Experience

Peer Insights: How Wood Residential Sways Gen Z Renters

Peer Insights: How Multifamily Marketers Use Data to Woo Renters, Cultivate Advocates

What can PERQ do for your marketing performance?

PERQ, multifamily’s only standalone marketing automation platform, integrates with your existing website and lead sources to engage, nurture and convert leads, improving the multifamily leasing journey for everyone.

See what’s possible: Schedule a demo or request your own PERQ pilot!

Why Apartment Managers Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Test Innovative Digital Marketing Ideas

Best Practices to Follow Up With Property Website Leads

A Better Approach to Lead Management for Multifamily Properties

5 Tips to Increase Quality Leads & Book More Property Tours