Multifamily Quarterly Analysis: Renter Journey Patterns and Paths to Conversion

renter journeyEvery quarter, PERQ analyzes tens of thousands of multifamily website sessions and prospect interactions to identify industry benchmarks and trends. Until now, multifamily marketing performance metrics have been incredibly hard to pinpoint, and PERQ’s Multifamily Quarterly Report (MQ for short) is designed to fill that gap. The quarterly cadence is also important if we are to keep up with changing consumer behaviors.

Our goal is to equip you with evidence to make confident marketing decisions, validate your recommendations to your leaders and clients, and magnify your return on spend.

 

Unveiling Q2/2022 data insights

This September, we’re releasing the second installment of the MQ Report, revealing findings of our Q2/2022 data study. The report, titled Prospect Engagement Across a Lengthening Renter’s Journey, reveals common patterns in a typical renter’s journey and the impact of various marketing tactics on lead capture, engagement, and conversions.

To kick things off, Maribeth Ross, PERQ’s EVP of Marketing, presented a few highlights of that analysis in a webinar. We’ve captured a few takeaways in this post – just a sampling of what you’ll find in the report, linked below.

 

The renter’s journey is getting longer

Today’s renter’s journey is quite long, more expedition than excursion. Those prospects we used to call “Lookie Lous” are now your standard rental prospect: slow-moving, thoughtful, inquisitive.

From the time a rental prospect becomes known to the PMC to the time they sign a lease, we’re looking at an average of 46 days, with the longest journey in our data set stretching to 194 days. About seven in ten rental prospects in our study indicated their planned move-in window was a month or more in the future. A third said their move was three or more months away, and a quarter were ready now or in the near future.

 

Longer journeys entail more touchpoints and opportunities to engage (or lose) prospects

Along their journey, prospects have plenty of ways to get to their destination. “There are also tons of places where the renter can fall out of the journey,” Maribeth notes.

During their search, 43% of prospects visited a property website multiple times, and engaged visitors converted to known contacts at a rate of about 20% by interacting with the website in a way that compelled them to offer their contact information.

Visitors to multifamily property websites are largely mobile: 64% of first-time visitors accessed websites via their smartphone and nearly all remaining visits happened on desktop. Interestingly, lead-to-tour conversions rose by more than 74% when visitors accessed the website multiple times using multiple devices.

“Prospects are taking more time to be thoughtful and seek out information at their own pace. Your property website and marketing touches need to be built to keep these people engaged and active over an extended period of time and on different devices,” Maribeth notes.

 

Turning visitors into renters

Allow us to stress the impact of your website on the renter’s journey: Our data made it clear that website leads outpaced the conversion of paid leads by more than double. That’s a staggering difference in lead quality.

So how do you get visitors to return, again and again, and progress toward conversion?

 

>> Delivering interactive experiences

For starters, interactive experiences beat static content, nearly tripling engagement. “When we say interactive experiences, we mean things like an interactive floor plan match widget, a virtual tour, some kind of community explorer or chatbot,” Maribeth shares.

Nurture emails and texts with personalized calls to action that tied back to interactive experiences on the website also played a key role in conversions. “Of all the tours that were scheduled over Q2 in this data set, 40% of them were people who engaged with personalized nurture outreach,” says Maribeth, stressing the content they received was customized to each recipient. “It wasn’t like an email blast. It was personalized,” she adds.

 

>> Building rapport and driving interest with personalization

Personalization is huge — not just according to PERQ’s MQ analysis, but also to mounting data from leading research firms like Gartner, McKinsey, and more. Put simply, consumer expectations for online brand experiences have escalated sharply since the onset of the pandemic.

“McKinsey’s research shows 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and they get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. If consumers don’t like the experience they receive, it’s easier than every to just go somewhere else,” Maribeth explains. McKinsey also reports that high-growth companies attribute 40% or more of their revenue to personalization efforts.

“If you know a prospect’s preferred amenities or floor plans, for example, there’s a lot you can tailor to those interests in your communications, whether it’s an email outreach, SME nurture, and even face-to-face conversation,” says Maribeth.

Message timing is another opportunity to reflect prospect preferences. People who’ve self-reported a longer move-in time frame might need messages that are spaced out further over time than someone who’s looking to move more quickly. Channel preferences — email over SMS, for example — also offer opportunities to cater to individual prospects.

 

>> Satisfying the itch for instant gratification

As consumers, we’ve come to expect instant answers, often calling on Siri, Alexa or Google to navigate our daily lives and satisfy impulse questions. Multifamily property websites can provide the same satisfaction.

“The ability to converse with prospects in the middle of their journey had a lot of impact on our conversion data,” notes Maribeth. “Prospects that engaged in chat conversations or asked questions of a property website via automated chat interactions (whether on website, email or SMS) converted to a tour at a 36% rate, compared to a 16% rate without those automated conversations.

“What really stood out to me is that prospects weren’t necessarily engaging with the chatbot on their first website visit, but they were also conversing with it in other channels well into their journey, prompted by a marketing nurture touch,” Maribeth explains.

One key takeaway, she adds, is that personalized nurture plus the ability to chat across channels is a powerful combination.

 

Mythbusting: How many touches does it take to convert a prospect?

Old industry lore says if prospects don’t respond to three touches, don’t bother trying any further. We beg to differ: Our data shows 32% of booked tours came from prospects who had three or more nurture touches, and more than 8% of tours were scheduled after six or more personalized touches.

“The data proves that personalized nurture outreach drives substantially better leasing outcomes and needs to be sustained longer than a couple of touches. It needs to be dynamic and adjust to today’s apartment shoppers. Failure to properly nurture these leads for the length of their renter’s journey is leaving proverbial money on the table,” Maribeth advises.

 

A deeper look into personalization

As we looked at multifamily communities in our Q2 data set, we saw they collected quite a bit of information for each prospect: 12 data points on average. They used information to personalize their renter’s journey. Personalized data fell across these broad categories:

  • Basic contact info (e.g., name, email, phone number)
  • Detailed first-party data (self-reported preferences like move-in window, preferred bedroom or bathroom cuts, desired amenities, budget, etc.)
  • Metadata (data captured and stored in your technology systems like website visits, traffic sources, devices used, duration of session, etc.)

 

Below are examples of simple personalization:

 

  • First Name: Use their name in nurture outreach
  • Move-in window: Use to create urgency in copy of nurture outreach
  • Pet preference: Use to send them info about how your community supports pets
  • Preferred floor plan: Use to send them a reminder about a floor plan they loved
  • Website activity: Use to determine the next best step for them to take on your website to move along the renter’s journey

 

Granted, before you can personalize communications, you must be able to collect and deploy it with ease. To benefit prospects and marketers alike, your prospect data needs to be easily queried so you can send the right message to the right people at the right time.

 

Diving deeper into actionable insights

 

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far, and there’s plenty more to explore. We invite you to catch the full webinar presentation and download your copy of the MQ report to deepen your understanding of elements that can supercharge your marketing outcomes.

Watch the presentation below!

Grab your copy of the latest Multifamily Quarterly Report, Prospect Engagement Across a Lengthening Renter’s Journey, today!

Integration Spotlight: Frictionless Leasing With Funnel + PERQ

Funnel integrationWe’re big advocates of tech integrations, automations, and open platforms to meet the demands of today’s renters and multifamily marketing teams. With that in mind, we’re committed to building a platform that “plays well with others” — a must-have capability for operating efficiently in today’s environment.

As it happens, the folks at Funnel Leasing feel the same. Talk about a match made in multifamily heaven: Funnel Leasing, the industry’s only Renter Management Software platform, and PERQ, the Multifamily Automation Platform with personalization.

PERQ’s AI solution integrates with Funnel to provide AI-powered, personalized lead nurture at scale, building rapport with rental prospects and nudging them closer to a “yes” through every step of their leasing journey. Together, the PERQ-Funnel integration automates top-of-funnel activities, converting leads in a more cost-effective manner and elegantly hands them off to the onsite team when they’re agent-ready, simplifying lead management using a single guest card system. 

The resulting flexibility opens the door to more compelling experiences, both for rental prospects and for on-site teams.

“Integrations like this not only make finding a new apartment easier for renters, they also demonstrate PropTech companies giving property management companies the freedom to run their business with the right solutions for their portfolio, their team, and in general how they want,” said Lianna O’Brien, Lead Product Manager at Funnel. “Funnel’s renter-centric (single guest card) architecture and PERQ’s personalized lead nurturing work hand in hand to ensure leads are followed up in a meaningful way that makes renters feel ‘at home’ from the first click or text.”

Scott Hill, CEO and co-founder of PERQ, agrees: “We’re proud to partner with Funnel to bring the multifamily market a solution that provides on-site teams with the renter management software they need, while also providing automated and personalized nurture experiences that drive higher lead conversion and a better renting experience for consumers.”

Browse PERQ integration partners and request a demo!

Multifamily Quarterly Report Reveals Renter Journey Patterns & Drivers for Marketing Performance

renter journeyFor multifamily marketers, it can be hard to gauge how their marketing program stacks up against industry peers or evolving renter behaviors. 

What’s the industry average for the goals I’m pursuing?

For teams who are “killing it” with lead generation, what’s driving their results?

What variables consistently grow multifamily conversions or reduce costs?

What renter behaviors must I plan for and cater to?

What’s changed in recent months, and what does it mean for my marketing investments?

PERQ’s Multifamily Quarterly Report — MQ for short — is designed to answer those questions, and more.

A performance guide for multifamily marketers, the MQ dissects tens of thousands of multifamily website sessions and prospect interactions via email and SMS to reveal industry benchmarks and emerging trends. As the report name implies, PERQ repeats that analysis every quarter so insights are always relevant to what’s happening in the industry now.

What do these metrics mean for your multifamily marketing goals as you head into the second half of 2022?

We’d love to tell you.

The latest MQ installment, titled Prospect Engagement Across a Lengthening Renter’s Journey, focuses on Q2/2022 data, revealing:

  • The length of a typical renter’s journey and its impact on multifamily marketing and sales approaches. 
  • How rental prospects are using multifamily property websites, and what they expect to find to make their rental decision.
  • Most effective tactics for keeping prospects engaged as they explore rental options.
  • Data and technology implications of longer renter journeys and changing expectations.
  • Measurable impact of personalization on engagement and conversions.

Truly, it’s such great intel to supercharge your marketing performance and validate your recommendations to your leadership team.

You can access those insights before the report is released by joining us for a live webinar on September 14, 12:00–1:00 p.m. (EST)! Maribeth Ross, PERQ’s EVP of Marketing, will walk through highlights of our Q2 analysis and answer your questions.


Register here! You’ll still receive a recording if you can’t attend live, plus have first access to the report once it’s released.

We can’t wait to share what we’ve learned. Here’s to a profitable Q3 & Q4!

PERQ CEO Goes Over the Edge (For a Good Cause)

good cause

Well, he’s done it. PERQ CEO Scott Hill finally went over the edge. To be clear, it was for a good cause.

Each year, the United Way of Central Indiana sends 80 local leaders to rappel down the Keystone Group building in downtown Indianapolis. Aptly named “Over the Edge,” the event funds food, housing, healthcare, and transportation for Central Indiana residents struggling to meet basic needs. To that end, each participant raises a minimum of $1,000. The PERQ team raised $3,875 this year.

“A key part of our purpose at PERQ is making a difference in the community, so when I was asked to participate as part of a fundraising effort, it was easy to say ‘yes,’” Scott shares. “Without the philanthropy aspect, it would have been easy to say ‘no’!” — he jests.

It’s the first time PERQ has participated. Rappellers are organized in groups who head to the roof of the 23-story building at scheduled times so their family, friends, and coworkers can watch their descent. (Catch the video below!)

The experience was a memorable one, for sure. “When we showed up and saw people coming down the wall and the crowd cheering, it helped calm the nerves a bit, both for me and especially my children. It made it seem like an amusement park ride of sorts, where I just had to get in line and eventually I’d be one of those people coming down,” Scott recalls. Organizers also provided training, both to ensure safety and to alleviate fears. 

Though the moments before the jump were unnerving, the descent itself was exhilarating, says Scott: “Once I got over the edge, it was awesome! I was able to relax. I felt very secure and was able to look around, find family down below, and take in an experience I didn’t expect to have, and probably won’t again.”

Would he do it again? “PERQ will! I am very thankful to have been given this experience that wouldn’t have happened without the PERQ team,” Scott shares: “But, I have now done it and it’s someone else’s turn!” To make that possible, Scott has committed to donating $1,500, locking down the commitment for a PERQ team member to go Over the Edge next year. 

Who will it be? Scott envisions some fun fundraising competition among departments to determine the next PERQ rappeller and to see if we can beat 2022 donations.

Community service is nothing new to PERQ. Blood drives, back-to-school donations, and year-end giving are some of the events the team undertakes throughout the year. “It feels good to do good,” Scott concludes. “We look forward to more opportunities to bring relief and hope to our Central Indiana neighbors.”

Elevate Your Renters’ Journey By Solving These Multifamily Challenges

renters' journeyThe Multifamily industry, like many other industries, is always evolving. One aspect that remains constant is multifamily properties’ desire to provide their prospects with a seamless renters’ journey and discover the best solutions to do so.

To ensure you are providing your prospective renters with the best journey possible, let’s discuss four important challenges multifamily PMCs are currently facing that can be solved with an automation solution, such as the PERQ platform.

 

CHALLENGE #1: CALL CENTERS ARE PMCs #1 ANSWER TO HELP ALLEVIATE RESPONSIBILITIES.

It is no secret that PMCs are seeing more demand from prospects for their rental properties. Aside from prospects wanting to tour properties, they want quick answers and a more personalized experience. Onsite teams can only do so much to nurture their prospects and convert them into leads, as well as all the other countless responsibilities that are tacked on to their everyday schedules. PMCs are leaning into call centers as their go-to solution to take over many of these responsibilities. This way their onsite teams can focus on their other tasks at hand and continue to keep their prospective renters happy. 

However, just as quickly, multifamily PMCs are finding out that call centers are very costly, and in the age of the “great resignation” may also be struggling to handle call volume. So they are not always the better solution, just the more expensive one. Here at PERQ, we believe there is a better answer out there than utilizing call centers to provide you with better benefits for both your properties and prospects and it comes in the form of AI automation for multifamily marketing.

CHALLENGE #2: PMCS THINK THEY NEED MORE LEADS WHEN THEY ACTUALLY NEED MORE QUALIFIED LEADS.

You’ve heard it before: onsite teams complaining that they need more leads. Well, what they need is more tours to get the leases you need. And that means the quality of the leads is more important than the quantity.  But, the question that remains is how can properties get the qualified leads they need? The answer is simple: you can get better quality leads by automating l the management of your leads with a solution, such as the PERQ platform. Automation can nurture the leads and hand them off to your onsite teams when prospects are ready to tour your property and talk to your leasing team. This means you are actively spending efforts on those ready to tour and lease.

What about low-intent leads that are not yet qualified? Those will remain in the automation system to be nurtured until they are agent-ready and are passed to the property onsite team. Using an automation platform, such as PERQ, provides you with qualified leads only and saves you time and spend, so your team is no longer chasing unqualified leads.

 

CHALLENGE #3: THE WEBSITE ISN’T A GOOD SOURCE FOR LEADS.

If you to believe that your website isn’t a good source for leads, the time is right to automate your lead management. Your website actually has the potential to be the #1 best source for leads. Data shows that prospects are repeatedly perusing websites of multifamily properties they are interested in to get information when onsite teams are unavailable. They are researching those properties on their own timetable, browsing through the floorplans and amenities, looking for answers to their burning questions.

When you provide them with compelling onsite experiences, you engage them further.  Automation, like PERQ, integrates with your website to provide interactive experiences for your prospects, conversational AI via a website chatbot, and goes further to automate the nurturing of website visitors until they are ready to tour without your team lifting a finger. Automation remembers pertinent details about site visitors, recommends the next best steps, and welcomes visitors back by name at a scale a team never could. When done right, interactive experiences increase website engagement, create a better prospect experience, and drive higher lead to lease conversion of these prospects.

 

CHALLENGE #4: YOU CAN’T MEASURE SOURCE ATTRIBUTION.

Being unable to measure your source attribution is a known challenge for multifamily properties and leaves you missing important data for your business. Attribution is not easily measurable because lead source is often marked manually by team members (not reliable) or will only indicate “website” but not include the source that sent them to the website. Some PMCs try to use multiple systems to track all of the source data down.

This can be another reason to incorporate PERQ into your marketing efforts, so you can gain access of this important data in one place so you can efficiently use it to your advantage.

With the PERQ automation platform, you’ll receive source attribution data, tracked through the entire renter’s journey. When you have this information, you can look into the effectiveness of your spend by lead source, so you can reduce costs, meet revenue goals, and defend proposed business strategies. Because we also track all the information we get on renters from our interactive website experiences and chat session, we give important visibility of the demand of future renters and price points for possible rent increases.

In summary, as the multifamily industry evolves, multifamily marketers also need to evolve to meet the expectations of rental prospects as their demands and behaviors change. If your team struggles from any of these challenges we discussed today, then it’s the perfect time to incorporate the PERQ platform into your website and lead sources.

 

Related Resources:

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 👉🏽PERQ integrates with your existing website and lead sources to engage, nurture and convert leads, improving the multifamily leasing journey for everyone. Learn how it works or request a demo

 

 

 

Multifamily Workforce Pains Call for Automations, Workload Relief

frustrated person at desk with computer

We’re halfway into 2022. By now, reports of widespread burnout and resignations are old news across industries — multifamily included. What’s the actual impact on multifamily marketing teams, and what can be done to counter it?

To help answer those questions, we’ve turned to recent reports by reputable industry watchers. To no one’s surprise, multifamily leaders say staffing and recruitment remain leading challenges, alongside higher costs and drops in revenue.

Here’s a roundup of recent findings:

 

Top Multifamily Challenges (National Apartment Association)

 

Using research released by the NAA, multifamily leaders discussed what’s keeping them up at night during a session at NAA’s Apartmentalize conference.

“HR staff and recruitment continues to be the biggest concern followed by operational efficiencies and then maximizing revenue and profits,” said Paula Munger, assistant vice president, industry and research and analysis for NAA. “We hear it from our members all the time about how difficult it is to attract and retain talent,” she added: “Reducing staff turnover is also a challenge for many of our survey respondents.”

While there’s no easy answer or single solution to workforce pains, tech-driven efficiencies help. Donna Smith, president, Enclave Property Management, noted that if multifamily teams can find ways to make day-to-day operations more efficient, they can get more done with fewer people and free up dollars to increase salaries.

 

Marketing Focus Survey (Multi-Housing News)

 

When asked about their marketing focus for the 2022 season, nearly 40% of respondents told Multi-Housing News that driving leads was still their top priority, while nearly 38% said they’re focusing on reputation management instead. Despite that difference, more than 84% of respondents agreed they’re seeing greater hiring competition for on-site positions.

“As for how companies are managing employee workloads in this competitive environment, a majority of them at 33% said they’re using automated leasing follow-up to lessen the burden on employees,” MHN reported. “The options between using chatbots, self-guided tours, and other methods each saw more than 22% each,” with some companies using various automation methods, including AI.

 

2022 Multifamily State of the Industry Report (Rent.com)

 

As stressors mount and job satisfaction dips,” rental owners and operators have reported up to 70% of their workforce resigning,” reads the 2022 Multifamily State of the Industry Report. Authors noted that the average cost of onboarding a new employee is close to $4,000, citing data from Bersin and Deloitte. “For multifamily specifically, properties can also spend $2,500 to $3,500 a month on salary for each staff member that manages on-site communication,” they added.

According to Rent’s report, four core multifamily marketing responsibilities have been impacted by staff shortages:

 

  • Keeping up with the high volume of prospective renter inquiries
  • Maintaining organized lead management across a variety of digital channels
  • Finding focused time to develop multifamily marketing materials and campaigns
  • Creating and delivering new digital offerings (e.g., virtual tours, online applications and on-demand support that renters have come to expect).

 

“Owners and operators can improve the workload for employees with technology solutions that save time and make tasks more efficient,” the authors suggested.

 

Creating workflow efficiencies

 

Earlier this year, Rick Haughey, vice president of industry technology initiatives for the National Multifamily Housing Council, anticipated that the growing need for remote management and workflow efficiencies would accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) across the industry.

“Getting the balance between high-tech and high-touch right is the current challenge, but the exponential nature of how this technology learns will likely lead to exponential advances in its usefulness and greater development,” he wrote. “Getting [technology[ systems to work together in harmony will continue to be a challenge as owners and managers continue to streamline their processes and systems.”

 

Resources for Magnifying Your Team

 

Balancing Tech + Humans

 

Peer Feedback & Case Studies

 

 

PERQ integrates with your existing website and lead sources to engage, nurture and convert every lead, improving the multifamily leasing journey for everyone. Learn how it works or request a demo.