Every year, PERQ releases the Multifamily Field Guide. The Multifamily Field Guide is a report filled with renter insights from national trends to going even further and breaking down the data by region. In last year’s edition, renters’ lifestyles had changed a lot due to the pandemic. Work and learning went remote either partially or permanently. This change has continued into 2021 and as 2022 begins.
A rental unit is not just a home anymore; it’s an office, a gym, or a classroom. That’s a lot to expect from a 1-bedroom unit but with guidelines going back and forth, as time goes on, multifamily properties need to see this change in lifestyle as more permanent.
With lead generation and nurture tools, property management companies can tailor and personalize follow-up, the tour, and other aspects of the leasing journey to an individual prospect’s needs. However, it’s important to know what trends are showing up in renter behavior so properties can be prepared. As time goes on, these needs and behaviors change.
Here’s a sneak peak at what some of the data shows.
When it comes to the unit there are a few changes from last year. Notably, when describing their ideal rental, 46% of renters said “simple and budget friendly.” In years past, “comfortable yet economical” was typically how the majority of renters described their ideal apartment. While this is a slight change it does correlate with the fact that over 70% of renters find budget to be more important than square footage.
With budget friendly being more important to renters than ever, focusing on luxuries, high-end features shouldn’t be a priority coming into 2022. One thing that has maintained constant is the need for 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom units. Over 40% of renters are looking for a 1-bedroom and nearly 60% of renters are looking for a 1-bathroom.
The Field Guide has data on more than just the specifics of the unit, move-in timeframes, etc. There also is valuable data on what renters are looking for in the community. A constant need that has shown up in every edition is renters wanting grocery stores and dining options available near them.
Why is this important to know? Listing on the property website or mentioning during the tour where the nearest grocery stores are and talking about the different dining options helps paint a fuller picture of life in this community. Leasing specialists aren’t just selling the units to prospects, they need to sell the whole community too.
ACCESS THE FULL MULTIFAMILY FIELD GUIDE
PERQ’s Multifamily Field Guide goes into detail about what renters are looking for when it comes to pets, appliances, features, etc. The Field Guide goes further by breaking down the data by region so property management companies can get a fuller picture that is accurate to their geographical location.
You wouldn’t bring a bicycle to a car race, yet that’s what marketers do when their digital toolbox doesn’t have enough power to meet market demands or match their competitors’ capabilities. Moving into 2022, consumers have adopted new buying behaviors and expectations, including seamless cross-channel experiences, greater convenience and hyper-personalization. “We are all designing for a new kind of customer,” note WGSN researchers.
Is your multifamily marketing team well equipped to compete in the 2022 digital marketing for apartments landscape? We’ll start with a broad view of four foundational components to meet your prospects’ demands and digital habits:
Speed: From fast-loading websites to “anytime/anywhere” support, Today’s prospective renters crave instant answers in their property search, without having to engage a human.
Personalization at scale: Made-for-me experiences and messaging tailored to each prospect’s interests, preferences and past behaviors. The “care of one,” as McKinsey puts it, is quickly becoming standard.
Automations & integrations: Get disparate systems to “talk” to one another and put recurring tasks on autopilot so leasing agents can focus on higher-impact, money-making activities.
Actionable & adaptable analytics: It’s great (and essential) when marketing data is easy to understand and act on. One of the most important data analytics digital marketers can have is attribution. This optimizes marketing spend and helps with planning future campaigns.
With these pillars in mind, below is a simplified rundown of what your digital marketing for apartments tech stack should be able to perform if you hope to outshine competitors and remain profitable for the long haul.
When prospects can’t find answers on your website, they should have a way to access instant, “anytime” support. AI-powered, natural language chatbots make this possible without making prospects wait for a leasing agent to respond, or for your office to open. AI chatbots are key when it comes to leasing marketing strategies going forward as they provide the best consumer experience.
First-time visitors to your website shouldn’t be strangers for long. Begin personalizing interactions from the very first contact and design your interactions to help capture insights on their behaviors and preferences.
Engage online visitors (and capture valuable prospect intel) with interactive experiences, such as chat-to-text communications, interactive quizzes, video tours, and automated tour scheduling.
Automatically populate CRM with new prospect information and behavioral insights.
Use AI to learn each prospect’s preferences and adapt communications accordingly. This allows for PMCs to communicate with prospects across channels in their preferred method and at the preferred time of day.
Build rapport with apartment seekers via automated outreach through either text or email nurture.
Messages should be at a cadence that will move them along their renter’s journey and relevant to who they are, what they’re looking for, and the stage of their buying journey.
Automate recurring, mundane tasks (e.g. lead capture, tour scheduling, routine requests or FAQs) so teams can focus on higher-impact activities and “hotter” leads.
CRM, email and text communications should be integrated in your marketing ideas for apartment lease up to help drive leads back to your website and move prospects to action with personalized incentives.
By the time leasing agents speak with a prospect, that prospect should have been “warmed up” by automated nurturing messages, and agents should have rich information on how to best engage the prospect. Integration between your website, AI leasing agent, CRM and other connected platforms (e.g. online listing services, email, text) makes this possible.
Data should be clear, comprehensive and actionable, helping you discern what prospects want, factors impacting buying decisions, and what elements are converting (or falling flat) on your website, in real time.
Your data should also reveal lead sources that drive the most valuable leads at the lowest cost. This gives the ability to track attribution across the funnel.
Data should capture trends and pinpoint opportunities specific to your online audience. It should also inform your SEO and content strategy.
You’re able to track the ROI of all your digital marketing spend so no efforts or dollars are wasted.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, hire more tech-savvy staff or sink your time into areas where your team lacks expertise. Instead, reputable technology partners can illuminate pitfalls or opportunities that would have eluded you otherwise.
Who to trust? The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Your chosen technology partner(s) should demonstrate:
A track record of helping other multifamily marketers solve the same challenges that are holding you back.
Solid support beyond the sale, continuously offering guidance on how to improve your results. Vendors that offer free pilots give you a chance to actually test out the product and see what kind of results it will give you before investing money into it.
Yes, we’re biased, and we’d love to show you why multifamily property managers seek PERQ to multiply their conversions. We’ll gladly point to how your peers are tackling challenges just like the ones you’re facing. These leasing marketing strategies will strengthen your ability to stand out to prospective renters. There are more resources on marketing ideas for apartment lease up on the PERQ blog for more inspiration and tips.
When it comes to digital marketing in multifamily, the landscape is definitely evolving. Artificial intelligence as an emerging technology is helping multifamily be better marketers, both in the ability to scale engagement activity and also in giving PMCs more actionable data than before.
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.
Property management companies know that their apartment websites are one of their biggest assets when it comes to lead capture. A lot of multifamily websites look the exact same. Gallery photos of staged units and some property photos as well. Nothing about it is exciting or gives the prospect an idea of what life is like at your property or in that community. This is the state of apartment website design today.
When it comes to apartment web sites, taking inspiration from apartment therapy content on social media and multifamily blogs is a great place to start rethinking what the content on your website should look like. The multifamily world really hates the word “complex” and instead uses “community” when describing their apartments and properties. It’s understandable. The word complex is so sterile and feels bland and boring. Community on the other hand feels like it’s full of life, it’s a place someone would want to call home and live in for a few years.
The understanding of this is there in property management companies, and yet the websites read more complex than community. How can this be fixed? Let’s dive into a few ways to bring more life to your apartment website.
The first thing that can be updated is the photos. While it’s important to have those stock like gallery photos of the units and property, including photos of people actually living in the units and property is a great way to bring life to your website.
Usually multifamily websites have a reel of photos playing on the main landing page. This is where some of the more lively photos should live while the staged ones should live just in the gallery portion of your website. Photos of resident events are also great to add through your landing page as well as photos of the community your property is located in.
This will make your website stand out to prospects because the majority of apartment website design looks like what we described above, complex-y. Taking a more community approach the photos and videos you display on your homepage will make your website more attractive and appealing to prospects.
SEO AND BLOGS
SEO strategy is critical to have. It’s how your apartment website gets ranked in search results organically. Investing time and effort in narrowing down what keywords prospects are using, like “apartments near me”, will help you add that kind of copy to your website. The more areas in which you can add your primary keywords, the easier it will be for search engines like Google to rank you higher up in search results.
The thing is, there usually isn’t a lot of copy on multifamily websites. That copy is also hard to add keywords into as well. Creating a blog that is specific to your property and local neighborhood is a fun way to create space to add copy that can contain all sorts of keywords while also centering your website as a go to for information on what to do in the neighborhood.
Apartment therapy content is a loved category by many and entering that space will help you keep prospects on your website longer and even attract prospects that might have not been able to find you before. There are so many things you can blog about including:
Reviews of local businesses
Recaps of local events
Decorating and design tips for specific apartments
Move in tips specific to your property
How to request maintenance
Recap of resident events
Keeping prospects on your website longer will help you capture more insightful data, if it’s designed to do this.
ENGAGE WITH AI
Leasing AI has really changed how lead capture and automation work. For starters, it has made it more efficient and with platforms like PERQ, there are complete solutions that can do the engaging, capture, automated nurture, real time reporting, and more. PERQ uses a natural language chatbot to answer prospect questions 24/7. It keeps the history of the chats and uses the information the prospect provided in it’s follow-up messaging and can understand if they are low or high intent.
PERQ only hands off high intent leads into the CRM that are ready to talk to the leasing team. No more crowded CRMs and time wasted trying to sift through all the bad leads to find the good leads. Leasing teams save time by only focusing on quality leads while PERQ takes care of the rest.
These three components — community centered, SEO and blogging, leasing AI — when combined together make for an apartment website that is designed to keep prospects engaged, gather information, and place your property as the go to place to live in the neighborhood.
Picture a typical day in a typical leasing office: You have your typical leasing agent daily checklist — leads to look through in a crowded CRM, tours to give, residents who need support, and a steady flow of routine inquiries — some from promising prospects, others from people kicking the tires who’ll never engage with you again. By the time you climb your way out of the daily minutiae, it’s closing time and you’ve barely squeezed in high-impact activities like developing a new marketing campaign, meeting with high-potential leads and getting signatures on rental agreements.
If only you could clone yourself or add more hours to your day, right? It turns out you can.
What would be possible if you found a way to automate low-impact, time-sucking tasks without sacrificing customer care so you can do what you most enjoy and are best at? That’s what AI leasing automation platforms can do for your team.
MAKING BRANDS MORE HUMAN AND HUMANS MORE EFFICIENT
As humans, there’s a limit to the number of one-on-one conversations, relationships and tasks we can manage, let alone manage well. It’s no wonder workers get burned out and customers feel frustrated by delays, miscommunication and hit-and-miss exchanges. AI plugs that gap.
“With chatbots and other forms of conversational AI, marketers can participate in one-to-one conversations at scale, 24/7/365. And consumers, 90% of whom want to communicate with businesses through messaging, now have the means to connect with companies on their own terms, whenever they want,” says Kaput.
Kaput goes on to list specific things AI assistants can do to benefit workers and consumers. (We’ve added a few of our own to this AI Leasing Agent Resume.)
Provide instant answers in real time, around the clock.
Eliminate or supplement lead generation forms.
Schedule property tours, calls or meetings — even while your leasing agents sleep, go out to lunch, or serve other customers.
Engage cold leads and warm them up for leasing agents.
Deliver support to less qualified or lower-priority leads so your team can focus on high-potential prospects.
Execute consistent follow-up and lead nurture.
Capture prospect preferences and behavior insights, learn from every interaction and adapt so messaging is increasingly relevant and personalized.
Make personalized recommendations.
Shorten the sales cycle and accelerate revenue growth.
Capture prospect data and instantly sync up with your CRM.
Facilitate decision-making, reveal blind spots and money-making opportunities with rich behavioral data.
Increase the value of connected technologies like your CRM and internet listings.
Multifamily property managers who’ve partnered with PERQ report they’ve been able to free up 10-12 hours of leasing specialists’ time per week as the AI leasing automation platform tackles 70% of routine inquiries and captures 3-5X more prospect data points. As a result, they’ve experienced a 2x increase in lead to tour conversion and up to an 80% reduction in cost per lead. The same is possible for your team!
HUMAN + MACHINE = MORE ENGAGED EMPLOYEES
Shorter sales cycles, greater productivity and revenue are big benefits of leasing AI, for sure. But for the humans on your team, it’s also a way to sharply reduce tasks that keep them from doing impactful work that requires human leasing agent skills.
“Organizations can use AI to automate mundane tasks, freeing up human workers to apply their uniquely human capabilities (such as interpretation, communication, judgment, and empathy) to less-routine tasks, as well as explore new problems and opportunities,” reports Deloitte researchers. “The focus is on augmenting people, not replacing them.”
Consequently, tackling lead management through an AI leasing automation platform helps create an environment that’s more fulfilling for workers — a much-needed antidote to the wave of burnout and attrition growing across all industries.
FROM INNOVATION TO INDUSTRY STANDARD
Like the advent of cars, computers and smartphones, AI is just another revolution in a string of revolutions designed to enhance human experiences. And it’s quickly evolving from innovation to an industry standard, driven by consumer demand for instant gratification, deep personalization, and anytime/anywhere access.
“The landscape has changed,” reads the 2021 State of Marketing AI Report. “Leading marketers know that in order to deliver the personalization and experiences modern buyers expect, marketing must become smarter. It must be marketer + machine.”
There will always be jobs. Will AI change job functions? Sure. And that’s something to be excited about.
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.
It’s officially spooky season! This is a great time for onsite teams to do some fun and festive events, contests, social content, and promos for local events. Depending on your location, this could be a time of year where there is a lull in leasing and you’re focusing more on resident satisfaction. Resident events, while for residents, can be used for your own marketing and SEO purposes as well. Taking photos and writing recap blog posts of these events can help boost your search rankings organically and give you more fun content to pull from when promoting posts on social media or running your ads later.
CONTESTS AND EVENTS
Halloween is a great theme for events. Some themed activities you can do for your community include:
Door Decorating Contest
Scary Movie Nights
Trick or Treat
Carving Jack O’Lanterns
Halloween Trivia/Bingo Night
It can be difficult to get resident participation, and this varies from community to community. Creating some incentives for winners and participation can boost your attendance numbers. For every post on social media, and for attending, you can give them a raffle ticket for either gift cards to local businesses or for online shopping. You could also do physical prizes like a new vacuum or pots and pans.
The best part about these kinds of events is that you can take photos and videos of them to use for content on your website, Instagram and TikTok. This will help break up the stock photo like posts of gallery photos and random community reminders. You can also write recap blogs about the events for your website. This can help boost your local SEO and give prospect’s a reason to stay on your site longer. People like to know about what life is like in different communities. That’s why reality tv and vlogging is a huge segment of entertainment.
If your community is all ages or has kids, hosting a trick or treat or a craft night for kids to help with door decorating will be a great win for prospects and residents with children. They want to live in communities that care about their children. Making it a fun place for kids to live will attract more families and encourage the ones that are there to renew. Not many communities tend to focus on the kids but if your property has a lot of families, you need to have some events and activities to cater to them as well.
These ideas can be done year after year. Tag us on Instagram or TikTok, @perqmarketing, if you end up doing any of these. Happy Halloween!
Finding and maintaining the perfect balance of occupancy and pricing is crucial for multifamily communities to achieve revenue success. In Multifamily Real Estate (MFRE,) it is considered a best practice to train employees to understand that the value of an asset comes in the form of it being a healthy, stabilized asset. That, by definition, is an asset that has not just achieved high occupancy, but that has achieved a balance of maximizing rent growth while maintaining/achieving stabilized occupancy.
Anyone can achieve “high occupancy.” In fact, it would be really easy to get to 100% occupancy if a property simply dropped rents 20% below market rate. That, of course, would not achieve the true goal of a property, which is rental revenue. In order to have a truly performing real estate asset, you must push an asset’s rent growth while also increasing occupancy. It’s a balancing act.
This balancing, today, is hard. Pricing algorithms in revenue management systems will suggest how much a property can push on renewal rents and new rents. But, really, it is the job of a property manager — and all those that support that role — to understand what the market can truly handle in new rent. And this can only come from knowing the market.
THE BIG RUB
When a property is high occupancy, there is sudden tension between work needing to be done to manage residents and their needs, versus all the other things that get done out of the leasing office. It’s difficult to know what leasing will look like in the next quarter and availability will remain unknown until you are sending out renewal offers. This difficulty leads to unawareness of what units will be open and how they should be priced. When occupancy isn’t at risk, multifamily teams often end up not realizing how much they are shifting their attention away from maintaining this balance in the future.
The logic behind the decision seems sound, but this is a big mistake that puts both the occupancy and the pricing elements at risk. The loss in visibility of the market economics affects a property manager’s ability to properly price units. And, being out of market for new renters can make it nearly impossible when you need them.
SMARTER PRICING BASED OFF DEMAND
Engaging with the market during those high occupancy times helps your team better understand market trends. When you keep your leasing activity alive, you gain visibility into:
Future demand for specific floor plans
Volume of active future leasing activity
Budgets of active future leasing prospects
This kind of actionable data empowers you to make smarter decisions on rent growth and price your units based on demand and what renters are willing to pay for specific units. Not only will you know if your units are underpriced, you will also understand if they may be overpriced. As a result, you will better understand your prospective renters’ budgets months before they make the move.
But how do you get this visibility if you’re not actively marketing and looking for renters?
FUTURE LEADS ARE LOOKING NOW
We all know the pandemic had a considerable impact on the MFRE industry. But it also had an impact on renters. To find the property they seek to call their home, they need to begin looking earlier. Data collected by PERQ shows that over 22% of rental prospects are looking to move 6 months out from when they begin searching. So, while your property may be high occupancy, the leads that are coming in during these high occupancy months are still serious about renting at your property, but they aren’t ready to move for months.
It is becoming a best practice for PMC’s to continue with their marketing and leasing activity during these high occupancy months. Therefore, if the current resident in an apartment chooses not to renew, you already have a list of qualified leads who are ready to move in. This leads to quicker turnover of vacant units as well as the added benefit of pricing your units based on demand.
Without a technology like PERQ to pick up the work, these important leads are at risk of falling through the cracks. And, knowing how many leads are in your pipeline lets you more precisely budget marketing spend during your busiest leasing months.
High occupancy now doesn’t guarantee high occupancy in the future. Just because you’ve found a good balance now doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do to maintain that balance.
Lead nurture tools can help fill the talent gap, giving your prospective renters a consistent, engaging experience without the need for a leasing team member. And, it can help you understand the balance between occupancy and pricing by giving you more insight into demand, renter budgets, and improve your operational efficiency year round.