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How Automation Helps Apartment Communities Better Handle Leads

Industry , Management ,
Being inundated with leads? Here’s a look at how marketing automation for multifamily properties can help in popular markets like the Denver area.

The Greater Denver area leads the nation in population and rental growth as the local market continues to prosper. With such high renter demand, the volume of leads can overwhelm a leasing office. Most onsite teams are only equipped to handle the most highly qualified prospects, and other lessqualifi ed leads may not be effectively nurtured because of other pressing priorities.

High lead volume seems like a good problem to have, but without technology to assist in organizing, analyzing and automatically nurturing all of those prospects, you could be hurting your multifamily brand by not responding in a timely manner or missing out on making other improvements based on the incoming data.

“Technology develops to be way more efficient than we can ever be as humans,” says Meagan Struve, Marketing Manager at Mission Rock Residential, which operates multifamily apartment communities in the Denver area. “We embrace new technology and change processes to make the day-to-day easier.” Does your lead management system assist in converting leads to tours, give you actionable insights to improve the property website, and provide efficiencies to help leasing agents close more sales? By leveraging automation technology, a customer database can work at nurturing leads and engaging prospects until they’re ready to sign a lease while also delivering actionable insights. “We have properties that compete against each other, so we are constantly using automation data and watching to ensure that we have a smart spend in those markets,” says Desiree White, Marketing Manager with NE Property Management. “My team does a lot of the behind-thescenes [work], getting those reports and analytics to make sure we’re staying at the top of our market and our onsite teams are seeing success."

Create Quality Conversations for More Tours

Technology powered by artificial intelligence provides properties with qualified, identifiable leads versus just anonymous visitors, capturing both more leads and more information specific to those leads. While this helps property managers better prioritize the lead nurture process, the deluge of information can overload even the best leasing agents.  By adding automation to the process, multifamily properties can effectively manage leads higher in the funnel who aren’t quite ready to rent through personalized content delivered in timely email messages.

“With automated prospect emails, our lead management system generates an introduction to engage the prospect prior to involving the onsite team,” Struve says. “This automated engagement essentially gauges the prospect’s interest before a person steps in to further the conversation towards leasing the apartment.”

Introducing automation into the lead management process creates qualified conversations with leads and converts more online leads into tours by repeatedly engaging prospects who visit the property website. It also increases tour-to-lease conversions. Since implementing AI technology to automate lead nurture and engage prospects visiting the property websites, Mission Rock Residential sees 50% tour-tolease conversion rates — compared to the industry average of 35%, says Marcella Eppsteiner, Mission Rock’s VP of Marketing.

"Where I anticipate automation going, we'll actually convert even more and anticipate the conversion ratio going up to 60%," Eppsteiner says. "Our sales teams are rockstars, but it's also because the people our team is reaching out to have already been nurtured. These leads are ready, true prospective residents."

An AI-driven automation solution provides leasing teams with the highest quality prospects to personally nurture, while automatically engaging more lukewarm leads through automated emails or texts. The personalized messaging ultimately serves to drive prospects back to the property website and entice them to take the next step by booking a tour online using an automated schedule tool. “Let your team handle the important follow-up,” says Scott Hill, Co-Founder and CEO at PERQ. “Condense opportunities down to those leads most likely to tour and that most fit the profile. You’ll see a higher tour-to-lease rate, because you’re following up with the right people.”

Marketing Automation Delivers a Better Leasing Experience, Better Data

Not only does automation result in greater customer satisfaction as a result of personalized experiences, but the leasing team also gets timely information they need to improve efficiency. Through AI-driven website content, interactive quizzes and automated emails, multifamily properties can automatically educate and engage renters looking for an apartment in the Denver area, while simultaneously gathering lead information on those online visitors.

“Capturing more consumers earlier in the process enables you to have a tremendous amount of data. There are ways to do it where the consumer wants to share information because they get information in return,” Hill says. “Once you have the data, you can qualify the leads. Send the most important leads to your leasing team while you nurture other leads until they are worth your team’s time.”

Leasing teams ultimately book more tours with less work, using automation to prequalify prospects so onsite leasing teams can prioritize and follow up with the prospects ready to rent right away. Automation also streamlines the data gathering and analytics for properties by identifying prospects across all devices and repeat website visits, sorting and organizing the information to deliver more insightful data on a renter’s individual leasing journey.

“With automation, we have ways to sort and use data which has given me time back to focus on the bigger picture,” Struve says. "I’m not in the day-to-day manual management of data. Yet, I am leveraging the data more usefully while gathering pertinent information for a smoother process.”

Put automation to work to collect more data about rental prospects visiting your website. Automation engages website visitors with personalized messaging and relevant information, allowing them to educate themselves until they’re ready to schedule a tour or visit a leasing office in person. Concurrently, automatically collecting valuable prospect data through interactive content, quizzes, and floorplan finders provides properties with better information on a lead’s current position in the sales funnel. Understand which prospects are ready to rent and who needs to be nurtured, then adjust your engagement strategy and messaging for different types of leads.

“A more personalized leasing experience helps prospects find their next home, and that's a big deal. It's a huge part of their life and a lot of money,” White says. “It's an investment and we’re helping them in this journey and making this experience the best they’ve ever had.”

Follow these Tips to Improve the Leasing Process
  1. Prioritize leads and score prospects based on their answers to interactive content, website shopping behavior and their desire to talk to a leasing agent.
  2. Leverage a CRM that includes this automated functionality, or create best practices based on your current data system so your leasing teams clearly understand which leads to personally engage first.
  3. Keep prospects higher in the funnel engaged with automated and personalized email nurture campaigns. Tailor campaigns to include pertinent, timely information that’s relevant to where they are in the process and what they’re looking for in an apartment community. Trust the automated process to efficiently manage leads who are still doing their research and say they aren’t ready to rent for a few more months, and utilize your leasing agents for prospects who are ready to rent now or within the next couple weeks.
  4. Use data captured about leads to improve operational efficiencies, while also gaining better insight into property performance, and therefore make better marketing decisions.
  5. Train your onsite leasing teams to be the best salesperson they can be. Leasing specialists are at the forefront of your brand. Help them improve their conversations and show them how to use the data they have for each lead to make follow-up more personal to  each consumer.