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Apartment digital marketing strategies to convert more prospects into residents

Convert more leads to residents with the best apartment digital marketing strategies for multifamily property management companies.

What are the best apartment digital marketing tips & tools for converting prospects to residents?

A great way to lower ad spend, especially if you already have a solid amount of leads, is to improve your conversion rate. You can spend less time and resources on lead generation if you are able to fill vacancies by converting more of your qualified leads into residents.

Once you have attracted leads into the top of the funnel, a seamless conversion experience is necessary to turn those leads into leases. But how can you provide a smooth, digital leasing experience that meets the expectations of today’s renters and creates a positive first impression of your community?

Let’s dive into some property management marketing tips & tools for a smooth conversion experience, including chatbots, virtual tours, digital applications, email marketing, and more.

How to convert prospects to residents with multifamily digital marketing

  1. Keep leads warm with quick, automated responses
  2. Offer virtual tours and video walkthroughs
  3. Clear your funnel of fraudsters
  4. Integrate digital applications for leasing and payments
  5. Refine your email marketing strategy

Improve your digital presence to acquire and convert more residents

Companies with 10-15 website landing pages increase leads by 55% making your digital presence more crucial than ever to meeting resident acquisition goals. Read our free guide to property marketing and learn how to deliver an outstanding digital resident experience to grow your community.

Keep leads warm with quick, automated responses

According to Zillow, 71% of renters who inquire about a listing expect to hear back within 24 hours. But, only 51% of renters receive the quick response they expect. AI Leasing provides a way to meet renters’ expectations without requiring staff to be available 24/7.

“AI and chatbot technology allow [a prospective renter] to make progress in their transaction even if the leasing office isn’t open. That’s the spirit of a hotel reservation department that we’ve adopted.” – Tom Sloan, president of Windsor Property Management in Boston

An effective multifamily digital marketing strategy involves multiple communication methods. For communities targeting younger renters, Millennials and Gen Zers are very comfortable with chatbots. 365 Connect reported that 40% of Millennials interact with chatbots daily.

Improve the user experience by implementing a chatbot with automated sequences that welcome potential renters and answer their questions when they land on your website.

“At 365 Connect, we offer a robust chatbot that syncs with our websites. It can answer questions immediately, deliver multiple contact and tour forms down to a unit level, and offer text, email, and phone options. We also place contact and tour forms throughout the website. We never want anyone to hunt for contact info.” – Kerry W. Kirby, CEO at 365 Connect.

Photo of apartment website showcasing chatbot, an aspect of apartment digital marketing

“For some years now, companies have been looking to AI leasing agents to add capacity and consistency to call handling while improving customer experience.” – Hubspot 20 for 20

365 Connect provides multifamily companies with well-designed chatbots that use mashup AI to schedule tours, manage availability on tour calendars, and communicate reminders and follow-ups without any human interaction. “They can even stream video conferencing capabilities for live community and individual unit tours.”

Another AI leasing assistant called Meet Elise increased Greystar’s year-over-year lead to tour conversions by 112%. “Elise, can have more conversations and book more tours per day than any human agent physically has the time to accomplish. Elise has real conversations with prospective renters, they will come into buildings and ask to meet Elise since she was so helpful over email,” said Minna Song, co-founder and CEO of MeetElise.

Offer virtual tours and video walkthroughs in your apartment marketing

Zumper reported that in 2020, 16.2% of renters signed a lease on a unit they toured virtually. That number increased to 16.9% in 2021. This suggests that virtual showings may be moving from a trend during the pandemic to a staple component of modern apartment digital marketing.

Virtual tours

Virtual tours have changed the game for multifamily digital marketing. The flexibility of virtual tours helps to move leads down the funnel faster than the manual process of scheduling and conducting in-person tours. They are a win-win, adding convenience for prospective renters, while helping your community appeal to younger demographics. 52% of Gen Z renters say they actually prefer non-agent options, including self-guided and virtual tours.

In an article for Multifamily Executive, Ariana Rasansky, SVP of Residential Operations at The John Buck Co. said “As they continue to gain popularity, virtual tours may serve as a starting point in the typical apartment search, with more serious prospects following up with in-person tours for buildings that checked all the virtual boxes.”

On-demand, immersive video walkthroughs

A Hubspot survey found that video won over email, social media, blog articles, and PDFs in terms of the types of content consumers want to see from the brands they support. Adding a video walkthrough to your listing gives prospects what they want. It also gives your apartment digital marketing an advantage over competing communities that only feature photos.

Plus, video assets are easier to create than ever before. A video shot with an iPhone or Android, and edited with your computer’s built-in software will get the job done. But, depending on your multifamily digital marketing budget and asset type, a professional videographer can exponentially elevate your efforts.

Multi-Housing News reported that drones have become extremely popular in the world of property video marketing, since they can capture unique angles and perspectives at a relatively low cost.

When it comes to video content, pro property marketers are thinking outside of the box. Don’t limit yourself to property tours. Try sharing moving tips, maintenance hacks, and cleaning or organization inspiration to build your audience.

In a recent Resident Experience Podcast episode, Barbara Savona suggested creating a video that showcases the neighborhood. Position yourself as the expert on your city. Then, turn that video transcript into a blog, linking out to local businesses, school systems, etc. Those looking to move to your city may organically find your apartment digital marketing content and community website.

Clear your funnel of fraudsters

Most apartment communities will ask for a prospective renter’s driver license or passport at some point during the leasing or lead capture process. But, what do you do with that ID? Do you simply scan it and put it in a drawer as collateral?

As marketers, you rely on a funnel of qualified, quality leads. If you are not verifying those IDs, you are missing an opportunity to eliminate the potential for fraud at the earliest point in the relationship.

We interviewed Brian Zrimsek, Industry Principal at MRI and CheckpointID, who explained the value of working with a partner to extract the data from those IDs and validate formats against standard databases. CheckpointID can tell the property manager in real time if the ID is valid. “We found almost 50,000 instances last year,” said Zrimsek. Criminals will create these fake IDs, build up credit over time, apply for an apartment, and won’t pay a dime once they’re moved in.

“And then you’re going to spend between $5,000 and $10,000 in total costs between legal fees, lost rent, and turn costs as you evict them,” Zrimsek continued. With around 50% of evictions stemming from fraud, using a solution like CheckpointID to clean up your funnel is a vital step in the resident acquisition process.

Integrate digital applications for leasing and payments

Integrated digital applications for leasing and payments elevate the prospect experience, while eliminating redundant workflows for your staff. “As the bulk of renters shopping for their next home takes place after hours, handing them the ability to apply online didn’t only make perfect sense, but it transformed the leasing office into an around the clock operation.” – 365 Connect

Think about the user experience, and rethink your rental applications. Scale them back. Only ask for the information that is truly needed to deliver a quick decision to the applicant. Streaming services and Prime delivery have shifted the consumer mindset to expect things instantaneously. So, it’s important to move applicants through the leasing process quickly.

Screenshot of digital leasing application in multifamily community

Refine your email marketing strategy

Email is not dead. It still provides an opportunity to get your property’s name into your potential renters’ inbox (and top-of-mind). Dial-up new resident engagement, even prior to move-in, through automated emails.

A great apartment digital marketing email strategy is all about personalization. If someone was interested in a one-bedroom apartment, drip out a few emails highlighting your available one-bedroom units. If you know they have pets, send an email about how pet-friendly your community is. Deliver value to your prospective renters. Email them a blog that showcases the community lifestyle, provides helpful moving tips, or information about the area.

Use an email marketing system to create tailored flows:

  • Offer valuable tips and information on your community and services to new leads
  • Communicate future events, and giveaways to current residents
  • Ask for feedback and offer promotions to those close to lease-up

“Email is never going to be dead from a prospect workflow or a leasing funnel standpoint.” – Jered Lerum, Director of Business Development for Edison47

The guide to creating a modern apartment digital marketing plan

Once you’ve converted prospective renters into residents, how do you engage and retain them? Multifamily marketing experts revealed how to deliver a resident experience that boosts retention rates in our free digital guide, Multifamily Property Marketing for the Resident Experience Revolution.



Multifamily Property Marketing for the Resident Experience Revolution

Explore property marketing trends impacting the industry, and learn how to create a multifamily marketing plan for the prospect-to-resident experience.

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