by Jacob Carter
The multifamily marketing funnel entails multiple steps that can be summed up in three main stages: lead generation (awareness), sales process (consideration, intent and evaluation) and purchase (leasing an apartment home in a community). While it seems pretty straightforward, a number of operators take a more reactive approach in terms of communicating with prospective residents. However, leads could easily go cold if prospects aren’t receiving adequate follow up after their initial inquiry.
Apartment operators are not only looking to gain as many leads as they can, but convert those leads to leases. While it is important to attract a broad prospect pool, countless prospects will be lost at the top of the funnel if operators don’t properly nurture those leads. If operators fail to take a proactive approach and communicate with prospects promptly and continuously in hyper-personalized ways, they are essentially pushing leads on to the next community that a prospect is likely looking at.
Once a lead is generated, operators have a short period to respond and engage with the prospect. This window has only become smaller as modern consumers have a need for instant communication. Opposed to relying on onsite teams to return calls and emails, and missing nearly 45% of prospects, operators are now integrating automation capabilities with their Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) to follow up with every lead. Automation guarantees a response to each and every lead within minutes and sends prospective residents their next touchpoint almost immediately.
While automation that helps with top of funnel activities does make an impact, it’s key to continue moving those leads through the funnel in a proactive, strategic way. Full-funnel automation targeted specifically to convert leases helps nurture leads from top to bottom without ever missing vital touchpoints.
Automation technology offers multiple channels of communication, including text messaging. Although email is still a very prevalent way of communicating with both prospective and current residents, our data shows that 89% of consumers indicate that they prefer texting with a business over any other form of conveying the information they need. It’s all about meeting customers where they’re at and more operators are maintaining communication that prospects need through their preferred method of communication.
When operators use automation to proactively nurture leads from end-to-end, they’re able to provide the optimal eight to 12 touchpoints necessary for prospects to make an informed, confident decision with no extra time needed from onsite teams. Additionally, operators see an average 15% increase in online applications and an overall tour-to-application conversion uptick of nearly 10%.
Automation has changed the narrative on the marketing funnel and how prospects can be seamlessly moved through the funnel. Despite high quantities of leads that come in, automation can decipher the prospects who are just shopping and those who are serious about signing a lease and send the appropriate follow ups based on prospect preferences and needs.
Proactively moving leads through the marketing funnel with automation drastically increases lead-to-lease conversions and even elevates renewal rates by 6% or more. From the first point of contact until a resident signs a renewal or leaves a community, being proactive with communication strategies is an integral part of guiding leads throughout the entire resident lifecycle. Treating renters as leads for their entire lifecycle can increase renewals, revenue and profitability.