Why Outreach in Property Management Matters
Social Media, PPC, and Third Party Listing sites are just a few avenues multifamily marketers take to gain leads and raise awareness for their apartment communities. However, the dominating mindset is as simple as a billboard on the interstate – meet people where they are at.
How do we do this?
This question is why social media receives so much attention from multifamily marketers – it works! Instagram and Facebook have been a booming market for millennials; however, now that Gen Z is in demand for apartments – is it harder to capture them with the same tools?
The New Wave of Marketing Diversity
Data shows us that while 50% of Generation Z looks at social media daily, which is higher than any other generation, the portfolio of social media apps they use is very diverse. So you’ll reach some, but you won’t reach all unless you produce content on every platform – it’s no easy task. Especially one that can’t easily be managed by onsite property teams while handling the day-to-day demands of their property.
Multifamily marketers have been grappling with this predicament. This movement is due to a wide variety of social media and messaging apps entering the market, leaving Google “search” and ILS as the catch-all for almost everyone looking for a place to rent. However, Gen Z is revolutionizing even this approach, causing the future of “search” to get drawn into question…
“Data shared by a Google executive suggests that around 40% of Gen Z prefers to discover information on visual platforms other than Google, like TikTok or Instagram.”
Can you reach everyone?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking – well, I should increase my spend on TikTok or Instagram because that’s where this generation wants to receive information… there is some truth to that; however, unless you are producing content on EVERY platform – and more will come – have you heard of BeReal? I did about a week ago, and now I, as a millennial, have been forced to accept that I am OLD. Time to get off that topic before I get depressed…
Because social media platforms will endlessly expand into siloed, personalized content zones – there produces an expensive marketing strategy with diminishing ROI. So how do we get ahead of the trend and create our own “content zones?” Our own spaces (not Myspace 🙂) where we share information and reach our target audience?
From talking with multifamily marketers, we’ve learned that social media platforms, ILS, and PPC are still effective at filling vacancies; however, failings enable competitors to swoop in and capture the leases.
For example, suppose your properties are in highly competitive markets, like off-campus housing. In that case, a student may glance for a second at your ad on Instagram or browse through dozens of options on an ILS, and one picture will cause them to disregard your page. Even driving around campus, you shouldn’t necessarily rely on your building or building location drawing eyes – because more communities and competitors enter the market every year.
So, where do property management companies gain an edge in these competitive markets? What makes them stand out among the competition and turn a vacancy problem into a waitlist problem? And for the future, how do we reach the new generation of renters that go platform hopping every other year?
Our answer – Direct Marketing. More specifically – outreach.
We asked a thought leader in the industry, Lindsay Brown, her thoughts on outreach,
“Just as with most businesses, the sales process must continue with multiple touchpoints to help ensure your product or brand stays at the front of the buyers’ mind. We want to stay in touch in the easiest way possible, so when they are ready to commit and make a purchase, we are just a text away.” – Lindsay Brown, SVP of Leasing & Marketing
Utilizing Multi-Channel Outreach
Multi-channel outreach via SMS and Email has the capability of filling the gaps. If you’re wondering why, it’s because these channels are not subject to the disillusionment that plagues the downloadable app industry. They are constants in the smartphone universe. For this reason, outreach plays a vital part in marketing and sales. You cannot expect every lead to have access to every platform, meaning you can’t reach 100% of leads with the “digital” approach. Social media trends and algorithms limit visibility, ILS features your competition and might fade in the coming years, and ads require too much spending to be effective.
We are NOT saying social media, ILS, and ad spend shouldn’t be considered – these avenues still provide exceptional success. However, we ARE saying that outreach needs to be part of property management’s marketing, sales, and operational plans.
Hopefully, you’re still with me and are ready for that “how do I do this?” part of the message – well, here we go…
How can you do this?
The key to effective outreach is property management software integrations. With certified integrations, each message is personal and relevant, whether it’s a follow-up to a guest card submission, an application confirmation, or a tour completion. For example, suppose you’re utilizing a CRM for property management like IRIO. In that case, you can enable automation to send a personalized email pointing to relevant information, like a specific floorplan, after a guest card gets submitted – without involvement from your onsite team.
Using a CRM for property management + integrations with PMS like Yardi, Realpage, or Entrata – property management companies have seen lead-to-lease conversion rates climb as high as 35%! In addition, the average time saved can be up to 30%! The integrations alone won’t achieve this, what’s important is to have a robust automation solution built with property management in mind.
When we asked Lindsay Brown how she sees automation playing a part in prospect outreach in 2023, she had this to say,
“I see it becoming increasingly easier to tie automated texting directly into their leasing process. This will ensure communication is being sent out to the prospect to finalize the lease or app. No action is needed by the employee to contact the prospect.” – Lindsay Brown, SVP of Leasing & Marketing
You NEED a CRM for property management if you’re experiencing:
- Loss of leads due to poor follow up
- Low Lead-to-Lease conversion
- Poor Resident Communication
- Poor Renewal Rates
Most multifamily marketers we talk to utilize property management software to accomplish all of their goals – or at least the communication part. They do this to reduce logins and have one platform that does EVERYTHING; however, the successful management companies we work with aim for centralization with segmentation. That means they reduce their tech stack to a few critical platforms with differentiating core competencies that together, through integrations, form a holistic approach to managing each property.
Centralize but segment.
How you decide to segment depends on your business’s needs, but if outreach is a part of your strategy, make sure your CRM is capable of the task – this will lead to higher conversion, more time for property managers, and a step toward simplicity
Authored by Taylor Davis, IRIO President