What Prospects Expect
As prospects continue to do much of the leasing research process online by checking rental prices, amenities, neighborhoods, unit layout, floorplans, reviews and more, they aren’t turning to multifamily marketers for information about the unit as they have in the past. Instead, many prospects know before they even walk through the door whether they are interested in renting the unit or not.
Prior research has helped them whittle down their list to a select few properties that have most of the items on their want list checked. This shift in responsibilities has impacted the multifamily marketer’s role in drastic ways.
Today, prospects meet with the multifamily marketer to try and confirm whether or not their decision to move forward with the property they like is the right decision. In many ways this makes the multifamily marketer’s job easier, as long as they play by the new rules.
Here’s what we’ve learned.
Customer Service Matters
The multifamily market is highly competitive, and customer experience is the new competitive battlefield. The renter has so many options and they’re all right at their fingertips. They no longer have to physically drive and look at the prospective units. They can cover a tremendous amount of real estate inventory online in very little time.
As a result, great customer experience is one of the few things that will set you apart from your competitors. For the modern renter, demands are high. They want all the bells and whistles, including price, layouts, floor plans, unit-level content, virtual tours, photos and descriptions. As a multifamily operator how should you market your residential portfolio so that potential renters don’t leave your listing for one that appeals better to their inner consumer? You must provide them with good, relevant content and improve their leasing journey in ways that provide a great experience.
Connecting with residents with personable service, assists in having them staying longer, renewing leases, and referring friends. Good customer service means staying connected throughout the lease process, not just at lease signup and close to renewal time.
Follow the New Standard
We’ve written before about the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) and how it has forever altered the consumer’s buying journey and the impact it has had on the multifamily marketer. As a recap, because of the success of companies like Amazon, Uber and Seamless where consumers have access to less manual, more automated ways, the multifamily marketer has had to adjust its marketing strategies to better align with current consumers’ needs and expectations.
Renters want the same convenience when it comes to looking at properties as they get when seeking transportation or ordering food delivery. Real estate marketers have risen to the challenge, with apps and software that have revolutionized the rental process. New technologies have replaced offline with online, from video walk-throughs, fast search and compare capabilities, to new ways of slicing and dicing rental data.
To move into the realm of the modern multifamily marketer you need to embrace technology. Don’t limit yourself to what worked in the past or depend on old technology. Leveraging technology in the channels that matter will improve your marketing efforts in a way that will show real results. Read how to use a multichannel marketing approach to stay ahead of other multifamily marketersPL1 .
Use Unit Level Data, Not Floor Plans
Today’s renters want to know more than just room dimensions and layouts. They want to know what the unit looks like before they even consider visiting the property. Floor plans are one-dimensional, cold and impassive. In other words, they lack emotion—one of the most successful sales strategies.
Prospects want to connect on an emotional level and as a modern multifamily marketer, you need to capitalize on that. Renters want to see the details about the property that make it special so they can envision themselves living there. You can make that happen with unit level data.
Think beyond floorplans and you can market your properties in ways that can reveal the personality of the property and the unit. Visuals are a key component to unit level data. Photos and virtual tours can breathe life into the quest for a new apartment.
Consider, these results from the AppFolio Rental Market Survey:
Assume that rent is not an issue. Which of the following would cause you to eliminate a property from your search?
· Property rent is more than I want to pay (31.5%)
· Lack of photos or videos of the property (24%)
· Quality of property’s amenities (18%)
· Property itself has poor reviews online (13.9%)
· Property manager has poor reviews online (12.6%)
Unit level marketing delivers your content precisely in the manner that prospective renters want. A whopping 24% would eliminate a property that doesn’t have unit level data. That’s nearly as much as eliminating a property from the search because it’s too expensive. Read our blog, What is Unit Level Data & Why You’re Losing Money if You’re Not Using It, for more ways to incorporate unit level data into your multifamily marketing plan.
Convenience comes in many shapes and sizes, including:
· Payment. The modern renter wants the ease that comes with online payments. Convenience applies to the multifamily operator, as well. Going green with online payments reduces the hassle of paper checks, reduces late payments or lost checks, and provides a paper trail for renters and multifamily operators.
· Communication. Renters want quick and easy methods to communicate with multifamily operators, with email the preferred option (at 62%). Renters want online platforms that allow easy reporting of maintenance issues by phone or mobile device so that apartment-related tasks can be done whenever/wherever.
· Amenities. All-inclusive utilities, energy-efficient upgrades, security, in-unit laundry features, stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets, fitness centers, wireless Internet, recycling centers, theatre, pool, parking continue to be some of the features that prospects want.
For multifamily operators, drawing in high-quality tenants means not just meeting prospects’ expectations but exceeding them. Consider implementing these features to better position your multifamily rental property for success, stand out in a crowded market and increase your bottom line.
PL1Link to our other blog article.