SPOILER ALERT: The overwhelming majority of renters today are relying on the Internet when searching for their next home.
When prospective renters see a community they like, then follow up with an incoming phone call, website inquiry, or email to the property.
But what happens next (…or doesn't) may surprise you.
On-site teams aren’t following-up.
Shock factor on a scale of 1-10? Probably not all that shocking actually.
We know that a problem exists when it comes to prospect follow-up. Leasing teams are letting too many leads fall through the cracks, only for them to slip into the scary bottomless pit of wasted opportunity and vacancy loss. But when is enough, actually enough?
Email Is The Answer
Email marketing has become a powerful marketing tool for most industries. But for whatever reason, the multifamily industry has yet to take full advantage of its effectiveness.
Email delivers an exceptionally high return on investment -- its cost is minimal (if anything), while its reward includes incredible selling potential.
This is most evident when comparing email marketing to mediums traditionally used in multifamily such as billboards, magazine advertisements, and on-site signage.
An impressive 72 percent of consumers aged 18 and older open, and actually read promotional emails. With the goal of getting your potential resident’s attention, this statistic speaks volumes -- especially when comparing it to other interaction mediums.
Furthermore, millennials (who make up a large part of the target audience) actually prefer to interact with companies via email -- favoring email over phone calls, social media, and even text messaging.
Here's what you need to know about harnessing the power of email marketing to convert prospects into residents:
Boost Rapport With Renters
Did you know that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened? That’s an additional 1 in every 4 that will open your email that didn’t previously.
But while you can’t guarantee that every prospective renter will open the email, you can increase your chances for engagement.
74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.
What do I mean by personalization?
For starters, use the prospect’s name.
Sure, anyone can insert a prospect’s name in an email message/title and think they’re being “personal”.
By applying an active listening technique, you can use different forms of personalization to add into your emails – opening the door for further interest and engagement.
- Elaborating on important or crucial pieces that the prospect mentioned they’re looking for in their home
This provides you and your team with the opportunity to highlight the things the prospect mentioned that your community could provide for them.
- Addressing any obstacles that the prospect mentioned that may delay or deter a leasing decision
The best leasing agents in the industry are the ones who take time to think through and overcome prospect concerns or objections.
Use Email Marketing Templates
While it's virtually impossible to craft a unique, personalized response to every email prospect, it’s easy to develop a few email templates that can be customized.
Obviously you want to avoid sending canned responses but there’s nothing wrong with templates -- tweaking them to your own voice, pitch, and offerings.
Leave customization opportunities for the name of the prospect and the specific interests mentioned by your prospect in conversation (as mentioned above).
Create Clickable Subject Lines
While email marketing is highly effective, keep in mind that your email message is competing with a mountain of others in your recipient’s inbox.
To win the fight for your recipient’s attention, your email message needs to not only stand out, but also entice.
Spend a few minutes crafting a subject line that is going to create action, or intrigue your recipient.
Include A Call-To-Action
Email marketing is all about wanting your prospect to actually do something, so be sure to include a specific, but brief call-to-action (CTA) in every message.
Depending on your assessment of the prospect’s interest and intentions, you could take a few different actions here.
If your prospect hasn’t toured the community
- Ask for an appointment
If your prospect has already toured the community
- Create urgency
Identify a reason that creates urgency and focus on that. Examples of this could be: pushing on the limited availability of a specific floor plan, apartment size, or move-in date. Another example could be about a move-in special or concession that is available for a limited time.
- Provide pictures
For some odd reason, this seems to be something that’s only used by some. It’s a fact that readers gravitate toward visuals, as their brain processes photos/videos much faster than text.
Include Visuals In Every Email
Piggybacking off my last point, because real estate is such a visual industry, sending an email with professionally done (or professionally looking) photographs of your property is a wonderful way to leave a striking impression in their mind and impress them with your products.
I know the quality of the photo itself could be a concern if you’re taking it yourself, but utilize some of the great smartphone photo apps out there to enhance lighting and color.
Include pictures of apartment features, locations, or qualities that speak to their interests.
Did your prospect love a specific floor plan or apartment location?
Even better. Use that to your advantage by providing a reminder to the prospect of what that floor plan or location looked like. Chances are they toured more than one place, likely forgetting the small details of your community.
Inject Personality & Professionalism
Email marketing is an extension of your brand. I encourage your teams to inject their own personality and professional approach into the message but be sure to use the same tone and style as you do in all of your other apartment marketing materials as well.
Remember to use your spell-checker, and keep your message brief, friendly, and to the point.
Before hitting the 'send' button, confirm that all of your links and images work. Also, ensure you've made it easy for your prospect to reply to your message by including your email address, phone number, and even availability when necessary.
Be Aware Of Your Timing
While prospects don't tend to expect an instant response to an email, they also aren't likely to wait around for days on end either.
A good rule of thumb is to respond to an email within 24 hours or less - that will let your prospect known that they can look forward to prompt, responsive service if they decide to become a future resident.
After the initial contact, consider sending a friendly email every few week or so - including an updated list of current vacancies, or information regarding new amenities or services offered in your buildings that will keep your prospect interested.
Stand Out Against Your Competitors
By emailing potential renters consistently, you’re likely ahead of 60-70% of competing communities already. As I mentioned earlier, most leasing teams have a hole in their outreach process.
We’ve also heard about leasing agents who, when faced with an enormous pile of leads in their system, will simply declare “bankruptcy” -- referring to when a leasing consultant closes everything out because they’ve fallen too far behind in the CRM.
Yes this happens. And yes, this happens more often than you think.
In addition to a prospect receiving an email from your team, it opens up a clear communication lane. We all understand how busy things can get in a leasing office so by emailing, you remove the potential of unanswered phone calls and replace it with a medium that abides by both parties time and convenience.
Combine your email efforts with the other items listed in this blog, and your team is all but guaranteed to capitalize on future prospects.
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