In the last four apartment marketing posts (Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4) we talked about marketing’s role in MFH rolling deeper into operations, what the first things to focus on post lead generation are (speed to lead and communication channel), how to level up the way we measure the successes and failures of our marketing efforts, and sending the right message and the right time. In this post I want to touch on “multifamily lead stages”, understanding where your prospect is at in the lead to lease lifecycle and tailoring messaging accordingly.

One piece I find often missing from CRMs in multifamily today is a clear indicator where a lead is at in the lead to lease lifecycle and clear indicators of what your next target conversion is.

Understanding Multifamily Lead Stages

There is a fine line between too vague and too granular when defining lead stages in multifamily marketing. At Nurture Boss we break the stages into the following categories

  • Pre Tour
  • Post Tour
  • Applicant
  • Pre Move In
  • Resident

The first hurdle is defining your multifamily lead stages and then making sure you can easily view the leads in each stage. At Nurture Boss we focus on automatically doing this grouping so we can easily target automation based on the lead stage.

Once you have successfully grouped your leads it is time to start strategizing on how to market to each stage differently.

Marketing to Pre Tour Leads

A Pre Tour lead is defined as “A new prospective renter that has not yet toured your community or started an application”. When we are dealing with Pre Tour leads our primary goal is to drive a tour conversion. This can be a guided tour, a self-guided tour, a guided virtual tour, or a self-guided virtual tour.

How are you encouraging your prospects to tour and how are you communicating with them to drive that conversion?

Here are some strategies that we have found to work well at Nurture Boss.

  • Offer multiple touring options. Solutions like Tour24 allow your prospects to tour on their own terms. Provide more than one way to tour and make it easy for them to see those options.
  • Provide the ability for prospects to schedule whenever is convenient for them. Does the night shift worker who engages with your marketing at 2am have the tools they need to book their own tour for later in the week? Or are they required to wait for the office to open so they can speak to a leasing agent to book some time?
  • Understand what they are interested in and market those things to them. This will grab their attention and drive them toward being more engaged with your community over the other communities they are considering
    • If they are bringing a pet with them, show them pictures of the Bark Park!
    • Highlight amenities that set you apart form the comps.
    • Talk about your walkability and local neighborhood attractions.
    • Show off all the great events that resident participate in and highlight the true community they will be joining

Marketing to Post Tour Leads

A Post Tour lead is defined as “A prospective renter that has toured your community but not started an application”. When we are dealing with this stage of the multifamily lead stages, Post Tour leads, our primary goal is to drive an application. Typically these applications are started online through the applicant portal on your website.

How are you encouraging your prospects to apply online and how are you communicating with them to drive that conversion?

Here are some strategies that we have found to work well at Nurture Boss.

  • Make it easy! Put a link directly in the hands of your prospective renters that makes it easy to start the application with one click.
  • Driving the potential applicant toward a floor plan page tends to be more successful that driving them to an applicant system login screen. On a floor plan page they can choose exactly what unit they want to apply for and easily start the process on your website.
  • Advertise concessions! If you are offering concessions, now is the time to put that front and center for the potential resident. Most concessions also have an expiration feature which helps encourage action rather than giving prospective renters permission to wait.
  • Now is a great time to highlight what being a resident at your community is truly like. If you have a tool to allow renters to communicate with prospects, this is a great time to put that tool in front of the prospect.

Marketing to theApplicant Stage in Multifamily Lead Stages

An Applicant lead is defined as “A prospective renter that has an application in progress but not yet approved”. When we are dealing with Applicant leads our primary goal is to drive the application to completion and promptly collect needed collateral like proof of income.

Here are some strategies that we have found to work well at Nurture Boss.

  • Make it easy for a prospective renter to monitor the progress of their application.
  • When an application goes unchanged for more than 12 hours reach out to the prospect, remind them of their in progress application, and ask if they need any help.
  • Move quick on your end! The prospect should never be waiting on your team. Process applications promptly and reach out immediately if more information is needed.

Marketing to Pre Move In Leads

A Pre Move In lead is defined as “An approved applicant who has signed a lease but whose move in date has not yet arrived”. When dealing with a Pre Move In lead (soon to be resident!) it is important to get them excited and ensure they have everything they need to be successful on day one.

Here are some strategies that we have found to work well at Nurture Boss.

  • Digital move in checklists. Put something electronic in the hands of your customers so they can see all the things they need to be successful on day one. At Nurture Boss we send automatic move in checklists to new residents but there are also great products out there that facilitate this. Updater and Moved to name a few.
  • Send frequent reminders as the move in day approaches. Get the new resident excited! I mean this is a VERY exciting date after all!
  • Ensure the onsite team is prepared. Nothing feels better as a new resident than walking into the leasing office and having the onsite team know your name and be prepared to welcome you to your new home!

Marketing to the Resident Stage in Multifamily Lead Stages

Yes you read that right. Marketing to residents. We should always be “selling” our residents on the value of their community. Residents help boost online reputation with positive reviews, residents help increase occupancy with referrals, and residents help decrease vacancy loss with renewals.

Your residents need to hear from you just as frequently as your prospects!

At Nurture Boss, we facilitate this with our Resident Communication Automation. Continuing to nurture your residents throughout their lease is critical. Here are a few things we know to work well:

  • Welcome new residents with a move in checklist prior to their move in date.
  • Follow up with new residents at the 30, 60, and 90 day mark. During this period you should be providing them links to easily access the resident portal, explaining how and where they can pay rent, highlighting any property specific tools (e.g. click here to download our resident app), and letting them know how they can contact your onsite team with any questions.
  • Ask for a review! Check out this post on LinkedIn from Jude Chiy Founder of Flamingo where he talks about the “Honeymoon Phase”.
  • Continuously communicate throughout the lease educating them on popular neighborhood attractions, amenities they may not have taken advantage of yet, and resident events you may be hosting.
  • Get ahead of renewals. Leverage automation to proactively get ahead of any upcoming renewals. Understanding early that a resident might not renew gives you ample time to address any concerns and offer alternative solutions (e.g. a transfer to a new unit).

Apartment Marketing in 2023: Parts 1, 2, 3,4, and 5 Summary:

  • Marketing role in apartment marketing does not stop when a lead is generated
  • Marketing and Operations should share data so marketing understands how to stay ahead of demand
  • Speed to first touchpoint is critical and should be almost instant
  • Choosing the right channel for your ongoing lead nurture is critical and we recommend texting (SMS)
  • First-touch attribution doesn’t tell us the complete picture
  • Multi-touch attribution provides better insight and more levers to pull for marketing teams
  • Define the questions you want to answer and then go about retrieving those answers from the data
  • Personalization is key to success in marketing to your leads
  • With intelligent data gathering, you can execute a hyper-personalized strategy by delivering the “right message at the right time”
  • It is our job as marketers to understand what the desire criteria of our prospects is as well as what the “affordability” criteria is
  • Identify tools that allow you to break your leads into appropriate stages for where they are at in the lead to lease lifecycle.
  • Pre Tour, Post Tour, Applicant, Pre Move In and Resident are great stage choices.
  • Understand how each stage in the journey requires a different strategy from your marketing and onsite team in order to get the next desired conversion.
  • Don’t stop marketing once a lead turns into a resident! Always be “selling” your community to your leads AND residents!

To learn more about Nurture Boss and our platform Request A Demo today!