In the multifamily industry, marketing and leasing are typically executed by two different teams from two different companies. With advancements in digital marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) tools, taking a lead through the sales funnel to a signed lease is much more effective when marketing and leasing are under the same roof. Multifamily developers need to modernize their marketing and leasing to improve an apartment’s overall leasing success. From brand consistency to lead generation to workflows, multifamily developers can integrate marketing and leasing from before construction begins through after a property is fully stabilized.
Luxury apartments are a competitive asset class, and today’s renters have more options than ever when selecting an apartment. Whether the prospective renter is visiting the property website, looking at Instagram posts, being greeted by the leasing team, smelling the signature scent of the lobby or selecting a snack from the model unit kitchen, it is critical that everything connects and reflects the same messaging, tone and other brand characteristics.
Marketing must share the brand guidelines and the development’s story and vision with the leasing team to create a consistent brand experience from start to finish. The leasing team needs to understand why branding choices were made, and the marketing team should share the process that was taken to develop the branding and how that connects back to the property. These details are what makes an authentic voice and identity that a prospective renter can align with. Similar keywords and themes must be shared across marketing and sales platforms as well. Consistency is critical for building a strong brand identity for the apartment.
I believe there needs to be a shift in mindset about leads. Instead of asking, “How many leads were generated from the campaign?” strive to know how many qualified leads went through the sales funnel. It is important to set goals and strategies for both the marketing and leasing teams to generate leads. The leasing team should be converting a strong majority of existing leads, generated by marketing, instead of focusing on looking for more new contacts. Marketing should be developing a website that’s optimized for conversions, not only aesthetics. The integration with a CRM and ease of “schedule a showing” functionality contributes to a significant source of leads. Marketing should also be focused on driving traffic to the website by streamlining internet listing services (ILS). These platforms are huge traffic drivers, and the attention that goes into specific platforms and listing strategy is critical to lead-generation success.
As an example, the leasing team is usually present in directing photo shoots and then determines the order of the photos on an ILS sites. The marketing team should also be involved in this process to help keep the brand consistent and to optimize the listings. Marketing and leasing need to be on the same page about pricing and availability so that unavailable units are not being advertised. Marketing should also be optimizing paid search campaigns on Google and social channels to improve conversion rates. The leasing and marketing teams should also share information back and forth about what is driving leads and what features are closing sales to continue to improve on the messaging and effectiveness of both groups.
Workflows And Nurturing
Marketing typically starts long before pre-leasing and leasing. The marketing team needs to share the overall marketing plan, particularly digital marketing, paid search advertising, email campaigns and social media, with the leasing team so they understand how people are discovering the property and how marketing is driving leads.
Today’s marketing professionals excel at workflows within a CRM system. From scheduling email campaigns to automatically assigning leads to leasing agents, workflows are critical to making sure nothing falls through the cracks.
When a potential resident schedules a tour, they have engaged in a predetermined workflow or sales funnel developed by the marketing team. Workflows and sales funnels need to be fully discussed with the leasing team in the planning phase so they account for their needs. Once a person signs up for a tour or to receive a newsletter, nurturing email campaigns begin. In my experience, these campaigns build excitement before a potential resident tours the property and keep the property top of mind during what can sometimes be months between signing up and actually seeing the building. The nurturing emails provide insight into what features people are excited about based on click-throughs and create an engaged group of potential residents who are hoping to be the first to tour the property. Consistent exposure and messaging to the right audience also builds trust.
Having marketing and leasing executed by two different teams from two different companies is doing developers and investors a disservice. When marketing and leasing truly work together, they become nimble and more strategic. Project timing, deliverables and milestones all reap the benefits of open communication and collaboration. It’s also easier to discover and use renter insights and data to predict what will resonate with this audience when efforts are tracked in one CRM. From brand consistency to lead generation to workflows, multifamily developers should always integrate marketing and leasing to have the most successful lease-up campaign.