Earning More Leases With the Right Content at the Right Time
When was the last time you listened to a sales call? Chances are, you are still thinking back to it right now because it’s been a while. With cell phones and caller ID, there’s a lot more call screening, call blocking, and flat-out hanging up on persistent sales callers.
With the increasing move toward technology, everything about sales and multifamily marketing has changed; salespeople are finding their tried and true methodologies less and less effective. Even when sales calls were more prominent, they were never incredibly efficient, often requiring hundreds of calls a week to land even a handful of apartment leads or appointments. So what are struggling sales and leasing teams to do?
Understanding your resident’s purchasing decisions
The fact is that your leasing team needs to think differently about sales and multifamily marketing. The internet has become an information superhighway, making renters less reliant on properties for information. Instead, prospective residents can read reviews and do research before making a leasing decision.
This shift in society’s attitudes toward buying indicates a larger change in how the introduction to digital has changed the market, and with it, the content and methods that are valued by renters. This has allowed methods like content marketing to not only expand but thrive in this education-focused environment.
Why education is more important than selling
When salespeople are cold-calling prospects, they are taking a risk. Often, when they do reach a person willing to talk to them, that person may not be ready to buy. Even more so, they may not remember the sales call later on when they are ready to buy. The reason sales face this issue is simple — the message they are promoting only aligns with people ready to purchase. But time and time again, we’ve acknowledged that most of the people sales talk to are not sales-ready. This means that the message in question will fall on deaf ears.
Education allows for a discussion — one that answers the important questions no matter where the renter is in their buyer’s journey. It also allows a property to be an industry leader. Providing straightforward, educational information on your property and location establishes credit as a trusted source.
When a business offers information at each level of the buyer’s journey, they establish reliability and stay relevant to those not ready to buy. This allows a property to stay in the game longer, so when a prospect is ready to sign the lease, they have someone in mind with a positive reputation.
How to use education as a sales tool
The key point of education over sales is that not everyone may be ready to sign the lease. As such, approaching them with a purchasing mentality can be a detrimental mistake. However, just because education focuses on those who aren’t necessarily sales-ready, doesn’t mean it isn’t an important sales tool.
The point of the buyer’s journey is that a buyer can be moved along through their journey with targeted content that matches the sales funnel. This means providing the right information at the right point of time to educate a prospect while gathering their information. This methodology allows your leasing team to follow apartment leads until they hit a “sales-ready” point. At which point, they begin to directly engage with the prospect.
The benefit here is two-fold:
1. An apartment lead won’t be spoken to until they’re sales-ready, avoiding a situation in which an apartment lead is unprepared and unhappy about being approached.
2. The apartment leads that your leasing team does speak to are qualified — that is, they meet specific predetermined criteria of an ideal renter at your property. Information on them is pre-gathered, making them a strong fit, and therefore, more likely to convert into a resident. This keeps your leasing team from spending time on renters that are less likely to lease with your property. Education as a sales tool allows for more efficiency in this regard, and can even help lessen the sales cycle over time.
As the internet continues to be a primary source of information, the tendency toward the education-based methodologies of content will lead the online buyer’s journey. Whether or not leasing teams get on board with this mindset will be a major factor in their level of success.
What content you need to focus on for your property
Content marketing is a buzzword phrase that you’ve probably heard more than once. Perhaps a little overused, yes, but it’s an approach that has yet to be mastered in the world of multifamily marketing.
Let’s go through this scenario to show you why. Say a new job has you planning a move. The first thing you might do is Google where you want to live. If you’re moving to Dallas, your search might come up like this:
The neighborhoods are listed up top, and clicking into them leads to a search of those neighborhoods, but there are two noteworthy things here. For one, you’ll notice that articles that come up for this search are largely superficial. Mostly, they are lists with stereotypes about the neighborhood and maybe a blurb, but certainly not enough helpful information to make an informed decision about your move. Second, none of the articles come from multifamily properties. Surely as a resident, a multifamily property should be the prime expert on their location. This is a huge missed opportunity.
When we talk about content, we’re simply talking about information. In this case, content is any form of online information that you provide: blog posts, infographics, photo galleries, interactive property maps, social media for apartments, aggregated articles, etc. The most important thing about content is that when it’s done right, it doesn’t focus on you. It focuses on your residents.
Great content delivers to your prospective renters the exact information they needed, when and where they needed it. So in the example above, a Dallas neighborhood guide would have been a good piece of content. If some sort of thoughtful resource popped up when we Googled “Dallas neighborhoods,” any one of the couple hundred multifamily properties in Dallas could have provided that … but they didn’t.
Creating multifamily marketing content that caters to your renters
The reason we create helpful content is to enhance our multifamily SEO so that we can be found. We create helpful content to establish ourselves as a resource. Multifamily properties can create helpful content to do all these things and to jumpstart relationships with apartment leads.
If your target market is families with young children, then perhaps you create a map of Dallas parks and show their relation to your properties. If you’re targeting millennials, maybe you could hold a weekly Twitter chat for anyone who’s thinking about moving to Dallas — an opportunity to answer any of the questions they may have.
The solutions are endless, but it all begins with understanding the problem. What kind of information do your prospective renters need and how can you provide it for them? How can you establish yourself as a resource and a point of contact?
Bottom line: There’s a need for great content, and you can fill it.