If you live in a city, it’s hard to drive 10 minutes in any direction without seeing eye-catching signs that boast images of a beautiful new multifamily property making its home there.

In Freddie Mac’s Multifamily 2019 Midyear Outlook, annual completions of apartment units are forecasted to increase through 2020, reaching 340,000 annually on average — above the 300,000 seen on average going back to 2016.

With much of today’s customers having grown up in the computer age, their preferred shopping method has shifted to finding you or your competitors, rather than waiting for your business to come to them.

Whether your multifamily property is small or large, this has great implications on your marketing strategy and your ability to speak a digital language. And this coupled with how you respond to leads can make or break your success.

Why Are Multifamily Leads Critical?

Those who grew up in the era of GI Joe likely remember that “knowing is half the battle.” So, what’s the other half?

Doing something about it.

If a lead is a piece of information that tells you someone has found your business, how you respond to that lead is the difference in whether you actually gain their business. A healthy lead pipeline is beneficial because it will help you avoid seasonal slumps, and help you scale when tested.

Why Are You Losing Leads?

A critical question to ask about your lead strategy is what it typically does after a lead comes through. There are two avenues here:

1. You contact the lead to make a sale. When a sale is not made, move on to the next. This removes energy and expels it from the pipeline.

2. You nurture the lead and seek to better understand the needs of the potential customer.

If your answer is the former, here’s the problem: They might not be ready to rent an apartment unit now, but they were interested for a reason. In a market that is increasingly buyer-directed, they found you. And they might be ready to rent in the future. Perhaps it’s not the right time, or perhaps they need something slightly different.

Either way, “lead nurturing emails are a great way to learn more about your leads,” and results in a “23 percent shorter sales cycle,” according to HubSpot Marketing.

Establishing contact immediately, following up with relevant questions, and maintaining consistent communication with your pipeline will keep it healthy … and keep it interested.

How Can You Recapture and Maintain Leads?

Get personal and get digital.

1. Target the right persona.

Renters don’t just want to see the amenities you offer; rather, they want a personal connection — a home.

2. Be personal and nurture your leads.

Customers today want to be reached on a personal level before choosing a product, and your lead strategy should take this into consideration. Rather than simply following up with a lead, plan to nurture it. It might take time, but regular touchpoints focused on your potential customer’s needs will lead to a healthier pipeline and future growth.

3. Reach your audience where they already are.

According to eMarketer, nearly 80 percent of Americans are now using the internet daily. Moreover, an astounding number of them are using their phones to get online. A marketing plan is only worth the customers following it, so make sure yours is on their platform. And when they find you, take the time to understand them.

4. Maintain a flexible lead strategy.

As Baby Boomers look toward retirement, the businesses they have run will soon be restructured by generations who trust online technology. And while these processes are critical to your success, digital marketing is not one-size-fits-all — and neither is your lead strategy.