How to Optimize Your Lead-to-Lease Process
Since leveraging automated CRM and marketing software, a San Diego firm has seen its lease conversions skyrocket.
Vacancy rates have inched up over the last several quarters, while absorption has continued to soften—making it more important than ever to attract and retain residents in a competitive landscape. But using individual software systems and manual operation methods may cause missed opportunities to engage with customers and ultimately convert prospects.
For San Diego-based MG Properties Group, the solution for increasing its marketing efforts and converting more leads to leases was implementing the RENTCafé® suite of products from Yardi. With RENTCafé®, RENTCafé® Reach and RENTCafé® CRM, property managers can increase visibility and traffic, deliver more effective marketing campaigns, streamline the leasing process, capture leads with automated outreach and follow-up tools, increase workflow efficiency and more, all in one comprehensive and integrated platform.
“I like that RENTCafé offers a one-stop shop where you can stay connected to your prospects and communicate with them all the way through the entire life-cycle of their residency,” says Melise Balastrieri, Vice President of Marketing and Development at MG Properties.
MG Properties was already using Yardi software products for its financial operations, so the RENTCafé Suite integrated seamlessly into its existing systems.
The RENTCafé Suite offers a variety of marketing tools, like SEO, PPC advertising, website design, reputation management and enhanced listings, to name a few. According to Balastrieri, what’s been most effective for her team are the RENTCafé CRM lead-nurture tools.
MG Properties has utilized the automated outreach tools for everything from connecting with prospects that visit the site online and prompting them via text to schedule a tour to requesting feedback from existing residents about the community and offering help with renewals before a lease expires.
Since implementing the technology across MG Properties’ almost 20,000 units, Balastrieri and her team have seen impressive results in their ability to convert leads and have been leveraging the data to drive future workflow decisions.
“Our goal lead-to-lease that we expect for everyone is around nine percent,” she explains. “When we ran RENTCafé CRM’s drip campaign on several properties, their lead-to-lease conversion was averaging 14 percent.”
Nudge marketing campaigns that allow prospective residents to contact a property in their own way are converting more leads to leases as well—in a two-month time period, MG Properties had 788 leads and was able to convert 44 more leases through nudge marketing efforts.
Residents appreciate the “Schedule a Tour” feature, which Balastrieri says is converting leads at a 70-percent higher rate than traditional leads, and the option to communicate through texting, which is providing 40 percent conversions—a much higher rate than a standard “Contact Us” button conversion.
“Prospects today have so many choices, and their attention span is so short. So, doing everything that we can to get in front of them and give them options to find an apartment the way that they want to is going to be an advantage. It has already proven to be very effective,” she says.
The preference for electronic communication, too, has changed the relationship between customers and onsite staff, giving property managers time back in their day to build relationships with residents without losing prospects.
“Our customer interaction has increased—we can set up the system to automatically email or text our prospects, engaging with them through whatever messaging we want and whatever cadence we choose, and don’t have to have our team members manually reaching out,” says Balastrieri.
One notably effective tool, Balastrieri says, is the ability to automate follow-ups. With busy schedules, following up with prospective residents and leads is often the first thing to be forgotten—she points out that some studies have shown prospects do not receive a follow-up 90 percent of the time in the multifamily industry.
“That’s a really sad statistic,” she says. MG Properties uses RENTCafé CRM to automate emails for every lead that comes in through the website, prompting renters to schedule a tour or discuss available leasing options in more detail.
“The email campaigns benefit your teams on site because they're not having to do all of that follow-up themselves,” Balastrieri says. “They're able to move on to really serving the customer, focusing their energy on resident retention and the prospects that are right in front of them.”
Plus, the automated RENTCafé CRM system allows MG Properties to take on additional leads without sacrificing the prospect’s experience. “We're able to handle more leads than we would have been able to if we were just doing it with our team,” Balastrieri concludes.