Over the past year, COVID-19 has drastically changed the way that every business operates, from manufacturing and distribution to retail sales and property management. For property managers in particular, a primary challenge has been maintaining communication and resident engagement while working remotely or within limited office hours. Fortunately, technological advances in digital communication have provided property management professionals with the tools necessary to surmount these obstacles.
In his Snap Session "Resident Communications While Working Remote," Michael Baker, software sales executive at Notifii, offers unique insights into the benefits of a digital communication strategy tailored to meet the specific needs of your community. In today's environment of high stress and social distancing, it is more important than ever to have reliable digital communications to resolve issues and ensure residents’ peace of mind. Baker outlines the ways in which digital communications enhance residents’ experience and improve their confidence in the management team.
In Part 2 of his panel discussion, Baker outlines ways that different digital communication methods and marketing tools can enhance resident engagement and ensure that important information is disseminated to the appropriate resident groups. In addition, he offers some advice on ways to use engagement analytics to enhance your communication impact. Read more of his insights on property management marketing below.
You should get permission from people when contacting them on a new platform; however, if they've provided you with contact information it's different. Particularly in the property management realm, you will usually obtain their texting numbers or emails just from the leasing process, which can be considered an opt-in. They're giving you their information so you can contact them. We generally recommend sending a welcome text or email providing the option to reply "Stop" or "Unsubscribe" from those messages. This way, you are contacting them but also respecting their privacy.
Yes. Keep in mind that people are stressed and unsure of what's going on in the world right now. Acknowledge the difficulties that people are facing now, and be sure you're delivering your message in a sympathetic fashion.
Due to the fact that people are increasingly interacting remotely, email frequency is much higher right now. Many companies are sending out more emails trying to drive revenue. In fact, just on Notifii's platform, we have seen email usage increase by more than 50% in March and April. To break through the clutter and prevent your residents from overlooking or discounting your communication, consider sending text messages instead.
Finally, consider preparing templates for certain emergency or time-sensitive scenarios. Advance preparation will help you dramatically if those scenarios occur, as you will not be under extra pressure during potentially urgent or emotional scenarios. For example, we have a customer in Texas who experienced a flash flood due to a dam overflowing during a heavy rainstorm. They had a template ready for an evacuation scenario already set, which allowed them to send a notification to residents very quickly. Luckily everybody was able to get out of that community quickly, and nobody was harmed. It's best to have templates already worked up so that you do not have to build a solution from the ground up while you are in a crisis.
This includes the COVID-19 pandemic. You should have pre-written communication ready to send in the event that someone tests positive on the property.
This has changed over time, but since most people skim these days, short and sweet is best. If your message must be long in order to incorporate a lot of content, try to use a bold font and underline phrases to highlight the key points of your message. This will help you get the point across to those skimmers. In addition, make your message action-oriented, and make it clear to the readers how you would like them to respond to the message.
You should also use relevant language such as community and employee names to make the message personal. Many platforms offer dynamic placeholders that auto-populate the first name and unit number for each resident when the message is sent out. Such specific content will ultimately drive better engagement from your residents.
The most important thing after you launch a campaign is to ensure that you are available for two-way communication afterward. Answer any questions regarding the campaign, especially if your message involves delinquency or a resident complaint. Be readily available to respond quickly, and remember that the more responsive you are, the more engagement you're going to receive.
For example, a client in the Midwest was experiencing resident tension over limited communication with the front office. The property management was still using paper flyers to communicate with over 500 residents. When complaints or questions came in, the response wasn't exactly quick. Once they switched to texting and email communication platforms, their resident rapport increased dramatically, simply due to their being more available to the residents.
If you are able to review your engagement analytics, you can plan your next steps. Engagement analytics allow you to see who is open to your message and who is clicking on the provided links. This helps you to navigate your next step and ideal method of communication. For instance, if you are handling a non-payment situation, your approach may be different depending on whether the resident has opened every email you've sent or they haven't opened any of them. At that point, you need to know if you have their current contact information. Are they even getting your notices? The analytics can help you navigate how you're going to approach your next attempt at communication with that resident.
Enjoy our final installment of this discussion, "Snap Session Blog Series Part 3: Text and Email Marketing for Property Managers," in which Baker expands upon the uses of text, email, and social media to enhance the effectiveness of your property management marketing campaigns.
For more information about Notifii Connect, a digital communication platform that helps to facilitate resident communications that include email notifications and newsletters as part of a property management marketing strategy, contact our experts today