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 the final part of our discussion, Baker further expands upon the uses and benefits of text, social media, and email marketing for property managers.
How do you prevent your audience from unsubscribing or viewing your messages as spam?
Using recipient groups to target your emails can keep unsubscribe rates down by ensuring that the information provided is relevant to each group. Another way to reduce disengagement is to segment your content into categories. For example, you can separate your messages into “Community Service & Education” and “Marketing and Promotions.” Users can then choose to opt-in for community messages pertaining to maintenance, shut-offs, and other service-related emails while opting out of promotional material regarding community events. This allows residents to receive only crucial or important information and prevents them from becoming disengaged from all communications from property management.
To keep your messages from going to the Spam folder in Gmail or other platforms with automated sorting systems, ask your residents to add you to their contact list. If they add you to their contacts or preferred sender list, it will help keep your messages out of Spam and at the top of their inbox.
What do you consider a good engagement rate or open rate?
This is a hard question to answer because there is no specific number. It depends largely on who your audience is and the purpose of your email. If you send a cold email to a group of prospective residents that you haven’t contacted before, an 8% open rate might be acceptable, with a .05% click-through. However, if you’re messaging residents who have given you their email, and who you’ve talked to and built an established relationship with, an open rate of less than 50% could be concerning.
Ultimately, it is best to focus on improvement over time, not a specific benchmark. If your open percentage, engagement, and responses are increasing, and you have better communication with your residents, your campaign is succeeding.
How does this play into word-of-mouth marketing?
Generally, a stellar communication experience helps drive the way residents communicate with their friends and family. You can “load their lips” by providing residents with the language you want them to use by using that language in your messages. When they see it in your messaging, it often leads residents to use that language to describe your community.
In the current climate, what changes should property managers make in their follow-ups with prospective residents?
When it comes to prospective residents, text messages are best. Emails by themselves are great as a soft touch, and definitely something you should continue using, but texting keeps the conversation informal and gives your prospective residents a sense that they’re a priority. Also, response rates for texts are 60% higher than emails, and 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of delivery. So you are likely to have much higher engagement and response rates than with email. If you’re mainly working with Millennials and Gen Z, texting is going to be the fastest and most effective way to communicate with your prospective residents.
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Should property managers be using social media as well?
Absolutely. You should use any platform where you can improve your brand visibility and gain interest from prospective residents. Social media is particularly useful for providing a visual image for your brand. If you are looking to drive more interest and more sales, you should certainly be on every social media platform available.
Should property managers craft their community image differently on social media than they do in email and text?
When you’re communicating via social media and text message, you should be more personable, as if you’re just having a regular conversation. On these platforms, you should avoid sounding too sales-y. With emails, however, people expect you to sound more professional, so more formal language is ideal when using email platforms.
Something to consider when posting on social media is the presentation of a narrative. The more you can paint a picture of what it looks like to live in your property, the easier it is for residents to visualize themselves there. They want more visuals, so they can paint a picture of the community.
It is especially important to pay attention to reviews on social media. Many potential residents will check your reviews to get a better idea of what it is like to live at your property.
What if you get a bad review?
Always, always respond, whether it’s a bad review, a good review, or a review that someone didn’t put much thought into. It’s your choice whether you want to take part in the discussion offline but always respond and thank them for their feedback. A thank-you shows that you care about what people are saying about your community and that you are invested in the whole process.
Address the issue directly. If you know what the root cause of the issue is and you can explain it clearly, don’t be afraid to post the explanation out in public. If it is something that you feel has to be taken offline (for example, if it includes personal information or someone left a bad review because they had issues with delinquency or non-payment), thank them for the feedback. Say: “We’re sorry for any frustration you felt. One of our team members will contact you today.” After you have the conversation with that person, follow upon that review publicly to say that you called them and were happy to have discussed the issue. This is an important step that property managers often overlook.
Notifii Connect: Resident Communication and Email Marketing for Property Managers
At Notifii, we understand the particular difficulties faced by property managers during these trying times. We are committed to providing a quality automated text and email platform that you can customize to meet your marketing and operational needs. Whether you need to find unique ways to draw in new residents or grab the attention of your current residents, our Notifii Connect system is specifically designed to facilitate streamlined text and email marketing for property managers.
To learn more about ways that Notifii Connect can simplify your multifamily residential management operations, contact our experts today.
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