4 Topics Everyone Will Be Talking About After the AIM Conference
As you kick off the Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference today, I want you to take a moment to consider how far we’ve come. Remember when we were faxing our hot sheets, or hot apartments we needed to occupy, to locators? And now here we are, ready to take on automation and artificial intelligence.
Maybe. But we don’t have to get too far ahead of ourselves.
It’s impossible to know exactly when new technologies will take off and create a widespread influence. Facebook and its incredible impact on our industry wasn’t a thought 20 years ago.
We can’t get out our crystal ball and fully predict what the future has in store. But we can work together as apartment marketers to continue to innovate and push our industry forward. That’s what excites my team at 30 Lines most about attending events like the AIM Conference.
We have a lot of work to do.
Here are four topics you’ll hear at the AIM Conference that will continue to trend even after the conference has ended (with some helpful insights from our 30 Lines experts):
1. Attribution Modeling
Lead attribution continues to be a hot topic of discussion throughout the multifamily industry, and rightfully so. As apartment marketers, we want to be able to assess the value or return on investment (ROI) of the channels that connect us to potential customers.
In other words, we want to know how the prospect found us and what contributed to them leasing from our apartment community.
But we can’t right now. We haven’t gotten to the point where we can fully synthesize reports. We still face the degradation of data that takes place when it is passed from one system to another.
Google reports, on average, an individual uses 19.2 sources of information to make a real estate purchasing decision.
Prospects will read online reviews, browse social media pages, comb through the property’s Google My Business listing for key information. They’ll land on ILSs and paid advertisements. They may even land on the management company’s corporate website – especially if you’re applying our portfolio leasing approach to search marketing. Offline marketing sources also come into play.
We know multiple channels and messages are responsible for the final leasing decision. That’s why in multifamily, we can’t attribute all the credit to one touchpoint – whether it be the first or last touch.
In this screenshot, you can see where both Paid Search and Organic Search contributed to leads over this time period. However, typically the final credit for those leads would go to the Property Website as the “referring source.”
Assisted Conversions are in the Conversions section (Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions) of Google Analytics.
Here at 30 Lines, we know attribution is a highly effective technique when properly implemented. The issue is that a lot more goes into making attribution success than you might have initially thought. Is your data clean enough to provide accurate insights at every step of the customer journey?
For example, call tracking is useful to help with lead tracking and attribution, but it’s easy to dial up a bunch of inaccurate data, too. First, you need to get your Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) right. Then, you need to confirm your CRM or lead tracking system can track both the capture point (what source was the customer using when they contacted you?) and the referring source (what source drove the traffic to the capture point?).
Better lead attribution is not going to come from a new “holy grail” marketing report. Instead, it will come from having the right data points in place and easily shared between your marketing and technology vendors.
Right now, there is not an accurate, comprehensive solution for lead attribution for the multifamily industry. Instead of focusing so heavily on lead attribution, we recommend shifting the conversation toward lead contribution. What marketing channels contributed to a signed lease?
By looking at each contributing source, you can also start to see where we, as marketers, are receiving inaccurate or incomplete information.
Start with a question you need to address. Maybe you want to know if what you’re spending on Google Adwords is working. Maybe you want to know which marketing source is generating calls to your leasing office.
Collect all the data you need to answer the question and look for any areas your data may be skewed or incomplete.
If you get stuck or would like to discuss our take on lead attribution further, let’s connect.
2. People vs. Automation
The terms of artificial intelligence (AI) and marketing automation are seeping into conversations at all levels and facets of the multifamily industry. In response, people seem to have a mixture of natural curiosity and apprehension about the impact advances will have on day-to-day workflow.
This is especially prevalent in business areas – such as leasing – where meaningful one-to-one relationships have been the driving force behind exceptional (and profitable) customer interactions.
As you digest the information at AIM, we challenge you to channel any fear you have that automation will take over traditional relationship-building practices into considering how it can enhance the experience overall.
How can you partner with technology to automagically deliver a more exceptional customer experience?
We covered this topic more in-depth here.
3. Online Reputation
Your community’s online reputation matters. In today’s digital age, 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Bright Local).
We see that properties with strong online ratings and reviews, specifically on Google, have higher click-through rates to their property website.
If you have a community in your portfolio with less than stellar ratings and reviews, take a peek at this article. It covers how you can get your property’s reputation trending up and breaks down five ways to create easy, remarkable resident experiences.
First, focus on improving your reputation. Then, showcase those excellent ratings and reviews in your marketing messaging. Google even offers a free tool to help you turn your Google reviews into social media posts and other marketing collateral: http://via.30lines.com/smallthanks
We took this idea a step further with an update to our RentPress product.
The goal of RentPress is to turn your apartment website into a marketing powerhouse – displaying floor plans, individual units, and neighborhoods. It offers one-step integration with popular property management software to display the most accurate pricing and availability for one property or your entire portfolio.
Plus, it keeps all data and customer insights within the confines of your site. That’s huge. We want to keep customers on our sites so we can fully track their shopping behaviors.
RentPress can also display online ratings and reviews directly on your apartment website.
Our team took the added step of creating all the necessary schema.org tags, which tells Google to show the aggregate star ratings for the reviews in search listings. You can see the ratings showcased in the organic search results highlighted below.
*Please note: Review snippets are intended for individual products and services. Although putting reviews on your homepage may be valuable for apartment shoppers, Google prefers to draw ratings from product and service pages.
4. Marketing Psychology
Very few marketers have a degree in psychology. Yet as the multifamily industry continues to evolve, more marketers are exploring customer behavior and working to identify strategies that will trigger positive emotional responses from their customers.
Today’s top marketers will gain their marketing edge by tapping into their psychological know-how.
At AIM, I’m hosting a session titled “Psychological Marketing: The Mind Games You Need to Master” on Wednesday, May 8 from 9:15-10:15 a.m. I’m fortunate to be joined by Kenneth Kasee, Director of Marketing at JVM Realty Corporation, and Megan Mahoney, Regional Marketing Director at Lennar Multifamily Living.
Together, we’ll review behavioral psychology applications (operant conditioning, sensory marketing, and emotional intelligence) and uncover how to leverage these techniques in multifamily marketing.
I’m also looking forward to sharing how emotional intelligence (EQ) paired with artificial intelligence (AI) is a win-win for apartment marketers. Customers crave emotional connections but require the immediate response AI provides. This is an example of a situation where technology, specifically AI, can help us deliver more exceptional customer experiences.
What topics will you be talking about after the AIM Conference? We want to hear from you. My team at 30 Lines loves brainstorming new ideas and arriving at solutions together. Let’s get to work.