Tackling Trends: How to Capture More Online Apartment Shoppers This Leasing Season

Mar 29, 2019Apartment Marketing, Blog, Conversion Optimization

As the demand for apartments ramps up during peak leasing season, so does the anticipation that an increase in search volume and online traffic will automatically turn into more signed leases.

If only it were that easy.

Each year, from May to September in conventional multifamily, this busy but bountiful time gives apartment marketers the opportunity to pass more leads to their leasing teams. But, to take full advantage of this momentum, apartment marketers need to take action early.

Prospects don’t automagically convert into paying residents. But, we can make it easier for them to enter our sales funnel earlier and then nurture them toward a lease via multiple touchpoints. And marketing automation can help.

We know the topic of marketing automation covers a wide range of products and services, and it can be tough to figure out how to start tackling this tech-savvy, yet complex trend.

So, where do you start? Or, how do you level up your strategy to convert more apartment shoppers into renters this leasing season?

We have to get them taking action and opting in. Deploying a pop-up on your website can help.

Website pop-ups sometimes get a bad rap, but when used properly (optimized for mobile and meeting all Google guidelines) can enhance the online apartment shopping experience and help your team capture shoppers earlier and more often.

Pop-up forms are also an effective way to drive apartment shoppers into our marketing channels. We all know the market-place is noisy and we’re all competing for the prospect’s attention. A pop-up will attract new people into your funnel, acting as a gateway for additional (possibly automated) follow-up.

Ready to open the door to automation and capitalize on the website traffic you’re already generating? Let’s tackle one of the easiest and most affordable things you can do to automate your marketing.

Create pop-ups with apartment shoppers in mind

Here at 30 Lines, we take a behavior-based approach to digital marketing. So, we’re always studying the actions renters take throughout their journey — from their initial apartment search to their experience as a resident.

We know most prospects will visit your property website multiple times before they finally complete your online guest card, or ‘contact us’ form.

Why is it that so many prospects leave your site without providing their name and email address? Your team needs this information so they can follow up with the individual.  

Think about your online shopping habits. Do you often visit more than one website when you’re making a purchasing decision?

According to Google, the average shopper uses 19.2 sources of information to make a real estate buying decision.

Most apartment shoppers are just browsing when they’re in the early stages of their apartment search. They land on your website — whether they’re checking out floor plan options or reviewing pricing and availability. Then, they’re likely to leave your website and repeat this same process with your competitors.

That’s right, your competitors.

When apartment shoppers are browsing, most of the time they aren’t ready to commit to scheduling a tour or filling out a lengthy contact form.

Also, consider your site navigation. A lot of times the ‘contact us’ button is deeper (five or six spaces over) on the navigation menu. Once you get to that form, how many fields of information do you ask the prospect to complete? Most forms on multifamily sites require no less than five pieces of information, including:

    • Name
    • Email Address
    • Telephone Number
    • Address
    • Potential Move-In Date
    • Type of Pets
    • Number of Bedrooms Requested
    • Rental Range; or Budget

That’s a pretty big commitment for someone who is just starting their apartment search.

But, don’t worry too much. Some of those website visitors will eventually return to your website and complete your online guest card. Just don’t count on it being their first — or even second — visit to your site.

We want to capture these apartment shoppers earlier in the process. We want to get your marketing message in front of them before they click over to a competitor.

We want to give your leasing team the first opportunity to start working the lead.

And we want to automate this process, so we’re not creating work for you or your leasing team.

We’re seeing apartment websites using a Lease Magnet, the smart website pop-up built by 30 Lines, average 40 more leads per month. That’s 40 more leads from traffic they’re already getting to their website. They aren’t spending more on advertising to drive more leads. They’re merely converting more of the traffic they’re getting to their site into workable leads.

Pop-ups are successful because they make it easy for your customers to take action.

If done effectively, they deliver a smart, eye-catching marketing message to the apartment shopper at a time when it’s especially important to grab their attention. Then, it creates a sense of urgency, which inspires them to submit their name and email address.

Ultimately, you get a brand new prospect in your leasing funnel earlier.

5 tips for creating effective pop-ups for your apartment website

As you’re planning and designing a website pop-up, you need to be mindful of the experience you’re building for the shopper. Here are our five tips for creating effective pop-ups:

1. Make a thoughtful ask.
Limit the number of fields in your pop-up form so you only ask for the most important information. Most of the time this is their name and email address. You can collect more information later in the process, but our goal is to get them in the door and into our marketing funnel sooner. If you create friction for the customer at this stage in their search, you’ll immediately lose them.

2. Deliver a message that inspires action.
Before filling out your form, the prospect will want to know precisely why they should take action. We need to capture their attention before we can capture their information. Crafting the right marketing message is the secret to getting more prospects to opt in to your marketing list. And yes, you can inspire prospects to take action without offering free rent or concessions.

3. Optimize for mobile.
Apartment shoppers can (and will) browse your website on a variety of devices. It’s essential that each website design element, including your pop-up, looks and performs great no matter how they accessed your site. You’ll also want to make sure it meets all of Google’s guidelines.

4. Stay on brand.
Create a cohesive shopping experience for renters by matching the look and feel of your brand and surrounding website elements. Branding includes everything from the background image you select to the font and color palette of the pop-up design. Also, make sure the user experience fits seamlessly with the flow of your website. There’s nothing worse than an aggressive pop-up that disrupts your browsing experience. Well, except maybe a pop-up that keeps coming back for more.

5. Pass the leads directly to your leasing team.  
Website pop-ups can turn your website into an automated lead machine, so your team can then nurture those leads into a lease. However, we have to deliver those leads in a manner that fits seamlessly into the workflow of your leasing staff. This is possible and something your pop-up should be capable of.

Why we need to take action and win their email address

For marketers, an email address is as good as gold.

Website pop-ups offer an actionable way to build smart marketing campaigns, and this is because it’s an easy way to get apartment shoppers to share their email address.

If you have a prospect’s email address, you can:

    • Give leasing agents a way to start building a relationship with the prospect
    • Push leads collected directly to your email list
    • Trigger automated email campaigns to nurture and nudge the customer to review floor plan options, read your community’s glowing online reviews, schedule a tour, or any other action you want them to take
    • Develop retargeting ad campaigns through Google, Facebook, and Instagram

By collecting the email address of a website visitor, we get a second and maybe third opportunity to get them to convert to a resident. We don’t have to depend on them to return to our website to keep the leasing process moving forward.

Pop-ups work

Social Media Today reports that 54% of customers have stopped purchasing from a website because it was too difficult to find the right product. Likewise, 71% of customers switched to a different site because they made the buying process easier.

Get a website pop-up in place today, so you are prepared to capture the website traffic you’re anticipated to generate during peak leasing season. Don’t give your customers a chance to leave your property website and move onto a competitor before you capture their email addresses.

Again, website pop-ups are one of the easiest, most affordable things you can do to automate your marketing. It allows you to capture more leads, without spending more on online advertising.

Have questions? We’re here to help!

Also, don’t miss our next blog post. We’re sharing 10 marketing messages that inspire prospects to take action (without offering free rent!). Be the first to take action by subscribing to our 30 Lines blog here.

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