"A huge indicator that you're seeing conversion rates go up is when more leads are becoming actual tours coming into your property." — LeighAnn Frommann
If you have a leads problem, is it an issue of quality or volume? How should multifamily marketers be rethinking their lead gen strategy to drive better, higher quality leads today?
Here's what we talked about:
- The value of knowing your benchmarks and experimenting off those
- The key to getting the right messaging on the right channels
- Ways to use technology to manage as many prospects as possible
Nicolina Savelli [0:00:22]:
Welcome back to Sync or Swim, I'm your host Nicolina Savelli, and you're listening to Get Synced where I take a tactical approach to helping those in multi-family improve their marketing and advertising efforts. And today, I have Rentsync's Marketing Manager, LeighAnn Frommann here to chat all about lead generation for marketing your multifamily properties. Welcome to the show, Leigh.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:00:40]:
Thanks for having me.
Nicolina Savelli [0:00:50]:
Now, before we get into the conversation, which is a great continuation from my conversation with Mike Wolber a few weeks ago, do you mind expanding on that introduction for me to give listeners a better idea of your experience working with Rentsync and in the multifamily industry?
LeighAnn Frommann [0:01:22.7]:
Sure, so I've been with Rentsync for quite some time now, just this past February, hit my nineyear mark, which is crazy, so well, before the rebrand, and when I started actually there was only five of us and I like to take the cred of first girl, which is wild to say, considering we've had so much growth and there's so many other females here now, so... Yeah, it's kind of wild, but I do have a background in design and brand marketing, which was the role I actually started with Rentsync in working with our clients on their branding, branding logos, building websites are well, designing websites for developers and all of their creative that goes with it, and from there, helped out with our events that we would have. We used to host a conference called Web Con, before COVID. Yeah, well, the part of it... And in that role, I got to do more marketing, so build out the tactics to promote the event, and just really, really enjoyed doing that, and notice there was kind of an absence in an actual internal marketing team at the time, and just eventually started to transferring into more of a marketing role, which is basically where I'm sitting now as Marketing Manager, so with this role working across the funnel with the entire team and monitoring our pipeline and our KPI'S and working with laundering metrics similar to our clients and yeah, that's where I'm at.
Nicolina Savelli [0:02:58.2]:
This conversation is going to touch a lot on that as well, and it's really an expansion of my previous conversation about lead management and lead conversion, and we really spoke at that time about the leasing process and what happens if you have a leasing issue, but What if you have a lead issue, What if you just aren't generating high quality leads for your properties? What do you do then? So as marketers, we know all about the struggle of helping to fill pipeline with sales qualified leads and how to effectively market and reach those prospects. So I'd like to talk a little bit about developing your demand strategy, if you have a lead problem or your leads are poor quality, how should multifamily marketers be rethinking their lead gen strategy to drive better, more quality leads today? Leigh, do you have some insight for me?
LeighAnn Frommann [0:03:51.7]:
Yeah, can definitely relate on lead gen and quality leads for sure, as the marketing team here at Rentsync, something we're watching all the time, and so I could speak to it from our perspective and what we would look at and just how I would wanna go about it, and I would wanna start with initially just seeing what my benchmarks are, so I can experiment off that, so wanting to look at my pipeline, see what ratios are currently at, so one could potentially be lead to tour, or for example, to see how that is currently performing and then building off of that, so is your messaging matching what their needs are and are you targeting your messaging to them specifically, and then just experimenting off of that metric, trying different things and seeing if it's making it improve or not, and testing your website too with different call to actions, making some more prominent than others, so one, could be have a button to book a tour, nice and prominent, play with those buttons and try different placement, make sure they're super easy to find, and yeah just test off those ratios and see where you can improve, and if you do see improvement to you, Where did that source come from and start to build upon that...
Nicolina Savelli [0:05:12.3]:
Right. Double down on that. For sure. So now we know you started your career as a designer, so I'd like to talk to you a bit about the brand, and how important brand is to generating quality leads today, you kind of mentioned it about the whole... Are you targeting your audience correctly and your positioning, so what do you think a great multifamily brand should look like in order to really reach those high-quality prospects.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:05:38.4]:
Having a brand is super important to driving the right audience to your website and just reaching out to the right audience in general, it also gives you credibility as far as what it would include for multifamily industry, and just my experience there, I would say consistency, not just in our industry, but in general, consistency is my biggest thing when it comes to brand and positioning your messaging on your ads and your messaging and your website should just match, there should be no confusion when you hit an ad and hit a landing page or a property page of where you are. A lot of times, even with our advertising, we're testing out different messaging to different landing pages, and one key piece is having the same message that is on your ad, right on your page, so it's really easy to match up.
Nicolina Savelli [0:06:33.7]:
I think that's an issue a lot for copywriters, I know myself and content, you question yourself with repeating content and copy, and whether or not that just shows laziness or whether that shows consistency, and I think oftentimes we overthink it a little bit when we're creating those pieces, when really you should be just repurposing so that customers, prospects leads know exactly where they are when they've landed and they see that repetitive message because they're like, Okay, I got exactly what you advertised in the conversion on the landing page, I'm getting exactly what you've put out into your ad, because if you're landing on something that's different, it's like, Well, why did I even... Was that just click bait, which most likely will affect your bounce rates right on that page.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:07:24.9]:
My other point is just on visuals too. I kinda mentioned that, but having a logo that works with all of your materials too is really important, sometimes we can get pretty creative with logos and have some that are tall or really long, but make sure you have something that works with many different pieces of collateral that can be repurposed easily, and usually with brand guides too, and our team does this, where they give you options with your logo as well, so you can display it in different ways, but... I think that's also really important.
Nicolina Savelli [0:08:01.7]:
Perfect. Now obviously, COVID has impacted how we are effectively advertising to renters and going digital has basically become the holy grail for reaching them today, so what do you think right now are the top advertising sources or methods for multifamily marketers, and I mean, maybe not top, but ones that you think are probably the best for reaching customers in ways that maybe we weren't doing before either
LeighAnn Frommann [0:08:27.8]:
With so many people at home and on their phones, searching online and... Sure, time on social media is higher than it's ever been, and social media has always been the hot debate for marketers of which one to use, but I think I'm gonna go there and say social and just showing up in feeds, showing up in stories, another one that's become really popular as Facebook. I've heard there's some complexity with posting is Facebook, so if you can automate with some ad syndication type tools, it will make it so much easier on you.
Nicolina Savelli [0:09:04.0]:
Yeah, I was gonna say with social media, I've noticed over the last year, just the demand for it from our clients has increased, and I think the client services team can speak to that, and I will have Allie, our Director of Clients Services, on this podcast to talk about that in the future. But I just think that demand and that need has really increased over the last year, and I think that it's something that maybe not necessarily is new, but it's definitely something people are ramping up and just making more use of and leveraging more of, so I would like to talk a little about rental websites, you've mentioned it a few times as a tool for multifamily marketers, I feel over the last year, they've become much more important to your brand and to generate really high quality leads. How do you feel multifamily marketers can make their websites even better resources for converting and booking more showings?
LeighAnn Frommann [0:09:58.0]:
Definitely mobile-friendly. It seems silly to say, 'cause you would assume everybody has a mobilefriendly website right now, but you would be surprised. I've looked at a lot of websites lately, just on the marketing side, and seeing tons that are not... So that is obviously super important. With everybody on their phones, and then one crucial thing that I think is really important is making sure your forms on your website are heavily optimized, we as a marketing team spend some time doing that with ours, and I think it's really important in helping you to qualify leads, but qualifying the sense of understanding what's coming into and being able to report on it and prioritize as well, so I think to do that, that's opening the lines of communication with your, I was gonna say sales team, but leasing ream is essentially the same thing. And finding what's coming in, what are some of the... What is the key information that helps them the most in their conversation and what is qualifiers that they need to help them prioritize which ones they wanna reach out to first? So I think for this industry, some of the things that I would consider qualifiers would be move in date, for example, if they are looking to move in one month, you might wanna get on that, that need lead, obviously, they have high intent, they're heavily interested versus someone that maybe doesn't submit that or is looking for something six months down the row, they might not be as serious, and then taking that to the next level and just using tools to auto-reply as well, so if their filling in a form. Are they getting a reply right way, whether it be from leasing agent or an automating and using an autoresponder with a welcome message or a link to the booking app or a book tour button, so they can move to the next action?
Nicolina Savelli [0:11:58.4]:
Absolutely, 'cause you know that they're looking at five different rental opportunities at that time, they're not just sending it to you, they're looking all over, so being able to reach them instantly with autoresponders, I think is a huge way to grab that prospect early and get them in the funnel, because without it, they don't get a response to their inquiry, they're gonna just move on, it's as simple as that.
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So as a designer who has worked in this space before, what is your take on traditional advertising in the multifamily space, are we completely done with brochures and signage, is there a more digital way to communicate these things.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:12:46.4]:
So when it tends to signage... No, absolutely not. I think it just ties into brand and having it cover all areas, so definitely having that signage at your property promoting it, whether it be a corporate property, corporate brand, or lease-up brand, which is a whole other thing, but they're definitely needs to be on property branding being seen by sure foot traffic and maybe foot traffic isn't what it was right now, you still have neighbors, you still have that could be referring renters to your property, and then just adding to the experience to those that are showing up for two words and are seeing that brand, and then just the residents that live there as well, having that brand visible to them.
Nicolina Savelli [0:13:33.9]:
And I will say as much as there's not as much foot traffic, I still drive in my car and see signage everywhere, there's a development happening down the street, and I drive by it all the time, so I feel like I wouldn't... I just think it was a vacant lot if it didn't have that, signage in front in that brand, that really strong brand imagery...
LeighAnn Frommann [0:13:55.9]:
Yeah, you just touched on brand awareness, right? Just like when people see your ads, we'll go back digital, but when people see your ads and maybe they don't click on your ad, but later they come back, they search you, they've seen your name, they come back to your website on their own and look, you up, same thing.
Nicolina Savelli [0:14:13.3]:
That consistency is key with knowing that... Oh, that's what I saw. That was that thing that I saw. Oh, we should inquire about that. So definitely now, have you seen... Maybe this is a quick answer 'cause we kind of already touched on it, but have you seen multifamily marketers leverage anything new that you feel didn't exist much before or at all before COVID that you feel is really moving the needle? I know that virtual tours are like the hot topic, so is there anything more you think that they're doing right now that you really didn't see in the past nine years that you were working for multifamily clients.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:14:50.2]:
So I'm definitely gonna... Sorry, I'm gonna piggyback off of virtual tours a little bit to say that one thing I have seen is providing options for tours and just catering to everyone's comfort level right now since everyone's on a different mindset with the thing, so offering selfguided tours versus inperson, meaning like you can go to the property walk through with a tablet or something like that, or a tool that kind of speaks to the different amenities as you go through and you're just kind of solo on your own, or obviously with the agent, and then if you're straight up not wanting to go, have the option to just sit on your couch and call in and have a agent walk through the property on like a zoom call or something. That's not something I've seen before.
Nicolina Savelli [0:15:45.5]:
Yeah, it's been more of a linear process before you book a tour and go and see it, and now they're having to accommodate and create more options for people, which I think is important during this time and probably will continue moving forward as well. Just to be able to accommodate as many, as many potential prospects as possible.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:16:03.3]:
Yeah, and I honestly think everyone's comfort level, it's gonna take a while before we're all on the same page again, and I think just in general too, it just adds beyond comfort level, just different conveniences for different people.
Nicolina Savelli [0:16:15.0]:
Exactly, yeah, and not everyone can get to your property, a lot of people when they're searching out of province or outofcountry, international students, they can't come in to book a tour, so they do need other options and being able to quickly and easily have those options is super important. So I don't think we could have a conversation around lead generation without talking about incentives, so what is your position on incentives in multifamily and how effective do you think they are in the grand scheme of attracting renters? Quality renters.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:16:46.5]:
I definitely see them everywhere, we see them all over, so I feel, unfortunately, you're kind of losing out if you don't have one right now, if you were up against a competitor, you wanna make sure you're in the game, if I were to think about our team and if we were to put incentives out, what incentive would work best for a specific channel, or it was a specific property, obviously, but maybe looking at what are the biggest obstacles for a specific property that may slows down the leasing process that renters tend to get stuck on. And is something that maybe a competitor nearby has an edge on you for, that you can provide this incentive and it gives you that edge back and just helps your leasing team to have something to work with? To help them convert, I think that's where I would go or how I would go about it. And then test that out on different properties, different channels, and experiment with different promotions. Another thing too, I'm just thinking about our... Our tools and something that we just released is ad layouts, and I think just as a marketer, we're always testing out placement of promotion, or do we want this promotion place at the top as the page, mid-level. So playing with, when I talk about experimenting, playing with placement on your ads too, and testing out what works.
Nicolina Savelli [0:18:18.4]:
Right, and I know we talked about this before, but incentives for parking, that might be a big thing in some of the urban areas right now that are struggling to find renters and vacancy rates are getting more prevalent, and being able to give them free parking or a parking spot or something along those lines would be a huge attractive feature right now, rather than having to circle the block for 15 minutes before you find your parking spot to get into your unit, so no, I'm almost at the end of my tough questions, so let's talk a little bit about measuring lead quality, say You're doing everything we just spoke about to generate high quality leads, how should marketers be measuring this, what are some leading indicators that you think you're sending leasing agents, quality and not just quantity.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:19:11.3]:
Going back on the first, like what I said earlier about lead to tour, I think that's a huge, huge indicator, you're seeing those conversion rates go up, more leads are becoming actual tours coming into your property. I think that's definitely gonna give you some insight into performance and then taking that to the next stage and looking at... We call it velocity here, but your average days to lease, so with all of your efforts, are you seeing an improvement in time, are you seeing that lead come in, the tour booked, and the lease signed in a shorter time frame, and I think being able to look at that, we'll really be an indicator to the effectiveness of your marketing, especially if you're... You have a specific unit that may be... Or a unit type that tends to take 30 days to lease, or maybe 60 days to lease, and you've been able to reduce that time to 30 days, I think that's a massive indicator to quality of leads.
Nicolina Savelli [0:20:13.0]:
Yeah, which goes back to our topic too about autoresponders and being able to reach them faster and give them the information they need much faster as well, so... Yeah, I think those are great leading indicators, I think that those are great metrics that people be measuring regardless, but for specifically that quality to see if you're generating that, those are really important to touch on. So my final question, and it's not actually, my question is a listener question, basically, it says, our marketing team is generating a ton of leads through ILS marketing, but we're finding the quality of these leads are either poor or they're slipping through the cracks. Do you have any advice on how to better approach ILS advertising and how to better manage and nurture leads that come through this channel?
LeighAnn Frommann [0:20:58.3]:
So, I feel like I keep saying this, but I'm gonna go back to it. And you say automation is gonna be a huge helper here, one thing to look at, I would say would be as far as managing leads would be ad syndication tools, so using something that makes it easier for you to post to multiple channels or multiple ILS' at the same time, but just save you so much time, but not only that, being able to see the reporting from that, that type of tool as well, and have it all aggregated into one place, so you can easily see the results of those efforts as well. And then looking at again, we said auto-responders, so I think utilizing those, but not to the basics, I think making sure I... Like in your auto-response, you're speaking to benefits of the property, add some callto actions to the booking app, make it very welcoming, include a link to a video, a welcome video, provide more social proof, maybe you can include testimonials in those, so if they hit your website, they're filling out these forms, they're getting a response, but more information or social proof, like I mentioned, it might help to stop them from slipping through the cracks and help them to move into the book tour, and then I also think too. I don't think it stops at the form fill, I think you can take it to the next stage and continue to market to these prospects while they're in the leasing stage, putting them into maybe a drip campaign and sending them more information about the property or the type of community they would be if they were to live there.
Nicolina Savelli [0:22:40.8]:
Great points. I won't expand on that any further, I think that we've covered a lot of bases here and it's been a pleasure chatting with you. I know this episode is going to be beneficial for multifamily marketers looking to improve their pipeline, so... That's great, but before we go, can you please let listeners know where they can connect with you online if they were to search you.
LeighAnn Frommann [0:23:03.1]:
Sure, it's just firstname.lastname@example.org is probably the easiest way to reach me. I'm also on LinkedIn, so just LeighAnn Frommann.
Nicolina Savelli [0:23:12.9]:
Awesome, well, thank you again for taking the time to join me on this episode of Get Synced. And until next time, keep swimming.