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Multifamily marketing has seen a variety of changes over the last year, particularly with the integration of AI advancements. Joining us today to unpack this evolution is our very own Allie Langohr, VP of Client Service at Rentsync. Tuning in you’ll hear Allie shed light on how their team is incorporating AI into the Rentsync platform and the many ways AI tools are being used to support digital marketing efforts. Find out how ChatGPT is being utilized to generate property descriptions and the awesome power of image editing tools to elevate photographs with ease. Allie also provides a breakdown of Rentsync’s new Infinity Bundle and gives a detailed account of its unique approach to helping clients maximize visibility across listing sites. For all the fascinating details on how Rentsync is incorporating AI tools into its platform and the evolution of multifamily marketing, be sure to tune in today!
Key Points From This Episode:
[0:00:41] GL: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of Sync or Swim, the podcast where we take a deep dive into the PropTech, multifamily and rental housing industry. I'm your host, Giacomo Ladas, and I'm joined by Rentsync's very own VP of Client Services, Allie Langohr. Allie, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to have a chat with me today.
[0:00:58] AL: Thanks for having me.
[0:00:59] GL: Of course. The reason why I want to have you on is that multifamily marketing has seen a variety of changes over the last year, and who better really talk about this than yourself? I think a good place to start for our audience who might not know, maybe give a little background to your role here at Rentsync and some of the areas that you manage.
[0:01:16] AL: Sure. As the VP of Client Services, I manage any team that is primarily client-facing. That includes our project managers, and our project teams, with our designers and developers. It includes our support team, our onboarding team, and our digital marketing team.
[0:01:33] GL: Basically, what you're saying is you have a lot of time today for this podcast.
[0:01:38] AL: Happy to make time.
[0:01:39] GL: Thanks. Let's get right into it then. The big topic, AI. What's your team at Rentsync here doing to incorporate AI into our platform, in any of our marketing efforts? Kind of love to hear what you guys are planning over there.
[0:01:51] AL: Yes. It's been a really interesting year for AI. A lot of advancements and tools that have become kind of commonplace, rather than them being something that used to be for, maybe people who had specialty in using these tools. Obvious examples are ChatGPT, and advancements in photo editing with AI tools.
The two big things that have gone through in the Rentsync platform are the ChatGPT-generated property descriptions. Where you give the AI a bunch of prompts, and it will write out a property description for you. You can generate it multiple times until you find just the right wording. The other big one is the AI image editing, which takes an image that you might have taken, or a photo you've taken of your property, and just makes it look a little bit nicer. So if you took it on a cloudy day, or with snow on the ground, you can just kind of clean up the sky, clean up some of the things that might make the picture look dull and uninviting. That way, you're not kind of updating your photos with the seasons, or you don't have to worry about someone moving out of the unit before you can really get in there and take nice images. Those have been great tools that have been released in the platform, and we're seeing a lot of engagement with them already.
On the digital marketing side, we're definitely trying to incorporate these tools as well. ChatGPT for writing things like blogs, SEO, content for your website. It's a really great starting place sometimes. The key thing is that you can't rely just on ChatGPT. Of course, this is relatively new technology in the way that it's being used now. The main thing is having somebody who's still an expert in this space, either editing, or drawing upon the descriptions or content that is created through ChatGPT. But it is something that we're looking at, keeping involved in our team as we evolve, just to make sure that we're not kind of falling behind where the technology is, and making the best use of this for our clients.
[0:03:43] GL: I think that's a great answer. and there's a lot to unpack here. I think it's kind of interesting as well when ChatGPT first came out or any of these AI models. Everyone was saying, "Oh my God. It's like a real person. No one will be able to distinguish it." But after only a few short months, you can almost tell, "Oh, that's ChatGPT." I love the idea of maybe not relying on it, but kind of using it to springboard ideas, using as a copy editor, or just to kind of get some ideas, and not necessarily using that as your central source of inspiration, right?
[0:04:11] AL: Yes, exactly. You still want to have your own tone, your own brand represented. That's something that AI models still fail at. You definitely can tell when something has been written strictly by ChatGPT. So getting that human and personal touch, and especially whichever touch is necessary, or related to the brand that you're trying to convey is still a crucial part of any sort of content writing or SEO efforts.
[0:04:38] GL: How have you guys found that the property descriptions are turning out – I'm sure things like property descriptions are probably quite easy for something like ChatGPT to create.
[0:04:46] AL: Yes. The way that we've set it up in the platform is that there are a lot of prompts and information that you have to give it. Though it does do a really great job at capturing all of the information that you're giving and turning that into something that is well-written, and concise, kind of gets to the point, but adds a little bit of flair to it. Still with those, I definitely recommend reading through them. They can be very repetitive. You do see a lot of – even human-written ones, when you go on listing sites or you go on websites, there's a lot of repetition. There's only so many ways you can talk about a property before it starts getting a little bit repetitive. Again, it's a great starting point, but it really is important to read through the descriptions that are being generated, and just make sure that you have your own little personal touches added in there.
[0:05:33] GL: That's a great point you made, Allie, about all the prompts that are included in Rentsync right now. Because I find that as well, the more you can give ChatGPT to use, the better the content it will create. That's a really interesting fact. All this is already up and running on the platform, is it to come? How are we looking on the timelines?
[0:05:50] AL: This is already up and running in the platform. Rentsync users can go into the platform right now and use these features.
[0:05:55] GL: Perfect. I'm sure they'd be happy to check those out. Let's switch gears a little bit because I know you do a lot more than just this. We have the digital marketing side of things with your services. What's new there? What's been going on the last year or so since we've last chatted on Sync or Swim, and any new services that we can talk about, the kind of exciting things that we've kind of put into fruition already?
[0:06:14] AL: Yes. There have been two major things that I'm really excited about, that we've been able to bring to the digital marketing side since we last spoke. One is that we have started delivering ads on the TikTok platform. We've been really happy with the results that we're seeing. There are two kinds of campaigns that you can run on TikTok. One generates website traffic, and the other one generates leads within the TikTok platform, so that you don't have to have somebody leave TikTok, go to your website and fill out a lead form. They can do that right in the app, and then continue scrolling. Which, if you've been on TikTok, it's really built to promote that kind of constant scrolling. That's a really great way to capture leads without kind of interrupting what the user is doing on that app.
With website traffic campaigns, they drive a lot of traffic. It's been really interesting. We've been recommending these to clients that have brand-new websites, because the more traffic you can generate, the better your SEO value is going to be on search engines. Because you're kind of going from zero traffic at launch to quite a bit of traffic coming through these campaigns. We are seeing that it's coming from pretty relevant audiences as well. It's a great way to kind of promote your brand, get traffic to a brand-new website and start building up your SEO rankings on organic searches.
[0:07:33] GL: What I like about that, you've already mentioned is that there's the option to kind of collect leads right on the top platform itself. I know sometimes there's maybe some hesitancy for people to start advertising on social media, because they're not really sure what the lead management's like. But I guess, with TikTok right now, there's a spot right on the platform, where they can just see who's been inquiring about their specific ads in their building.
[0:07:54] AL: Yes. TikTok is a little bit different with how it collects leads. If you do receive leads through one of those lead forms, they are sent into the TikTok dashboard. So your dashboard and your TikTok account. There's no native way to say, deliver these leads to a particular email address. We were finding that that was sort of disrupting people's leasing process, because, of course, you don't want leasing agents receiving all leads to their main email inbox, and then a portion of their leads to a different platform that they would have to log into, and download, and move into their CRM.
We found a solution for that. We are using a tool that allows us to deliver those leads through people's emails, so that disruption isn't happening anymore. Again, we are seeing good quality leads come through from these platforms and fitting right into the existing listing process.
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[0:08:58] GL: Awesome. Thanks, Allie. That's really interesting. Something I didn't really know was available in platforms like that, and I think it'd be really useful to our clients. I mean, let's keep going. I'm familiar with Google ads, and I know it's always been a popular and effective way for people to showcase their building and receive more leads. Any new updates on that side of digital marketing.
[0:09:17] AL: Yes. This is the second major update that I'm really excited about. Previously, when working on campaigns with clients, especially with lease-up campaigns, one thing that clients wanted to do was showcase the pricing right on their Google ads. This just helps to sort through prospects and kind of give them an idea of what the rent is going to be once they land on the website, but you're giving them that information before they land there.
With price extensions or headlines that promote the pricing, you kind of see a reduced bounce rate and you see a better lead quality, because whether that person goes directly to a lead form when they get on their website, and maybe skip the part where they review the pricing. They already have that information just from interacting with an ad. The problem with that was that rents often change, especially in the lease-up process. As units get rented up, the lowest price on a certain unit type can increase or decrease depending on where you are in the lease-up and how things are going. It's not really fair to ask our clients to let us know every time that there was a rent change. We couldn't really keep up with that, when managing those manually. It caused us to just not use those in a lot of our campaigns, unless the client could commit to giving us those updates.
What we're doing now is we're working with a partner who scrapes websites, and they'll grab the lowest rent on every unit type, and they'll create a customizer on the ads that can be used as price extensions, or ad copy headlines and descriptions. Where it will insert the lowest rents on, again, your studios, your one-bedroom, your two bedrooms, your three bedrooms. That rent is multiple times throughout the day. The prices are never sort of out of date with whatever is on your website. Again, we're seeing really good engagement with this reduced bounce rates, better lead quality. It's just giving more information to people right away when they first see your ad or interact with something on the Google search network.
[0:11:20] GL: Yes, that's really interesting, Allie. I guess, in a way, what this does is it actually increases the value of a click, because you're giving people who are on Google looking for apartments, even that much more knowledge before they actually visit the prospect website. It seems like you've just given a lot more information for them to actually make that decision and visit the website. Hopefully, that will reduce bounce rates, because they're realizing that, "Well, this building might not be in my price range." That's really interesting.
Allie, let's close things off with a word that it's hard to kind of escape when you work at Rentsync right now, and that is a bundle. For our audience members who don't know what this is, or even for me to get a little more information on it, can you give some high-level information on what this Rentsync bundle is?
[0:12:02] AL: Yes. The Infinity bundle is a new way to put your listings on various listing sites, especially those that are going to drive you the most visibility, and the most leads, and the best lead quality. When you look back at Rentsync's history, one of the goals that we've always had is making it a lot easier for rental marketers to post their listings in multiple places, and be able to update those listings with as few actions as possible.
To me, the Infinity bundle is the next evolution of that. The great thing is, that it comes with different promotion tiers, so you can find the package that's going to fit best for your budgets and your overall portfolio. If you want more visibility, if you need to promote your properties a little further, there's always that option to increase the tier of the promotion package that you're on. It also makes reporting a lot easier by just synthesizing everything into a single reported lead number, so that you can really track the value of what you're spending on your listings and how much you're getting back from that, and make better marketing decisions in the future.
[0:13:08] GL: What's the best way for somebody to kind of get more information about this? Talk to their sales reps? Is there an email to reach out to? What do you think kind of the best way to hear more about it?
[0:13:16] AL: I think the best thing is to reach out to their account manager. They know everybody's portfolios really well, so they'll be able to give them the scoop on each of the individual tiers, and recommend the one that's going to be best for them.
[0:13:28] GL: Awesome. Sure. That will be really helpful. I know someone who's kind of started on the digital marketing field couple years ago to see what it is now there's. There's so many changes that we could probably do this conversation, and maybe we will a year from now, and seeing all the changes that have happened from now for the next year. I really appreciate you coming on. I think this was really interesting for everybody. Hopefully, we can see more developments with AI and all these new tools that will help not only increase people's reach, but also bring more high-quality leads to websites from audiences looking for apartments to rent.
[0:13:59] AL: Absolutely. I'm so excited to see where things will go from here.
[0:14:02] GL: Great. Once again. Thanks so much, Allie. I know how busy you are, so we really appreciate your time today. Make sure that you like the podcast, download, and subscribe. Thanks everybody.
[0:14:13] ANNOUNCER: You’ve reached the end of another episode of Sync or Swim. Make sure to visit us at rentsync.com/podcast to access show notes, key takeaways and where you can sign up to our newsletter to receive free bonus content. If you found value in the show, please also remember to rate, review and subscribe. Don’t forget to join us next week for another episode. Thanks for listening.
E78:The Housing Pulse: Toronto Star's Business Reporter on Canada's Rental Landscape
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