A few weeks ago as the end of April was approaching, I had a dentists appointment coming up in a few days and I also had rent due at my apartment community here in Atlanta. Roughly 3-5 days before both of these events, I received a text message from two numbers that I did not have stored in my phone, which as I am sure everyone can relate to, always catches you off guard a little wondering who the number may be. Well the first text was from my dentist’s office reminding me of my appointment and the second mystery text was from my apartment community reminding me of rent being due on the 1st. Both messages were received and both messages were opened. Not a bad opening ratio being 100%.
When it comes to communicating with residents and prospects at apartment communities, there always is a constant battle of doing everything possible to ensure a message is received. Whether it be a reminder to pay rent, or a notification letting a resident know about the recent increase in the resident referral amount, communities always have pertinent information that needs to reach the residents eyes. When it comes to community prospects, having another effective means of follow-up allows a community to potentially draw in additional leases that may otherwise slip through the cracks. By being able to text a prospect, you are almost guaranteed that the prospect is going to read the text, unlike a phone call, which may be screened, or an email, which more often times than not, will go unopened. The typical email open rate is usually around 22 percent, whereas the opening rate of a text message is 98 percent! With an opening rate of over 4 times that of an email, it seems like a no brainer that text messaging HAS to be incorporated in follow-up with prospects and residents, especially when it comes to reaching residents, seeing as how the average person opens a text message within 15 minutes of receiving a text. (stats obtained via Brittany McBride’s blog in Multifamily Insiders)
By having the option of texting prospects, a community has now allotted the leasing agents with four potential ways to follow-up with a prospect: phone call; email; thank you card; text message. With follow-up still being one of the many things that leasing agents let fall to the way side, a leasing agent that effectively executes all four follow-up techniques EVERYTIME is going to substantially stand out in every single prospects mind that has visited the community. Plus, the beauty of the text message follow-up is that it is something that can be done soon after that prospect walks out the door, so that way your community can pop back in the head while they are perhaps on another communities tour.
To ensure your text message follow-up campaign is a success, it is important to build your database following these tips from Brittany McBride:
“Build Your Text Database With These Hot Tips:
- Ask residents to opt-in when they stop by to drop their rent checks off.
- Distribute fliers around the property encouraging people to opt-in.
- Make the text program announcement at your next resident social.
- Have a raffle. For example, all residents that “opt-in” during the next 30 days will be entered to win a prize.
- Place a sign that says, “Ask me about our text program” in your clubhouse.
- “Go Green.” Residents can do their part by opting-in with this “green” initiative that gets away from paper notifications.
- Encourage prospects to opt-in to your text program while they wait for the next available leasing consultant.
- When prospects ask for more information, let them know they can “opt-in” to receive upcoming specials and promotions on their mobile phone.
- If prospects are looking for something that you don’t have available on that day, let them know that things change often and you’d like to be able to text them when something becomes available.
- Train your leasing team to have prospective renters “opt-in” during tours of your community.
- Place inexpensive door-clings with text sign up information throughout the property.”
Text messaging prospects and residents can be a way to communicate with these two groups in not only a less invasive way, but also a more effective way considering the extremely high opening rate of a text. If you are considering incorporating text messaging into your follow-up schedule, make sure to take into account all the steps to success in this blog and watch the leases roll in!