3 Things We Learned at AIM 2021

AIM is all about Apartment Internet Marketing and this year was one for the books. After almost two years of not seeing colleagues and industry professionals face to face, people were evidently excited to catch up. In addition to making meaningful connections, it was also an opportunity to learn what’s going on in the industry today. Whether you made it to the event or not, there is something to take away for everyone. Here are three lessons we learned this year at AIM 2021: 

  • Don’t go back to basics; go back to the foundation 
  • Figure out your “then what” 
  • AI doesn’t take away human touch; it improves it 

Don’t go back to basics; go back to the foundation.

During the session titled Ad Board Talks: Investing Time, Energy & Money in PropTech, loads of important information were shared. One of our biggest takeaways from this session came from Marcella Eppsteiner, SVP of Marketing, Training, and Revenue Management at Mission Rock Residential. She mentioned the importance of not just going back to the basics, as many are accustomed to saying. It’s essential to go back to the foundation of why your team is doing what they are doing and leverage technology to accomplish your goals. Of course, it’s important to maintain many of the values that fueled the multifamily industry, such as resident satisfaction. Teams must look at how their tech stack can help them reach goals efficiently and effectively. 

Figure out your “then what”

This year’s keynote speaker was Rachel DeAlto, Relationship Expert, Media Personality, Speaker & Author. She talked about getting the best out of yourself, your relationships, your teams, and your one freaking amazing life. She spoke about the importance of identifying your “then what.” What this means is, it’s essential to think about your goals and consider “then what” you will do once you reach your goals. For example, if your goal is to make more money, then what do you do once you get there and why? This was an important question to consider both personally and professionally to further self-improvement. 

AI doesn’t take away human touch; it improves it. 

During the Autonomous Leasing session in 2022, we learned many different things about AI/chatbots and what they can do for the property management industry. Kitty Callaghan, VP of Marketing at Wasatch Property Management, shared about how bots can help give time back to property management teams. This shows that bots don’t intend to replace humans but to give time back so that they can focus on what’s essential….being human!

As we mentioned earlier, AIM Conference gave our team much to consider moving forward into 2022. We are excited to implement much of what we’ve learned this year and share it with those around us. We are continuing to plan for next year’s conference in April and hope to see you there. For more information on AIM, click here

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Property Management Teams Need to Stop Depending on Emails – Here’s Why

Email is a powerful tool. Thanks to email, we’ve been able to virtually connect the world, giving people a way to communicate almost instantaneously. What’s more, it quickly became an incredible tool for marketers, who could reach millions with information about their products and services with the click of a button. But over time, that tendency for marketing teams to heavily rely on email has actually throttled its ability to make an impact. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably handed over your email to dozens of websites over the years and now have an inbox full of spammy messages trying to entice you to engage with brands you probably don’t even care about. As of 2021, over 300 billion emails are sent each day. That’s billion with a ‘b.’ And with the average person receiving dozens of those a day, it’s not hard to see how email might not be the best tool for companies looking to connect with consumers in a meaningful way. 

When it comes to multifamily property management teams, connecting with and providing information to prospective leads is vital. But as we’ll show in this resource, email is not the most effective way to do this. If you want you and your teams to break your email dependency, keep reading. We’ll show you the main reasons why email fails in marketing and property management and demonstrate how moving to synchronous communication solutions can improve the quality of your outreach efforts significantly. 

Why email fails

Like we mentioned earlier, the popularity of email as a means of marketing has led to an oversaturation of brands trying to vie for peoples’ attention. What’s more, the format of email communication itself isn’t the best suited for maintaining engagement. Below we’ll go over why email, in general, can fail as a medium.

Spam: One of the most common reasons people don’t receive promotional or branded emails is because they end up getting picked up by a spam filter. Certain platforms are more particular about detecting spam than others, which means that even if you spend time painstakingly making your email sound not spammy, it could still wind up in the spam folder. And once it’s there, it’s doubtful it will be opened and read. 

Overloaded inboxes: Another reason emails can fail is that they arrive in an already crowded inbox. Most of us receive various marketing emails every day, and people tend to simply delete them without taking the time and energy to engage with them. According to research from Campaign Monitor, only 18% of emails are opened. If you want to be noticed, email is not the way to go. 

Interest decay: This is a phenomenon in which the more time that goes on between email correspondence, the less interested your target will be in the topic. If you don’t immediately get someone engaged, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to in the few hours or few days after sending your email. 

Why email doesn’t work for property management groups

We’ve seen just how ineffective email can be in regular marketing efforts, but did you know it’s an even worse medium for property management companies? Along with not being able to stand out in a sea of crowded inboxes, property management teams encounter their own unique hurdles when it comes to email. 

Ultimately, property management teams need to stop relying on email because:

Properties are overwhelmed: Today’s multifamily teams can receive hundreds of leads each day. It’s nearly impossible to organize, keep up with, and nurture those leads through email. Things can get lost in inboxes, and asynchronous communication often leads to that pesky interest decay we discussed earlier. 

Authenticity is key: One of the keys to converting leads into renters is authentic, informative communication. People want to have their questions answered quickly and easily, without having to jump through hurdles or sit and wait on an email to get back to them. And while it may seem counterintuitive, leaning into a property management chatbot can be one of the best ways to infuse that authenticity into your customer interactions. In fact, 83% of consumers said they would be more loyal to a brand that offers a chatbot for tasks like making an appointment or handling customer service inquiries.

Synchronous conversations matter: Your office hours shouldn’t dictate when people can access information about your property. That’s why being able to offer synchronous communication at any time is so important. People don’t want to wait around for an email that could take several business days to reach their overflowing inbox. They’d much rather be able to get the information they need 24/7, 365 from a chatbot. 

How property management chatbots can help 

At BetterBot, we work day in and day out with property management teams across the country to learn where their pain points are and how simple technology solutions can help. And what we’ve found is that property management chatbots have been able to radically transform the way teams interact with prospects for the better. 

To change the way multifamily teams interact with prospects, we’ve created two property management chatbot solutions. 

BetterBot for Web 

Our proprietary omnichannel chatbot, BetterBot for Web, works by helping prospects learn about property information and schedule tours on their time – without being restricted by office hours or limited staffing. Over 56% of website traffic happens after business hours, which is why 24/7 prospect engagement is key to sparking those high-value conversations with would-be renters. Fully customizable with countless integrations, BetterBot for Web makes it easier than ever to insert yourself in the conversations that matter most. 

BetterBot for Leads

Leasing teams don’t have a lot of time on their hands – we know this. That’s why we’ve created BetterBot for Leads to help save these teams countless hours responding to and nurturing leads. Your own virtual leasing agent, BetterBot, never sleeps, allowing prospective and existing renters to have their questions answered in real-time while your staff focuses on other high-value tasks. Plus, BetterBot works directly with your existing property management software to contact new leads immediately as they come in. And since not every lead is going to respond quickly, BetterBot for Leads continues 

to provide tailored lead follow-up to nurture that lead into a scheduled tour.

Explore our free demo or contact the BetterBot team today to learn more about the multifamily industry’s #1 chatbot solution. 

3 Ways to Master Omnichannel Marketing in the Multifamily Space

What is omnichannel marketing? 

Omnichannel marketing is a way to reach your customers through multiple sources. Your prospects are finding you in a myriad of ways. You can reach them no matter where they are to find the information they are looking for quickly and turn it into a lease through omnichannel marketing. 

Here are 3 ways to master omnichannel marketing: 

  1. Knowing what platforms your customers use the most
  2. Consider the customer experience
  3. Measure results

Knowing what platforms your customers use the most

Take some time to research where your traffic is coming from. Find out which platforms are most used by your customers so you know where to focus your energy. Then you can market heavily on these platforms to reach your prospective residents using omnichannel marketing. Some that have been most popular sources in the multifamily industry include: 

  • Google
  • Apartments.com
  • ApartmentList.com
  • Craigslist
  • Facebook

BetterBot is one chatbot solution that integrates with just about everyone, so you never miss a prospect. This product is easy to use on any platform, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Apartments.com, ApartmentList.com, and more. Help create a seamless experience for your customers, so they remember your product and are more likely to lease at your community. There are some great resources that can walk you through the setup process, such as THIS ONE

Consider the customer experience.

It’s important to consider how your customers are finding the information they need. Are they sending your property a DM on Facebook? Are they filling out the contact form on Apartments.com? Consider where it would be best to reach them on their journey. You’ll also want to consider what point in the conversation they should enter. 

It’s also important to consider your online reputation. Think about what your reviews are saying about your communities. Are there processes that can be improved? Is there an easy way you can win over a disgruntled resident? A vast majority of prospective renters read online reviews before deciding, so your online presence must tell a story you can be proud of. 

Using BetterBot, you’re able to customize your user experience so they can join at any point in the conversation you choose, including scheduling an appointment, virtual tours, or give them the whole experience. Cater to your customer by meeting their needs and providing them precisely what they’re looking for.  

Measure results 

Take time to measure what’s working. This way, you know what is resonating with your customer and what to focus your attention on. There are several ways you can gauge your property’s performance. Some of the top vital metrics worth considering include: 

  • Guests Greeted
  • Conversations Shared 
  • Appointments Set

BetterBot has a robust reporting dashboard that will help you navigate how you can best serve your prospective renters. Evaluate what’s working on an ongoing basis so that you stay up to date on the latest trends for your user’s journey. 

Adopting an omnichannel marketing strategy is going to help you reach more prospects than before. You can be sure that your prospects are always catered to, and BetterBot can help. For more information on how BetterBot can help boost your omnichannel marketing efforts, CLICK HERE

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Bamboozled by Bots

Tricked, Deceived, Bamboozled – Pretending to be human or disguising your bot can reduce your lead conversion and affect resident retention. Now more than ever, renters are hyper-aware of when they are being misled. Many believe that prospects don’t like to talk to bots at all, which is not valid. In fact, ____% of renters would prefer to speak with a bot than a live human. However, renters would like to know when they are talking to a bot vs. a person, rather than being duped into believing it’s a natural person. Here are some of the reasons why pretending to be human can affect your business:

  • Reduces trust in your brand
  • Expectations are misaligned 
  • Questions are not accurately addressed
  • Authenticity is everything

Reduces trust in your brand 

Trust is a must when it comes to your current and prospective customers. If your customers can’t trust you to communicate with them transparently, their confidence in your company will waiver. Prospects and residents want to know they will be taken care of by their community, but they will begin to question your company’s competency if they feel they are being misled. It’s essential to be transparent with your processes so you can increase assurance in your organization. 

Expectations are misaligned 

If customers believe they are speaking with an actual human rather than a bot, they may have their expectations misaligned with your bot’s functionality. They may assume that who they are talking to is personable and can remember crucial customer information. However, if your bot has never spoken with the individual or can’t look user information up, they may not meet their expectations. Letting the user know they are talking to a bot is critical so that your customers know how to interact with the bot and what will be a natural response.

Questions are not accurately addressed.

If your bot is disguised as a human, users may ask questions in a way that bots don’t understand or have the answers to. If prospects cannot find the answers they need quickly, they may drop off and move on to the next option. Customers may grow frustrated and feel they are not being heard or acknowledged. When you are upfront and disclose that your communication is a bot, the user will have expectations and know that they can continue through another route if the answers to their questions are not clear. However, if they believe they are already talking to a human, they may infer that your staff does not understand how to assist them, which will drop their confidence in your team.

Authenticity is everything

In a world where technology is constantly advancing, users want to know what they are dealing with. When you are authentic with your customers, you value them enough to be upfront with them. You are not attempting to pull the wool over their eyes; you are showing them that your brand can be trusted. Authenticity is everything, now more than ever. Show your customers how much you value them by being clear that your tool is a bot. You can do this by changing the avatar icon to a bot and disclosing that your product is a bot in the verbiage. 

Again, it’s essential to avoid bamboozling your prospects and residents by making them think they are talking to a human when in reality, they are conversing with a bot. If you don’t disclose this upfront, you may find that your lead conversion and resident retention may be affected because you’ve reduced trust in your brand, users’ expectations may be misaligned, questions are not accurately addressed, and authenticity is neglected. Build trust in your company by being clear that you use a bot; your prospects and residents will appreciate it. 

Ways To Know A New Tool Is Worth Using

Your tech should be working for you, not against you. When bringing on any new tool, there are a few things you want to look out for. There are so many amazing tools designed to make life easier for you and your teams; however, it’s important to be selective with which tools you bring on so that you and your teams are not overwhelmed. We’ve put together a few ways that you can know your tools are worth bringing on, including: 

  • Purpose & Functionality
  • Integrations & Partnerships
  • Information & Reporting
  • Value & Pricing

Purpose & Functionality

Consider the purpose of the tool you are looking at. Think about why you need this specific tool. Then keep in mind how this particular tool functions. Ask yourself if the functionality fits the purpose you are trying to fulfill. Complete a demo or a trial of the product to find out how it works and make sure it has all the features you are looking for. If possible, read reviews or chat with someone who has used the product before to see how it works in the real world. Will this tool solve the problem you are trying to resolve? Ask yourself these critical questions before making any decisions.

Integrations & Partnerships

Next, consider how the tool integrates and partners with other platforms. You shouldn’t need to limit the functionality of other tools for a new one to fit in. If a new partner asks you to limit the functionality of one tool to bring on theirs, that can be a red flag. Make sure the tools you are considering integrate with the products you are already using to bring you the most useful functionality. 

Information & Reporting

You will want to ensure that your new tools have great analytics tools. Find out if the reporting that is offered will show you metrics relevant to your business practices. Your reporting should help you make decisions about how you do business, but that can only happen if you see the correct information to form those processes. Confirm that the tool you are using is transparent about information and openly sharing that with you. If you’re able to pull or schedule reporting from a dashboard, that is a great sign. 

Value & Pricing

Find out what the pricing is going to be to bring on this new tool. Is this realistic for your budget? You’ll also want to consider the value you are receiving for the price. Can you find similar features for a better price or even for free? Many tools will offer a free trial period or a testing feature that can help you figure out if this tool is worth bringing on. 

We know that sometimes adding new tools can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! We recommend considering 3-5 different options and comparing what they have to offer against the price. Often it can be helpful to create a spreadsheet that includes all the features you are looking for and marking off which ones are available on the platforms you are looking at. It may sound like a lot of effort; however, it’s better to put in the time upfront choosing the right product rather than rolling out a new tool that doesn’t perform. That way, you do not have to roll out a different product in a short time. Remember, your tools are there to help you and not make things harder. So be sure to select the best tools that are right for you and your team.

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3 KPIs Your Bot Should Be Hitting

Making sure that your bot is performing at optimum levels is imperative. You want to make sure you are getting the most from your chatbot solution and that everything is working efficiently. When you are first working with a chatbot, it can be hard to evaluate if you are unsure what to look for. That’s why we’ve put together a simple list of KPIs your bot should be hitting. These points include: 

  • Greetings
  • Appointments
  • Handoffs

Greetings

Greetings are one of the very first KPIs you will want to look at. This number tells you how many people your bot has, you guessed it, greeted! It’s essential to get a good gauge on what is a typical amount of traffic for your community. One of the ways you can measure this is by setting a test period. Give your communities about 90 days to get into a consistent rhythm with the bot. Then you will have enough data and time to see what average numbers could be for the number of people using your bots. If you notice that your bot greetings are declining, it may be time to make some updates to your bot. You can change specific items such as bot placement, avatar, colors, and call-outs, which may be more likely to get users’ attention. 

Appointments

This is such a substantial number because it shows how many of those who contacted you through the bot is making an effort to visit your community. This will give you a better idea of how your bot is working. There are minor tweaks you may be able to make to convert at higher rates. If you notice that no or minimal appointments are being set, it may be time to evaluate your appointment settings. Take a look at how much time is being allotted between each appointment. If it’s more than 30 min, it may be time to make some adjustments. 

Handoffs

The amount of handoffs your bot distributes equates to the number of serious leads your property is seeing through your bot. This is when the bot hands the conversation off to a human, and the process of leasing begins. This is important because it shows the user journey process and how your leads are being taken care of from this point forward. One of the ways you can improve your handoffs would include evaluating your communication methods when it comes to the handoff process. You’ll want to make sure that your teams are highly engaged with prospects from this point forward. 

For your bot to be effective, you’ll want to check your KPIs consistently. Be sure you are looking at your metrics monthly and comparing your greetings, appointments, and handoffs every month. Keep a record of these numbers so that you can refer back to them and see how your communities are progressing. For more information on how you can make your bot more effective, check out our article on Ways To Make Your Bot Even Better


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