At the beginning of 2017, 77% of Americans reported owning a smartphone, while 80% own a desktop or laptop computer and nearly 50% own a tablet.
Gone are the days when leaving a printed flyer under a resident’s door was the best – and only – way to communicate with your renters.
And that’s not such a bad thing.
One study found that across age categories, from millennials to boomers, “consumers prefer [mobile] messaging at least three times more than face-to-face communication.” Another study found that residents overwhelmingly want to be reached by email (88%), and that 50% also want to be texted. Prospects have moved online as well – 84% say that they use their mobile phones during their apartment search.
Paper communication has its place, but it also has many drawbacks. From the cost of the physical assets to the time used (designing, printing, distributing, filing), paper communications are almost always more expensive than digital messages. Plus, paper isn’t trackable — there is no way to confirm that any of the recipients viewed the message. Did each resident read the flyer? Did an enterprising resident recycle all copies of your message before anyone had a chance to see your handiwork? Did a prospect throw away the envelope with your sales flyer unopened?
It’s not enough to include digital messages as part of a communication strategy. There also needs to be a system in place for sending those messages. On-site staff can waste hours manually sending emails and texts — and tracking that volume of messages is nearly impossible. The answer is to incorporate a digital communication program that can streamline the process without complicating it further.
Today’s digital communication programs have been built to be intuitive to use, and many are easy to incorporate into an existing marketing system. Users can create and send an email newsletter or multiple text messages in a matter of minutes. Template libraries and simple graphic interfaces make it easy for a user to get up to speed with these types of systems in no time.
Additionally, a digital strategy for communicating with residents and prospects offers:
Increased transparency: You can track who is opening your emails, who is clicking on your links, and whether any of your messages are bouncing with a variety of reporting methods. Today, reports can provide details about which individuals opened a particular email and how they interacted with the information inside. You no longer need to keep paper records of flyers in resident folders — instead, in seconds you can create a single digital record that you can use for reference in the future.
Higher urgency: Texting gives your messages a sense of urgency – they arrive instantly and often can be read directly on a phone’s lock screen. You can quickly send critical information either to a single person (“Your package is ready.”) or a group of people (“The weather service has issued a tornado warning for our area.”). Plus, text messages can be read on the go, and a response can be generated with a few thumb taps, if necessary.
Broader reach: While a paper flyer will be available in a single spot – under a door or waiting in a mailbox – most people carry their phones, tablets or laptops with them. Prospects and residents can read your message on the go—in the carpool lane, at the gym, during their lunch break, and so on.
Time savings: Above all, digital communication methods save time. You can send a single message to hundreds of email addresses or phone numbers in seconds. (Make sure every recipient has, in writing, opted in to receiving communications from you via both text and email.) If you have access to a library of templates that you use over and over, you can speed the process even more. Some paper forms, phone calls, and in-person visits could be replaced by digital messages, freeing up a busy property manager or leasing consultant to handle other important tasks.
Want to learn more? Contact us for a free demo of Media Center PRO, RentPath’s digital communication solution.