Here are just a few digital trends we've been seeing that you should keep in mind throughout 2015:
1. On-Demand Everything
We’re not just talking about more people choosing to cut the cord and go with Netflix, Chromecast, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, etc. In almost every industry, businesses are meeting consumers’ demands for hyper-efficiency and convenience: Box companies come to your house and box/ship anything and everything; food delivery companies deliver fantastic meals for cheap; dry cleaning companies pick up and drop off your dry cleaning. TaskRabbit even connects you with people who will help with almost any errand, from moving to gift wrapping.
How easy do you make it for your residents (and prospects) to get things done? Is someone always there to help them at the touch of a button?
2. Mobile Matters
Mobile traffic has been reported by our clients to be as high as 40% of their total website traffic, and 25% of the chats we tracked in a month were generated from a mobile device. If the growth continues at this pace, we could see 50%+ mobile traffic to property sites in the next 2 years. (Realtor.com already says nearly 60% of its viewed listings were accessed through a mobile device.)
So if you aren’t already focusing your SEO and marketing efforts for mobile search and supplying your residents with mobile-friendly conveniences, today’s the day to get started.
3. Consumer-to-Business Texting
Perhaps to meet the demands for on-demand and mobile convenience, texting is a growing business practice. For example, when we introduced our texting product, our customers and their consumers adopted it at an even faster pace than our chat product over the same amount of time. In fact, there were about 3,000 more text sessions vs. the number of chat sessions at the end of the two-year adoption comparison.
Do you allow prospects and residents to connect with your property management team the way that’s most convenient for them?
4. “Real People” Matter More than Ever
Despite our digital dependence (or maybe because of it), consumers still crave human interaction ... especially when they need help. Even though you may have the answer on your website, our chat and text transcripts show that prospects are looking for validation. They want to confirm the information on your site is true. They want to test out how you interact with them, see what their experience might be if they had a question as a resident.
How do you provide that meaningful connection today?
5. Consumers Don’t Keep “Business Hours”
Remember the point I made about on-demand products and services? Our data shows that a great amount of traffic to apartment websites is after regular office hours. How are you handling such after-hours traffic and inquiries?
Imagine the impression you could leave if your community was instantly available at night ... right when that prospect was perusing your available listings.
What these five trends mean to me is that we have more chances than ever to provide consumers with a brand experience they’ll never forget. Google wrote a great article on the subject, noting that with the right technology, every company now has the opportunity to be “unexpectedly helpful in all the moments that matter.” I hope you seize that opportunity this year!