Chatbots: The Most Important Part of Your Website You’re Not Using

Written by Jeff Fox

Think about all the leads you generate from your website and the painstaking effort to reach out to each and every one of them. The amount of time you spend simply setting up the lead to convert can take hours of tedious back and forth.

What if you had the lead ready to convert?

That opportunity awaits you when dealing with chatbot marketing. Bots? Artificial Intelligence? This sounds like futuristic jargon, but in reality it’s the way apartment marketing is shifting in 2018 and beyond.

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are an automatic conversation machine, programmed to answer a set of questions through a conversational interface. In essence, chatbots have the ability to talk to people in a somewhat human-like way about certain subjects they’re programmed to know.

via GIPHY

(This is how we imagine they type)

While still in the early stages of development, chatbots have a wealth of potential and practical use. In a general sense, they’re able to answer FAQs, help customers select products and services easier, and provide customer support after the sale is made.

Chatbots represent a larger theme in apartment marketing. They demonstrate the shift to smarter, hyper-focused style of marketing through messaging. Messaging apps and services have seen a dramatic increase in users over the past year. According to Hubspot:

Messaging apps have over 5 billion monthly active users

Consumers want to be able to tell businesses what they want and need a direct line to do so.

How Can You Use Chatbots In Apartment Marketing?

All of this is well and good, but if you can’t use it for your property’s benefit, what does it matter? Chatbots create convenience, efficiency, and frees up time constraints.

How so?

Looking at convenience, it’s fairly straightforward to understand why an automated messaging system can be convenient for both renters and property managers.

From a residents perspective, imagine you are in need of information about the building but the office is closed. You would have to wait until the next morning to get this information or questions answered.

With a chatbot in place, your residents would have their questions answered right away and would help keep them happy with the apartment as a whole. This 24/7 availability is impossible to replicate and does not have to be compensated for every hour that it works.

From an apartment manager perspective, convenience is represented in the form of resident satisfaction. Having a chatbot there to help improve response time and increase traffic after hours. Respage analyzed the traffic of 11 multifamily websites, and noticed that

60% of chatbot interactions occurred after leasing offices had closed 

This leads them to believe that chatbots can boost leads by 20 percent!

But what does that mean for conversion?

After-all, getting leads is one thing and getting more traffic is nice, but that doesn’t mean much if there’s not a next step. For apartment marketing, that next step is getting potential residents to actually rent out your units.

As Respage points out in their study, longer conversations lead to higher conversion rates. This means that in order to generate those leads into conversions, you need to ensure that your chatbots have enough information at their disposal to create a dialogue that leads them to convert.

Taking a look at how these chatbots perform in a real setting can better exemplify their invaluable benefit when used properly.

Here’s how a conversation starts on a property’s website:

The chatbot, known as “Rentron,” starts by making the conversation seem playful and witty. This small detail actually creates a dynamic part of the conversation, it plays on the seemingly odd idea that you’re talking to a computer. What you’ll noticed about this chatbot that makes it particularly useful is that is generates potential responses for you, letting the consumer have an easier time finding results.

Moving forward in the conversation you’ll begin to fully understand just how quick and adaptable the chatbot is.

The chatbot pulls the 2 bedroom floor plan from the database that you have given it and immediately sends the customer the floor plan to look at. In doing so, it creates a space where the consumer can consume all of the information they need in one spot.

This benefit looks like it is in their best interest, but it also is subtly setting up the lead without being pushy or in your face. Simply by having the 3 options to choose from, you are probing their interest and getting a better understanding on what they want to accomplish from this website visit.

Not only that, this is all happening without you having to do anything! You don’t need to talk to them on the phone and figure this out for them, nor do you have to create multiple CTAs in the hope that they click on it.

To further illustrate the way chatbots skillfully generate leads, here is another example of a conversation.

Once again, we see a non-abrasive question that serves to set up another lead. While this one is not as subtle as the previous ask, it still doesn’t come across as nagging or bothersome. Not to mention, there is a pre-written “Don’t ask me again” response ready for the consumer to click on if they so choose. This demonstrates a sense of respect for the consumer while also gauging interest.

There tends to be hesitation for chatbot integration due to the lack of human interaction element. Apartment owners want their residents and potential residents to know that they genuinely care, and the addition of a “robot” might detract from that. While that’s a valid concern, chatbots nowadays have managed to blend humanistic elements while also serving to provide information.

As you can see, there’s a “tell me a joke” option. While seemingly unnecessary, it once again reinforces the goodwill intention of the chatbot. Another important element to keep in mind is that most chatbot softwares incorporate an actual human feature. This is where you have the ability to talk to someone if the consumer feels like they’re not getting the information they want.

The main takeaway is that as all of this is happening, your apartment managers, owners, or anyone working there doesn’t have to do a thing. All of this is happening while you can be working on maximizing other aspects of your property. The convenience and effectiveness cannot be overstated.

So when looking for apartment marketing tips in 2018, chatbot marketing should rank at the top of the list to implement. Not only does it provide a valuable service that your potential residents will appreciate, it provides actual leads that are ready to convert without making you do any work. 

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