Steps to Launching a Successful Renewal Campaign
There’s one thing you can always depend on in multifamily leasing: Leases will expire. So what can you do to ensure residents want to stay at the end of their initial lease term? Sure, there are offers you can throw at people or rest assured that someone else will come along to take their spot, but at the end of the day, the best customer you have is already your customer.
In this episode we are talking about the top things you can do to keep your customers happy and living at your community for years to come. To help facilitate this conversation we have brought Katie Degutis, Senior Project Manager, and Christy McFerren, our Senior Director. Click above to listen to the podcast, or click here to go to Apple Podcast.
Start thinking about renewals the day residents move in.
People are going to renew their lease because they love where they live. This starts on day one by delivering excellent customer service and providing a true feeling of home. This first impression is going to stick with a resident for months and probably even years to come — you can bet that if they move into a dirty apartment or have broken appliances on their first day, they won’t forget it anytime soon. While some small maintenance issues may be overlooked during the make-ready process, make sure they’re taken care of immediately for someone who’s just moved in, and they’ll appreciate you going the extra mile.
Get residents involved.
Sometimes, you must think bigger than just the individual apartment you’ve leased — make someone feel at home no matter where they are in your community. There are a number of ways you can do this, including hosting events throughout the year and making sure that amenities are always up to par. No one wants to move into an apartment with an awesome pool and sauna only to find out that they’re closed half the year due to poor maintenance or not being up to city code. Make amenities even more appealing by hosting events all around your community instead of just in the clubhouse. Have a yoga studio? Invite a teacher out for a class that residents can attend. This will hopefully get your residents feeling more connected to the community, and open their eyes to all of the great amenities they have access to but may have forgotten.
Ask early if a resident wants to renew.
There’s one thing almost everyone can agree on universally: Moving is a pain. I have yet to come across anyone who loves packing all of their belongings and schlepping them across town. Help your residents avoid this pain by asking early on if they’re interested in renewing their lease. Maybe you just hosted a great event and you know that a few residents had the best time. Even though their lease may not be up for several months, now’s a good time to start talking to them about renewing.
Create a compelling offer with some urgency.
Once you’re down to 90 days before a lease ends, it’s time to really start reminding people about their lease expiring in a few months. Consider offering some kind of discount or credit for those who renew their lease by a certain date, or offer a gift card to the first 5 people who renew. There are little things you can do that may persuade someone to go ahead and sign months in advance because, after all, your great customer service has already convinced them to stay — they might as well sign now and get a perk from it!
Consider setting up a drip campaign to check in with residents regularly.
If you have a lot of leases coming up throughout the month or even daily, it can be hard to keep track of who you’ve reached out to and how long it’s been since you’ve talked to them. Setting up a drip campaign allows you to automatically program emails to go out to residents with leases expiring soon. At Catalyst, you can do this in a way that simply reminds them (“Hey, we haven’t heard from you yet and your lease expires in one month”) or helps you to push the offers you’ve already come up with. For example, if a resident renews 60 days before their lease ends, they get $100, but if they wait until 30 days, that amount goes down to $75. You can have emails already set up and ready to go to remind them at 35 days that that $100 isn’t going to be available forever, and that they should come in and sign their lease today.
Renewals and renewal campaigns aren’t a one-time thing — they should be nurtured throughout the year and a resident’s lease term. After all, you’re asking this person to call your community home, which is no small request. Make sure they’re feeling that on a day-to-day basis and, soon enough, people will start coming to you to ask to renew their lease rather than the other way around.