The Sterling Group, founded in 1976, develops, constructs, acquires and manages income-producing properties, specializing in multifamily apartment homes, senior communities and self-storage facilities. It manages more than 40 properties across the Midwest and Southeast regions.
Functional Property Websites
The Sterling Group needed to be able to create property websites for communities in different states that could be maintained by the marketing team at the corporate office. “Our prior solution resulted in websites that quickly became outdated,” said Holly Nunemaker, director of marketing at The Sterling Group. “We had no way to update property photos or content on our own.” In addition to looking good, the websites also had to offer a complete online leasing experience for prospects and convenient resident features.
RENTCafé is Yardi’s multifamily marketing and leasing platform that provides dynamic property websites, smart multichannel marketing tools and innovative SEO and SEM capabilities. The websites feature complete online leasing and they allow Sterling’s team to edit images and content at will.
Efficient Online Leasing
With RENTCafé, Sterling is able to create branded property marketing websites for each community. The marketing team as well as onsite staff can update images and content as needed, making sure each website stays fresh and relevant for both prospects and search engines.
The websites offer online leasing so site visitors can apply online and complete the leasing process without the hassle of scheduling an appointment during business hours. This helps convert prospects more quickly, especially those who are moving from outside of the area and would otherwise have a hard time completing the leasing process.
Online leasing helps Sterling’s onsite teams keep track of important information while reducing paperwork and data entry. All prospect and resident data is securely stored in RENTCafé’s digital databse for easy access and reference.
Sterling uses the nudge marketing tools available within RENTCafé websites to nudge website prospects who may need an extra push into the leasing cycle. This feature pops up messaging on specified pages or after a set amount of viewing time to encourage website visitors to take action. It can be used to encourage prospects to schedule tours or take advantage of special offers.
“We use nudge marketing to give away football tickets to local college games in our markets,” says Nunemaker. “People love it. They just have to apply or renew by a certain date to enter.”
Nudge marketing is easy to turn on and off and also makes it possible to schedule a variety of campaigns. Analytics let Sterling’s staff know how each nudge marketing campaign is performing, so they can tweak the messaging and delivery as needed to get the best results.
In addition to online marketing tools for prospects, RENTCafé gives Sterling tools to communicate with residents. Residents can access resident portals via property websites to make payments, submit work orders and get important community information.
Improved communication increases resident satisfaction and retention rates. Sterling uses the resident email and text messaging features included in RENTCafé to alert renters to upcoming events like fire alarm testing and community activities.
“Whenever we have an event at one of our properties, we send announcements through the resident portal to increase engagement,” said Sterling. “RENTCafé tracks message delivery and open rates, so we can feel confident the communication has taken place.”