Why Free Isn't Free

Why FREE Doesn’t Always Mean No Cost

With the current economy, most companies are forced to evaluate costs and ensure they are getting the most bang for their buck on all the services they subscribe to. Companies will often offer “FREE” add-ons such as lead nurturing or chat solutions to help teams cut costs. While this may sound enticing, “FREE” doesn’t always mean there is no cost associated with it. We are breaking down all the reasons why free isn’t necessarily better and all the areas that could be affected. 

User Experience

Many free solutions offer a user experience that will get the job done. However, it’s not always satisfactory. In fact, most of these solutions have a CSAT (customer satisfaction) score below 30%. The mobile experience is even worse, and 60% are using the bot on their mobile. In addition, many free add-ons are simply a pop-out form that take the user away from the initial experience making them more likely to drop off. All too often, the free experience gets less than 1/3 of the appointments scheduled and delivers low-quality leads.

Think of it this way — say you are looking for a new car. You have the choice between a new, reliable vehicle that gets you where you want to go, and is cost-effective with a low monthly payment. Your other option is a FREE beat-up car that breaks down often, wastes time, and rarely gets you from point A to point B. Which car would you choose? 9/10, you will select the first option that can be trusted to get the job done. The same can be said for automation solutions. Sure, one is free, but it’s only reliable a small amount of the time. Solutions that cost money usually do so because that allows them to invest in the product and provide a superior customer experience. Instead of offering a solution that saves time, teams are often forced to spend more of their attention on menial tasks. As the old saying goes…time IS money! 

Customizations

To create a cohesive brand experience, customizations are key. It’s essential to be able to add customizations in several areas, including branding, integrations, and property-specific info. 

Of course, it’s essential to use the branding that makes the most sense for your communities, whether custom property branding, corporate branding, or even a cohesive look and feel. It’s essential to be able to make updates as needed. 

Integrations are another big area that should have the ability to be customized. For instance, you want a solution that integrates with your virtual tours, videos, site maps, etc. This also becomes essential when it comes to appointment setting. It’s imperative that leads are not lost or forgotten in the process and that everything flows smoothly. 

Lastly, property-specific info is an essential part of customizations. You want to be able to customize topics like sister properties and office hours. If they can’t incorporate every aspect of your community’s information, most likely, they are not getting the job done. 

Features 

When choosing a free option over a paid model, you lose a lot of functionality regarding features. Essential information like prequalifications, waitlists, and FAQs become challenging to share. Plus, these platforms often can’t be parsed out by property types like senior, student, affordable, mixed-income, etc. Making sure all of the information is embedded directly into the bot will help ensure a cohesive user experience and confirm that the prospect is given all the information they need upfront. 

How does a paid model save me money? 

Typically FREE widgets and add-ons are built by companies that provide a CRM, website, etc. The widget is not their primary focus, so it will not be optimized in all the ways it should be. That being said, a paid model saves time and money in numerous ways. 

For example, BetterBot’s Multifamily automation solution saves an average of up to 100+ hours (per property, each month), which allows team members to focus on more critical tasks. On average, 300+ unique prospect conversations occur through the solution (per property, each month). Because the average person uses the 1.9x, that’s nearly 600 total conversations/property/month. To see a more detailed look at how BetterBot’s automation saves time and money, check out our full article on this topic HERE

Leasing after hours

5 Ways Leasing Teams Can Serve Prospects After Hours

Business hours are a thing of the past. Today, people expect great customer service 24/7, 365. And if you can’t offer that, people will go elsewhere. Especially in multifamily, property management teams should expect that many prospective leads are looking up their property after hours. At BetterBot, for example, we know 58% of our traffic happens after we turn in for the evening. Of course, the logical question is, how can leasing teams best serve these prospects? Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to get people the info they need on your property –  no matter when they’re looking for it. 

Must-haves for leasing after-hours customer service

Online reviews

What do you do when you hear about a new restaurant or hotel? More than likely you immediately look for reviews. People looking for their next apartment often do the same. According to the Bureau of Statistics, 93% of consumers read online reviews regularly, 85% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 40% form an opinion after reading one to three reviews. That’s pretty significant. 

And while it might seem tempting to not enable online reviews on sites like Yelp or Google My Business, forgoing transparency can come at a cost. Consider Destiny, one of our author’s stories that shows just how important online reviews can be – even when they’re negative. 

“I once ran into a situation where I fell in love with a property online. However, the Google reviews were disappointing to read. There were tons of reviews complaining about the property, but I couldn’t shake my love for how the property looked. A few days later, I decided to visit the property to see it firsthand. When I met with one of the leasing agents, she explained how they recently acquired the property and have been trying to make up for all the turmoil the last management caused in the three weeks they owned the property. The leasing agent walked me through all the changes that were going to be made and the problems they were currently working on.”

Conversational chatbot

BetterBot is the the #1 multifamily chatbot for a reason. People don’t want to wait to speak with a live representative when they’re curious about your property. Having a chatbot integrated into your website and social media can make it easy for prospects and current renters alike to get help with a variety of things, from scheduling appointments to learning about your property.


At BetterBot, our chatbot uses guided conversation to lead users through prompts. Your leasing team can customize these prompts to reflect your unique brand and property offerings. 

3D tours 

Virtual 3D tours have been rising in popularity for a while, but ever since the pandemic hit, they’ve skyrocketed. People want to see what their dream apartment looks like before they visit in person. Especially if many of your renters are transplants from another area, offering high-quality 3D tours of your apartments can be a great way to turn prospects into leads. What’s more, you can easily integrate 3D tours into your BetterBot chatbot! 

A great social media presence

Along with online reviews, one of the first places people go to check out your property is social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. No matter when people are looking up your accounts, they’ll be able to get a great idea of what it’s like to live at your property if you’ve taken the time to add plenty of up-to-date pictures and information. 

When people are ready to interact with your team, they can easily do so without having to visit your website, thanks to BetterBot. With full integration available wherever you have a digital presence, you can make sure no lead gets left behind. 

Non-gated info

One of the biggest disappointments people face when searching for a new apartment is gatekeeping. We’ve all experienced it – you’re trying to find something on a company’s website and get a pop-up asking for your contact info before you can access the info. Or the dreaded “call for pricing” message on your homepage. 

No one should have to call your number or give you their personal details just to get basic information. By keeping everything transparent, you can avoid this common customer frustration. What’s more, you’ll give your team valuable time back from having to answer endless phone queries. 

Still, it’s important to get people’s contact info if you want to be able to follow up with them. BetterBot’s guided conversation flow asks for this information in a natural way – without gatekeeping crucial information.

Boosted Their Leases Using BetterBot

How Morgan Properties Boosted Leases

Morgan Properties boosted leases by leveraging its Google My Business listings with links to Better Bot For Leads.

How does BetterBot for Leads boost leases?

BetterBot for Leads is the next iteration of BetterBot, helping apartment operators and their marketing teams improve performance by qualifying lead traffic.

Here, the bot immediately follows up with leads from marketing sources and can convert them effortlessly to tours. 

When someone finds a community on an ILS and decides they want to contact a community, they will be led to BetterBot, which utilizes Guided Conversation to guide the prospect through a text-based conversation process of setting an appointment and learning more about the community.

Results-driven platform

Kim Boland, Director of Digital Marketing, Morgan Properties, is using BetterBot for Leads at five pilot programs after rolling out BetterBot’s flagship solution, BetterBot for Web, to a majority of their properties. 

Boland posts BetterBot For Leads links on Morgan Properties’ Google My Business pages as well as ILS sites such as Zillow, RentPath, and Apartment List, and then has BetterBot nurture the email leads. She said Morgan Properties soon will use Better Bot on her Apartments.com listings as well.

Boland said with BetterBot’s Yardi integration, she has been able to track the originating source for the prospects that reach out to her properties much easier than with other solutions they have tested.

“BetterBot for Leads is definitely generating more appointment leads for us than any other avenue,” Boland said.

“We’re getting these better-qualified leads, but our leasing teams still need to close the deal. But just getting our online visitors to schedule an appointment is a huge step.

“If we can get the APIs that allow BetterBot to push our appointments directly to our CRM – third party to third party – eliminating the middle man, then that would be a huge game-changer for us.”

BetterBot For Leads works to determine which leads are most viable for the property and then funnels those leads to the community’s CRM for further action. 

Leads that are not qualified will funnel to a different channel to be handled as the leasing team sees fit. BetterBot For Leads means no more sifting through leads to find out which are going to take action. It does the hard work so onsite teams can focus on converting those qualified leads.

Why use BetterBot for Leads?

Renters want information 24/7/365. BetterBot for Leads works around the clock to ensure that no prospects are ignored.  

BetterBot manages leads from any marketing source and converts 3x faster than the standard ILS. It has demonstrated that nearly 37% of prospects become leads. 

Working onsite has become overwhelming lately. It’s understandable that team members would rather be working to establish relationships with prospects and residents alike, not spending all their time qualifying leads. That’s why BetterBot for Leads does all the heavy lifting by identifying which leads are most likely to turn into leases.

To learn more about BetterBot for Leads, click here!

Best Apartment Software For Leasing

As the years go on, it seems that properties become busier and busier. Leasing teams have more responsibilities than ever before, and they are expected to lease at high rates. Automation tools can make life easier for on-site teams in several ways. Bringing on new programs can be stressful, but these tools are designed to take the burden off the property, practically filter through traffic, and help analyze what’s working. Here are four of the best automation tools for leasing: 

  • Chatbots
  • Virtual Concierge
  • Lead Automation
  • Marketing Analytics

Chatbots

A chatbot is a tool you can add to your community website to assist prospective renters in real-time. They can answer any questions prospects have about living in your community. Chatbots can insert you into the conversation at the prospect’s convenience so that you stay top of mind during the decision-making process. Heather Anderson, Head of Partner Sales at BetterBot, says, “Our bot helps save leasing teams time and allows prospects to find your community where they are searching rather than having them come to you”. 

Marketing Analytics

One of the things that can be helpful when it comes to marketing automation is automating your analytics. However, it’s completely understandable that you may not be able to pull this information as often as you’d desire. That’s why analytics automation is crucial for you and your teams. There are many tools you can use to automate reporting, so it comes straight to your inbox. 

G5’s new MTA Journeys report removes the blind spots in your marketing by stitching together full renter journeys.

G5 | Digital Marketing Software and Services is one great example of in-depth analytics. We had the opportunity to catch up with their Product Marketing Manager, Chris Hanson, and he shared that “Having an integrated and easy to use analytics platform is a crucial tool that every marketer needs. From monitoring baseline interactions like traffic and leads, measuring automation investments, and predicting campaign returns, it’s the glue that holds your activities together.”

Virtual Concierge

Virtual concierges are used in a number of different industries including hospitality, airlines, and restaurants. When it comes to multifamily, a virtual concierge typically offers prospects and residents assistance on their timelines. It may help give information about the community or assist with scheduling appointments. Residents may also be able to do things such as submit a service request, find a pet sitter, locate discounts, or even connect with other residents. 

Lead Automation

Taking advantage of lead automation is excellent for keeping in touch with your audience. There are many ways you can utilize lead automation but the most prominently used is an automated email outreach. Rent Dynamics CRM offers a great example of how this can be used with automated follow-ups. For example, there may be a prospect interested in a particular floorplan, but if that option is not available, their automated follow-up will send the prospect a notification once it becomes available. Harvard Business Review shares that leads are 60x more likely to convert if contacted within the first hour, which shows how important this touchpoint truly is. 

When your team has a little help and support, it becomes easier for them to focus their attention on what’s happening on-site in real-time. Chatbots, virtual concierges, autoresponders, and marketing analytics are all resources that are designed to support your teams effectively and help your communities thrive. These four tools can help ease the burden so that they can make people a priority.



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