April 24, 2024

SMS Marketing for Property Management


Taylor Davis


Co-Founder | Chief Product Officer

SMS (text messaging) should be a commonly used tool for property managers. It’s not just for resident communication or the occasional lease agreement follow-up. SMS is a simple yet powerful form of communication that has stood the test of time, remaining a dominant channel from Gen Z all the way to the Baby Boomers.

If you’d like to understand how SMS first integrated into the property management industry, it started in 2006, when a start-up, IRIO, entered the market with a promise to connect students and build community within each apartment complex. That idea grew and evolved into a variety of different solutions leveraging SMS technology to enhance connectivity. After this boom, the larger players in the industry - the common property management software providers - took notice and added the technology to their platforms, thus making SMS communication a “must-have” in any tech stack. 

And now that the property management industry has had decades to adopt and enhance the technology, has there been any real change? Is the industry using SMS the right way? Are they maximizing the potential of SMS marketing?

The simple answer… no. 

Property management companies have rapidly integrated SMS into their strategies, focusing primarily on essential needs such as resident communications. However, many executives fail to distinguish between SMS communications and SMS marketing. This oversight exposes untapped potential and offers more innovative property management firms opportunities. These forward-thinking companies go beyond basic communication, harnessing the full power of SMS marketing to enhance their strategies and positively impact the bottom line.

You might be asking, “How is “SMS Marketing” different from SMS communications?”

The answer lies in the desired outcome. Are you trying to communicate with your audience, or are you trying to engage them? If it’s the latter, then you need to implement SMS Marketing tools not only because it requires a different playbook than SMS communications, but because it’s more effective than most other forms of engagement.

To expand on this notion, a text message providing an update about a power outage is different from a text message that requires action—either by clicking a link, responding to a message, taking a survey, or even viewing an image. If you need a CTA, you need SMS marketing.

Below, we’ve listed some of the most common ways property management companies are using the Bonfire platform to effectively use SMS Marketing.

10 Ways to Use SMS Marketing for Property Management:

  1. Leasing Campaigns

If SMS Marketing is not part of your leasing strategy and you’re relying on ILS, Email Marketing, and Digital Advertising to connect with renters, you’re missing out. When leveraging marketing tools, SMS has a 98% read rate and 45% CTR. Let’s say you have a list of hundreds or even thousands of prospective renters who either toured or filled out a guest card—send them a text message and see how direct marketing yields better results.

  1. Post-Tour Surveys

Yes, surveys are necessary. But are they effective when sent via email or simply a form in your resident portal? A place, let’s be honest, no renter is going to visit unless they have a maintenance request or need to handle payments. SMS marketing for property management integrates survey technology into a follow-up text message to instantly get the data you need.

  1. Lead Generation

Most people have little patience for the hoops and hurdles that digital marketing imposes. These tactics, purportedly designed to capture our information and "ensure the best experience," often just funnel our data into a database, priming us for a barrage of unwanted phone calls. This awareness prompts extreme caution when filling out forms, often necessitating further research which can cause potential opportunities to slip away. However, imagine a scenario where a lead could simply "text in" to receive the information they need. At their request, this could evolve into a dynamic conversation that directs them toward their next steps, whether that involves taking a tour or completing an application.

  1. Resident Surveys

Using the same logic from item #2, the fastest and most effective way to increase completed surveys…not half-filled-out ones that don’t process—is to send an SMS Marketing survey, which is handled from start to finish inside the text message conversation.

  1. Resident Renewals

This happens to be a more common use case, and it’s because it is so effective! Bonfire customers have experienced renewal increases up to 30% when activating SMS for renewal campaigns. Why is it so effective? Well, you will always stay top of mind with a text. Residents don’t miss these messages via SMS Marketing.

  1. Payment Reminders

If you had a simple way to capture 100% of delinquent rent, would you? Through PMS integrations, variable field mapping, and SMS Marketing technology, we were able to capture all delinquent rent on the property. People don’t pick up the phone and can easily miss emails, but they do read their text messages.

  1. Live Chat

Most marketing strategies encompass some form of live chat on their websites. It’s considered an “easy way” to engage with the business and gather information as quickly as possible. SMS Marketing for property management is growing as a tool of convenience, and it’s even found a way to improve website conversions. Instead of requiring website visitors to remain on the website, you can simply move to a text message conversation and allow the lead to step away from their computer - creating a higher chance of conversion.

  1. Package and Maintenance Alerts

A simple notification, triggered by the front desk or onsite staff, is the fastest and most reliable way to communicate alerts. SMS is the preferred method because it’s immediate and conversational—having immediate alerts and the ability to text back can improve the experience exponentially.

  1. Concierge Services

Speaking of customer experience, what is better than offering a concierge service onsite? Instead of forcing residents to make requests or communicate with staff by going through portals and two-factor authentications, allow them to simply text a request to the staff. Obviously, more advanced technology goes into making this happen, but making the medium SMS is a surefire way to improve resident satisfaction.

  1. Reviews

Manage community reputation with frequent review requests for residents. Instead of relying on that one angry resident to find your review page, direct promoters within your community to complete reviews via SMS marketing. Depending on the system you use, segment your audience and send review requests to residents you know love your property!

If you’re still deciding whether to add SMS marketing to your strategy, see what Dinerstein said about SMS Marketing and the data they gathered from their residents. And if you’re convinced that you need to up your SMS marketing game, upgrade with Bonfire today!

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