SMS (Short Messaging Service) Messaging for Multifamily

SMS (Short Messaging Service) Messaging for Multifamily

SMS Messaging for Multifamily - A Conceptual Introduction

How SMS Messaging Can Benefit Your Multifamily Business

SMS (Short Messaging Service) is a great way to communicate with your prospects and residents. Did you know, over 81% of Americans send SMS text messages daily! SMS have a 98% open rate, compared to 20% for email, and SMS have a 209% higher response rate compared to phone responses. The numbers suggest SMS can be a lucrative communication and marketing tool for your multifamily business.

What is SMS Messaging?

SMS messaging allows you to send short messages related to your business and its offerings to a wide customer base. These messages can be informative, conversational, or promotional.

Types of SMS Messages

Transactional SMS

Transactional SMS consists of sending informative response messages after a prospect or resident has completed fields that prompt such messages. In other words, Transactional SMS messages do not contain marketing material. Instead, they focus on providing important information related to a feature of your multifamily business.

The image below depicts a series of Transactional SMS messages that prospects or residents receive after booking a tour or appointment through our hyTours app:

Conversational SMS

Conversational SMS is a component of SMS messaging. However, the focus is on real, one-on-one interactions between yourself and a prospect or resident. Conversational SMS does not contain promotional marketing material. Instead, conversational SMS helps you engage with your prospects and residents on a personal level. This builds a relationship and helps you meet each individual’s needs.

The image below is an example of a Conversational SMS exchange, which our hyCRM app supports:

Bulk SMS

Bulk SMS is the act of sending large numbers of SMS messages to SMS capable devices–cell phones and tablets primarily. Typically, Bulk SMS contains promotional material that promotes your multifamily business and its offerings.

The image below depicts a series of promotional Bulk SMS messages you can send through our hyBlast app:

Lifecycle SMS

Lifecycle SMS allows you to enhance the prospect and resident lifecycle at every stage:

  • Prospect Nurture
  • Resident Welcome
  • Resident Retention
  • Prospect WinBack

Lifecycle SMS compliments any email marketing materials you send to prospects or residents.

The image below displays Prospect Nurture marketing materials as SMS messages, which you can send via our hyALM app:


What are the Advantages of SMS Messaging?

High Open Rate

SMS have a 98% open rate. This greatly increases prospect engagement as compared to other forms of messaging such as emails. And unlike emails, SMS will not find their way to spam folders. As long as the number is valid, the SMS should be received.


SMS is inexpensive. Despite sending these messages to hundreds or even thousands of recipients, the cost is low. This is especially true when comparing these costs to, for example, buying ad space on social media platforms. With SMS, you can cover more ground for less money.

Customer Flexibility

SMS provides customer flexibility, as it allows prospects to opt-in and opt-out. There is no rigid commitment. It is always a good idea to give prospects a choice. This creates a sense of trust. These opt-in, opt-out measures also provide marketing data you can use to inform future campaigns and marketing strategies.

Wide Reaching

Finally, SMS are wide-reaching. You can cultivate a large customer demographic as most people have a mobile device. And as long as that mobile device can receive text messages, they will receive your messages. This has serious potential to grow your business.

What are the Disadvantages of SMS Messaging?

Limited Content

SMS have a short character limit, meaning your messages cannot exceed, usually, 160 characters. This requires messages to be short and simple. This can also lead to vague messaging if you’re not careful.

Opt-in Required

While SMS messaging has great potential to reach a high number of customers, it does require those prospects to opt-in. This flexibility is an advantage from the customer perspective; however, it means you will be unable to contact someone unless they agree to it first.

Lack of Personalization

With short messages that are aimed at reaching hundreds or even thousands of people, there is little room for personalization. Initially, the SMS interactions may feel impersonal; however, the goal is to attract prospects leading to personalized interactions and eventually transitioning the prospect to a resident.

SMS Messaging for Multifamily - Best Practices

Get Permission

With any form of SMS you must get permission. The user will have to agree to receive SMS from your business. Not securing permission, is against the law and leaves you subject to legal penalties. The easiest way to get permission is by providing users a way to opt-in or subscribe to SMS features.

Double opt-in

Double opt-in helps ensure the user’s information is accurate, those subscribed are genuinely interested in your business and its promotions, and this method reduces spam.

A typical approach to double opt-in:

1. The user completes an initial opt-in in hyForms, hyTours, or through promotional email indicating their interest in promotional SMS.

2. The prospect receives a text message verifying the prospect’s interest in promotional SMS subscription.

3. The prospect confirms by replying ‘Join’.

4. They receive a final message stating they have been subscribed to promotional SMS for your business.

Explicit Single Opt-in

Alternatively, you may only use a single opt-in method. The single opt-in method only requires users to confirm SMS opt-in once. This will likely increase the number of users on your subscription list; however, the filtering is less thorough.

Explicit single opt-in requires users to enter a phone number and explicitly check an SMS option. This helps ensure users are intentionally electing to receive SMS:


It is also crucial to offer opt-out options. SMS best practices include the ability for users to opt-out of SMS at any time. At, we recommend offering multiple opt-out options that correspond with both all forms of SMS.

Opt-out: Leave

1. The subscribed user is offered an opt-out option–‘Leave’.

2. The user opts-out of Bulk SMS and Lifecycle SMS by responding ‘Leave’.

3a. The user receives a message confirming they have been unsubscribed from all promotional marketing SMS.

Steps 1-3a. illustrate the ‘Leave’ opt-out option. Replying ‘Leave’ (2.) unsubscribes users from Bulk and Lifecycle SMS which contain promotional marketing material–offers, announcements, events, etc. Users will still be subscribed to Transactional and Conversational SMS though.

Opt-out: Stop

3b. A user is given the ‘Stop’ option to opt-out of all SMS features.

4. The user responds ‘Stop’.

5. The user is unsubscribed from all SMS messages.

Steps 3b-5. illustrate the ‘Stop’ opt-out option. Replying ‘Stop’ (6.) unsubscribes users from all SMS messaging–Transactional, Conversational, Bulk, and Lifecycle. You will be unable to send users offers, announcements, events, etc. via SMS. Additionally, you can no longer have one-on-one conversations or send them transactional messages. Users too will be unable to contact your team for via SMS unless they resubscribe.

*Note: Users do not have to reply ‘Leave’ before replying ‘Stop’. At any time, users may reply ‘Stop’ ending all SMS messaging. Additionally, users may resubscribe at any time by texting ‘Start’ (6.).

Providing these options ensures SMS requirements are being met and gives users a sense of control over their engagement.

Stay on Message

It is crucial to stay on message regardless of the type of SMS you are sending. For example, you wouldn’t want to send marketing materials in a Transactional SMS. First, this risks violating SMS opt-in rules. Second, this confuses the intention of the Transactional message:

In the above image, you see a Transactional SMS that includes marketing material. This message:

  • Violates opt-in options
  • Is unclear
  • Suggests the recipient could be either a prospect or a resident
  • Sends conflicting messages depending on the recipient

In short, the intent and content of the message matters.

Maintain Professionalism

While the purpose of the message is crucial, so is maintaining professionalism when using SMS. For example, say you are having a conversational exchange with a resident:

Effective Conversational SMS

In this conversation the agent maintains professionalism by:

  • Keeping interactions short
  • Staying on message
  • Addressing the needs of the resident
  • Initiating a tour

Ineffective Conversational SMS

In the conversation above the agent fails to maintain professionalism by:

  • Over personalizing the interaction
  • Never addressing the needs of the resident
  • Getting off point/message
  • Failing to set up a tour


Keep SMS Short

SMS messages do not allow much space, so it is important to keep your messages short. Include the most crucial information. For example, times and dates, calls to action, links, etc. Message content will depend on the type of SMS you are sending, but always keep the message concise.

In all of the examples in the image above, the messages are concise and communicate the most crucial information.


Consider SMS Frequency

Finally, consider how frequently you are sending SMS–especially Bulk SMS and Lifecycle SMS. Any SMS when sent too frequently can feel spammy. This is especially true of SMS containing marketing material. The last thing people want is constantly being sold something. They want to feel like a person not a number.

At we work to regulate SMS frequency through SMS scheduling, WHEN/THEN functions, maintaining Conversational SMS history.

SMS Messaging Features in

What SMS Does Support? apps support every major type of SMS messaging and makes sending those messages easy.

Transactional SMS: hyTours

Our hyTours app sends important Transactional SMS to prospects and residents when they schedule a tour or appointment.

Conversational SMS: hyCRM

For Conversational SMS, our hyCRM app is great for corresponding with prospects and residents. Through the app, you can have real-time conversations just like you would on your personal mobile device.

Bulk SMS: hyBlast

The hyBlast app supports Bulk SMS, which allows you to send promotional marketing material via SMS.

Lifecycle SMS: hyALM

Finally, our hyALM app is perfect for Lifecycle SMS. Whether you are focusing on the prospect lifecycle, resident lifecycle, or both you can send all Lifecycle SMS through the app.

How to Activate SMS

Implementing SMS for all apps can be done with the simple click of a button.

For a full walkthrough on how to complete this, please review our Overview guide: Adding SMS to Apps.

Quick Steps:

1. Navigate to Telephony

2. Turn ON SMS Opt-Ins using the On/Off toggle under the following tabs:

  • SMS Opt Ins
  • Marketing Channel
  • Promote SMS

3. Save your changes


Building Your SMS Database

In order to use all forms of SMS, you will need a database of subscribers. Some of the most common ways to build an SMS database is:

  • Using a call-to-action (CTA): A CTA is a button users can click on, such as an RSVP button. You might include a CTA on your website:

  • Creating a pop-up: On your website, you can include a pop-up asking people to enter their phone number if they are interested in receiving SMS.

    • Including an opt-in link on emails: Finally, consider including an SMS opt-in feature on all emails. You can use your email database to build your SMS database.


Building Your SMS Database with

At our apps and SMS features work together to build your SMS database:

  • hyForms
  • hyTours
  • Email


With hyForms, you can enable SMS, which will add an SMS opt-in section to any forms on your site.

For example, you may have a ‘Contact Us’ form. After enabling SMS, users will see the following when completing the form:

By checking the box, users agree to receive promotional marketing materials via SMS.


With hyTours, you can enable an SMS opt-in feature to appear when prospects and residents schedule a tour or appointment.

To learn how to activate SMS messaging for all of the apps featured in this article, check out our Overview: Adding SMS to Apps 

After enabling SMS for hyTours, your scheduler will update and display the following:

Checking the boxes above subscribes users to SMS features.


Finally, you can enable an SMS opt-in feature for all emails. This includes all promotional emails, transactional emails, and ALM emails. This feature increases SMS opt-in among both new prospects and existing residents. If you choose to enable SMS for email, all emails will include an SMS opt-in section at the bottom of the message:

When users text ‘Join’ their numbers are housed in your SMS database.

Seeking Permission for SMS

In order to text SMS subscribers, they will need to opt-in to SMS. Certain forms of SMS require different opt-in procedures.

At we require single and double opt-in which depend on the app and SMS type.

Single Opt-in

  • hyForms
  • hyTours
  • hyCRM


hyForms acts as a single opt-in method and can initiate double opt-in. Once a prospect completes a form, they can opt-in to transactional SMS and/or they can elect to receive offers and promotions. hyForms also creates a contact in hyCRM, allowing you to send conversational SMS to prospects.


hyTours’ Transactional SMS does not require users to confirm their interest in SMS. When a user is scheduling a tour or appointment, they provide their phone number and if they check the first SMS option on the scheduler they are subscribed to Transactional SMS.


Conversational SMS is similar to Transactional SMS. With hyCRM, you can conduct conversational SMS with prospects immediately after a contact is created. Contacts are created a number of ways:

  • After users schedule a tour
  • After prospects complete a form through your property’s website
  • When a user texts ‘Join’ after being prompted by email containing an SMS opt-in message

All of these methods create contacts in hyCRM, and act as a form of single opt-in for conversational SMS.

Double Opt-in

  • hyBlast
  • hyALM

hyBlast & hyALM

In order to send prospects and residents Bulk SMS an Lifecycle SMS, users must confirm twice their interest via double opt-in. After users provide their phone number via hyForms, hyTours, or Promotional Email they will receive the following:

Once users are subscribed, you can send Bulk SMS and Lifecycle SMS via hyBlast and hyALM for as long as users are subscribed.

New Feature: Transactional SMS for hyTours

What are the Benefits of SMS for hyTours?

SMS for hyTours helps your multifamily business by:


What Kind of SMS Does hyTours Support?

hyTours supports Transactional SMS. Transactional SMS is particularly useful when you offer multiple tour and appointment types. You can customize the messages to reflect the distinct tour/appointment type.

For example, consider Transactional SMS for in-Person Tours versus Video Tours:

With In-Person tours your Transactional SMS can include directions to the property while Video Tour SMS can include links for users to select the video calling software they wish to use for their tour.

Finally, Transactional SMS is far more likely to be viewed as people interact with their phones more frequently than their email. This will reduce the number of missed appointments.

Building Your SMS Database with hyTours

As discussed, you can easily build your SMS database with hyTours. Anytime a prospect or resident provides their phone number and selects one or both of the SMS opt-in checkboxes, your database will grow.

Following SMS Best Practices with hyTours

To reiterate, hyTours acts as an explicit single opt-in for Transactions SMS and Conversational SMS. It also initiates the double opt-in process for Bulk SMS and Lifecycle SMS.

hyTours Wrap Up

Ultimately, SMS for hyTours directly helps your multifamily business with Transactional SMS and can be a major asset for all other forms of SMS assisting with easy integration between apps.

New Feature: Conversational SMS for hyCRM

What are the Benefits of SMS for hyCRM?

For SMS to be effective, it is crucial you have the technology that allows you to engage with your SMS subscribers easily.’s hyCRM app achieves this and much more.’s hyCRM app is a multifunctional communications tool that houses your prospects’ and residents’ contact information. You can also call, email, and now text your prospects and residents all through the app.

Among its many capabilities, the hyCRM app:


What Kind of SMS Does hyCRM Support?

hyCRM supports Conversational SMS. Through hyCRM you can have a one-on-one interaction between yourself and a prospect or resident.

For example, say an existing resident reaches out via SMS about moving into a bigger unit.

This conversation could also have taken place over email, but SMS makes it much easier. The agent and resident are able to have a personalized interaction. In the span of minutes, the agent can address the resident’s needs and set them up for a tour.

Conversational SMS messages make for a more efficient agent-resident/prospect interaction without losing any personable qualities, and hyCRM makes this process even easier.


How Does Conversational SMS work in hyCRM?

User Enrollment

After a prospect or resident (user) provides their phone number and opts-in to SMS via hyForms, hyTours, or Promotional Email a new contact is created in hyCRM. They are automatically enrolled in Conversational SMS allowing you and your team to start corresponding with them immediately.

hyCRM View

After clicking on the newly subscribed contact, you will be able to text and review your conversations:

Sending Conversational SMS

To send conversation SMS, you’ll need to enable SMS features for hyCRM. To do so, you will navigate to’s new app Telephony and turn ON SMS for hyCRM.

After enabling SMS, you will see a chat bubble icon in the top right of the app.

Through this icon, you can send and receive conversational SMS messages allowing you to engage with your prospects and residents just as you would through your personal mobile device. You can even send images of, for example, a property.

Receiving Conversational SMS

hyCRM also makes receiving SMS messages easy. All communications on the agent’s end will take place within the hyCRM app. These conversations are updated in real-time and you can view all exchanges in the Activity Stream.


hyCRM Maintains Conversation History

Along with easy interactions, the hyCRM app also preserves your conversation history. This history will always be accessible so you or any other agent can review it. You can use this history to inform future conversations, best practices, and general prospect/resident knowledge.

Agent Perspective

User Perspective

Conversation History: Agent Benefits

This feature is particularly useful when:

  • Agents work in rotation. No matter which agents are available, they can view the conversation history and aid the leasing team.
  • An agent is sick and has to cancel on a prospect or resident.
  • There is a prospect or resident complaint. Any agent can handle the complaint and reference to the conversation history.

Agent Rotation

Sick Agent

Prospect or Resident Complaint

Conversation History: Manager Benefits

Conversation history is beneficial for managers as well. Managers can analyze the quality of the agent-resident/prospect relationship within each interaction. They can also use conversation history to inform future conversations and train agents on what makes for effective and ineffective messaging.

For example, managers may find the following criteria make for effective SMS:

  • Keeping SMS messages short and to the point
  • Personalizing messages
  • Ensuring professionalism is maintained

Effective Agent-Resident Communication

In this conversation stream, the agent (represented in blue) manages to:

  • Keep the message short
  • Address the resident’s personal news while maintaining professionalism
  • Personalize the interaction
  • Use the resident’s personal information to initiate a tour

Ineffective Agent-Resident Communication

In the image above, you see the interaction

  • Failing to uphold a sense of professionalism
  • Over personalizing the interaction
  • Never addressing the needs of the resident
  • Getting off point/message
  • Failing to set up a tour

Using this conversation history can greatly enhance conversational SMS and set a precedent for best practices.

hyCRM Wrap Up

SMS for hyCRM is a great feature to assist in your prospect/resident engagement. The app makes Conversational SMS easy and the conversation history can help agents, managers, and training efforts.

New Feature: Bulk SMS for hyBlast

What are the Benefits of SMS for hyBlast?

SMS for hyBlast gives you a space to send promotional marketing material as emails and SMS messages. That means all eBlasts–Events, Offers, and Announcements–will send in an SMS format to SMS subscribed users. The new SMS feature creates a space for Bulk SMS and promotional emails to be housed in the same app.

With SMS for hyBlast you can:


    What Kind of SMS Does hyBlast Support?

    hyBlast supports Bulk SMS, which is promotional marketing material.

    For example:

    • Events
    • Offers
    • Announcements


    This Event SMS is promoting a summer party in the local neighborhood. It includes the time, location, and a call to action in the form of an RSVP link. Those subscribed to SMS will receive this Event invite and can RSVP through the message.


    Offers are great to send via SMS. You can quickly communicate specials to a broad audience. Here, subscribers are receiving an Offer for reduced rent and a call to action, allowing them to Schedule a Tour of the property.


    Announcements tend not to have a call to action, but they still promote and provide relevant information. Here, the Announcement is promoting the property’s pool opening while also providing the hours. Subscribers do not have to do anything on their end, such as RSVP, but they receive critical information about their community that they can take advantage of.


    How Do I Send Bulk SMS in hyBlast?

    Sending Bulk SMS through hyBlast is very simple. You can adapt any eBlast template to SMS format with a simple click:

    To learn how to set up SMS for eBlasts click here.

    No matter the template, you can preview it as both an email and SMS message.

    Converting eBlasts to SMS

    After you enable SMS for hyBlast, all eBlasts will have an SMS option. As shown above, you can preview the SMS version of the eBlast right in the app.

    Email Preview

    SMS Preview

    Between the Email Preview and SMS Preview, the physical format of the content differs; however, the key information remains (with the exception of the Title, which is only found in the email version):

    • Title vs. Subject (Email vs. SMS) – Green
    • Image – Blue
    • Subtitle – Green
    • When & Where – Yellow
    • CTA (RSVP) – Red

    Scheduling SMS

    Once done, you simply schedule the eBlast as usual and your Bulk SMS will send to all SMS subscribed users in the appropriate format:


    hyBlast Wrap Up

    SMS for hyBlast greatly enhances your promotional marketing material and makes sending Bulk SMS a breeze.

    New Feature: Lifecycle SMS for hyALM

    What are the Benefits of SMS for hyALM?

    SMS for hyALM enhances the prospect and resident lifecycle. Because SMS engagement is significantly higher compared to email, using SMS increases the likelihood that users are receiving and engaging with your business’ lifecycle marketing material. A key goal of lifecycle marketing is to increase the lifecycle of prospects and residents. Better engagement means longer lifecycles.

    With SMS for hyALM you can:


      What Kind of SMS Does hyALM Support?

      hyALM supports Lifecycle Marketing. With hyALM you can target every stage of the prospect and resident lifecycle with SMS:

      • Prospect Nurture
      • Resident Welcome
      • Resident Retention
      • Prospect WinBack

      Prospect Nurture

      Resident Welcome

      Resident Retention

      Prospect WinBack


      How Do I Merge Lifecycle Marketing and SMS?

      It has never been easier to merge lifecycle marketing and SMS. With a simple click, you can enable SMS for hyALM. Once done, hyALM will update with SMS capabilities allowing you to send SMS to all SMS subscribed users.


      Converting Lifecycle Marketing Emails to SMS

      Much like hyBlast, once SMS is enabled for hyALM, hyALM converts all lifecycle marketing emails to SMS is you choose. Within the app, you can select your desired email drip and before scheduling simply switch the format to SMS.

      Email Preview

      SMS Preview

      Similar to hyBlast, the hyALM Email and SMS preview differ in physical formatting and slightly in which content is displayed:

    • Title vs. Subject (Email vs. SMS) – Green
    • Image – Blue
    • Body vs. Subtitle (Email vs. SMS) – Yellow
    • CTA (RSVP) – Red

      Improve Prospect & Resident Lifecycles

      The biggest advantage of SMS is that it sends to mobile devices. Users are far more engaged with these devices. Therefore, using SMS greatly increases the likelihood that users will read, respond to, and act on your lifecycle marketing materials.

      The idea is cultivating:

      • Awareness
      • Interest
      • Desire
      • Action

      Doing so will improve and increase the prospect and resident lifecycle.

      hyALM Wrap Up

      Lifecycle SMS is a great tool for your multifamily business. Ultimately, Lifecycle SMS is about customer experience. Use hyALM to your advantage and create highly effective lifecycle marketing campaigns.

      Learn More

      Learn More

      When implemented correctly, SMS Messaging can be a huge asset to your multifamily business. Our apps are here to assist you with SMS integration to make for an easy and effective transition.

      To learn more about our SMS features and how they can benefit your business, give us a call: 516-HYLY-INC