Believe it or not, the first ever paid advertisement in the US was for an estate in Long Island that was posted in the Boston News Letter way back in 1704. Keep that in the memory bank for office trivia night. Now I’m sure you’re aware, but marketing strategies have changed quite a bit since that first American ad. Landlords now rely on online listings, social media ads, and even virtual property tours. Very modern right? However, even since the 1700’s, the goal of any rental listing hasn’t changed. It has always been to say “My properties are awesome! Come check them out.” Here are a few effective marketing tips to make your properties catch the eyes of prospective tenants and fill some vacant units in this competitive market.
#1 – Know Your Target Audience
By far the most important aspect of effective marketing for any business is knowing your target audience. We will come back to this step throughout this post because it’s so vital. Before you start any advertisement at all, ask yourself: “Who is my ideal tenant?” After you decide who that is, then there’s a few more questions to dive deeper and get you on the right track. What kind of events does my ideal tenant attend? Where do they visit? And what features do I offer that will attract them? There is no better resource then your current A+ tenants. Talk to them and find out those answers so you can go from identifying the right tenant, to knowing the right tenant. The answers to those questions will help you confidently make a plan of attack and get the perfect tenant interested in your properties.
#2 – Be Conscious of Ad Placement
Now that you have your sights on your target, it’s time to start thinking about where to place your specific promotions. Keep in mind, one advertising platform might be perfect for one target audience, but a shot in the dark for another. I can’t stress it enough: know your audience. For example: if your target market is college students, a classic for rent sign in the front yard of your close-to-campus property might be a good effective marketing tool. On the other hand, if your target market is for older professionals, that yard sign might seem tacky and lower the perceived value of your property. Or that yard sign could just send you the wrong kind of people vs. an online listing. See what I mean? Knowing your target market, and aiming for them is the most important part of making an effective ad.
Don’t be afraid to be creative and think outside of the box. Maybe place an ad in a popular coffee shop or ask one of your friends who drives Uber to place a flyer in their car for you. Free online platforms like Zillow or Craigslist could also be the perfect place for your advertisements to get some traction and some views. There are so many options. Just get your listings out there, but remember to shoot for your specific target.
#3 – Make Professional Listings
Don’t hesitate to hire a photographer to showcase your rentals (but remember: know your target audience. If you’re not looking for the perfect tenant and you’re just trying to fill vacancies, it might not be worth the extra cash.) Real estate agents know they can sell homes 32% faster than all other listings just by hiring a professional photographer. Shouldn’t you take advantage too? The photographers know exactly what lenses and lighting to use to make your units look extremely spacious and attractive. A picture says a thousand words; you want every photo to scream “RENT ME.” Another way to improve your listings is to take some time and make quality descriptions of your properties. Use exciting adjectives but don’t get too carried away with the Mary Poppins descriptions. Remember, think professional, this isn’t a blog post ;).
#4 – Start a Tenant Referral Program
There is no more effective marketing than word of mouth. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust those they know for recommendations. Yes, if you have a great property for a fair price, people will tell their friends about it. But what if you could give them an incentive to talk up your properties even more? The strongest way to coax your quality tenants to recommend your properties to a friend is through a tenant referral program. All you have to do is give a small discount (for one or a few months) to any tenant that helps you find another. Be sure to inform your quality tenants of your policy so that they can take advantage of it. It’s a win-win. Not only are you getting someone to find you a tenant to fill your vacancy, but you also don’t have to pay out of pocket for a leasing agent or broker to do the same job. I’m sure your renters love your properties, but why not give them a little more of an incentive to talk you up?
The rental market is a competitive place and it’s easy to be overlooked. Remember, the biggest step is knowing your target market. That way you can effectively place your ads, make the perfect listings, and get the ideal tenants to your doorstep. Hopefully these four effective marketing tips give you an idea of the little things you can do to help your rental properties stand out and catch the eye of your perfect tenant.
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