All landlords should be marketing their rental properties online. This is simple. What’s more complex, however, is choosing the best method of online marketing for your rental business.
The three primary types of online rental marketing are listing sites, social sites, and your company’s website. With each approach, there are three common factors to consider — price, syndication, and outlook.
Price is pretty straight forward. Other than paid ads, all of the online marketing options we discuss are free. The budget-friendly nature of online marketing often makes it more attractive for landlords than offline methods.
Syndication is a bit more complex, but it’s easy to understand. Many listing sites work with syndication partners. When you choose to hand over publishing control to a site that offers syndication, they then post your listing to all of the sites in their syndication network. Listing syndication software is immensely valuable because it allows you to reach the widest pool of renters with least amount of time and effort.
Lastly, outlook refers to the value of investing time and resources into a method of online marketing. It is basically an overview of whether or not the advantages outweigh the potential drawbacks of a particular marketing scheme.
With this information, you should be capable of judging which online marketing method might work best for your rental business.
Listing sites are taking over the rental marketing game. Just as we all love to shop online for everything, renters have switched to shopping for rental properties online too. Most of the best listing sites allow landlords to post for free. What’s more, many sites offer syndication services, which offers increased exposure for your listings.
It really comes down to how much syndication each site offers and how popular it is among renters. Below, we provide all of the information you need about the major listing sites on the market.
Craigslist is a catch-all for anyone who’s looking to sell or buy something. The platform is not entirely devoted to real estate, but it’s still one of the most visited sites for renters hunting for properties.
Craigslist allows landlords to post listings free of cost. It should be noted, however, that users are only able to post in a given category once every 48 hours.
Craigslist does not offer any further syndication for landlords.
Craigslist is one of the top platforms for marketing rental properties, despite its unappealing interface. The site has had a reputation for spam ads and listings, but it has been implementing additional measures and regulations to protect consumers. All in all, Craigslist is a must-post for landlords looking for renters.
Apartments.com is a site dedicated to landlords and renters. According to their site, they’re the #1 rental site in the US, attracting more than 35 million renters each month. Although their name is slightly misleading, all rental properties can be listed on their site — not just apartments.
Apartments.com allows landlords to post rental listings for free.
Apartments.com offers syndication services with the other sites in their network, which includes:
As mentioned, Apartments.com is one of the top listing sites in the world — it is viewed by millions of potential renters each month. Their network and clean interface makes it easy to extend the reach of your listings.
Zillow Rental Manager
Zillow Rental Manager is a site dedicated to landlords. They offer syndicated rental postings, as well as other landlord-specific services. The site pulls in over 1 million renters a day.
Zillow Rental Manager allows landlords to post their first listing for free. After that expires, they charge $9.99 per listing each week that it’s posted.
Zillow offers landlords syndication services with 3 primary listing sites, as well as 23 secondary partner sites. The 3 primary sites include:
Zillow Rental Manager is an easy-to-use platform that provides landlords access to millions of potential renters. They make posting listings easy and allow landlords to recycle old listings when their units become available again.
Zumper allows landlords to easily post listings. They also offer screening and rent collection services. They provide landlords with a large market that can be a successful tool for filling units.
Zumper allows landlords to post rental listings for free.
Zumper offers landlords syndication services with the 4 sites in their network, which includes:
- Facebook Marketplace
Zumper has a large network of potential renters actively seeking housing. Outside of the nearly 3 million potential renters, the interface and listing creation is extremely easy to use.
AirBnb has taken over the market for short-term rentals. Many people rent properties through the site when traveling for vacation, work, or other extended stays. Hotels are out, AirBnbs are in.
AirBnb allows landlords to post rental listings free of cost.
AirBnb does not offer any further syndication for landlords.
If you offer short-term housing, AirBnb is the place to start sharing listings. The platform is free and easy to use. It offers landlords access to millions of potential renters looking for short-term leases.
HomeAway is a rental site designed for landlords listing vacation properties. They help landlords collect payments and make it easy to find tourist renters.
HomeAway charges landlords about 8% of their earnings for each short-term lease.
HomeAway offers landlords syndication services with over 15 of their partner sites, which includes:
- Great Rentals
- A1 Vacations
HomeAway is a massive company in the travel destination niche. If your property is a likely destination for tourists, this is a must. It is free to use and gets tremendous amounts of traffic thanks to its vast network.
Social media is an even less conventional method for marketing rental properties, but it can be a useful tool for filling units. At the end of the day, you want to go where your customers are — and they are certainly on social sites.
When marketing on social media, you must go in with a plan. Your goal is to find renters looking for properties in your area. As such, your posts should be engaging, location-based content.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all social sites are created equally. The users trafficking each site vary slightly, and the content expected of each site varies as well. It’s okay to recycle the main points of a post, but make sure the content meets the conventions of the site you’re sharing on.
Anyone who has experience with social media marketing knows that pictures are worth a thousand works — and clicks. No matter where you’re posting, a few high-quality photos will greatly increase your levels of engagement.
It may take time, but building a social media presence can be a great way to fill units and expand your brand. If used strategically, social sites will not only help you find new renters, but it can also help enhance your community, enabling you to retain the quality tenants you already have.
Below, we go over the price, syndication, and outlook of using each of the 4 major social sites as rental marketing tools.
According to Statista, Facebook has the highest volume of active users of all social media platforms, with over 2.7 billion users as of October, 2020. The numbers are certainly there, and thanks to Facebook Marketplace, the renters are too. Whether you choose to simply post marketing materials on Facebook’s main page, or you also share listings on Facebook Marketplace, the site offers landlords access to plenty of prospective renters.
Facebook allows landlords to post rental listings free of cost.
When landlords post listings to Facebook, they are also able to share their listings on Facebook Marketplace.
Facebook has millions of users actively looking for properties to rent. Although the platform isn’t a main search engine for renters, it grants landlords access to them in a new way. It’s recommended that landlords create a business page and share links on Facebook to their listings from established rental sites (perhaps one of the ones listed in the previous section). Although this can be an effective marketing scheme, it’s not necessarily vital.
Twitter is a “microblogging” platform that allows users to connect with their followers via tweets that are limited to 280 characters in length. The character limit can make it difficult for landlords to effectively market their rental properties, but it’s not impossible. A short and engaging description, a couple high-quality photos, and a link can be enough to attract interested renters.
Twitter is free for landlords to use.
Twitter does not offer any further syndication for landlords.
Potential renters aren’t necessarily using Twitter as a search engine to find properties, but it does provide landlords a fresh avenue to reach them when they aren’t actively searching. Twitter offers access to millions of potential renters and makes it easy to share links and photos. While it’s the least effective major social site for rental marketing, it is the simplest to use and can help expand your marketing profile.
YouTube is a video-sharing platform. Users can post videos of nearly anything they want, and it’s free for those who post and those who watch. If you create video tours of your rental properties, YouTube is a great place to post them.
YouTube allows landlords to post videos free of cost.
YouTube does not offer any further syndication for landlords.
YouTube is rarely used as a search engine for potential renters. Nevertheless, millions of potential renters are active on the site, and it offers landlords a heavily trafficked location to post their videos. It’s recommended, although not vital, that you create a YouTube channel and upload quality videos of your properties if you have the time and resources to do so. You can always include links to your property tours in your listings, which will not only offer renters a better view of your units, but will also increase engagement on your channel.
Instagram is a social site that is primarily used for sharing photos and short-form videos. Because the platform places a major emphasis on images, it is the perfect place to share photos of your property’s individual rooms that you take for marketing purposes. Instagram is owned by Facebook and is right behind it for its number of active users. There are millions of potential renters on the site everyday.
Instagram allows landlords to post on its platform for free.
Aside from making it easy to cross-post on Facebook, Instagram does not offer any further syndication for landlords.
Like the other social sites, Instagram isn’t a search engine used by potential renters. It is, however, another way to reach renters while they are not actively searching for properties. Sharing high-quality photos, using hashtags strategically, creating location-based content, and linking to your website in your bio are all easy ways to attract potential renters. Instagram is also a great way to build a sense of community among your current renters, which will help establish your brand and messaging.
In today’s world, every business should have a company website — and most do. For landlords and property managers, having a company website offers many benefits:
- Potential renters are able to find and learn about your business.
- By including your information, renters can contact you about your units.
- Your credibility is strengthened and renters are more trustworthy of your listings.
- With strategic messaging, you’re able to develop your brand.
- You can easily link to all of your listings and profiles on social sites.
With some added time and/or money, your rental website can become an instrumental marketing resource. There are two basic ways to magnify the effects of the benefits listed above: SEO and paid advertising. Here, we’ll take a look at both strategies and explain how your website can evolve into an effective tool for filling units.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an unpaid way of increasing the quality and quantity of the traffic a website receives. Typically, SEO focuses on linking and content production that helps establish a site’s credibility. When SEO is done successfully, the site will appear higher in search results, which increases exposure and engagement for the page.
Aside from the costs your company might incur for creating and maintaining your website, SEO is a free marketing strategy.
SEO does not offer landlords any further syndication.
SEO has the ability to reach targeted people who are searching for exactly what your business offers. It can be difficult and time-consuming to create the content for your website and then optimize it for search engines, but the benefits are definitely worth it. Having a website that is credible in your field and is at the top of search results will enable you to grow your business and beat out your competitors. The organic nature of SEO can have greater long-term benefits for your rental business rather than the short-term benefits that come with paid advertising.
Paid advertising is exactly what it sounds like. Landlords and property managers purchase ad spots from other websites, search engines, and social sites to increase the exposure and engagement of their company websites. Every ad spot comes with a different rate and method of charging, but the benefits are often worth the added costs. Paid advertising can be a massively effective tool for reaching potential renters.
The price of paid advertising for marketing your rentals is entirely dependent on your budget. You can take paid advertising really big, or you can keep it to a smaller scale.
Paid advertising does not offer landlords any further syndication.
Like SEO, paid advertising has the ability to reach targeted people who are searching for exactly what your business offers. While it does cost money to implement, the results of paid advertising are more immediate than SEO. It is also much easier to simply pay a fee than create and optimize large swaths of content.
You should now have a comprehensive view of all the ways you can market your rental properties online. And with an understanding of your business’s needs, choosing the methods that work for you will be a breeze.