Traditionally, landlords marketed their rental properties with exclusively offline materials and strategies. Before the internet, landlords were limited to local, small-scale resources, making it difficult to reach large pools of renters. They relied on newspapers, yard signs, local organizations, referrals, and other offline marketing approaches to get the word out about vacancies.
Luckily, today’s landlords aren’t as limited. With so many useful online resources (most of which are free), it’s much easier to reach renters, even those moving from out of state. And with listing syndication software, landlords are able to market to thousands of renters with little time or effort. As a result, offline rental marketing has mostly fallen by the wayside.
Nevertheless, reinforcing your online rental marketing plan with some choice offline strategies can be an effective way of filling units. Below, we go over the primary offline marketing methods, how much they’ll cost, and whether or not they hold up in today’s market.
Newspapers ads are the most classic version of rental property advertisement. They used to be pretty inexpensive and, because everyone still read the newspaper, they were an effective way of reaching potential renters in a particular area.
Newspaper ads cost roughly $12 per inch, but the exact price depends on the newspaper and location.
Everyone’s heard of the classifieds, but when was the last time you actually heard of someone looking through them? It’s probably been at least 20 years. Because the vast majority of renters hunt for rental properties online, newspaper ads have mostly become ineffective. It’s safe to say you can skip this method of marketing.
We’re all familiar with for-rent signs. In neighborhoods that get a lot of foot-traffic and commuters, a for-rent sign in the yard can be a useful way of advertising vacancies.
Yard signs are approximately $15-25 per sign.
Yard signs used to be one of the main marketing tools used by landlords. Over the last 20 years, however, their efficacy has diminished. Not only that, yard signs are susceptible to theft. They often conjure up applicants that are unqualified to rent your unit, as well. Because they’re so cheap, yard signs can still be of some use. Nevertheless, if they lead to further problems, remove them and focus on other marketing agendas.
Organization and Corporate Avenues
One way of reaching renters in your area is through word-of-mouth. Encouraging local organizations and corporations to share information about your available property can be an effective way of reaching potential renters.
Typically, relying on organization and corporate avenues for rental marketing is free.
Using resources such as section 8, churches, non-profits, veterans administration, and local businesses is a free way of reaching potential renters in your area. It may not be the most reliable way of spreading information, seeing as how details often get lost in translation, but your local network can still be a useful marketing tool.
Whether you simply ask for a friendly favor, or you offer awards for successful leads, referrals are typically an inexpensive way of advertising your vacant rental properties.
Referrals can either be free or come with a predetermined fee.
Utilizing realtors, locators, friends, tenants, landlords, or investors as referrals is a unique approach to reach potential renters. While some of these options do cost money, referrals can be a successful method for filling units.
Implement Offline Marketing into Your Marketing Approach
You should now have an encompassing view of your options for offline rental marketing. Although these traditional approaches have mostly been replaced with online marketing, it’s still good to know your options and their varying levels of efficacy. To learn more about digital advertising, check out our article on every way to market your rental properties online (link to “Every Way to Market Your Rental Properties Online”).