Digital Marketing for Landlords: How to Advertise Your Rental Property Online
If you’re reading these right now, you are either my colleague who usually proofreads all of my texts before they see the light of day or a landlord having hard times finding quality tenants. If you are the latter, it’s just your luck to stumble upon this article. Having made huge strides in the rental industry, our team is now sure that there is one thing that makes or breaks one’s career in property management. And as you can tell from the title, this one thing is rental property marketing.
It won’t be breaking news if I say that the rules of marketing have changed tremendously over the last ten years. And these new rules apply to all industries, making no exception to rental business. What used to work just great in the early ‘00s (putting a sign in the yard and waiting for renters to come) won’t give you much success in 2017. Now, when millennials have been officially named the generation of renters, you need to market your rental properties with this fact in mind. Wonder what it means? Let’s figure it out.
Market Your Rentals With Millennials in Mind
One of the fundamental principles of online marketing is to detect your target audience correctly, study behavior and online habits of these people (what websites they spend the majority of their time on, what platforms or social networks they use and for what purposes), and then make your rental properties “findable” there.
It’s obviously not a rocket science, but as I can tell from dealing with thousands of landlords from all across the country, only a small percentage seem to be following this smart approach. Most of the landlords keep doing kind of crappy when it comes to marketing properties online. That’s why learning how to market a rental property online is your chance to outsmart the majority of your competitors. Read this article A to Z and you won’t be on a losing side.
Define Who Would Be a Perfect Match for Your Property
The first and foremost step to take is to analyze who would your rental property be ideal for. In digital marketing, this process is usually referred to as detecting your buyer persona. In our case, it is more like detecting a ‘renter persona’ (hope marketers won’t get angry at me for paraphrasing the official term). The goal of creating a ‘renter persona’ is to better understand the needs and wants of your potential renters.
Let’s say, you own a stylish loft in a downtown. In this case, it might be a great choice for a young bachelor and a poor one for a family with two kids. If your rental property is a single-family home in a calm neighborhood, you should focus on families with kids or renters older than 30. If you’ve got a spacious studio in a vibrant community nearby a college or university, bet on students.
As soon as you know what kind of people are most likely to be interested in your rental property, you get a huge competitive edge. When you know who your ideal ‘renter persona’ is, you can predict what websites and social networks this person is likely to use. As a result, you can focus on these particular channels only, saving yourself plenty of time and effort.
Write a Catchy Title and Property Description
In nearly all cases, title and pictures are two first things people see when looking through rental property listings. And, as the old adage goes, you never get a second chance to make the first impression. This single reason should be enough to take this step seriously.
But what does it mean to write a catchy title/description, you ask. Very good question. As experience confirms, it’s all about being informative and precise. Renting out a condo? Make sure your title mentions it. Does your property have a garden and a huge swimming pool? Let your prospects learn about it right from the start.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you get started:
- Do: Spacious loft with floor-to-ceiling windows.
- Don’t: Vacant property on Madison Ave.
- Do: Studio in downtown with a rooftop pool.
- Don’t: Property in the city center.
Speaking of rental property description, your goal is twofold. First, you should provide all the details correctly – property size & type, a number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and amenities. Second, you should avoid Hemingway-like voice and tone.
Add Quality Pictures Emphasizing the Benefits of Your Rental
I cannot stress enough the importance of this point. It will surprise you but quality pictures of rental property can generate 139% more clicks on your listing. So it goes without saying that you should make sure your listing is illustrated with HD and eye-pleasing pictures of your rentals. You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional photographer to shoot things for you. Armed with some basic tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create beautiful pictures yourself.
We’ve got a detailed guide on real estate photography to help you shoot like a pro, but if you’re running out of time, enjoy the shortened version:
- Get the right equipment: camera with a good ISO performance, lenses of 10-22 and for cropped sensor cameras and 16-35mm for full frame ones, tripod, and flash for shooting in bad light.
- Make sure to capture all important parts of your property. This includes a living room, bedroom(s) and bathroom(s), kitchen with a dining area, and exterior.
- Retouch photos paying special attention to vertical correction, cropping, HDR, and white balance.
Create a Video Tour (Or Make 360-Degree Picture)
I could say that property video tour is the new black, but I’ve got a better idea. Property video tour is the new open house. This is especially true for people looking for long-term rental properties outside their home state and city. For them, attending an open house might be the biggest pain point. And you can easily address it by creating a quality video tour.
Not only will it make your rental property listing stand out among numerous others, but it will also help you target particular groups of prospects – people unable to attend an open house because of living in another state of having a busy schedule.
So you shouldn’t be afraid of things that are new: get armed with a GoPro or any other camera and shoot a video featuring the perks of your rental property. Once you’re done, take advantage of some video retouching, upload your video on YouTube, and attach the link to your listing. The payoffs will be huge.
In case video shooting is not your biggest talent, consider making some 360-degree pictures. It’s way easier and less time-consuming. What’s more, no special equipment and skills are required. Grab you iPhone, download an app like Cycloramic (this one makes your phone turn around and shoot a quality 360-degree pictures), five minutes spent and you’re done.
Make Use of Property Listing Syndication
For the starters, let’s find out what is listing syndication. Generally speaking, it is a distribution of your property listing across all relevant websites. Its primary goal is to increase exposure and reduce vacancy rates, which makes it a great digital marketing tool for landlords.
While you can add your listing manually to all rental websites you know, there is a way better approach to follow. List your property on a rental platform, click on ‘syndication’ button, and you’ll get your listing published on 9 biggest rental websites automatically. As our experience confirms, automated listing syndication is one of the most effective advertising ideas for the rental property.
Search for Tenants While They’re Searching for You (Quora)
Another great way to get tenants is to visit websites they use for finding answers to their questions related to moving, renting, and alike. One of the most popular websites of this kind is Quora. If you’ve never heard of it before, here’s your one-sentence intro: Quora is a popular Q&A website where questions are posed, answered, and organized by topics.
Oftentimes, Quora users ask questions about the best or safest neighborhoods of a certain city. They ask about prices for long-term rentals in a particular state/city/borough, about best websites to use for rental property hunting, about best places to raise kids. All of these questions are your chance to get in touch with prospective tenants before they get in touch with you.
Register on Quora, make sure to indicate that real estate, housing, long-term renting, and property management are your areas of interest, and get all relevant questions delivered right into your email box. As soon as you stumble upon questions from people looking for a rental property, put your best marketing foot forward and tell them you’ve got a great vacant pad for a good price.
Use the Power of Social Networks
There are plenty of rental property marketing ideas, but this one is chief among them. When it comes to advertising your rental property, social networks are king. You can share your property listing in relevant Facebook Groups, you can post the listing to your feed and ask friends to share it with their audiences. You can use paid advertising tool and target your listing to Facebook users living in a certain city. If you lack appropriate experience, you can outsource those marketing tasks. Companies like PropertySpark offers comprehensive solutions for the campaigns on social networks.
The good news is that due to one of Facebook’s recent algorithm updates, video content is ranking better than still images. So if you have a video tour featuring the benefits of your property, post it on Facebook along with property description, share to relevant groups, and enjoy the results. Chances are good, your property will be rented out before you even know it.
For the finals
Now you’re well-versed in digital marketing for landlords, and it means at least three good things. First and foremost, your vacancy rates will decrease. Second, you’ll be able to choose the most quality tenants. Third, the demand for your rental property will go up (which means you’ll get a chance to earn more). It’s time to enjoy the benefits online marketing can bring to your rental business. Go for it, you’ll be glad that you did.