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How to Market Your Rentals Effectively

October 15, 2018

Inevitably, even your best tenants will move out sooner or later—hopefully later. Either way, when your tenants say goodbye, what’s your plan to attract new, highly qualified ones? Mapping out your strategy before this happens will prepare you to quickly fill a vacancy. Here are some approaches to consider as you develop your dynamic marketing plan.
TenantCloud Tips for Landlords and Property Managers

Important Pre-marketing Steps

There are many things you can do before you have a vacancy to improve your chances of quickly filling it, but here are three of the most important actions to take before directly marketing your unit: (1) own and manage your online brand, (2) create unit curb appeal, and (3) identify your target market.

We won’t go in-depth on these three points in this post, but keep the following in mind: in today’s world, you need to own and regulate your online profiles. Reviews and how you respond to them will greatly influence prospective tenants as they look around. As for the curb appeal of your unit, if you don’t have professional-level photography or videography skills, consider hiring someone to come photograph or video your squeaky clean unit to showcase its rentability. High quality representations of your rentals can do wonders for marketing. Finally, be sure to define your target market so you know which tactics will be most effective in advertising.
 

Marketing Your Unit

Once you have a vacant unit, it’s time to get it in front of your target audience as quickly as possible. So where do you start? With online marketing. This is where most prospects begin vetting their rental options. Even older potential tenants who are less tech savvy often get help from their loved ones who navigate this unfamiliar landscape for them. These are key advertising locations to consider that have a higher likelihood of bringing you prospects:
 

Your landlord website

Your website is a foundational marketing piece. Not only can you describe in detail why potential residents will want to rent your unit, you can show them; display professional pictures and walk-through videos of your unit on your site to showcase its virtues. If you use a service like TenantCloud, be sure to take advantage of the free website that comes with it. You can tailor this website to list your available units and even accept rental applications, saving you time and effort.
 

Apartment marketing websites

Beyond your landlord website, consider posting your listing on other free and paid marketing websites like these:

  • Apartmentguide.com

  • Craigslist

  • Hotpads

  • (Live) Lovely

  • Oodle

  • Padmapper

  • Realtor.com

  • Rent.com

  • RentalHouses.com

  • Rentals.com

  • Rentdigs

  • Trulia

  • Zumper

  • Zillow

In addition to these websites, there may be area-specific marketing websites you can use depending on where your unit is located. Be sure to search out and advertise on these local listing sites.
 

Popular websites

Other online spaces to consider advertising on are websites where your target audience spends a good amount of time. For example, if you’re located near a college and primarily attract college students as tenants, think about what websites they frequent and then advertise on them. This may be as specific as a popular local coffee shop’s website where students use the webpage to sign in to free café-hosted Wifi, or it may be as general as Instagram, where you can geographically tailor ads. Knowing where your target audience spends time online and then advertising on those sites is key to bringing you leads.

 

Referrals

While Internet marketing is a huge sector to leverage, it’s not the only way to reel in leads. If you have more than one unit in an area, consider offering a monetary incentive to your other tenants for bringing you leads who ultimately rent. Also, inform friends and family in the area that you have an open unit, and they’ll often freely spread the word. Word of mouth can be a successful strategy, especially if you have satisfied tenants.

 

Signage

Putting out physical signs seems old school, and it is, but it works. If you think of it from neighbors’ perspectives, who wouldn’t love choosing their next-door neighbors? As people see available rental units in their neighborhoods, they’ll tell their friends who are in the market for a new place, so be sure to include a contact number or website on the for-rent sign to make contact easier. Also, for heightened visibility, consider placing another sign with basic contact information on the busiest road nearby.

 

Newspapers

In most cases, it’s probably not worth buying ad space in printed newspapers, but there are exceptions. If you own a unit in an area that has a metro, buying ad space in a popular morning-commute newspaper will likely be worth your time. Printed newspapers in general, though, are losing their footings in the advertising space.

Ultimately, the best way to find out what brings in prospects for your specific rental in your unit’s area is to try several different methods and then track what brings in the most prospects. As you put some of these ideas into play, be sure to keep a good record of how potential tenants hear about your unit, and reuse the most effective tactics next time.

What marketing approaches have worked for you? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your thoughts or pieces of advice on this topic.