If you search the internet for information on how to effectively market your rental property, you will find all kinds of advice. Some of it is helpful, some of it is not. 

You will also find generic advice like:

  1. Know Your Audience
  2. Tell A Story
  3. Have A Clear "Call To Action"

And many other staple phrases that have become well-known, but are not often explained well.

When it comes to marketing your rental, what do all of these staple marketing references actually mean? Do they even matter? How do you apply these marketing principles in real life?

What does it mean to "Know Your Audience"? And how, exactly, do you "Tell A Story"?

Without writing a complete book on the topic, let's dive a little deeper beyond the cliche advice you find all over the internet and explore the first step towards instantly making your rental memorable, not forgettable (or worse, ignorable).

Know Your Audience

"Wait a minute! You just said this was a generic piece of advice you hear everywhere about how to market your rental!"

Guilty as charged.

And that's because it is. 

But it's also an important step in effectively marketing your rental. So, instead of parroting the tired phrase, we are going to explore what this actually means and how you can effectively apply this principle to your specific rental property.

Related: 5 Landlord Tips How To Find Good Tenants For Your Rental Property

How to effectively market your rentals

How You Get To "Know Your Audience"

The following phrases are all marketing references that essentially refer to the same marketing principle:

Know Your Audience

Identify Your Target Demographic

Understand Who Your Customer Is

Define Your Customer "Avatar"

Before you do anything else in terms of marketing your rental, you have to be able to answer the following questions in order to know your audience:

Question 1: Who is most likely to rent my property?

While this is not an exhaustive list of things you want to know, these three pieces of information are a good place to start.

Their Age Range

In one of my apartment communities, I could tell you that the people most likely to rent there were between the ages of 21 - 35.

What They Do For a Living

Most of them were white-collar employees who recently graduated from school and were just starting out on their own. They generally worked in a diverse variety of companies within 5 - 10 miles of the property. A small subset of this demographic was self-employed. This renter bloc generally earned between $35,000 - $55,000 per year.

Many of them were not originally from the area, but had come to attend nearby colleges and universities and ended up sticking around for the first year or two after graduating because many of their friends were still in school.

The second-largest renter demographic bloc at this property was college students. The property was located just a couple of miles from a local community college and a few more miles away from a large university. This renter bloc generally qualified with guarantors, student loans, or other non-traditional forms of financing. If they did qualify on their own, it was generally because they rented a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment with multiple roommates.

The last renter demographic bloc at this particular rental property was blue-collar employees. Very few of my tenants were blue-collar employees, but those that were generally worked in a skilled trade such as electricians, plumbers, etc, and often earned an income of $50,000+. They generally did not take mass-transportation and preferred using their own, or company vehicles.

How They Prefer To Commute

A large percentage of them preferred to use mass transportation (Bus, Metro, etc) or bikes, even if they owned their own vehicles. The blue-collar employees were the exception, as they typically had to carry around tools that were in trucks, vans, or company vehicles.

Question 2: Where are they spending most of their time?

Now that you know who your potential tenants are, you have to understand where they hang out. Where do they spend most of their time? How would they find your rental before your competition? 

Example: Students

For the students, it was easy. Colleges and universities generally provide students with local resources that include nearby apartment communities with some type of student-housing benefits or discounts. I just had to make sure that my rental property was included in those resources.

Even something as simple as regularly dropping off property flyers at the local admissions office, with the administrator, or setting them on the table in one of their various lobbies was good enough for multiple leases throughout the year.

No other communities in the area were doing that, so which property do you think was mentioned when a student asked, "Are there any properties in the area that you would recommend as an option for off-campus living?"

Question 3: What do they care about?

Every demographic is going to care about a few of the same core things when it comes to a rental, but within each renter demographic you will have slight variances. 

Now that you know who your most likely tenants are and where they spend their time, think about what they actually care about.

Do they care about local mass-transportation options? 

Do a large percentage of them tend to have pets and need a pet-friendly rental? (Read: Your Tenant Is Hiding This From You & It's Costing You Thousands)

Do they lead a hectic or fast-paced life and prefer to pay someone to do things for them such as dry-cleaning, laundry, taking out their trash, walking their dog, etc? 

Are they fitness enthusiasts who care about their health and well-being and would benefit from a discount at a local fitness center, or, even a complementary paid membership as part of their rental?

Read: The 3 Amenities That Millennials And Gen-Z Expect In a Rental

How To Apply This Information To Your Rental

Now that you are confident that you know who your future tenants are, where they spend their time, and what they care about, the next question is, "What do I do with this information?"

The key here is to speak directly to your target audience and nobody else but them. It's difficult for someone to ignore you if you address them by name and speak directly to them. 

That is precisely what you want to do here.

At my rental most recent rental property, I knew the following things about the people who were most likely to be my tenants: 

  • Age & income demographics (21 - 35)
  • Commuting preferences (Public Transportation, Bikes, Walking)
  • Pet ownership percentages (80%+)
  • The convenience of location (Schools, Restaurants, Bars, etc)

So my general marketing descriptions for this rental property typically looked something like this:

You love your furry friend, and we do too! With the lowest pet deposits in the area, we do our best to make sure you can afford your new home without sacrificing Fido's favorite treats in your budget.

Enjoy the local parks and trails with quick and convenient access to metro rail and bus stops just a block away, or take a leisurely walk to nearby bars, restaurants, and boutique stores in this lively, up and coming neighborhood.

Click here to schedule your tour, or fill out your online application today with our mobile-friendly website or app to reserve your spot today!

P.S. If they like treats, bring your pets when you tour!

The Final Step

Now that you have their attention and they’ve scheduled a tour and decided to visit your rental property, you have to follow through with the experience that you promised them.

Marketing your rental property is not simply the ad copy that you create to get people in the door.

That's just the beginning. 

Now you have to follow through and provide the experience that you promised.

Do NOT forget the pet treats!


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