5 strategies for marketing your rental listings effectively

Samantha Clark
Samantha Clark | 6 min. read

Published on March 13, 2018

Whenever you’re about to list a property “For Rent,” you can feel the stress wash over you. Finding great renters isn’t easy–especially when you’re up against a tight deadline to avoid longer-than-necessary vacancies. You know all too well that every day that the unit lies vacant, it’s costing you money.

What can make your job easier? Developing a marketing strategy and a clear idea of who you want to rent out your property. Once you find a method that works, you can have a plan ready to go every time a resident decides to move out.

Here’s how to market rental listings to fill vacancies faster and save yourself some stress.

#1: Identify Your Target Market

Before you decide to post your listing everywhere: Do you know the audience you’re targeting? Identifying a target market for your rentals will help you to determine exactly how to reach the right people. Some renters prefer to search for vacancies using certain websites, while others prefer to search for openings in apartment buildings near them.

When your rental listing pops up in the same spot where your target market is searching, it’s like two soulmates finding each other. You’re reaching the exact tenants that you want to rent your units to, while prospective renters are finding the homes they’ve been searching for.

#2: Take Advantage of Free Websites

There are plenty of free ways to promote your property. Take advantage of the most common sites, and test out some new ones every once in a while. Since there are so many different platforms for finding apartments, posting your listings in more places can’t hurt.

As you’re showing your properties, ask people how they found your rentals. Over time, you’ll not only be able to track where most of your traffic is coming from–you’ll get a sense of which methods are a waste of time, and which newer platforms are gaining traction.

Here are 5 ideas for marketing rental listings online:

  • Craigslist
  • Hotpads
  • Trulia
  • Oodle
  • Zillow

#3: Market Offline, Too

Offline marketing is not dead! The power of a “For Rent” sign on a busy street can go a long way, particularly among older renters. What’s important is getting your property seen by as many people as possible.

Here are 3 ideas for marketing rental listings offline:

  • Place “for rent” signs around the property
  • Post an ad in the local paper
  • Post on bulletin boards at local restaurants, shops, and schools

#4: Write High-Quality Listings

You already have a thousand things on your to-do list, and it’s easy to put writing detailed rental listings or taking great photos on the back burner. When it comes to filling vacancies, however, writing up a strong description can do wonders.

Take the time to write detailed descriptions of your rental amenities that capture applicants’ attention and paint a picture in their minds. Answer as many basic questions as you can, including rent and deposit amounts, pet policies, and other common concerns. This will prevent many unnecessary emails and phone calls from prospective applicants.

As you write your description, avoid hyping things up. Highlight appealing features while being straightforward about the reality of your property. You want to get the right tenants walking through your door, not ones who have been misled by your description. Showing your rental property takes time–so why waste time on applicants who won’t be happy in your unit in the end?

Here are 3 qualities of a strong rental listing:

  • A title that captures people’s attention (without crazy punctuation or capitalization, though!)
  • Appealing photos–as many as possible–or a virtual tour of the unit
  • Detailed descriptions of the neighborhood, building, unit, and amenities

Also, keep in mind that many renters will be looking at your listings on smartphones and tablets; so double-check that everything displays correctly from your own devices.

#5: Perfect Your Customer Experience

All of the steps that go into filling a vacant unit might have you stressed out, but it’s important to not let that show when you’re interacting with prospective renters. Treat every person with respect, even if you have to spend your entire weekend showing a property that doesn’t end up getting any applicants. (We know this is easier said than done!)

The experience that you create for prospective renters can have a strong positive or negative impact. Even if someone doesn’t end up renting your unit, if you’ve provided a fantastic customer experience, they just might recommend you to someone else who’s looking for a place to live.

Here are 3 ideas for creating a positive customer experience:

  • Be attentive. Avoid taking phone calls or reading emails when you’re showing a unit to someone.
  • Be kind in person and on the phone. When people contact you to ask about a property, you should strive to always be inviting and polite. A quick phone call is often all the time it takes for a prospective renter to decide whether or not they want to rent from you–and in a hyper-competitive rental market, customer service matters.
  • Train your team to have the same values as you. When your entire team is on the same page, it’s much easier to ensure that you’re providing a good customer experience. One team member whose phone skills aren’t ideal can ruin what you’re trying so hard to build up.
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What have you learned so far about how to market rental listings effectively? Share your stories below!

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Samantha Clark

Samantha is a freelance writer who loves to help real estate professionals grow their businesses online. She specializes in writing blog posts about property management, finances, and marketing. Learn more at samantharclark.com.

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