Since we’ve spent the past few weeks discussing web technologies, it seems like a good time to switch gears and take a look at some grassroots marketing techniques. The whole concept of marketing can be intimidating. The word itself conjures up images of departments and strategies—time intensive, expensive stuff. But marketing doesn’t have to be either of these things. There are plenty of simple, low-impact, cost-effective measures you can take to get your property and business name out there. And, really, that’s what you want—to make sure that when it comes time for a potential tenant to begin looking for a new rental, your company or property’s name immediately comes to mind.
For your properties to enjoy consistent success (in other words to have low vacancy rates and command higher rents), a marketing strategy is a must. Even if you already have a website and list your available units on high-traffic rental sites such as Craigslist, you should still consider additional marketing measures to boost your property’s visibility.
Birds of a Feather
It may be a cliché, but it’s true; birds of a feather do flock together. For you, this means that chances are your best tenants will refer other good tenants. Offering and—perhaps even more importantly—promoting incentives for tenant referrals is a good way to have people get your name out there and find quality tenants on your behalf. Offering a hundred dollar referral fee to existing tenants will likely pay for itself many times over.
Find Your Audience
Figure out what local haunts your target audience is frequenting and make your presence known there. For example, if you primarily rent to college students, put fliers up and business cards out at coffee shops or bookstores near campus. If you want to target young professionals, identify the salons, restaurants, or stores they patronize and do the same there. From a renter’s end, finding the perfect unit can be as daunting as finding a needle in a haystack, so make it easy for them to locate you and remember your name and, chances are, you’ll reap the rewards.
Get in Good With Rental Agencies
Local rental agencies have a direct line in to potential tenants. Build relationships and stay in touch with them, whether that means an annual holiday card, agent lunches, or visits to their office. When an apartment seeker walks into their office, you want your property to be at the front of agents’ minds.
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When it comes to marketing, little things can go a long way. Build customer loyalty and grow your business through word-of-mouth by doing things like providing new tenants with a move-in packet. Contact nearby businesses such as restaurants, gyms, and home-related service vendors to see if they’d be interested in providing coupons or small denomination gift certificates for you to include in a “welcome packet” for new tenants. You win by providing a helpful extra that will generate good word-of-mouth, and participating stores win by getting their name out there without spending big advertising dollars to get new clients through their door.
Provide Good Service
Sure, this obviously falls under customer service, but don’t be fooled. The best advertisement for your business and your rentals is you. Conduct good business—return calls and emails promptly, be polite, and respond quickly to maintenance requests. Happy tenants—or even impressed potential tenants who ultimately rent elsewhere—will provide word-of-mouth and referrals that make it well worth your while.
Put in the Marketing Time
No matter how busy your schedule is, you can make time for marketing. Schedule it on your calendar, just like you would any other appointment. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, it just has to be consistent. For example, end your week with 45 minutes or so blocked off on Friday afternoon to research or contact local businesses you may be able to advertise through or form mutually beneficial relationships with.Read more on Marketing