The ultimate marketing checklist for property managers this leasing season

Jillian Rodriguez
| 9 min. read
Get the latest industry insights.

Published on April 19, 2019

When leasing season rolls around, your to-do list is so long that tidying up your marketing strategy likely didn’t even make the top ten. When you’re busy prepping for showings and managing applicants, who has time for marketing?

At the same time, there’s no denying that the next few months are critical for your bottom line—and like it or not, marketing plays a big role in your success. Marketing is a powerful tool for attracting quality renters and getting them through the door, when competition for their attention is at an all-time high.

The world of marketing can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to demystify the most critical strategies for property managers and share marketing ideas for leasing apartments. Whether you’ve hired a team of marketers or you’re doing it yourself, this is the marketing checklist that every property manager needs this leasing season.

Capture Residents’ Attention

How do you get in front of prospective residents in the crowded world of rental listings? It’s all about understanding what inspires renters to stop scrolling and click on your listing—and sometimes that all starts with the impression you’re making in your target neighborhoods, online and in-person. If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd this leasing season, here’s how to get started.

Get Social

What role does social media play in your marketing strategy? Your social media presence should be about more than blasting your followers with links to your rental listings. Social media is a powerful tool for building your brand, finding new business, and cultivating relationships with residents and owners.

Each social media platform presents different opportunities for your business. On Instagram, focus on visuals and sharing the unique features of your different properties. You could also share videos that show the type of community your residents enjoy. On Twitter, focus on cultivating conversation with residents, owners, and local businesses and stakeholders. On Facebook, use tools like Marketplace to advertise your listings and attract new applicants. Read more tips on social media for property managers.

Market Offline, Too

In today’s digital environment, it’s easy to lose touch with the human element behind all of your marketing efforts. With your social strategy is in place, come out from behind the screen and get into the community. Focus on building relationships through local business associations or real estate groups that can help you reach new residents and owners. No matter your target market, there’s no replacing quality face time with local stakeholders who can help you generate quality leads for your business. And guess what—by getting out there, you’ll create the opportunity for even more content for your website that resonates and shows what your brand is all about.

More importantly, generate word-of-mouth referrals by reaching out to current residents, leveraging affiliate relationships, and doing something positive for your community, like sponsoring a charity event or even an education session with local business owners covering real estate investing basics. Keep reading about marketing tips for property managers.

Property manager showing resident a listing online.

Property manager showing a potential resident more details on a listing.

Make It Easy for Residents to Find You Online

Now that we’ve covered awareness strategies above, let’s move a little further along the resident leasing journey. The rental market is always changing, and new trends emerge that will influence your brand and your business. Leasing season calls for a refresh on how you’re using your website to market to owners and residents. Let’s say a prospective resident is searching for homes in one of your target neighborhoods that you often post about on social. How likely is it that your property management website will show up in the relevant search results?

It’s hard work to get new customers and retain the ones you have, but a strong acquisition strategy will get you started in the right direction. From cleaning up your website to crafting click-worthy listings, here are a couple of steps to refresh your approach.

Align Your Website with Your Marketing Goals

Is your website helping you achieve your marketing goals? Now’s a great time to revisit your website and make improvements to the user experience. Start by evaluating your website through the lens of your ideal visitor (both owners and residents).

Let’s say a prospective resident finds your website. How easy is it for them to navigate your site and find what they need? Do you have the right call-to-actions in place to collect their contact information to get in touch?

You might think that social media has rendered a good, old-fashioned website obsolete, but in fact, our research in Buildium’s Renters’ Report found that millennials are still turning to property management websites to browse listings, along with using Zillow and social media.

A strong website increases brand awareness, helps prospects find you, and converts them into leads. Read more about aligning your website with your marketing goals.

Craft Listings that Sell Themselves

Take a quick inventory of your listings for units that tend to turn over every year. When was the last time you reviewed and updated them? Even if your units haven’t changed much, the world around them has. For example, nearly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, and prospective residents expect mobile-friendly listings.

And then there’s photos—if you’re using the same images from 2010, it’s likely they look grainy and outdated on today’s devices. Take the time to polish up your listings, update your photos, and add any new amenities.

You want to craft listings with a descriptive headline, detailed property information, and a few highlights about what sets your property apart. Is parking included? Is it steps from the beach? Don’t be shy about sharing the features that residents will pay more for.

Our Renters’ Report also found that more than 1 in 2 residents would be willing to pay higher rent for an in-unit washer and dryer, central air conditioning, high-speed internet, or private outdoor space. Learn more about writing high-quality listings.

Cross-Post Rental Listings On Major Sites

Now it’s time to get as many eyeballs as you can on those polished listings. Most property management companies have a few go-to sites for posting vacancies, but cross-posting your listings on multiple major sites helps you reach a larger pool of prospective residents. Take advantage of the many rental listing sites like Trulia, and Zillow, to improve your chances of finding eligible renters. If you use a property management software, see if it offers listing syndication to share vacancies on your behalf. For example, Buildium has one-touch syndication to share your property listings on dozens of our partners’ pages.

And don’t forget to keep your own website updated with new vacancies. You’ve worked hard to create an optimized, easy-to-use website, and more visitors means a higher ranking in search results. Read more leasing marketing ideas for rental listings.

Develop a Content Strategy

Do you know which keywords to use on your website to boost traffic? You can leverage keywords to increase how often your website shows up on Google and in local search results.  Before your eyes glaze over, hear us out: search engine optimization isn’t as complicated as you think. It all starts with understanding what your target audience is typing into search engines and which keywords they’re using.

It takes a lot of time and resources to rank in Google, but taking a hyper-local approach can help you focus your efforts for the most impact. Look to similar-sized competitors in your market and what they’re ranking for on their sites. You might find that people are using search terms like ‘student housing in Detroit’ or ‘month-to-month apartments near Wayne State.’ From there, use a tool like Google Adwords, Hubspot, or Moz to help you identify and finalize the keywords that are most relevant to your business.

Use your keyword research to spark creative marketing ideas for leasing apartments. Once you know the keywords you want to rank for, you can start creating blog posts, landing pages, and even podcasts. And don’t forget about review sites, like your Google My Business page and Yelp, that show up in search results, too. Keep up with managing your online presence and stay in control of your online reputation.

Graph: How property managers adapting their approach to retain renters.

Property managers’ responses from Buildium’s Industry Report: How are you adapting your approach to attracting and retaining renters? 

Leverage the Latest Technology

Around this time of year, you’re likely making upgrades to freshen up your properties. But this is also a great time to look into business upgrades to make the rental process more seamless for you and your residents. Technology is changing the landscape of the rental market, and it’s important to understand how it impacts your business, for better or worse. Here are three ways to get ahead of the curve and embrace new technology.

Screenings and Self-Showings

Tired of coordinating in-person showings? Many renters are feeling the same way. You’ve likely heard of self-showings, especially the old-school method of leaving a set of keys in the lock box for prospective renters. But there’s new technology that makes self-showings easier and more secure than ever.

Now you can use smart lock boxes and keyless smart locks to give prospects easy access to properties without sacrificing safety. Some services even offer security screening to confirm the prospect is who they say they are. A straightforward showing process makes for a seamless experience for your prospects and could help you shorten the leasing cycle. Learn more about self-showings for rental properties.

Optimize for Voice Search

If Alexa, Siri, and Google aren’t part of your marketing strategy just yet, you’re not alone. We’re only beginning to understand the implications voice search will have on our businesses, but it’s important to take the time to understand how renters might be using voice search to find listings, especially for property managers that market multifamily buildings.

Voice search technology isn’t too different than traditional search engines. Keep in mind that digital assistants respond to questions with only the top result, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using your website to answer key questions for your target market. Luckily, your SEO strategy overlaps with voice search, especially if you’ve chosen keywords that are conversational, like “the best condos in Austin.” Learn more about how property managers can use AI assistants.

Track the Right Marketing Analytics

You’ve captured residents’ attention, made it easy to find your listings, and even improved the showing experience. The last step is to analyze your marketing activities and see what you can learn. Tracking and measuring metrics helps you understand how your website and content are doing and how you can improve. Plus, today’s analytics tools, like Google Analytics, are more sophisticated (and easy-to-use!) than ever.

The backend of your website tells you where your traffic is coming from and what your visitors are doing once they’re on your site. You can also track metrics like pageviews, pages per visit, and bounce rate (how quickly people leave your site) to understand how people are interacting with your website.

Keep learning about the most important marketing analytics for property managers.

Marketing can be an intimidating undertaking for many property managers, but the right strategies can actually make your day-to-day activities easier and more impactful. These tips also present new opportunities to attract quality residents and owners to help you achieve more meaningful growth for your business. With leasing season in full swing, trying out new marketing ideas can help you not just survive the season, but thrive.

Read more on Marketing
Jillian Rodriguez
Jillian Rodriguez

Jillian Rodriguez is a freelance writer out of Detroit, Michigan. Jillian writes about everything from entrepreneurship to real estate to chocolate, and she loves every minute of it. Beyond writing, Jillian is an avid reader, a public radio junkie, and active in early childhood development. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing & Sociology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

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