Hide and Seek: Renter’s Edition

How to Find Renters on Your Own…and Be Good at It 

News flash: property management software can be freaking expensive. Real estate agents, I’m sure you’re aware, also require a hefty chunk of moolah. Because money (unfortunately) doesn’t grow on trees, finding residents via these platforms can be financially frustrating. There’s also something to be said about simply maintaining control over your own stuff. You’re not the only one who enjoys having authority in every step of your property’s growth.

Regardless of your preferences, you need to find residents some way or another. Not interested in forking up extra cash or letting outside entities handle your information? Great. Lucky for you, a few good ol’ DIY advertising methods can help you fill vacancies all on your own. 

Rental Websites

God bless the internet. With little cost, you can plug your property directly into the thick of competition. Regardless of cost or platform choice, there are a few blatantly obvious marketing tips you have to follow if you have any desire to stand out to potential renters. 

Take Flattering Pics

If your property pictures don’t meet your Instagram feed standards, I don’t want to see them. Nearly every phone has satisfactory photography abilities. Moreover, experts, such as Chris Bray, generously provide free crash courses capable of transforming any Joe Shmoe into a decent photographer.

After getting those angles and finding the perfect lighting, go explore VSCO and Snapseed– two applications with modest yet respectable editing options at a whopping total cost of $0. 

Know Your Audience

Rule #1 of marketing: choose your target market. Before talking up your property, understand who would want to live there. Focus on them. If your property is perfect for young families, highlight the playroom next to your lobby, your state of the art security, and the pool’s large shallow end. 

Whip Out the Adjectives

With coffee in one hand and a thesaurus in the other, become the Bob Ross of vocabulary. Nobody cares about your tan walls and clear windows. Someone may actually pay attention, however, if the family room’s warm and welcoming ambiance features natural lighting and cozy hues. 

Social Media

You can run but you can’t hide. Social media is free and everyone uses it. While it’s not the appropriate place to jump into lengthy descriptions or share heaps of  information, social media serves as a highlight reel for your facility. In order to best entice residents, please take a hot minute to refresh yourself on these tips. 

Find Some Groupies

Facebook has done a lot of work for you. By joining  Facebook groups, you can “connect with new people, share knowledge or get support”. Sorting multifamily groups by location allows you to keep up with activity and resident preferences in your area. Keep in mind that some groups have rules prohibiting rental advertising. Make sure you check said rules before you join. Play nice. 

Use Hashtags

Hashtag, pound key, call it what you want. Spicing up your posts with key phrase hashtags is the hippest and sexiest form of SEO. Why? By highlighting important words with a hashtag, you instantly make your post easier to find. Any time a potential resident searches, or clicks on, one of your hashtagged words, your post is automatically included as one of the results.  #ThisIsImportant  

Be Active

It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that part of creating an online presence requires you to be just that- present. Post. Create stories. Comment. Like. If you’re contacted, respond before the interested party loses, well, interest. The more active you are, the more approachable you seem.

Print Media

While not as prominent as digital marketing, print media can scoop up a few straggler residents. Millennials, from time to time, take the bait on this. Older residents, who tend to have a greater appreciation for such advertising, are important to your business as well. With this in mind, these two relatively easy media forms don’t sound so shabby after all. 

Raid Local Bulletin Boards

Use that smart head of yours and choose your location wisely. If millennials are your target market, perhaps refrain from plastering the local nursing home with your tech-savvy living space offer. Just think, where would you hide if you yourself were a flannel-clad beanie wearer? Make sure to include your neighborhood, room counts, sizing, special features, and rent. 

Stake Some For Rent Signs

Think of this as fishing. Plop a sign in a high traffic area. This includes busy intersections, business hotspots, your property, and target neighborhoods.  Make your phone number extremely obvious. Perhaps someone will take the bait. If not, you’ve expended little to no effort. 

Word of Mouth 

Rumor has it that word of mouth (WOM) marketing is one of the most powerful forms of advertising there is. People always talk and you have some power in steering the conversation. 

Solidify a One-Liner

Okay so um like it’s kinda annoying how some people um sound kinda like a broken record when trying to sort of get their point across a little bit ya know? For the love of all that is good and holy, solidify your property’s mission into one cute thought. Extra credit for any keywords you toss in. The more people repetitively hear positive concepts about your property, the more likely they are to accurately convey your property to others.

Consider Amplified WOM

WOM occurs in two forms: organic and amplified. Organic WOM simply takes place when Stacy loves your facility and decides to tell Karen and Nancy all about it during girls night. Amplified WOM, however, comes about when talk is created by strategic marketing efforts. Spark conversations with a hashtag campaign, incentives, shared customer testimonials, contests, and giveaways. 

Your Own Website

Last but not least, invest in some personal care and groom your own website. Your website serves as the central hub for your marketing. If your website is a hot mess, I will assume you and your property are too. Get yourself together with these tips.

Optimize SEO

Ultimately, you want residents to wander their way to your website as a result of your marketing. Speed up that journey by sprinkling in keywords and phrases. Take a moment and consider what you would throw into Google if you were looking for an apartment. Location, price, and amenities are biggies. By prominently incorporating these guys into headlines and body copy, you’ll make yourself easier to find. 

Mind Mobility

I hope you’re aware that two-thirds of the time, today’s population visits your site on a mobile device. Will users wait for your page to load? Heck no. Are they okay with a janked up visual display? You’re cute. Time and looks are of the essence, my friend. Give your mobile site the attention it deserves. 

Combine Beauty and Brains

Your property’s website serves as the perfect platform for both show and tell. Unlike some marketing measures, it’s appropriate to unpack the juicy deets of your offer on your website. At the same time, throw together a gallery of your favorite Instagram-worthy pics we talked about earlier. 

Write Your Story

Transform your complex into a community by dedicating part of your website to your property’s mission. What is special about your apartments? What is your purpose in serving residents? Why are you interesting and different? Creating a personable brand helps residents view your property less as a building and more as a home. 

Nobody said this would be easy. Real estate agents and property management software features could save you time and effort…but at what cost? If you’re willing to get down and dirty, this whole DIY marketing thing allows you to keep some money in your piggy bank. You need residents. People need apartments. Go get ‘em, tiger. 

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