Effective Marketing Strategies for Property Managers to Grow Their Rent Roll
Whether you’re a well-established property manager with a whole portfolio of clients and properties, or are starting out in the industry, it’s important to be continuously thinking about how you can grow your rent roll and increase your monthly income. There are a number of ways that you can be truly proactive about growing your rent roll yourself, and it’s all about brand building, marketing, and building great relationships with new, existing and potential clients.
Of course, some of these ideas may be more or less appropriate for your needs, depending on your available time, budget, and whether you work as part of a real estate agency or individually. But nonetheless, take a look at our list for inspiration on a whole lot of ways you can help market yourself and increase your rent roll.
1. Conduct market research continuously
First up, it’s important to continuously research and get to know your target market. A great way to start is by looking to your existing clients, and conducting some simple surveys asking them how and why they chose you to manage their properties. Great questions to ask include:
a. Why did you choose us?
b. How many other agents did you consider?
c. How long did it take you to make a decision?
d. What were the main things you were looking for when selecting an agent?
e. Was there anything that made you hesitate or worried when you were choosing?
The answers to these questions can help shape all your marketing efforts and allow you to really hit the sweet spot with potential clients.
2. Listen in to conversations on social media
LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Twitter, forums, online communities, educational companies all can provide great information on what’s happening in the landlord community, and it also gives you the chance to share your knowledge and get your name out there by answering the questions being asked by landlords online.
3. Understand your different types of clients
There are different types of landlords, so don't try to talk to all of them all at once in your marketing, as they will have different needs. Professional investors with a full portfolio will have different needs than amateur investors who only have one or two properties for retirement or for their kids to live in. If you manage the properties of an overseas investor, for example, they’ll want to know that you’ll handle everything with absolutely minimal input from them.
4. Market yourself to your, well, market
Marketing strategies are important for both attracting tenants and marketing your clients’ properties - But marketing is also a great way to help attract investors and landlords as well. Sit down with your team and come up with a detailed strategy which outlines what channels you’ll spend the most time and money on, specifically to attract landlords.
5. Regularly publish case studies that you can show to potential clients
Constantly compile information and stats, such as how quickly you can fill properties and reduce void periods, the average satisfaction rate of your tenants, how much or how little you have needed to involve your landlords in the past when dealing with any problems, the number of potential renters you have on your database, and more.
6. Have some infographics designed around your stats and results
Better than simply handing over a bullet point list of your recent stats, hire a freelance graphic designer to create some funky infographics which highlight your property management successes. You can then show this to prospective clients in your sales meetings.
7. Create a well-established social media presence
Whether you work for a real estate agency, or run your own property management business, it’s important to have a strong social media presence, either as an office, or as an individual. Facebook and Twitter are great places to start, and building up an audience by sharing interesting articles, news updates, and other content can help you build a following of people who may not quite be in market for a property manager yet, but who might be further on down the track. Just make sure the articles and updates you share (or a percentage of them) appeal to the interests of landlords.
8. Publish articles on LinkedIn
LinkedIn offers a built-in blogging feature, which allows you to post long form written content for your network to read and share. It’s a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
9. Utilise social media ads
To further boost the effectiveness of your social media profiles, paid social ads can help drive more likes and shares for your page. If you blog (more on this shortly) it can also increase traffic to your blog. Social ads are particularly useful as you can be highly targeted with who you show your ads to - Target your ads based on age, gender and location. Check out the advertising options available for Facebook and Twitter.
10. Build a following on YouTube
If you’re not camera shy, why not start a YouTube channel where you share property investment tips, property market updates and news, interviews with property professionals such as mortgage advisors and more. Be sure to share these on your social channels, and encourage users to subscribe.
11. Focus on your property listing descriptions
Remember that everything you do as a property manager is a reflection of yourself - and this includes the work you do for existing clients. If you write half-hearted descriptions for clients’ properties, you or your real estate agency might gain a reputation for really not caring much about your rental clients. And you never know when a renter might soon become a landlord looking for a manager.
12. Make excellent photography for listings a priority
All too often, we’ve seen property managers post photos of their clients’ rental properties that look like they’ve been taken with a Nokia N90. Take a bit of time to get great photos taken, and you’ll soon have landlords asking you to do the same for their properties.
13. Utilise video in your listings
Recently, a video of a multimillion dollar mansion video went viral, and we all have to admit we’ve watched along in strange curiosity at the TV show Cribs, and it’s no surprise: According to a 2013 Google/NAR study entitled “The Digital House Hunt”, homes listed with video get four times the inquiries of homes listed without video. While video is becoming more popular for properties for-sale, getting your rental property to stand out in a tough rental market or area may mean the difference between it sitting empty for months, or getting rented out straight away. If prospective landlords see that you use video to market the rental properties, it can be a great selling point. Read more on video marketing for property managers here.
14. Don’t forget about staging your properties for inspections
Similar to the above, ensuring that all of your rental properties are well presented at inspections will slowly build your reputation as someone who really cares about getting great rental income for their clients. While it is an additional cost, it can pay off and help you find tenants for your properties quicker meaning happier landlords.
15. Advertise your business on Google
AdWords can be a great way to target people looking for property managers in your area. If you’re savvy, do it yourself, or employ an agency to help out.
16. Advertise on YouTube
Video ads on YouTube can be a great way to increase your profile online, and traffic is relatively cheap. See the guide to creating video ads on YouTube.
17. Put reviews and feedback to good use
Received some great feedback in person from some of your clients? Encourage them to leave a review on your Facebook page or Google business profile. That way, anyone conducting research on potential property managers will be able to see how well you’ve serviced your clients in the past.
18. Maintain a blog which publishes interesting articles about investing, managing rental property, the areas, average prices, market trends, and more
Blogs are a great way to build relationships with an audience before they’re even thinking about looking for a property manager. Make sure your company blog is well maintained with a number of high-quality articles each week that talk to the interests of landlords and potential landlords and you’ll soon find yourself building up a following of potential clients. If you don’t have the time to write the articles yourself, hire a freelancer to ghost write on behalf of you or your company.
19. Conduct landlord profiles and interviews on your website or blog
If you have a blog or a website, why not profile your landlords in a short interview-style article? Ask them questions around how and why they started investing, their advice for other investors, and their tricks and secrets of the trade. Bonus: It’s a great relationship-building exercise between you and your existing clients as well.
20. Grow an email database of prospects. Work the list
By having a valuable piece of content or resource for landlords on your website that people have to enter their email address to access. You’ll be growing a valuable list of people that you can start to build relationships with using email marketing. See more on capturing leads using a lead-magnet.
21. Utilise email marketing
You’ve grown a list using your lead magnet as we mentioned just before. Now market to them! Don’t forget that you’ll need to regularly share things of value with your email subscribers, rather than just constantly asking them “Hey, want me to manage your property?”
By sharing valuable content with them, you will build their trust and improve their perception of you and your property management company, so at a later stage, when you reach out to try and get their business, they should be much more receptive to your pitch.
22. Host webinars to pull landlords in to learn about property management
23. Become a regular contributor to well-followed property blogs
Many bloggers have well-established followings and audiences that they’ve built up over years. Get in touch with them and offer to contribute quality articles to their blog. Ensure you put in your author bio that you’re a property manager, and if possible, include a link back to your website.
24. Be interviewed on a podcast
Similarly, many property bloggers have a regular podcast. Offer to be one of the experts they interview for one of their episodes.
25. Be interviewed on someone’s YouTube channel.
This will be a case of building up a relationship with a property blogger or vlogger, and then offering to be an expert interviewed in one of their videos although some may charge to feature you and give you the exposure to their audience.
26. Create visual content and seed it on other property blogs, social channels, and Pinterest
Hire a designer to put together some interesting stats about the property market, and then offer them up to online real estate blogs and publications to publish, with credit back to your company. For inspiration, we love the simple visualisations on realestate.com.au’s suburb explorer.
27. Hit up your existing landlords for other properties
Part of being a good property manager means maintaining good relationships with your clients. Every now and then, catch up with your clients and ask them about their other investing activity, and whether or not they might have any other properties they’re looking for help with managing.
28. Ask your tenants
Approximately 18 per cent of tenants also own investment properties. Enough said.
29. Ask your tradesmen
As a property manager, you probably have a database of tradesmen you frequently work with who may also be landlords. Strike up a conversation, get to know them, and then casually ask them about whether or not they happen to have any investment properties you might be able to help manage.
30. Ask your friends
You’d be surprised at how many people feel bad asking their friends for business, when it can actually be a very good arrangement for everyone involved. Your friend gets someone they trust managing their property for them, and you get a new client. Win-win. Don’t forget your friends’ friends too! A referral commission might go a long way in motivating people…
31. Ask strangers
We don’t mean harassing people out of the blue at the bus stop, but it doesn’t hurt to casually mention that you’re a property manager when you find yourself engaging in friendly small-talk with someone in line at the supermarket.
32. Partner with accountants, tax agents and other professionals
There are a lot of people involved in the process of buying an investment property - Typically an investor will have to speak to a mortgage broker, accountant and a solicitor at the very least, and often, these individuals will make recommendations to their clients on who to speak to when they’re looking for other services, including a property manager.
Target them with social media ads, or go the old fashioned route and go to physically meet with them and leave a stack of brochures at their office (after you’ve gotten friendly with them of course).
Other professionals in the industry to potentially target include:
* Project Marketers
* Financial Planners
* Buyers’ Agents
* Real Estate Agencies without rent rolls
* Strata (Body Corporate) Managers
And the list goes on…
33. Hold in-person events to teach landlords and prospective landlords about property investing
Holding an in-person event or workshop at a local venue can be a great way to build your personal brand and meet potential clients. Advertise your events online, in local publications, or both.
34. Buy rent rolls
Particularly useful if you’re just starting off in the property management industry, buying rent rolls can be a great way to get a head start.
35. Employ a business development manager (BDM)
Think that BDMs are just for advertising agencies and other big corporations? Think again. A BDM can help take care of all the networking required for growing a rent roll and potential client base. That way, you can focus on giving your existing clients fantastic service (which remember, is an important marketing strategy in itself).
36. Incentivise your sales team with cash
Incentivising your sales team by offering them cash for securing rental properties (rather than just for-sale properties) can be a great way to grow the number of rental properties you manage. It will encourage your team to properly sit down with property owners and ask them whether they really want to sell, or whether renting might make more sense for them.
37. Focus on client retention
It’s often said that in business, it’s much cheaper to keep a customer than it is to find a new one. The same goes for property management clients. Keep them happy, listen to their needs, and you’ll have a client for life.
38. Get involved in the community
Constantly try and increase your brand awareness in the local community. Some real estate companies sponsor local children's or adults soccer teams and in turn receive company logo placement on their jerseys. It’s a great way to get your name into the community and show that you care about its residents.
39. Reward clients who refer business to you
It could be as simple as a $100 gift card, or a bottle of wine and a thank you card.
40. Offer a ‘value-add’ service that goes further than just ‘collecting the rent’
What is your USP as a property manager? Do you conduct intensive research into your “For rent” billboards to see what stands out the most on the street? Do you have a special tenant selection process to ensure you only get high-quality tenants for your clients’ properties? These are all things that make you stand out from other property managers.
41. Give genuine good advice to clients and prospective clients.
“How can I easily and cheaply increase the rental value of property?” “How often should I review the rent?” How can I encourage my tenants to pay on time every month?” These are the kinds of things investors and landlords are looking to find out, particularly if they’ve just started out with investing. Become their trusted advisor and they’ll stick with you in the long run.
42. Get friendly with people at inspections
A genuine smile and friendly conversation will go a long way in helping you stand out in peoples’ minds as “that friendly real estate agent” (landlord). Make a good first impression and it’s guaranteed to stick around in the minds of potential clients when it comes time to rent out their property.
43. Actually follow up with them
It still surprises us how many real estate agents collect people’s details at property inspections then file them away in the depths of their filing cabinets, never to be seen again. Always keep in touch with as many contacts as you can, because you never know when a purchaser will need a real estate agency to manage their new purchase for them.
44. Get on TV
Got some contacts in the TV industry? Try and get interviewed on a local TV station’s segment on property investing. Industry research or a significant survey could get the attention of relevant reporters, especially if a related topic is currently trending.
45. Attend Meetups with other industry professionals
Meetup.com is a great way to find local meet up groups in your area who have similar interests to you. Find property related ones and focus on building relationships with people and exchanging ideas, rather than pitching your services straight away.
46. Attend industry expos and events, either as a guest, or if you have the budget, an exhibitor
Hand out as many business cards as you can, and make a great first impression so you stand out amongst the crowd.
47. Get the attention of local and national journalists
Finding out the contact details of the journalists and editors of local, national and landlord targeted press and reaching out to them with stories could land you some great exposure. Once again, research and survey results can often lead to a write up.
48. Run giveaways on relevant blogs
Buy a stack of investing books and offer them to a blogger to give away as a prize on their blog, in exchange for a small write up and link back to your website.
49. Use property management software to keep everything organised
Part of giving your existing clients great service is to keep everything impeccably organised, pay your landlords the rent on time, and fix any issues with the property or tenants quickly and easily. The right property management software can help you keep everything under control, and can even be a USP for your tenants if they can login themselves and check out what’s happening with their properties.
50. Write a property investing book
If you really want to, and have the time, budget and creative enthusiasm, why not pen a non-fiction book all about property investing, property management, or anything else property related? You can either publish it yourself as an ebook and offer it for sale on Amazon, or contact small publishers to see if they might be interested in publishing and distributing your masterpiece.
51. Advertise on billboards
Old-fashioned advertising can still be a great way to attract customers. Just ensure you are particular about where your billboard is placed and think of the benefits compared to the cost.
52. Advertise in the local paper
When it comes to property advertising, print is not quite dead yet. Older clientele still read the paper and many either own investment property or are considering it, so it’s worth checking out advertising rates for local publications in your area like newspapers and magazines.