Empty properties are a nightmare for any landlord or letting agent. The lack of rental income alone is painful, but the cost in time and effort to attract the right new tenants is significant too. Here, Martin Calvert at digital marketing specialist, Blueclaw, offers his tops tips to ensure your property is found.
Take a marketing mindset – and learn from competitors
It’s important to take a marketing mindset with any property you want to rent out quickly.
If your advertisements, imagery and approach are nothing to be excited about, then potential renters won’t be in any hurry either.
If you’re advertising your own property, it’s worth taking a step back and thinking like a marketeer. A marketing mindset means thinking about renters as potential customers who are shopping for a product you’re offering – your advertisements are the equivalent of a product on a shelf, and they evaluate it alongside a whole range of others.
In many cases, those properties won’t be significantly different to yours – but their ads will sell them better and (crucially) drive more bookings from people who are serious about renting the property.
Making sure your advertisements are well-written, avoid clichés and actually sell the benefits of the individual home (rather than many others like it) is key.
Take a look at the advertisements of competitors – find five things they do well, five things they don’t and apply the insight to create a competitive advertisement – and market the property in the places where potential renters are already looking.
Seriously consider social media advertising and remarketing
When you are lacking rental income, it can feel even more daunting to take a paid advertising approach to marketing your property or properties. However, each month of emptiness you can save is very significant – and means you can get on with other things.
Social media advertising on platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more, can be surprisingly inexpensive – and the targeting options mean that you can be laser-targeted about showing your ads to the type of people that you think would be a great fit for your property.
Of course, organic social media efforts – using your personal and professional connections to get the word out about the property – can help but throwing some targeted weight behind the whole process with social media advertising should be considered.
Use remarketing and amplify your brand
Remarketing, which can be done via Google as well as a number of other providers, is a method of having your ads ‘follow’ a potential renter around the internet. It works by the technology placing a cookie on the potential renter’s computer when they view your ad, letting other sites around the internet that permit advertising know that your advert is a good advert to show them.
Like social media advertising, remarketing can be very cost effective and because it only targets people who have already viewed your ad, you will only be targeting people who have at least some interest in the property.
Having that extra visibility can make the difference between a potential renter who is on the fence about the property remember it and place a deposit, or being side-tracked by another property.
Remember local SEO – and prioritise profitable traffic
Though portals like Rightmove and Zoopla are often unavoidable, letting and estate agents in particular need to consider their own SEO.
With giant portals and national estate agents seeming so dominant in search engine results, local letting agents should be confident about their local credibility, and how favourable Google and the other major search engines view them as a brick and mortar business.
Local SEO – including directory listings, citations, acquiring links to your site from local media – is key.
This approach should be combined with a structured and committed approach to on-page content, ensuring that it is perfectly written for local audiences and the search engines that are continually assessing your site is key. When evaluating where your property should be listed and who with, landlords should assess the portals that rank well for the best local search results, and who benefit from the best quality and quantity of web traffic from potential renters.
These four methodologies combine to create a proactive approach to filling empty properties. Too many estate agents and landlords neglect the effective strategies that attract and engage potential renters. On the plus side, this means that there is plenty of scope for those who get it right to fill their properties faster, and move on to their next priority.
When it comes to attracting renters, the new possibilities that digital marketing makes possible are balanced out by new threats from competitors. The four tips in this short article are just the start of a profitable and sustainable approach to keeping empty properties to a minimum.
If you would like some advice on letting out your property or would like know what marketing options are available to you, contact our Lettings Service team on Maidstone (01622) 524110, Gillingham (01634) 581207 & Kings Hill (01732) 424090 or pop into one of our branches and we’ll be more than happy to give you some information!
Read more about our estate agents in Maidstone here.