By Laurie Mega
Even before the global pandemic, the ease and convenience of online leasing made it a popular choice for property managers and tenants alike.
With online leasing, prospective tenants can find you and contact you via your site whenever it’s convenient for them, even in the middle of the night. That means more leads for you.
And with everything from applying to signing to document storage done online, it’s much easier to keep track of the process and keep it moving, even on the go.
Now that social distancing has become the new normal, the benefits of online leasing are more important than ever.
But how do you attract a whole bunch of great tenants to your properties online? We have some tips to help you get going.
First things first. Your listings should be optimized to stand out. A great listing includes the following:
- Lots of great images that highlight all of the features and amenities of your properties
- Concise descriptions that detail exactly what your properties have to offer
- Summaries of all the things the neighborhood has to offer
- Consistent branding with your site as well as your other listings
Once you have a strong listing that speaks to your target audience, you need to place it on all the right platforms. That includes listing sites, social media, and your website.
A property management software or a listing widget can help you create branded listings that you can post in several places at once with one click. Prospective tenants can then contact you or apply for the property from the listing.
Think Beyond Ads and Listings
Of course, posting your listings and advertising your units is important. But you’ll get more interest if you build a good reputation with renters. Using your social media channels, online reviews, and community events can help you do that.
Leverage Your Social Media
Did you know that 30 percent of millennials engage with a brand via social at least once a month?
Leverage your social media channels to build a large following and become a trusted resource in your community. Think of your social media platforms as a way to start a conversation with your audience.
To do that, post more than just your listings. Post about events in your area, or helpful information having to do with rentals. You can even include fun memes or images from time to time.
At this time, you may be sharing articles about how you’re conducting open houses while maintaining social distancing or your local government’s plans to reopen the economy, for example.
And post regularly. Businesses that post only occasionally lose their audiences.
The important thing to remember is to know your audience, get on the platforms they use, and post the kind of information they appreciate. Then, when you do post your listings, you’ll have a large, engaged audience to click and share your posts.
Collect Online Reviews
Online reviews should be a big part of your marketing plan. In fact, almost 97 percent of millennials make their purchases based on online reviews. They don’t trust advertisements alone.
If your tenants come to you with positive feedback, thank them and encourage them to write a review of your business and your units on sites like Yelp or Apartment Ratings.
Just remember, you can encourage tenants to write reviews, but you can’t make it a requirement of their tenancy or tell them what to write.
Get Involved in the Community
When people think of renting or property management, you want your name to pop in their heads. One great way to do that is to get involved in your community. Sponsor an event (online or otherwise) or local team. Donate time, materials, or money to a nonprofit.
Getting involved in your community is a win-win. You get your name out there and a deserving organization gets the resources it needs.
Optimize Your Website
Optimizing your website allows prospective tenants to find you through search engines like Google. It also makes your site user-friendly, so when people do find you, they can navigate to find what they need.
Here are the steps you need to take to optimize your site:
- Create a keyword strategy: Keywords are the words and phrases users enter into search engines when looking for something. Including them on your site helps Google and other search engines match you to the right search queries.
- Optimize the back end: The back end of your site is everything that’s working behind the scenes to make it searchable. File names and alt text for images also tell Google what your site is about.
- Create User-Friendly Pages: Pages should be easy to read and easy to navigate. Forms should be easy to fill out. Listings should be easy to find.
- Make It Responsive: Most people are browsing sites from their phones or tablets. Don’t get caught with a site that’s formatted only for a computer screen. Making it responsive means your site will fit to whatever device prospective tenants are using.
If you’re looking for an easy way to create an optimized site, check out Propertyware.
Use Your Relationships
Networking is a great way to find new tenants. After all, wouldn’t you rather have a referral from a trusted source? Here are some great ways to get those referrals.
Referrals from current tenants are a great way to bring in good tenants. If you have a good relationship with your tenants, chances are they’re going to recommend trustworthy, responsible people for your vacant units.
To incentivize tenants, you could even set up a referral program. Offer a gift card or access to exclusive amenities to tenants who refer someone who signs a lease.
Stay in touch with realtors. They’re well connected in the housing community and can refer prospective tenants to your properties.
Just note there might be a finder’s fee involved.
It may seem counterintuitive to rely on other PMs for referrals, but it’s actually not a bad idea. If there are other PMs in your area, for instance, who serve apartment complexes and they come across someone looking for a single-family home, they can give that person your name. And you can do the same for someone looking for an apartment setting.
Helping someone find the right home, even if it’s not with you makes you stick in their minds. Then, they may recommend you to a friend because they remember your excellent service.
The idea of contactless leasing is an attractive one these days. And it absolutely can be done from beginning to end. Leveraging all of your online tools to attract the best tenants will make the whole process that much easier.