The rental industry is changing. The expectations and demands of tenants are shifting with the times. Many expect to remain, renters, long-term —1 in 3 don’t even consider homeownership as part of the American Dream anymore. And in 2020 alone, 25% of renters reported relocating to new cities.
Capturing new leads for your rental properties starts with understanding the changes in the tenant search process. While 46% of renters are excited about the search, 36% feel overwhelmed. Future tenants are looking for convenience, ease, and straightforward information in their search for a new place to live.
Ready to update your acquisition strategies and attract new tenants? Consider these suggestions that appeal to the modern renter:
1. Optimize local listings
Wherever you are listing your rentals (property management review sites, rental sites, listservs, social media, etc.), keep in mind some best practices to enhance your listings and appeal to future tenants. Most importantly, be deliberate in how you convey key information—this sets the tone for the rest of the relationship through the renter journey.
Did you know that listings with aerial photographs (taken with a drone) sell 68% faster than properties with standard images? The impact remains the same for rental properties. And cost is the number one concern renters have when deciding where to live. Pictures, videos, floor plans, rent prices, details of the lease, defined amenities, square footage, application instructions, pet policies, a compelling description (what’s nearby? how close to public transportation? recent renovations?) are crucial to a stand-out listing that converts.
A clear and compelling listing will save time for future tenants and your staff. Tenants’ questions can be answered online and your staff will spend less time taking unnecessary calls, emails, and messages. Optimized listings improve efficiency and remove friction in the customer journey to conversion.
2. Boost ranking with higher quality and quantity of reviews
According to Google trends, search levels for apartment rentals have recovered (and even increased 17%) since pre-pandemic times. To appear in these frequent and relevant Google searches, you’ll need to improve your ranking with stellar Google reviews.
To start, make sure your property management company is listed on Google My Business. Search for and claim your business listing on Google or create a listing if one does not already exist. Update information including your website, phone number, address, hours, and other contact info necessary. Once your listing is ready to go, start asking tenants for reviews via text message.
Especially compared to emails, phone calls, or snail mail, texting has phenomenal open and completion rates—nearly 100%. In a matter of minutes, automated texts can be sent, reviews completed, and your ranking on Google improved. 72% of customers will write a review when asked—but without an invitation, ratings are often on the extreme ends of the customer satisfaction spectrum. More invitations mean more reviews, more accurate portrayals of your business, and increased visibility to future renters.
The conversation could look something like this:
- Lucy, thank you for signing a lease with Rocky Mountain Property Management today! Could you help us out by taking 30 seconds to write a Google Review?
(link – leave us a review!)
Lucy Gomez: Rocky Mountain made the search for a duplex very convenient. Thanks for the virtual tour and online rental agreement!
3. Connect on social media
Make the effort to connect with your target audience on the social media platforms they frequent. This step can help your property management company increase visibility and demonstrate availability for your current and future renters. Adults in the United States spend over 4 hours per day on mobile devices, including social media. Depending on the demographics of your target audience, you may choose to create a business profile on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tik Tok Pinterest, or other platforms.
After updating all of your contact information, you can follow other local brands in the community, connect with tenants, and share content that adds value for your audience and attracts the attention of potential renters. The content you share might include rental listings; helpful articles, videos, infographics, etc. related to rental properties; information about your company; or giveaways/contests. Facebook Marketplace even enables you to list rentals directly where people are searching on social media (for free).
Establishing a social media presence now will also boost any paid advertising efforts you make on those platforms down the road. Being active on social media gives tenants and future tenants additional channels to contact you via chat, comments, DMs, shoutouts, stories, and more. Your brand can also use these platforms to practice social listening and better understand your audience.
4. Offer video chat meetings and house tours
Virtual interactions have become expected in many areas of business. Property management can be included in this convenience with video chat meetings and house tours scheduled via text or online.
Nearly half of buyers under 40 feel “very or extremely confident” about making an offer while only seeing a property virtually. And renters are proving they feel comfortable signing with just a virtual listing as well. A Zumper survey reported that in the summer of 2020 alone, over 18% of renters signed a lease for a virtually-toured apartment. Renters are clearly comfortable with the concept of virtual tours and purchases when provided the opportunity.
To enable texting, convert your landline with Apple Business Chat or Google Messaging. Right from your website or Google My Business listing, customers can text to schedule a virtual meeting. This can speed up the journey to conversion and add a convenience factor for both staff and future tenants.
- Could I set up a video chat tour of the apartments on main street? I’m looking to move in April.
- Absolutely! Does 11 AM tomorrow morning work?
- That’s great.
- Perfect, I’ll send the link then.
5. Start a blog
Blogging is highly underutilized in the real estate space—just 11% of realtors have a blog. Businesses that utilize blogging have an average of 434% more indexed pages on their website, which helps future tenants find you via search engines. Blogging also provides valuable content to share on social media and draws in leads from the social circles of your current tenants.
Blogging increases SEO, builds trust, and directs qualified leads to your website, where they’re as close as one click away from scheduling a virtual appointment or taking the next step to conversion. Research local SEO terms (like “apartments for rent near me” or “rentals near me”) and create clusters or multiple blogs around a specific topic to increase your chances of showing up in the first-page search results.
As you implement new tactics to acquire new tenants, consider using customer relationship management software to help you through the process. Track leads and respond in real-time from one centralized inbox with Podium. Try Podium out for free today.
Discover how messaging can help you find new tenants for your rental properties. See our eBook, 10 Surprising Ways You Can Use Texting.