This article was posted on Thursday, Jan 01, 2015

Create winning ads that will make the phone ring! 

If you’re planning to use the Internet to search for renters, use the following checklist to ensure you have created an advertisement that will entice renters to call you. 

Use Lots of Photos

It’s not like print, use lots of photos to tell your story.  Most websites allow you to post as many as you wish.  Select photos that will help a renter visualize your property.  Show exterior pictures, the kitchen and living room.  

If there are special features about your house such as hardwood floors, remodeled rooms, fireplace, etc., take pictures to illustrate this.  Make sure you check the frame before snapping the shots – remove garbage, turn on all the lights and watch out for reflection from flashes. 

- Advertisers -

FACT:  You will receive more than three times the traffic if you have pictures in your advertisement.  You will also cut down dramatically on no-shows as your prospects will have an idea in advance of what to expect. 

Don’t Use Abbreviations

There are usually no limitations as to how much text you can write on most websites so go ahead and tell your story.  Use proper grammar and sentence structure.  Tell a story and sell the sizzle! 

Describe Everything

Many people using rental websites to find your place won’t know the area.  Describe the shops, parks, transportation, parking and amenities in the area.  When describing the property, use lots of descriptive words that will help the prospect paint a mental picture. 

Sleep With Me!

Did that catch your attention?  Use eye catching words and phrases when creating your “headline.”  Think of all those crazy pictures and headlines you’ve seen in magazines or on TV and can remember.  A renter is scanning potentially hundreds of listing and you have to stand out.  Be different in your pricing. Try pricing such as $649, $801 or $777.  When someone is searching through a lot of listings, they will begin to see price patterns on the screen.   Your different number will break the pattern and become eye catching. 

Check Your Contacts

Make sure the name and phone number of your contact person is correct.  Consider offering more than one phone number to call.  Give renters the broadest range of hours to call you as someone may be calling you from a different time zone. 

Use Email

With internet marketing many of your prospective renters will be contacting you outside your local area and will use email in their initial contact with you – it is very popular. 

BONUS TIP:  Get a toll-free phone number to put in your advertisement.  Call your local phone provider and see how inexpensive this extremely effective tool can be.  You will get up to 35% more calls than competing landlords if you offer tenants a toll free number! 

Show the Listing Address

Don’t frustrate renters by withholding the address.  Many people like to go and drive by properties prior to calling.  You will save yourself a lot of time if you help prospects pre-screen themselves and this is one way of doing so.  Also, most websites have a mapping feature that requires either a proper address or postal code in order to generate the map.  By not putting in the address, you could disable this very handy feature that renters appreciate having. 

Advertise Early

The further into the future you advertise, the better the prospects.  With online advertising being so inexpensive, advertise your vacancy the same day it becomes available. 

FACT:  Renters who sign their leases over one month before moving in stay for than twice as long on average than someone who signs their lease days before moving in. 

Minimize Questions, Book Appointments

Think of all the questions you typically get from people who answer your newspaper ads.  They ask them because you can only say so much in a newspaper ad.  With online, that’s not the case.  Here are some typical questions that can be answered before the prospect calls you – saving you time and making it easier for you to book the appointment. 

  • What is included in the rent?
  • How many bathrooms are there?
  • How big are the rooms?
  • How big is the yard or is there a playground?
  • Are pets okay?
  • Where is the nearest public school?
  • Is there parking? 

Bonus Tip:  If you are paying for the advertisement, find out how many people are using the site.  Also, determine how many listings they have for your area, how well are they presented and what you can do to your advertisement to make it stand out.  Additionally, it never hurts to ask for a free trial.  In many cases, you can get one just for asking.  This not only saves you money in the short term, but can be your best indicator of future success on that particular website! 

Get Online Now!

If you have never used online marketing before, now is the time to start.  Get your feet wet with a little online advertising first, then when you’re ready, consider building your own website. 

Reprinted with permission of the Wisconsin Apartment Association News.