This article was posted on Sunday, Jun 01, 2014

You have listed your property in the print guides and online.  You have made it rent ready and are excited for your new tenants.  But are you missing one of the most important marketing techniques available to rental property owners?

Having your own website is an integral part of maximizing your rental business:

  1. Wouldn’t you love it if your leasing agent were available 24/7 every day of the year?  Having a professional website  is akin to having a leasing agent that never sleeps and always does their      best.  Most people sit down to search the internet in the evening after most offices close.  Having a website means your leasing office is never truly closed – even on evenings, weekends and holidays.
  2. You now you have a great apartment and want to show it off – a website gives  you a chance to do that.  Highlight the different features and amenities that help you stand apart from your      competition without the stress of trying to fit it all on that one-page flyer.  Prospective tenants browsing your website get to enjoy the experience of your property without the pressure of      deciding whether to buy.  The  website also performs a self-screening process by quickly eliminating the  tenants that are not interested in the image you portray online.
  3. The Internet has become the new phonebook.  Search engines like Google, Bing and others have become the main go-to resource for renters to turn to when searching for an apartment.  A highly ranked website will make it easy for prospects to learn about your apartments and desire to see them in person.
  4. Websites  are good customer service and can make your life easier in the process. Using a website can benefit you through automated applications, maintenance requests and rent payments, which mean less of your time is required.  Many rental unit websites also allow tenants and prospective tenants to email the manager through a “contact us” form allowing you to interact with your clients on your own schedule.
  5. A  website is easy and inexpensive to update.  It is a dynamic marketing tool – you can use your website for community events, new policies and anything else you can think of you’d like to tell your tenants or your prospective tenants.  Rather than paying for print  advertising, you now have an open space that provides you with flexibility that no printed product can give you.
  6. Your competitors have websites and people have been conditioned to expect to      find their best apartment options online. Even if the competition isn’t up to par with you physically, a strong online presence gives them an advantage over you.  You should not only have a website for your property, but one that is better than your competitor’s sites.
  7. Everyone  is looking for the best bang for their buck in the marketing world.  A website is one of the most  cost-effective ways to advertise your apartments.  Not only is the Internet the first place     many people turn to when looking for an apartment, but having a website  also allows you to directly target the people who are looking in your  particular locale.
  8. Websites have a great advantage over print marketing in that they are a global  advertising tool, instead of being stuck in a local environment.  Your website is how out-of-towners moving in are going to find you.
  9. Promoting  something?  A website allows you to launch that promotion easily. Instead of paying for a new sign every time you advertise (or using the same one even though times have changed), put up a post on your website or take it a step further and use a social media site to spread the word and direct traffic your way both online and off.  Changing the main home page message on      your website is one simple way to promote move-in specials to help during times of low occupancy.
  10. A  website allows you to promote your properties by adding videos and pictures of your property.  Gone are the days of the single visit to see how the apartment looks.  Renters today look forward to finding pictures and video of the property online as well as the complex and amenities available.  Go above and beyond – show the neighborhood, the parks, the pools and all the other      advantages to living in your rental.

Whatever reason prompts you to decide to invest in a website, it is a project worth doing well.  You can find web hosting sites that will let you make a website for free, but professional web design companies will give you a competitive edge and alert you to insights about the business of online marketing that will help you become a presence online.  A website is an important tool for those in the multifamily housing industry that will help you grow your business and better achieve its potential.

Black 5 Marketing is a web design and online marketing company that specializes in helping apartment owners capture more online leads and new tenants through smart website design and well-planned and well-executed online marketing campaigns.  Reprinted with permission of the Landlord Times, Utah.

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