The ultimate eight part list of marketing tips to get your letting agent business to the top of Google search.
Understand Your Target Market
The first and most important step for you to take is understanding your target market. As a letting agent, you’re essentially a ‘middle man’, so you need to understand both property owners and tenants. What type of property owner and what type of tenants you will find for them.
You may be the ‘middle man’, but your loyalty is to your clients; the landlords. For landlords, you need to understand what they want.
Some landlords may be in it for investment, so they own properties with the intention of accumulating assets they can sell for a profit at a later date. In this case, they might have a portfolio of properties and you handle some or all of them.
Some landlords only have one or two extra properties they want to rise in value and pay for their retirement. Along the way, they’d appreciate the rent from their investment properties as it will pay the mortgage.
Who is it that you really want to work with? Is your business set up to work with your specific client type and aligned with delivering their outcomes? If you are aligned with your ideal client, your marketing will reflect that.
On the other side of the coin, you need to attract the right tenants for your client’s properties. What rent levels are you going to charge? If you have properties across a large city like Birmingham, there will be a lot of difference between the areas.
You can’t forget the huge student population, nor the young professionals freshly graduated from Birmingham’s universities. Then how about more established professionals, some of whom may have moved to the city for jobs with banks like HSBC or to established tech companies in the Silicon Canal area.
A lot of your choices in what type of tenant you market to has to be determined by the desired outcomes from your clients. What you’ll then need to do is tailor your marketing strategy to attract the ideal tenant every time. More how to marketing for landlords and tenants a bit later.
Lettings Agent Team
Your back office team are the outward, human face of your brand. Great marketing includes great customer service and the people who handle your clients and tenants are a special team. They deal with the good, the bad and the ugly, ensuring everyone’s obligations are met as efficiently as possible.
The people you choose to represent your brand must be well trained in company procedures. Your team will fully understand the best way to answer telephone enquiries, emails and handling in-person meetings. They will be fully capable of working independently and dealing with unexpected situations by working to your company guidelines.
Just as the brand of hotel you choose dictates if there’s a valet or what complimentary items are included with your nightly rate, your brand will dictate the level of customer service you offer. This of course is dictated by the target market you define.
Although you might use a marketing agency for some or all of your marketing, your in-house team feed the machine. Taking photographs, recording how problems were solved, collecting customer feedback and more. You might even want a member of your team to run your social media channels in real-time.
No matter who you choose, or how you use them, your team of dedicated back office staff will set your letting agent above the rest.
Shout from the rooftops that you are compliant with all relevant legal guidelines. Let everyone know you’re a member of the Deposit Protection Scheme, Property Redress Scheme, British Landlord Association and so on.
Make sure you display the relevant member organisation logos on your website and stationary. Landlords and tenants will have peace of mind that you operate in a fair and legally compliant manner.
Legal compliance can be thought of as boring and something you need to tick a box, but that would be the wrong attitude. Being compliant provides valuable marketing opportunities. As you demonstrate compliance, that builds trust with prospects that you’re going to treat them fairly. Just trying to tick boxes can leave you flat on your face, like copying terms and conditions that don’t even match your business.
The more you demonstrate legal compliance, the more trust landlords can have that you will take care of their valuable properties and shield them from any potential liabilities. Likewise, tenants will have confidence in your ability to provide them with a safe, pleasant dwelling. Also that they’ll get their deposit back when they leave.
It goes without saying in this digital age that you need a great website. You need a website design that is easy to navigate and shows off your expertise. Don’t just do it all yourself, work with a copywriter to give your site the most persuasive copy possible. Benefiting from their years of writing experience, the end result will be a website perfectly positioned to attract both landlords and tenants.
Showcase the properties your current landlords have in their portfolio. Pictures and informative, well written descriptions form the backbone of your site’s content. If you combine this with ratings and reviews, you’re onto a winner. Any reviews you do have on your own website should be backed up with reviews placed on third party pages like your Google profile.
Depending on how many properties you look after, you might create a page for each area of Birmingham, then potentially sub pages for each property. It all depends on how many properties you have and how much content you’re willing to create for them.
Instead of having a bunch of pages with thin, boilerplate content for Erdington, Bearwood, Saltley and other areas of Birmingham, you can create pages with property overviews, a video walk-through, images of the area, reviews of local shops and more. Going the extra mile to create valuable content for anyone researching the area or who already wants to live there, you’ll be able to rank for ‘houses for rent in Saltley’.
The creative freedom your own website gives you could be the best reason to have one. Your marketing partner will be able to advise you on the best structure for your website and keep it up-to-date.
Google Business Profile
Google business profiles have recently had a shake-up and are arguably performing the best they ever have. Previously known as a Google My Business profile, they’re now known simply as a Google Business Profile.
These profiles are really useful for promoting your business and usually pop up at the top right of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The Google Business Profile allows you to add your opening hours, menus, pictures of your business and can now be edited directly from Google’s SERP.
Most people will recognise a Google Business Profile in their search and trust your business more as a result. They’ve either searched online reviews or left them previously. The more high rated reviews you have, the more appealing your business will look to prospective customers. You’ll also look really good in the map results in comparison to others, especially if they have a lower star rating.
Google Business Profiles also act as mini websites. You can have small blog posts, add pictures and update your business hours. Ultimately you don’t control your Google Business Profile and can be banned or restricted at any time. Don’t rely solely on a third party source to tell your story, be the authority on your business and control your online presence. Maintain control, publish all updates on your own website first before your Google Business Profile.
Take a look here to answer any questions you might have about Google Business Profiles.
Great Marketing Strategy
A great marketing strategy will grab the attention of your target audience and show them you’re their ideal partner. All other parts of this marketing essentials for every letting agent guide link directly to your overall marketing strategy.
You can develop and implement a marketing strategy yourself, hire someone in-house, pay a freelancer, or work with your own marketing agency partner to promote your letting agency. The choice you make depends on how much budget you have available. It’s also perfectly reasonable to develop parts of your marketing strategy alone, then bring in assistance for other parts. You may also work with several different partners over time to develop all eight marketing essentials mentioned here.
Who Will Your Strategy Target?
Does your strategy aim to get landlords on board, positioning your marketing towards them? Or do you market directly to tennants? There actually doesn’t need to be a conflict here because marketing to tenants will attract more of the right landlords. Why? Because landlords will see their properties, rental price points and ideal tenants reflected in your content.
First step is defining your target audience which we covered above. When you know your target audience, you’ll know what text, images and pictures to use. You’ll know what social media platforms to use, how you want to use pay per click and if email marketing is for you.
Making Your Strategy Work
Make your strategy work by creating the right tactics for each platform. To help you produce the best content, always consider why someone would consume it. Check out a few ideas to get you started.
For content on your website, you might include:
- Images of the type of repairs it’s normal for you to undertake
- Walk-through guides for tenants on how to put in a maintenance request
- Short video guide to detecting gas leak
- Educate tenants on maintenance tasks
- Ways recognising when appliances may need to be serviced
Pictures, videos, infographics, audio content can all play a part in your content mix. It’s all about balancing the time and resources your have with the type of content that will do the best job achieving its end goal.
When done correctly, the website content you produce will serve three purposes. You’ll help current tenants have the best possible experience. Prospective tenants will be reassured that along with your legal compliance, you actually care about their rental experience. Landlords, whatever their goals will see your competence and how you will take care of their properties.
Other areas like email should be targeted towards a specific audience and so have less overlap than general website content.
So why would potential landlord clients want to be on your email list? You could provide practical tips on how they can increase rental income from their properties. You stay top of mind and when they no longer want the hassle, they’ll choose you to do it all for them.
For tenants, you can provide updates on maintenance requests, which is an obvious benefit of email. More outside the box is to understand who is living in your properties and provide content for that specific target audience. Would students welcome city guides in their first year, tips on money saving and coupon deals in their second year and employment and networking opportunities in their third year?
PPC content is purely about the text and/or images you choose to include and the type of people you choose to target. For PPC adverts that appear on search engines, you’ll need compelling copy targeted to very relevant searches to get clicks. There is also the possibility of getting in front of a target audience provided to you by a search engine gathered through their user behaviour tracking.
Social media PPC often relies more on the images you use. Targeting is most effective when aimed towards a type of customer based on age, location, employment, salary range and so on. Social media platforms often have very specific information about individual users. Though any information you can get does not identify individuals, you can be very specific about who you want to see your adverts.
Ultimately, you want people to come to your website and either rent from you, or let you manage their websites. For this reason, PPC is great because it delivers instant leads.
Social Media Presence
Defined by your marketing strategy, the content types you put out on social media will be a key part of getting the right people on board. The way you approach tenants and landlords will be defined for each platform and which audience you’re targeting. Get it right and landlords will be lining up to have you manage their properties and the best tenants will be desperate to rent them.
Promotional content like your custom created stock photographs need to reflect your target audience. Specialise in providing accommodation for students? Your chosen images will be plastered all over your social media profiles. Cater to professionals? The pictures you choose will be of smiling professionals, perhaps in an office environment. As always, the tone you choose to address each audience must be different.
Social Media Example
Content for information and entertainment must be tailored not only to your ideal target audience, but also the social media platform you choose. Back in the section about creating a great website, we touched on video content for your website. That video content could be sourced from your YouTube channel about Birmingham.
What things about Birmingham will you cover in your content? That depends on your target audience. Could young professionals be more interested in places to eat out and local events? Students might be interested in night-life, families could be interested in a local history vlog that takes your audience to interesting places around the city.
Longer videos can be cut up and used on area specific pages of your website or as short videos for TikTok. Whatever platform you choose, remember your plan should always be to get them onto your website where prospective tenants can ultimately make the decision to rent from you or not. As for landlords, their decision to work with you will be highly influenced by how you show them you take care of their properties and attract tenants to keep them filled.
Perhaps the biggest bonus to having a social media presence publishing truly useful content is that it can be shared widely by even those who are not your current tenants to people who may one day become your tenants.
Happy tenants become ambassadors. Your new ambassadors share their experience and attract more like-minded tenants, ensuring you have high occupancy rates and well-kept properties.
When asked, your happy tenants will always recommend you to friends and family in person. On social media, they’ll share your content with their audience because it provides useful information.
Encourage your tenants to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile and other relevant review websites. The more positive reviews you have, the more your visibility will grow online.
Using These Tips
In the end, marketing your letting agent business is all about understanding your target markets and speaking to them directly. If you can make tenants happy and show landlords that you have happy tenants, they’ll trust you with their properties.
Throughout these eight letting agent marketing essentials, we’ve constantly referred back to landlords and tenants because ultimately you’re working with both. When you provide a great service to both parties, your brand will go from strength to strength.