Make room in your marketing for tenants

Marketing expert Fiona McEachran explains why rent rolls are a great source of future sales business and how real estate offices can turn tenant relationships into listings.

I recently interviewed some leading and innovative Sydney agents who have their property management businesses set for growth in 2016, and one message was consistently clear.

It is time to tap into the wealth of the potential customers that are your tenants!

Historically, tenants have gotten the short end of the stick in the industry, and they have been treated as more of a necessity than a valuable customer. But times are changing as the industry continues to be as competitive as ever and agents continually look for unique angles to stand out from the crowd.

There seems to be an important point that is overlooked when property management businesses are dealing with tenants and prospective tenants, and this is the long-term potential of your relationship.

There is a high chance that your tenants could:

Become owners

There may be a time when your tenants choose to stop renting, and start owning. When this happens, it would be a great benefit to your agency for the good tenants to continue their relationship with you. They can then buy from you, and then possibly sell or rent out their property with you some time in the future.

Become landlords

Your tenants could already be landlords, but prefer to rent. Or they could buy in your area, and rent out their property immediately or at a later stage. How easy would it be if they thought of you as the go-to agent in their area?

Become referrers

Tenants do not live in a silo. They live in their own community. They know people – friends, family and colleagues. When these people ask them, “Do you know of any good agents in your area?” what will they say?

So now that you can see the value of building long-standing relationships with your tenants, how can you make room in your marketing to nurture this relationship?

Your tenant marketing plan

Here are five simple steps you can take to get started:

  1. Prepare your CRM
  2. Set your marketing goals
  3. Map out your tactics
  4. Choose your content distribution method
  5. Run a referral campaign

Firstly, you need CRM (customer relationship management) software that will help you manage your data. This will enable you to track phone calls, emails and marketing initiatives that you implement to reach the tenants.

Next, you need to choose your marketing goals and decide the outcome you want your agency to achieve by marketing to tenants. For example, if your main goal is to have a long relationship with the tenant that ultimately results in new business, then you can set goals around the number of tenants that refer someone, or become buyers or sellers.

Then you map out the tactics that your agency can invest time and money in. You do not need to spend a lot of money. If you are on a tight budget, you can just look at sending out a monthly newsletter, targeted to your tenants.

If you are not sure what content to put in the newsletter, you could start with neighbourhood updates. You could also include market updates, and news from your agency. If in doubt, just ask the tenants when they come on board what would they like in a newsletter and if they are happy to receive one. Not every tenant will be keen, but the ones who are thinking of buying in the near future might be.

You could also run a referral campaign with your tenants. Once you know how much your agency spends on marketing to acquire one new landlord or seller, you can use a percentage of this cost as a reward to tenants whose referrals convert.

There are many marketing ideas and tactics that you can try, but before you get started, you need every person in your agency to understand the value of tenants and commit to building strong relationships with them.

Fiona McEachran is the marketing manager for the Console range of real estate software at Onthehouse Holdings. Fiona manages the Console team, driving the brand strategy and implementing the marketing tactics using both web and traditional advertising, promotions, events and campaigns. Fiona has more than 10 years’ B2B and B2C marketing experience, and has led successful campaigns encompassing planning, website development, email marketing, SEO, SEM, direct mail, e-newsletters and more.

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