Marketing a Property Management Service to Landlords
As opposed to marketing to tenants, which is a very different manner.
When you’re striving to grow a property management business, you have essentially three groups of ‘investor clients’ that your marketing efforts can target:
- Property owners who never really intended to manage a rental, but ended up with a spare home or two that they figured they could turn into a side hustle,
- Property owners who are deliberate landlords and ‘casual’ real-estate investors, often ending up with a handful of houses they manage mostly on their own (we often call them ‘DIY landlords’), and
- Property owners who are ‘business-class’ real estate investors, who buy property and turn them over to a manager without any intention of dealing with the properties personally.
Each of these groups requires its own particular forms of marketing. Today, we’re going to talk about marketing to the middle group — the landlords.
The Landlord Mindset
There are essentially three different attitudes that comprise the DIY landlord experience:
- Everything seems fine, but I have questions about how to ________.
- Stress! There’s too much to do, and I can’t keep up!
- This sucks and I want out NOW.
Most landlords wobble back and forth between the first two states as disasters and emergencies come and go, only rarely touching the bottom. Why is this important? Because each of these attitudes responds to a different kind of marketing.
The Landlord with Questions
A landlord for whom things seem mostly good might seem like a poor choice to market to — after all, everything seems good, right? Just remember that no landlord stays mostly-good forever. If you want to ‘hook’ these landlords while they’re not looking for a PM, you need to approach them not as a PM offering services, but as an expert in the topics they’re researching. Bait the hook with content designed to answer those questions, and as they learn that you’re a dependable source of solid, actionable information, they’ll also learn that perhaps they can turn to you for more when things get really bad.
- Maintain a blog of advice designed for local newbie landlords
- Write a regular column of less-localized advice on a website like BiggerPockets.com
- Make certain that your content is overviewed and tweaked by someone with experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so you get that content in front of as many eyes as possible.
The Landlord under Stress
When things start to turn south for a landlord, but they haven’t given up yet, you’ll frequently find them looking for more personalized, more expert advice. This generally means that you’ll find them on social sites where they can ask questions to a crowd of people with more experience than they have.
- Create an email autoresponder series of higher-level advice for landlords and set it up so that people reading your content can easily sign up for the series. Include in that advice occasional messages suggesting that stressed-out landlords could benefit from a property manager, and give your contact information.
- Participate in online and offline social groups that landlords turn to for advice when the fan and the fecal matter are on a collision course. Examples include Quora, various Facebook groups, landlord-related forums, local REIAs, possibly any related groups at the local Chamber of Commerce, and so on.
Landlords on the Brink
In many ways, the ‘about-to-fail’ landlord is the easiest target for marketing, because it’s this group of landlords that is the most likely to go to Google and search for “[area] property management.”
- Remember that SEO guy from before? Make sure they go over your website and your local blog and massage it to maximize localized SEO results as well.
- Consider investing in a modest campaign on Google AdWords or some other pay-per-click advertising system that will charge you each time it actually puts someone’s eyes on your website.
- Hire a reputation manager to help shape what a surfer who searches for reviews or opinions on your business will see. Yelp, Google reviews, the BBB, Annie’s List, and similar sites are all excellent targets.
By targeting each kind of marketing to the kind of landlord most likely to be accessing it, you can deliver the most effective message to each one and maximize your chances of landing them as a future client.