Why Isn’t My Property Renting? Part II: The Advertisement

2017-07-17

Why Isn’t My Property Renting? Part II: The Advertisement

If you don’t tell whats wrong with this sentence, start at the 101; OK?



A sign for a property management company with some obvious errors.When an owner asks you why their property is still on the market after 10, 30, or even 60+ days, it’s easy to pore over a huge number of details looking for the ‘dead giveaway’ that tells you exactly what’s wrong. But all too often, the thing that is going wrong is so obvious that it’s overlooked: it’s the ad itself.



What’s Wrong with My Ad 101

We’re going to skim very quickly over a lot of marketing basics in a few bullet points, on the assumption that you have at least a passing knowledge of sales concepts. On the most basic level, your ad could be failing because:

  • It uses improper English. As much as it’s trendy to think that the texting generation dont need ur grmmr NEmoar, the fact is that’s just not true — not only do people reading ads expect a higher degree of comprehensibility, but studies have recently shown that even texting, emoji, leetspeak, and even lolcat-meme-language all have their own unique grammar, spelling, and diction. In short, it’s possible to make a lolcat wrong — which means it’s also possible to make an ad wrong. So start by checking your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • It leaves a negative impression about the house. This can be tricky, because often when writing an ad, if you have a negative impression of the house, you might try to disguise your own poor impression by using ‘disguising words’ like “efficient,” “quaint,” or “unique.” Don’t — house-hunters will read straight through it. Either fess up and call a spade a spade (but emphasize the good points around it), or talk yourself into loving the place and don’t write until you do.
  • It doesn’t actually sell the house. Listing the facts about the house won’t do it — you have to connect each fact to a benefit, and each benefit to a visual image of what it would be like to live in the house and take advantage of the fact you’re listing.

 
What’s Wrong with My Ad 201

So you’ve reviewed your English, your attitude, and your sales copy, and none of those are the problem — what, then, is wrong? To get into more detail about the ad, you have to know whether the ad isn’t getting any views, or it’s not inspiring any responses.

  • If it’s not getting any views, there are two potentials. The first is that no one is searching online for houses in that neighborhood in the first place — see section 301 (below) for more on that. But far more likely is that there is something about your title or your lead image that is not meeting search criteria or getting viewers to click on your ad.
  • If it’s not getting any responses, there are also two potentials. The first is that there’s something visibly wrong with the pictures of the house — head back to Part I for that bit. But again, more likely is that the copy of the ad is dysfunctional. If your elements from part 101 (above) are in place, the overwhelming likelihood is that there’s a mismatch between how you wrote the ad and the kind of people that are searching in the area. For example, if you write an ad that has (even subtle!) references that are culture-specific — like referencing the Katy Perry/Taylor Swift beef or describing a room as “a place John Oliver would love to wake up” — you’re dooming your property to low responses if the area happens to be largely comprised of people who aren’t into pop music and snide mockery. The answer is to do a little research into the culture of the neighborhood and try to rewrite your ad with to appeal to the people who already live there.


What’s Wrong with My Ad 301

The highest level of ad-related problem is also often the hardest to deal with, because it’s existential. Simply put, there are some areas — even in the middle of dense clusters of urbanity — where people simply don’t look online to get the things they need. If you’re advertising in a place where Internet penetration is very low, or even just a place where culturally people don’t immediately turn to the Internet to find what they want, you might have to accept the fact that you’re going to have to go offline to get a tenant efficiently. Or, worst case scenario, that there’s just no one looking in that area at all…but that is a pretty rare phenomenon, at least in anything approaching an urban or suburban environment.

So, Part I got the property itself in order before you started marketing. Now, you’ve got your ad all sorted out as well. But what if your property still isn’t renting? That means in all likelihood the problem is with your people. We’ll talk about them in Part III.

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