Your primary mission as a landlord is pretty plain and simple: Get top-tier tenants to lease your units — and get them to stay in said units for a long time — all the while turning a sizable profit.
A potential renters’ cumulative mission, meanwhile, is to find a great apartment or house to lease. How they determine the best property to rent, though, isn’t solely based on aesthetics, amenities, and monthly rent.
It’s also based on where they find those rentals — and more and more these days, these folks are finding places to lease online.
Some prefer major listing portals like Zillow and Apartments.com, sure, but many renters seek out investors’ websites first and foremost to learn about their units as well.
With this in mind, let’s outline a handful of the most important things you can do to enhance your web presence so you can ultimately educate renters about your offerings (and why yours are perfect for them).
1) Determine If Your Current Website Works
There’s no point in creating lots of website pages to promote your investment properties and specific units, if you don’t have a stellar, modern mobile-friendly site.
The technical term here is “responsive” — meaning your site is just as user-friendly on iPhones, Androids, and the like as it is on Dells, MacBooks, and other PCs.
Ask any Millennial just how important a mobile-friendly, well-designed site is to their rental search experience, and you’ll get (several iterations of) the same answer: Very.
If you already have a responsive site, you’re in phenomenal shape. If your site isn’t easy to read, navigate, or understand on smartphones and tablets, though, it’s time for a change.
The great news is you don’t need to spend a fortune on a sleek-looking website, like you used to at the turn of the century. Many site providers offer inexpensive, templated site themes — ones you typically can pay a modest monthly fee to use.
(Read more: If you feel comfortable using WordPress, use this free tutorial that can show you how to set up your own site on the CMS in just 5 minutes.)
2) Optimize All of Your Existing Site Pages
Let’s put the investor website design component off to the side for a second and assume your web presence is already high-quality.
That means you already have a site that looks and functions swimmingly on mobile devices and desktops. Now all you need is to start making the most of your existing pages.
Ideally, you should have the core pages already on your site:
- An about page that explains a bit about your professional (and personal, if you want) background, including what property/properties you own and at which you lease units and how you got started as a real estate investor.
- A listings page that shows off all of your existing units/investment properties and outlines the specs/amenities for each one (i.e. note if lessees at your rentals have access to common areas, community pools, etc.).
- A multimedia page that features videos and photos of all (or at least most) of the properties you rent out. It’s not expensive to capture compelling footage of your units using your smartphone or digital camera.
These are really the foundational elements that any business really needs, regardless of specific industry, so if yours is missing them, focus on adding these pages first and foremost.
3) Publish Even More Informative Content
Once you’ve taken care of the previously mentioned sections of your website, it’s time to turn your attention to “bonus” content.
You may not have the time to blog (or even think it’s a relevant and worthwhile marketing activity for your investment business). The truth is, it’s vital to getting your site found online — well, more specifically, on the first page or two of Google search results.
The (albeit simplistic) math here is simple:
- The more lengthy (minimum 500 words per article), evergreen (a.k.a. long-lasting), and relatively keyword-rich (related terms for your local niche) blog posts you publish, the better your odds are of ranking atop Google and, in turn, getting more visitors — the kind who have a higher likelihood of converting into new applicants and tenants.
The best articles to write are ones that educate your audience (a specific subset or two of lessees whom you most often work with/rent to) on various renting topics:
- The coolest restaurants, bars, and food trucks near your rentals
- A schedule of fun events (e.g. festivals, farmer’s markets) nearby
- Info about notable businesses in the area (including those hiring)
And the list goes on and on. You’re the expert on your market, so just think about the most commonly asked questions your applicants/tenants ask and turn those into posts.
(Read more: If you decide to use WordPress, be sure to take advantage of these 10 fantastic plug-ins, which can bolster your site traffic and lead conversion over time.)
4) Utilize the Right Promotional Avenues
While organic traffic — that is, those potential applicants and renters who find you through simple online search — accounts for most investors’ site traffic total, that’s not to say there aren’t other vital promotional avenues to explore.
First, there’s email. Sending a newsletter may not be completely worth it for your investment business, if you’re only looking to get occupants into one or two units you own.
If your business is larger-scale than that, though, it might be ideal to offer a “subscribe” form on each page of your site and, in turn, send a digest featuring local news and, of course, details about your available rentals.
MailChimp and similar email marketing tools are worth checking out. Many of these types of platforms offer minimalist plans for SMBs, so chances are you can find an affordable solution that offers templated emails you can customize with your visual branding (hint: Create a logo, if you don’t already have one!) and use to connect with prospects.
Then, there’s social media. Facebook is your best bet to get more eyeballs in front of your listings, as you can create targeted ads on the social network.
5) Learn How Other Real Estate Investors Thrive Online
There’s no shame whatsoever in admitting you don’t have all the answers when it comes to building and optimizing your real estate investor website for traffic and conversion.
There’s also no shame in checking out other investors’ digital presence to see how they thrive (or attempt to thrive) on the internet.
Whether it’s the big-time developer down the street with the 50-unit building or a fellow part-time investor also operating in or around your market, you can learn traffic-earning tips and tricks by seeing what pages and content others use to get found online.
This guide from marketing expert Neil Patel shows 25 incredibly useful “spy” tools you can use to discover which content helps your competitors succeed online, so use whichever one(s) can help you glean insights into their digital setups. Then, use their own traffic-building strategies to your advantage.
These are just some beginner-level tips and tricks to help investors like you generate more traffic. What are some tactics you use to grow your online presence (and lead list)? Share your ideas in the comments below!