Approximately 44 million housing units are occupied by renters in the United States — a number that has only increased over the past decade. It’s no wonder the rental market is one of the fastest-moving sectors in residential real estate.
That’s why it’s so important for real estate agents to develop a clear and effective marketing strategy for their rental properties. In this article, we’ll outline the steps you can take to put your rental marketing plan into action. We will also provide examples of real estate professionals who have used cutting-edge technology like digital twins that offer 3D immersive experiences of their properties to show you how the strategy works in practice.
Why you need an effective rental property marketing plan
According to a study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the median age of a renter in the United States is 42 years old — which is 15 years younger than the average homeowner. Furthermore, one in three rental units has a head of household under the age of 35 (compared to 1 in 10 homeowners).
With such a young clientele, most rental marketing occurs online through listing sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Apartments.com. Young people are also finding apartments for rent through social media channels like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
When you market a rental property, you have to go digital to find the right audience. Below are some of the benefits of crafting a modern, technology-driven residential and commercial rental marketing plan. Here are some marketing tips for your rental properties:
Connect with the right prospects
The best marketing plans are targeted, connecting the right property listings with the right prospective tenants. Digital tools help you match listings to the right demographic. For instance, you might use social media to get affordable, smaller rental listings in front of younger clients who may not be able to afford more expensive properties.
Expedite purchase and leasing cycle
The rental market moves fast. The flexibility of renting means tenants might pack up and look for a new rental after just a year or two of tenancy. A nimble, data-driven marketing plan helps you promote properties right as contracts end and then find new renters quickly, which speeds up the process.
Reduce overall costs
The longer an apartment stays on the market, the more you’ll have to spend marketing it. This is a vicious cycle, where you may end up spending more while earning less. When you market a property effectively from the get-go, it will get snatched up quickly and you won’t have to keep putting resources into your marketing plan.
What to do before rolling out a marketing campaign for your rental property
Timing is everything in the real estate industry. So before you put your property on the market and start promoting the space, you’ll want to make sure you’ve ironed out some key details.
Come up with the right pricing strategy
If your rental property is massively overpriced, it will stay on the market far too long — and you’ll keep spending money on a marketing plan that isn’t set up to succeed. So before you roll out your marketing plan, study the market. Unit size and location are key factors for comparison. For instance, you might go online or look at your internal database to see what other one-bedroom apartments in your neighborhood have rented for.
Decide on the right time to lease your property
The real estate market is constantly fluctuating. While it might not be easy to time the local market exactly right, the most important thing to know are the month-to-month fluctuations in your area.
It is key to have a keen understanding of your local or regional market. Being aware of the seasonality and preferences of the demographic in your area will help you hone in on when and how to launch your marketing plan so that you connect with the right audience at the right time. For instance, if you’re in a college town, it’s a good idea to put your rental on the market a few weeks before students return to town.
Stay up to date on the housing rental industry
There is a wide range of publications and newsletters with the data you need to understand the market. Geek Estate, HousingWire, and the New York Times Real Estate newsletter are a few popular resources.
Build a digital twin of your rental property
Digital twins are virtual 3D models of physical spaces. These immersive digital scans of your rental property are a great way to market to people who can’t see your property in person. You can create digital twins using just the phone in your pocket, then feature them in online property listings or share them with specific prospects.
6 rental property marketing ideas to try for your next listing
Now that you’ve decided it’s the right time to start marketing your rental property, here are six easy steps for launching your marketing plan:
1. Stage your property (if possible)
Put simply, if your property looks clean and well-maintained, you’ll have an easier time finding a tenant. This might involve sprucing up any existing furniture to make your interiors look attractive. Neutral colors and tasteful design choices make your property attractive to a wide audience of potential renters.
2. Optimize the tenant experience
When you market your property, you want to show it in the best possible light. If there are lingering repairs or upgrades needed, you’ll want to address these before showing your space off to the world. And be sure to spruce up any of your property’s key amenities. For instance, you should do a once-over of your outdoor space to ensure it looks presentable.
3. Have an open house
Giving prospective tenants the chance to see your property in person should be a key part of your marketing efforts. Open houses don’t need to be long — just mark off an hour or two for people to come by, walk through the home, and ask questions.
Again, you’ll want to make sure the property is in top shape on the day of the open house. The property should be as clean as possible and any repairs should have been taken care of. Handing out brochures about the property is a great way to give potential renters useful contact information and a reminder that they visited your open house. Snacks and soft drinks at your open house are always nice incentives for getting potential renters in the door.
4. Write a detailed property description
Your property description is the perfect opportunity to outline important details and specs about your property. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and move-in date are all essential to any property description. You can even go more in-depth, explaining building amenities, important neighborhood landmarks, and proximity to public transportation. Don’t forget to mention the monthly rental cost.
5. Give your rental a competitive edge with digital twin technology
Implementing tagging within your scan
Show floor plans of your rental property
Provide a 360 view of your rental property
Download 4K photos
According to internal Matterport data, potential prospects are shown to be 300% more engaged with 3D imagery of properties compared to 2D imagery. Digital models have also been found to generate 49% more leads. By giving tenants the autonomy to explore and the most accurate digital view of your property, you’re sure to leave a solid first impression.
6. Choose the best marketing strategy
Now that you have your real estate marketing materials in hand in the form of an immersive 3D experience, high-quality photos, and a detailed description of the property, it’s time to get your listing out in the world.
Here are some ideas on where to include digital twins in various marketing channels to give renters the most accurate and best possible view of your property:
Online listings and ads
As we’ve discussed, renters tend to skew younger. Placing your listing on popular real estate listing sites (e.g., Zillow) is a great way to reach this target market. Plus, simple interfaces make it easy to upload your listing in a matter of minutes.
Posting your property on social media sites (e.g., Facebook Marketplace) is a great way to reach a wide audience. Plus, posting here is entirely free — though these sites do offer paid property advertising options that can help your listing find a wider audience.
Property signage & word of mouth
Creating signs with great photos and concise descriptions is a great way to catch the eye of potential renters. While you won’t reach the same audience you’d find online, signs can be a personalized way to target renters in your community and drive word of mouth.
Capture potential tenants’ attention with Matterport
Matterport’s all-in-one platform makes it easy to create immersive, self-directed virtual tours of properties. The ability to explore a digital replica of a space in-depth helps engage prospective renters — and can quickly convert them into great tenants.
Matterport enables 24/7 open houses. A physical open house might be an hour long, but your property might be on the market for weeks or even months. With a digital twin of your property, you have a virtual open house that your audience can access at any time, from any device.
Scan once, use for years. Tenants may move in and out of your property, but your digital scan will stay the same. Once you have a scan of your property, you have a resource you can use long-term.
Add a new dimension with MatterTags. Matterport makes it easy to add tags and notes to your digital twins. You can even include itemized lists of important info like appliance brands, HVAC information, and customizations that the tenant should be aware of. The sky is the limit here and you can include anything that is unique to your property using MatterTags.
Share your tours far and wide. Beyond embedding digital twins into your online marketing materials, viewers can share 3D models on social media or over email themselves, which can drive referrals. For instance, one viewer might find the property isn't a good fit for them — but they know a friend who might like it, so they email them a link to the virtual tour.
Get started in minutes. It’s easy to start scanning using just your phone and the Matterport App, or order a Capture Service professional on demand to do it for you. Once you have a digital twin of your rental property, you can make any edits needed (e.g., blurring personal information or adding tags), then start embedding 3D models into your listings or adding them to social media.
Successful rental property marketing strategies in action
Matterport has already helped a wide range of real estate professionals promote their rental properties, find renters, and close deals. Here are a few examples of Matterport in action:
Real estate consultants PlanOmatic focus on the single-family rental industry and help property management companies market their properties. Their team partnered with Matterport to create digital twins of more than 400,000 properties. Thanks to immersive 3D imagery and useful spatial data, they were able to increase rental applications by 30 percent.
Brisbane-based real estate company Little Hinges helps agents and property owners digitize the entire property transaction process, “from listing to closing.” They partnered with Matterport to become Australia’s largest virtual property tour provider. Using digital twin technology has helped them speed up time-to-lease by 50% and drive 20% month-over-month growth.
Cressy & Everett is a home marketing leader in Indiana and Michigan — and they transformed their business when they incorporated Matterport digital twins into their online real estate marketing campaign. Thanks to this forward-thinking partnership, they enriched their marketing materials and increased engagement.
This virtual tour of the 4000-square-foot Lumberjack Lodge in Branson Canyon, Missouri, shows just how in-depth you can go with virtual tours of rental properties. Whether you want to see the full layout in Dollhouse Mode or explore more closely with Measurement Mode, this expansive rental is sure to intrigue any outdoors enthusiast.