I never get marketing questions….what does this tell me? It tells me people don’t value the marketing, but I am here to tell you, you should. Some of you say “Ken my property is full all of the time. I never have a vacancy, and I just post an ad on Zillow and it is rented in a day.” To that I say, you aren’t charging enough if it rents that easily and quickly. If you’re an investor this is important for you as well, so you understand what the person or company you have in place to rent your investment is doing a good job and getting the maximum rent.
There are 4 p’s of marketing that we use at MC Companies. If a property isn’t renting at the % we have told our investors it would, we have to go through these items as a team and figure out what to do about it. People automatically go to “Well I need to drop the price.” I will tell you that is the very last thing we do. At times it does need to be done, but as a last choice and not the first.
Product: The first P of marketing is the product. Do you have a nice product in an area people want to live. I would hope you have already vetted this when you purchased it, although some people dont. Don’t even get me started about people buying an investment on the edge of town that was cheaper than in town. You need to buy where people WANT to live. Most people want to live in a desirable area. Once you figure out “Yes Ken I have bought in a place people want to live.” You have to move on to how it’s being seen. Are the photos on the ads good quality? People judge a lot on just the photos alone. If the place looks well lit and clean people want to rent there. If it looks like you took the pictures on an old phone people won’t want to tour it. Another thing is does it smell nice? No one wants to walk into a smelly unit or an over fragranced to hide a smell unit. Another trick is having the lights on and doors all open. This makes the unit look more spacious. These are all things you can be doing to make sure your product is presenting well. If all of those boxes are checked and there isn’t anything that stands out negatively we move onto the second P.
Promotion: The second P is promotion. In other words, what are you doing to promote the product. If your unit is on a busy road then putting out a sign may be enough. Utilizing the internet and free sites to post is another great tool in your tool belt. Sometimes though you have to dig a little deeper on your promotion, especially if you have multiple units. For example, if your demographic is retirees maybe you sponsor a weekly card game in your lobby, or if it’s college kids maybe you do a monthly pool party. You need awareness around your property. If you feel you are doing EVERYTHING you can around promotion we move to the third P.
People: This is a big one and often skimmed over. Who you have doing tours of your unit matter. Who you have answering the phone matters, and if it’s you maybe you aren’t the right person for it. If it’s your staff maybe you need to hire better staff members. I say this because it is one of the top things we change at MC. I can’t tell you how many times we have a property that isn’t performing and we put in new leasing agents and it completely turns around. For example, if you call and an unfriendly voice answers the phone you may not visit the property. Even while touring a smile and friendly face goes a long way. Another thing is some people are better closers than others. When someone is touring your unit you need to make sure the person touring them can close the deal. An example of this would be saying “Would you like to fill out an application? I have three more tours this afternoon, but I can hold the unit if you pay the $30 application fee and security deposit.” It creates urgency. Verses someone else who says okay let me know if you have any questions and lets them walk out the door. Having the right people in place is a big one, so don’t overlook it or act like it’s not important. If you have done this then….
Price: Once you have made sure the other 3 p’s are performing optimally, then you move to price. You’re unit may be priced too high and you need to lower it.