And the more competitive the local market is, the more creative you have to get in order to be able to continue to attract a potential tenant to your apartment rental community.
Over the past decade I’ve been involved in acquiring, renovating, and leasing up hundreds of rental units in intensely competitive rental markets.
And I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Including some pretty great apartment marketing ideas!
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So without further ado, I’m going to spill the beans on these creative apartment marketing ideas that nobody else has told you about so that you can find a tenant quickly:
1. WRITE ARTICLES
You are reading an article on a website because you searched for information on a specific topic.
That involves a whole range of search topics from restaurants, to churches, daycares, nightlife, fitness centers, transportation options, sightseeing, and so much more.
Then once they’ve identified the neighborhood(s) they’re interested in, they start to narrow down their search for rentals in the area.
What if your rental management website had articles that helped provide valuable, local information about all those things that a prospective resident is searching for?
What if in each article, you directed them to check out your rental listings located in the neighborhood they’re researching?
What if you also had a lead magnet such as a “local renters guide” that showcased local restaurants, hangout spots, etc., and all they have to do to download it is to provide their name and email address for your email marketing campaign?
The prospective renter gets helpful information about the area they are interested in moving to, and you get solid leads from potential residents!
This is certainly a longer term strategy since getting your articles ranked takes some marketing knowledge (and time), but in the long run, it pays dividends in terms of local SEO.
Not to mention… it’s free traffic to your website.
Don’t sleep on this apartment marketing strategy. Free tenant leads are nice!
2. CREATE PARTNERSHIPS
One of the best ways to attract qualified tenants is to partner with medium to large local businesses, universities and other organizations in your area that frequently encounter a large number of people who may be new to the area (or who are going through some type of change in life) on a monthly basis.
This is an especially powerful apartment marketing idea for rentals in an area where there is a large local business that employs a lot of people.
You can partner with local businesses and other organizations by offering their employees (students, or members) exclusive promotions such as reduced deposits, guaranteed approvals, discounted rent or move in credits, and so on.
You may be surprised how many HR departments and new student staff members would be eager to refer people to you.
3. CREATE VIDEO CONTENT
Video content consumption is experiencing incredible year over year growth. And it’s largely reaching the younger generations – you know, the kids who aren’t kids anymore?
The generations who are now the largest renting blocs by population in the US? Yes, those generations.
They’re watching a TON of video content online. More than ever before.
And when you’re trying to reach your primary audience (re: rental demographic), you need to go where they are. It’s time to brush up on your video content skills!
I promise that most of your competition in the rental market is NOT using creative video content as one of their primary marketing ideas – if they’re even using it at all.
The platforms where your prospective renters are consuming video content are:
And yes, they’re watching commercial video content too. So you’ll fit right in.
Video Marketing Tips for Rental Properties
Want to get even more traction with your video content? Look for creative ways to incorporate drone videos into your apartment marketing toolbox. Indoor drone videos of rentals are a great way to highlight the space, but so are aerial videos of the rental property.
At several of my apartment communities in the past, I’ve done a drone video directly above the community to highlight where it was located in relationship to downtown, the lake, etc.
Instead of just saying that the property is located “2 miles” or “within walking distance”… SHOW it instead!
Get creative with video content for your rental marketing strategies!
4. CREATE 3D TOURS
Speaking of video content… 3D tours are as important today as they’ve ever been. And 3D tours come in a variety of formats, including video.
But, they also come in interactive formats where your prospective tenants are able to click and move their screen around the rental, and get a pretty good visual of it as if they were physically present in the space.
3D tours have already taken off over the past few years, but it will only continue to gain steam as the cost to own VR technology becomes cheaper and cheaper.
This apartment marketing idea is already being implemented by many of your competitors. So, if you’re not utilizing this particular tool in your marketing arsenal – you’re already behind times.
It’s time to catch up.
5. WORK WITH AGENTS
Real estate agents don’t just help people buy and sell houses.
They also help market rentals, and bring qualified tenants right to you – and a lot of times, they even hold the prospective tenants hand throughout the application process for you.
It’s not free of course. Real estate agents need to get paid like everybody else.
But the results that they can help deliver are invaluable.
So when they help you find qualified tenants for your rental, you need to pay them well – in fact, the better commissions you offer, the more likely you are to have real estate agents knocking down your door to bring you your next renter.
If you’ve never worked with a real estate agent for your rental properties before, just search for “apartment locators” in your area, and that’ll help you get started.
6. PAY FOR A BILLBOARD
Yes, I’m serious. And no, it’s not as expensive as you think.
Back in the day it could easily cost you many thousands of dollars just to rent the billboard (usually a minimum of 12 months with a significant deposit), design the billboard ad, and pay someone to install it on the board.
And hopefully no major storms tear it all up. And hopefully the billboard manager keeps the lights working (does it even have lights?) so that it’s not invisible at night.
But that was like 1995.
This is the 21st century and guess what we have now?
But not just ANY digital billboards… no, now we have SELF-SERVE digital billboards.
That means you can log onto a website, pick the billboard location you want your ad(s) to display on for your rental property, pick the time slots you want it to display, and select the range you’re willing to pay in order for your ad to be displayed throughout the day and night.
On top of that, you can design your own billboard ad in Canva, Pixelied, or any other number of design websites, and upload it yourself.
Yes – it’s really that easy.
It gets even easier…
This self-serve digital billboard provider gives you templates you can use so you don’t even need to worry about designing anything if you don’t want to – or, your can pay their designer like $50 to do a fancy one for you.
I’ve personally purchased billboard ad displays for as little as $0.01 per display on I-35 – one of the busiest highways in Texas.
Oh, and no need to worry about weather or lighting… Digital billboards are waterproof, and the digital screen IS the light!
Drop a $100 from your marketing budget on a digital billboard advertisement for your rental property. Set it to display your ad on a daily schedule over the course of 30 days and see what happens.
You might be surprised by the results.
7. SYNDICATE YOUR LISTINGS
If you’re still logging into the various listing websites one by one, you’re wasting a TON of time. There are affordable (even free) property management platforms available now that do all the work for you.
You create a single rental listing, click a few buttons and it syndicates (gets sent) out to a bunch of third-party listing websites like Zillow, Apartments.com, Realtor.com, etc.
It’s a massive time-saver, and bonus points for the software systems that have built-in CRM’s so that all of your prospective tenant leads come into one place so you can manage everything from a single login.
Even more bonus points for the platform that has a mobile app, too.
The market has consolidated a lot over the past couple of years, but there are a few that are still great options for small to medium landlords and property managers. TenantCloud is one of the ones that you can get started on for free, and it has all of the above-mentioned features – including the mobile app.
8. USE PHYSICAL SIGNAGE AND BALLOONS
Look… this isn’t one of those new apartment marketing ideas that everybody’s talking about. In fact, it’s something that a lot of people don’t do anymore.
But I don’t know why.
Because old school marketing tactics still work.
And the options available now are more affordable and creative than they’ve ever been.
You know your market, so you can do the research and find out what signs, balloons, flags, etc, will work best for your rental property.
I guarantee that there are people who have lived in the area around your rental property for years, and they have NO idea that your property is a rental.
Even if it’s an apartment community, people drive the same roads and go the same pathways every day and eventually they become blind to it all.
I cannot count how many times I’ve driven down a road for the 100th time and finally noticed a building because they changed the sign, or a paint color, or put a flag out front, etc. The building has been there every time I’ve driven by.
But my brain only retains so much and eventually after seeing that building ten times, my brain selectively puts it into some retention chamber in the back of my brain because it’s not important anymore. It’s there, it exists – great.
But if something changes about the property – the brain kicks in and says wait a minute…
The bottom line is – new things get peoples attention.
Routinely changing out something on the exterior of your property is a good way to smack the blinders off of someone’s face (figuratively speaking, not literally!).
Some cheap balloons or flags will do the trick.
But it doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it’s bright, moves, or has some other element of change to it that you couldn’t help but notice even if you’d driven by the property a thousand times.
9. NETWORK WITH NEARBY RENTAL PROPERTIES
Ok, I realize that this one may be throwing you for a loop. But hear me out…
Some of the best apartment marketing ideas are ones that are so far out of the box, that nobody else is doing them, or even thinking about doing them.
When you receive rental inquiries from prospective tenants and they’re looking for a rental property type that you simply don’t have… what do you do?
They want a three bedroom, two bathroom rental, but you only have one bedroom, one bathroom rentals.
At the end of the day, you don’t have what they need and you part ways.
What if you had a way to still create value out of that interaction? What if… you referred them to a competitor down the road who you know DOES have a three bedroom, two bathroom rental?
And, what if, in return… when that rental property has a prospect who only needs a one bedroom, one bathroom rental… they refer them to you when they don’t have one?
Quid Pro Quo.
I’ve referred hundreds of leads, and I’ve received nearly as many in return. Trust me when I say that it works, if you work at it in earnest.
Building business relationships between competition is much more powerful than marking them as arch enemies and never speaking to them for all of time.
10. UPDATE YOUR GOOGLE BUSINESS LISTING DAILY
This particular apartment marketing idea is highly under-utilized in the rental industry. Which is odd, because it’s one of the most powerful marketing tools available – and it’s entirely free.
When someone searches for rental properties using the Google search engine, there are generally three or four rental properties that will pop up to the top of the local Google maps SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). And there are quite a few things you can do to make sure that your rental property routinely shows up in one of those top 3-4 results.
But even if your listing doesn’t show up at the top, you can still get a ton of business just by existing in the Google Business directory at all.
If you do not yet have a Google Business Listing for your rental… you should probably stop reading this and go create one right now.
You can have a “Call To Action” that lets people schedule tours with you. You can add your phone number so they can click to call you. You can add your website so they can learn more. You can add photos to highlight your rental properties features and amenities. You can create regular daily or weekly updates, promotions, and seasonal posts to keep your listing fresh and updated.
The Google Business Listing feature is a powerhouse marketing tool and every rental company should be taking advantage of it.
But there is a right way, and a wrong way to using it to make sure that you’re getting the most out of it.
You can gain a lot of traction on social media if you get creative with how you market your rentals. The key thing with social media marketing is understanding your audience:
Which social media platform is your audience on?
How should you talk to your target audience on that platform?
Facebook is more of a friends and family kind of place, with acquaintances sprinkled in. Comments, reviews and other forms of social proof carry a lot of weight on Facebook.
TikTok is more about virality and popularity – not so much about who else you know on the platform. Popular songs, fun dances, or just highly entertaining content of any kind is popular on TikTok.
Instagram is for showcasing that “Insta Perfect Life” and well thought-out photography works well there.
Find out where your audience is at, and focus your digital marketing portion of your overall marketing strategy on that platform.
11. FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE
Facebook Marketplace is a great place to advertise available rentals. But, like any platform, what works in one city may not work as well in another.
That means you need to test the platform and see what kind of results you can generate there. At the end of every 30 days, the end of every quarter, and the end of every year, you need to review your lead sources and determine where your online marketing efforts are paying off the most.
12. CRAIGSLIST MARKETING
You didn’t see that one coming, huh? Believe it or not, Craigslist still performs REALLY well in some cities when it comes to rental listings.
You’d be surprised by how quickly you might find a renter on Craigslist.
13. GOOGLE ADS
I already covered Google My Business (re: Google Business Listing, Google Business Page, Google Business Profile) further up in this article, but another tool that Google offers is Google Ads.
These have the potential of getting expensive rather quickly, so if you’ve never run Google Ads, and aren’t sure how they work – you may want to just hire someone with digital marketing experience to help you with it.
Despite the potential for higher cost, running Google Ads is still one of the best apartment marketing ideas that you should absolutely be aware of.