THE MARKETING PLAN
Running a rental business is like any other business. You need to have a clear plan. This is true for every aspect of the business including marketing
The Marketing Plan doesn’t have to be huge. A few bullet points will do. The most useful thing about it is its’ preparation. Thinking things through; who, why, where? Speculate, question and refine your marketing strategy.
The Plan should be based on the characteristics of your potential tenants.
For instance it might be that:
You have bought a two bedroom flat. It’s in a nice area and has a good view. The size and location means that it should therefore appeal to a professional couple or even two sharers. You know that the area is popular with inward locators because of the proximity of a large business park near by. The property has no garden and is therefore probably not suitable for a family. However, it is within easy access to bars and restaurants and therefore should appeal to younger occupants. The rental level probably puts it out of reach of recently qualified graduates.
So there you have it. A profile of the likely tenants would suggest a 25-35 year old professional couple or two sharers.
Now that you have established the tenant profile; in order to complete the Marketing Plan you will need to work out how best to market your property. The potential scenario could be as follows:
You know that your local newspaper has an advertising feature for rental property on a Tuesday. So to start with an ad in that would be good. Your potential tenants may well be inward locators and being young and educated they are very likely to use the Internet, so an Internet presence is essential.
There are numerous letting websites. I review the best ones in my forthcoming book the Landlordsbible.
One site which is owned by e-bay and is easy to use and also free is www.gumtree.com . You decide therefore to post an ad on this site. The nature of the area and the type of tenant you aim to attract means that an ad in the local shop, an Asda hypermarket in this case is unlikely to be successful.
You know that the letting market in the area is buoyant. The existing tenants aren’t due to move out for another 5 weeks. You are comfortable doing the letting yourself. So you decide to hold off getting an agent involved; deciding instead to test the market. You have a friend who works for one of the large firms based on the local business park. Therefore a message on the company intranet is another option.
Having run through this process the resulting Marketing Plan should look a bit like this:
|Tenant Category||Professional||25 –35 yrs||Single / couple / sharer|
|Channel 1||Local press –add twice a week in Tuesday property supplement & sat|
|Channel 2||Internet – property marketing site national coverage|
|Channel 3||Direct marketing – company intranet|
|Channel 4||Informal networks|
|Overall strategy||DIY approach/ test market/ possible ‘twin track’ if low response after 2 weeks of initial marketing|
It gets easier!
The great thing is that once you have prepared a few marketing plans. You should be able to conduct the whole process without pen & paper. You will instinctively know the tenant profile for a property and the ways to market the property to them.
You may have picked up under the heading Overall Strategy the term ‘twin tracking’. This is an approach that I have employed successfully for many years in marketing my properties. The term is actually derived from an old trick where developers would run two concurrent planning applications to get round the appeals system.
I go on to reveal the dark art of ‘twin tracking’ in my book the Landlordsbible.