How independent letting agents can attract and convert new landlords by using creative and innovative marketing tactics.
Landlords are elusive creatures. Hard to find, difficult to market to, and almost impossible to poach.
Most traditional methods of marketing just don’t work on landlords. With a vendor, at least you know where they live. Trying to reach a landlord through a property they own is like playing hide and seek with the Invisible Man.
But a landlord can be so much more lucrative than a vendor, in the long run. At an average revenue of £1000 a year per property, a portfolio landlord can keep your cash flow sweet for years, if you look after him.
So how do you attract more landlords into your fold without spending a ton of time and money on marketing each month?
Contrary to popular belief…
Landlords are NOT invisible
It’s true that there are many clever and technologically-advanced methods to find landlords and track them down. Once you know where they live, you can bombard them with your literature, sure, but is that really the best way to begin what could be a long and fruitful working relationship with them?
You need to know them to find them
Who is your typical landlord?
1. Male or female?
2. How old?
3. What kind of house do they live in?
4. What do they do?
5. What do they like doing in their spare time?
6. What do they drive?
Let me have a go. The landlord I have in my mind is called Robert, he’s a 55 year old solicitor who lives in a four bedroom detached house, and likes to golf in his spare time. He drives a quality car, probably German; maybe BMW or Mercedes. Perhaps you recognise him?
In fact, if you compared the chances of say, a 25 year old hairdresser being a BTL landlord with our Robert, he would probably be about 1000 times more likely to be a landlord than the hairdresser.
Once you know who these landlords are the most likely to be, then you’ll find that they aren’t invisible, after all. In fact, they are highly visible. If you want to find professionals, just look on Yell.com or even just Google, and you’ll find them.
Now all you have to do is figure out how to attract them.
What type of landlord do you want?
Let’s segment the landlord market into three categories – I like to call these Ambitious Newbie, Accidental and Pro.
The Accidentals have inherited a property they rent out, or had to move house without selling their home, so rented it out instead. They can be emotionally connected to the property, sometimes making them unreasonable in their demands on the tenant, and over-sensitive to any problems that occur.
The Pros are portfolio landlords. Well-informed (so they think), sometimes slightly arrogant, and very reluctant to change their management agent without a massive discount in fees as a sweetener.
That leaves the Ambitious Newbie. This is the guy that’s watched Homes Under the Hammer and decides to go pro. Just the small problems of the lack of funds, no financing agreement and little time (he works full time) are holding him back. Despite these challenges, he’s super ambitious and determined to make it work, and best of all, he needs you. He’ll listen to what you say, take your advice, and won’t usually haggle on fee. If you can take him from zero to three properties in the first year or so, he’ll stay loyal forever; eventually becoming the Pro we talked about earlier, and (hopefully) impossible for anyone else to poach.
Once you’ve decided to focus on the Newbies, he can guide your marketing much more effectively than trying to attract all types of landlords with your efforts.
5 ways to attract ‘Ambitious Newbies’
Let’s look at some ways you can attract these Ambitious Newbies through smart marketing strategies:
1. Direct mail – instead of touting for vendors each time a property in your patch comes onto the market, wait 10 weeks and send them a nice individual letter; in it, give them a guide rental value if they decide not to sell, and inviting them to have a chat with you about their options.
2. Content – if you don’t already write a blog, start one now. Focus specifically on the journey from the first buy-to-let up to around six units. Write about financing options, tax implications (you can use expert guest contributors) and Google-able phrases like ‘What to do if your tenant gets a dog’.
3. Write the definitive guide – this is one thing I do with my clients that instantly sets them apart, gives them credibility and positions them as an expert in their field. You know more than you think you do; you just need to write it down. If you’re not a natural writer, have a copywriter interview you, and turn your answers into an ebook. (Or apply to become my client and we’ll do it all for you.)
4. ValPal – (or other instant online valuation tool) – this is giving some of my clients all their leads at the moment. But you have to be really tactical with it. The way you drive traffic to the page, how you make sure as many people as possible complete the form, how you re-market to the ones that don’t, and then how you follow up with the submissions, – all these elements make the difference between success and failure of the tool.
5. Join my free online training session! On Monday 19th December I’ll be sharing My 5 Step Formula to Attracting New Landlords in a free online training session. Just for independent letting agents, you’ll discover how to build huge trust/credibility through multiple online marketing streams, how to create highly engaging content that attracts your ideal landlords, and the special offline strategy that hardly anybody uses yet has the most powerful impact in your marketplace.
We live in very exciting times, but sometimes the choice of marketing options feels overwhelming. To help you, I’m running a free online training session on Monday 19th December at 2pm. Just click here to save your seat completely free. I’ll spend an hour showing you how to create your very own landlord attraction strategy, and how to implement a clear, simple action plan to boost your lettings business and set you apart from the competition.
What to do next: Register your free place here for Monday’s training session
What to read next: The 7 most popular tips of 2016
Speak to Sam: If you’d like to know how I think you could improve your marketing, just answer a few short questions here and I’ll tell you if and how you could be more effective.