Real Estate Marketing – Day 12: Marketing to rent vacant property (may be disappointing)
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Today’s question comes from Chip Tremper, up in St. Johnsbury, Vermont: “Hi Craig, Thanks for the opportunity !
We are landlords with 3 different rental profiles:
1) Upscale building in old manufacturing town in one of the poorest area’s in Vermont. Area employers are: Hospital, Prison, State Human services offices, a few small manufacturers. The challenge is to attract higher end blue collar & lower end white collar residents.
2) Funky older building, VERY nice inside in a bedroom village to the Capital of VT. Well maintained & easy living & commute. Have trouble attracting quality people because of it’s appearance. Would be extremely expensive to update the exterior.
3) Upscale & private farmhouse vacation rental in Craftsbury Vt., a quintessential New England village. We easily fill summer & winter, but have a hard time for 2 months in the fall, and 3 months in the spring.
Thanks, CHip & Kathy “
Unless I’m missing something, most of these issues are marketplace challenges, not marketing or copywriting challenges. Nevertheless, let’s have at it:
Example one is easy: it’s probably not going to happen. Last time I checked, higher end blue collar workers and lower end white collar residents typically DON’T want to live in “one of the poorest areas” in the state.
That’s like trying to sell cigarettes to non-smokers. There’s no fit there. Poor people live in poor areas and wealthier folks live in more affluent areas — you simply can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit, no matter how hard you try.
Dress a pig up in silk and he’s still a pig…
You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear…
I don’t think you need any more analogies, you probably get what I’m trying to say here, right?
There are certain things you simply cannot overcome. Mother nature, for instance, is one of them… a scorned lover is another… and a bad product is yet another one.
So with respect to example two, you’ve got another problem: “Having trouble attracting quality people because of it’s appearance.” This can’t be overcome – most quality people don’t want to live in a place that doesn’t look very appealing.
However, instead of trying to overcome a weakness, often times if you actually sell the weakness as it’s strong point, you’re going to make money.
For example, placing an ad on Craig’s List – or where ever people looking to rent homes go — that says something like, “Renters: are you looking to live in a comfy old-fashioned and well-maintained home that’s close to the capital? If so, and it you’re not concerned about outside appearances… AND if you’re looking for an incredible value, then call us at 123-4567. We are life-long Vermont residents and landlords with a great reputation and references you can check on. This one’s NOT going to be around for a long time, so call NOW!”
At least you know anyone who responds to an ad like this, isn’t going to waste your time or be disappointed with the appearance of the place.
For the last one, this too, is a marketplace issue. You’ve probably got lots of tourists who rent the place out during the busy season. If there simply aren’t any people looking to rent property during the off-season, you can’t ‘manufacture’ them.
However, what I’d do, is this: I’d offer a special deal on these months to the people who are renting during the season. Give them half-off or one month free or some other kind of incredible deal if they also rent the property during the off-season. Any dollars coming in during that time, will at least count as some kind of contribution to your overhead. It sounds like any money coming in during that time, is found money. And your existing customer base is usually the most reliable place to get this.
Marketing can solve lots of problems, but it can’t overcome market forces. You simply can’t fix certain problems. If you’re losing money on each transaction, for example, you can’t take good marketing and say to yourself, “Well, since I’ve now doubled my sales I’m doing better.”
Making maximum money is sometimes like real estate: you want to figure out where the money is, and what your strategy is going to be on the front-end, BEFORE you buy… not after you buy.
Not sure if this helps or hurts, but at least it’s a start…
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
P.S. As you know, in business, there are only three ways to make more money: get more customers… increase your prices… or increase the value of your average transaction size. In Chapter 12, you’ll discover a practical and very easy to apply strategy that dramatically increases the value of your average transaction size – one that gets up to 98.4% of your customers to spend MORE money with you, every single time they buy
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