What’s the no. 1 thing you can do as a buy and hold investor to never have to deal with the money draining expense of prolonged vacancies?
Build yourself a list of prospective tenants. An email list. A list of people who are ready, willing and able to rent your properties.
How to build your email list
Building an email list puts you in the pilot’s seat and gives you total control of your rental property vacancy rate.
When you have a strong email list of tenants, you have a pool to select from when you have an upcoming move-out. In most cases, you’ll have approved tenants before the previous tenants move out.
Building a strong email list of prospective tenants is a huge time and money saver. Not to mention, many of these tenants will eventually want to purchase a home, so you’ve got a big pool of future prospective homeowners.
What’s involved in building an email list of prospective tenants?
Step 1: You need to set up an email marketing service. I highly recommend MailChimp: It’s quick, easy and free.
Step 2: Create a Facebook business page that focuses on your tenant niche.
Step 3: Once you have at least one person on your email list, you need to start creating and sending regular emails. You’ll need to communicate with your email community at least once a week or you won’t be effective, and never add people to your email list without their permission.
Step 4: You’ll want a Leadpages account to create a high converting landing page that encourages people to sign up to your email list. Why Leadpages? It’s my favorite because it has the highest conversion rates out of any of the landing page programs out there.
You want to convert the people who land on your landing page!
Step 5: Now it’s time to run Facebook ads to your landing page. You’ll want to give people a great reason to sign up for your list.
If you’re running Facebook ads, you want to target a single ZIP code per ad, not an entire city or county. You’ll also want to exclude homeowners (in demographics, not interests).
Do not run your ads to renters.
Because the renter targeting method is wildly inaccurate, and it only targets apartment dwellers — documented rental communities.
You want all available renters, especially if you’ve got single-family homes or small multi-units to fill.
Once you’ve built your list, you’ll want to nurture your list on a weekly basis. Here’s how:
- Become the single-source curator for all available rentals, especially ones that are not your own. Be the source that has all properties so people want to sign up for your email list. Notify tenants about upcoming properties, let them know about waiting lists and share pre-approval tips and more. This is highly valuable for renters.
- Educate tenants on moving, deposits, state laws, their rights, renters insurance, HOAs, being a great tenant and anything else you think they should know.
- Partner with local businesses like insurance agents, movers and storage facilities to provide knowledge and discounts. You’ll even want to partner with non-rental-specific businesses such as coffee places and local eateries to offer discounts and gift card giveaways.
- Give tenants quick tips on things like changing mailing addresses, dealing with utility companies and having pets.
- Have a program that puts tenants on the path to homeownership. Host homebuyer seminars for your tenants; partner with a local lender and title company in order to make them extra informative and worthwhile. Also, offer significant freebies (e.g., a moving truck, paid insurance for a year, meals for the week of the move). Provide something truly valuable — real value, not perceived value.
Now you’re ready to start building your prospective tenant list and avoid those vacancies!
Christina Ethridge is the founder of LeadsAndLeverage.com, helping real estate agents capture, convert, and close Facebook leads.