Perhaps the most important aspect of marketing is defining and intimately understanding the market you’re attempting to reach and sell to. Every group of consumers is different in terms of their needs, interests and psychological responses to marketing and being sold to. A scattergun approach aimed at everyone never works - a tightly focused campaign to a very specific type of landlords is much more likely to be rewarded.
Different types of landlord
There are, broadly speaking, four types of landlord. No two personalities are exactly the same and everyone will respond in different ways to different marketing techniques, but knowing which category your landlords fall into will help with your initial targeting.
New landlords have one or two properties in their portfolio and will more than likely take your lead when it comes to managing them. If their initial experiences are not positive, they may end up moving agencies or selling the properties rather than persevering with them, but if they are then they could become a customer for life.
An accidental landlord is a landlord who has inherited a property or has had to move home without selling their house, so they have decided to rent it out. They may have previous experience in renting out properties or they might be new to it. They may, especially if they have inherited a property.
A portfolio landlord is similar to a professional landlord in terms of personality, but will tend to have tens of properties where the rent coming in from them is their sole source of Income.
Professional landlords tend to have deliberately invested in two or three buy-to-let properties, perhaps as a retirement nest egg. They are usually well-informed and resistant to any changes you attempt to make to their service if it involves them spending more money. These will probably be the hardest landlords to win - if they’ve gone this long without your services, why should they switch from the company they’re already with?
The Creation of Personas
A common marketing technique that can be richly rewarded in the long-term is the creation of personas which reflect your customers. This allows you to put yourself in your customers’ shoes when you’re thinking of ways to target and appeal to them.
Marketing agencies would generally use customer data pulled from the likes of Google Analytics to create personas, but you won’t need to do this - you should already be intimately familiar with the kind of people you’re selling to, so you can create a composite of the different types of customer you have off the top of your head or based on the information you’ve already accrued.
If you’re targeting a certain type of landlord, concentrate on creating their persona first. You should know about the personality differences between the various types of landlord in your area, and you should hopefully have data vis-a-vis the reasons that they chose your business over another option. If you don’t have that data, ask your current customers what it was that convinced them to choose you, or what they think you currently offer which is beneficial for them.
Nobody knows your customers better than you, so you should ensure that you tap into that knowledge resource. Once you know what’s attractive about your business as far as (for example) professional landlords are concerned, you might be able to emphasise that in order to target more of them.
In terms of persona templates, you should be concentrating on ascertaining the following:
- Their role
- Their responsibilities
- Their goals
- Their challenges
By writing down the things that your customers want to achieve, both in the long and short-term, and the challenges they’re experiencing in doing so, you can ensure that your messaging and proposition matches their desires as closely as possible. Other things you should think about when creating your personas are:
- Their personal background (age, marital status, children) - what is driving their status as a landlord?
- Their engagement within the industry - is the private rented sector something they’re passionate about as a professional and that they research or read articles about, or just the sector they happen to be part of?
- Their personality - what do they enjoy doing in their spare time; what do they watch or read; do they use social media?
When you’ve created your persona, print them out and stick them on the wall so you’re always looking at them and thinking about whether your latest marketing technique is going to be effective as far as they’re concerned. Everything you do should be targeted at them - having their desires and challenges in view at all times will help you get into their mindset much more easily than if they weren’t.
There is no point trying to target landlords if you don’t know which landlords you’re trying to target. Whether you’re looking to fill accidental landlords’ properties with students or a professional landlord’s property with a family or high net worth individual, identifying your niche which should ideally be different to anything your competitors are doing, along with the creation of personas to represent your customers, will go a long way towards ensuring your success in targeting new landlords.
You may be also interested our blog How To Win More Landlords : A Business Strategy.
For more advice on the topic of winning new landlords, why not download this FREE How to Win New Landlords: Strategy Checklist today to get ready for growth?