It’s no secret, I love digital marketing for growing rent rolls. And if we’re honest, digital marketing is taking over our industry as the most popular landlord lead generation tool. But in a digital age, building your referral network has become even more important, especially if you want to grow your rent roll consistently.
There are 3 reasons why I believe that referral marketing is particularly important right now, while we’re in such a strong digital era.
Reason Number 1 – Social Media Amplifies Referral Marketing.
The rise of social media has made it easier than ever for your referral network to share recommendations with their followers. This means that word-of-mouth marketing is easier and more effective than ever. You have an opportunity, right now, to tap into this amplification, and gain market share over your competitors.
Reason Number 2 – Easy Conversions
Have you ever noticed that when you attend a listing presentation with a landlord who has been referred to you, it’s much easier to get their signature on the management agreement? That’s not coincidence. When a referral comes from someone that your potential landlord already trusts, they’re more likely to trust you too. In a world where your potential landlords are being bombarded with marketing from other property management companies, referral marketing can be your super-power when it comes to closing the deal.
Reason Number 3 – Return on Investment
Whether you pay your referral partners for their referrals or not, the return on investment in terms of rent roll growth is remarkable. When I was growing my rent roll, some of my referral partners were incentivised by a referral fee (I paid one week’s rent, after I had secured the management and leased the property – but this fee is totally up to you and your referral partner to decide). However, not all of my referral partners were willing to accept a referral fee (some of them found that they didn’t want to have to disclose a referral fee, so it was easier not to accept a fee). When you consider the cost of securing a new management from a referral partner, the return on investment is excellent. Generally, you’ll only pay the referral partner IF you secure the new business. This means you’re only paying for the lead IF you get the business. That’s the type of maths I like.
I hope by now I’ve convinced you that referral marketing is more important than ever. So let’s talk about 3 ways you can get more landlord leads from your referral partners, without waiting for them to call you with the name and number of a client.
Collaborating with a local business to run competitions on social media can be an effective way to generate new leads for both of your businesses. By working together, you can leverage each other’s social media following and reach a wider audience than you would be able to on your own.
Here are a couple of competition ideas you could use:
- Give away a prize that is provided by a local business. This can be a great way to tap into a local audience, capture contact details from people who want an entry into the draw and grow your (and the local business you’ve collaborated with) database. Some easy businesses to collaborate with in this way are beauty salons, cafes, restaurants, kids activity centres, home and garden shops or even some of your tradespeople.
- Run a social media scavenger hunt. Give away hints and tips about locations, inviting people to visit those locations (which can be other local businesses you’ve partnered with), get more clues, take photos (to share on social media) and result in a prize for whoever wins the hunt. This one is a little more work, but can generate huge reach on social media and lead opportunities for you and the businesses you partner with.
Just remember to comply with any rules about competitions that your social media platform stipulates. There are some rules on each platform that you need to be aware of, so you don’t risk your social media account being flagged for misuse.
- Lead Magnets
If you don’t have (at least) one lead magnet in your business already, it’s time to create one. A lead magnet is a piece of content that you can offer to someone in exchange for their contact details (so you capture them as a lead into your database).
In property management, you might create:
- A checklist for buying an investment property
- An ebook outlining how to find the right property manager
- A report on the rental market in your location
- Or any other valuable piece of content that helps landlords and establishes your agency as a market leader in your location.
Once you have a lead magnet that is useful for landlords in your area, you can speak with your referral partners about including a link to download the lead magnet in their email newsletter.
For example, if you’re working with a mortgage broker as a referral partner, and you’ve created a lead magnet that is an ebook outlining how to find the right property manager, you could ask your mortgage broker to share a link to this ebook download in their monthly email to their database.
Sharing your lead magnet to your referral partners’ databases is an excellent way to capture leads and move people from someone else’s database, into yours. Once you have that lead in your own database, you know they’re interested in property management services, and you can contact them directly.
- Live Video Collaborations
I know, live video is scary. But live video is powerful. And right now, I’m loving Instagram Live collaborations as a way to grow your audience and get more leads from your referral partners.
Co-hosting an Instagram live with one of your referral partners is a great way to reach each other’s audience, and if you follow a formula for your video, you’ll be able to generate leads from their audience too.
An easy live collaboration video to do is a Q&A with one of your tradespeople. Your tradespeople probably already have an audience that are potential clients for your business, and they’ll be able to help educate your landlords on maintenance for their investment properties, and being compliant with their maintenance, especially if you’ve had new legislation introduced in your state or territory recently.
Here are a couple of tips for hosting a joint Instagram Live with a referral partner:
- Plan the live video in advance, and make sure you have some notes to keep you on track during the video
- Use the countdown timer sticker and the “reminder” feature on Instagram to prompt your audience to join your video when you go live.
- Film the video from separate locations. Don’t try to cram both of you into one video. Use the “split screen” feature on Instagram live, and join the video separately from different locations using both your accounts. You need both accounts for this video, so that both your audiences are notified of the live. This increases reach and exposure for both of you.
- Have a strong call to action as part of the video. If the topic matches your lead magnet (see point 2), invite viewers to download your lead magnet via the link in your bio. Mention this lead magnet repeatedly throughout the video, so people are invited to download it (and end up on your database, as a lead) regardless of whether they joined the live video when you first start, if they come into the video part way through, or even if they watch the video on replay later.
It’s so easy to get swept up in social media and digital marketing as a primary way of generating new landlord leads. And these are excellent tools for lead generation. But if you put your focus into your referral network, you can amplify your referral marketing and increase your landlord leads into your rent roll reliably and consistently, without the hustle and stress.
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* A version of this article first appeared on Elite Agent