As an entrepreneur, you know that you have to spend money to make money. But, you shouldn’t be spending money that doesn’t lead to effective growth. How can you put into practice proven ways to grow your business with strategies that require little to no money?
Last week, at the Pulling Back the Curtain property management conference, Brian Birdy, VP of Property Management Inc., ran a session detailing 8 effective ways to grow your business without breaking the bank. Brian has grown is family property management business from a one-man office with 50 doors to a business of 20 employees that manages over 2,000 single family properties.
In his talk, Brian noted that only 1% of his gross revenue is spent on marketing and advertising, and he shared 8 effective ways he markets his company in a highly cost effective way.
1. Your Website
With the world moving into a hyper digital space with a lot of noise to cut through, your website can exist beautifully, but still not be found by prospective customers. So, to make your website effective, investing into SEO (search engine optimization) will be incredibly important. Brian uses Property Management Websites to run his website and to increase website visibility through solid SEO plans.
If this is not something you’re an expert in, you can partner with someone to assist in an SEO strategy to increase your visibility in searches for property management companies in your area. You can use a tool like AhRefs to optimize your website SEO.
2. Social Media
Social media was important before the pandemic, but is becoming increasingly important now with such limited face-to-face interaction. Utilizing your social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Quora, Yelp, etc) to drive traffic to your website can be a huge return on investment. This is not a high financial investment, but can be a high time investment. If you’re not skilled in social media management, you can hire someone to take on this role for a relatively low price.
You’ll need to make sure that you’re measuring the impact social media efforts are having on your bottom line over a period of a few months, as it does take some time to see results in this area. You’ll want to measure these results over time to be able to continuously improve your strategy. A few key factors to note:
- Consistency is key – create content people can rely on so that visiting your page becomes a habit.
- Create content worth sharing – is it educational? Is it entertaining? Is it thought-provoking?
- Show the humanity behind your brand – this is a people-oriented business, so your social media should be too.
3. Online Reviews
This is something that costs you absolutely nothing, but holds the power of longevity, because online reviews don’t go away. Your online reputation not only informs prospective owners of your value, but they also inform Google of your importance. The high quantity and quality of your reviews will move your company up in ranking on Google.
To get an idea of where you stand on this: look at how many doors you manage and how many online reviews you have. If there is a large gap, then you have some work to do in closing that gap.
To get reviews you have to ask and you have to ask at the right time. Anytime a positive interaction takes place with your residents or owners and they give you positive feedback, ask them to leave you a 5-star review. Get everybody on your team actively doing this. Many companies reward their staff financially on a monthly basis for the amount of reviews that come in.
Check out our post on 4 Ways to Leverage Customer Feedback to take a deeper dive into this one.
4. Use of Videos
The importance of video in today’s marketing world can be summed up in 3 words – Google bought YouTube. This means: video is important. People have always preferred to be shown rather than told. In a battle between a raw, real video and a stale and impersonal email, video has the upper hand.
Communicating with tenants and owners with video updates has been shown to be highly effective in proving your personal care. In a people-oriented business, this means everything. BombBomb is a great tool for this.
5. Sense of Urgency & Networking
The average return on an inquiry is 36 hours in this industry. As Brian put it, “your competition globally sucks at this”. So, if you can be better than that average in showing your sense of urgency, you already have a leg up on winning new business.
Make a company-wide habit out of responding to inquiries and questions immediately. Top this off with being proactive with your communication. If you’ve been in this business long enough, you can begin to anticipate the needs of those you’re working with. Put in the effort to answer questions before they even ask them, and you will see positive return.
In the realm of networking, Brian noted that you need to do more than join the industry associations (like NARPM, REIA, or NAA), and show up to conferences and meetings. These types of networking of course can make a huge impact in your growth. But, effective networking means taking the initiative to find answers for people by going out and asking questions and actively seeking more knowledge to help your owners.
Any time you’re looking for a new service, one of the best things you can hear from a trusted source is: “I got a guy” (or gal). The confidence in a referral carries value far beyond any kind of marketing campaign you could run. Referrals are relied upon in almost every situation that requires a new venture or partnership. Applying for a new job? List your referrals. Applying for a new apartment? List your referrals. Dating someone new?… Just kidding, don’t call your date’s exes.
Point being, your word-of-mouth marketing can be your most powerful. Agents are busy, they don’t have time for their own rentals that they’re managing, but if they can refer to you and earn some value for each referral, they will do it.
7. Different is Better than Better
Brian noted that one of the most important questions you can answer is “How are you different?”. Anybody can say they’re better than their competition in XYZ, but to truly set yourself apart from your competition you need to be able to show how you are different.
What is your USP? (Unique Selling Proposition). Once you’ve pin-pointed what that is, do 3 things:
- Own it.
- Promote it.
- Sell it.
If pinpointing your USP means that you’re not the right fit for all of the owners that come your way, that’s okay. You want to be able to find the owners that you know you’ll work best with and concentrate on those. As the old saying goes, “a friend to all is a friend to none”. Find your specialty, and do it different and better.
Owners want to know that you’ll back up your work. They are, after all, handing over the most expensive thing they own to a stranger. So offer guarantees that show that you carry an attitude that says “If I don’t deliver results, I don’t get paid.”
This not only shows confidence in your work, but it’s a bet on yourself. Brain shared some of the guarantees he offers in the image below:
And there you have it. Apply the above growth tactics to your business, and you’ll see the results.