Accessibility Tools


How to Market to Out-of-town Prospects

If you’re in the business of marketing multifamily properties, then you know that there are always potential tenants who can’t tour the property in person. Maybe they’re out of town, or maybe they have a busy schedule and can’t make it to an open house.

Whatever the reason, you need to be able to market to these potential renters so that you can still get your properties rented out. Especially considering 83% of renters are using online resources for their housing search, it’s important to make the online experience of your property as compelling as the in-person experience.

Tightening up your digital marketing efforts is the best way to turn an out-of-town prospect’s search into a lease. Here’s a list of everything you need to successfully market towards an out-of-town prospect.

A Branded Website

If you don’t already have a website for your property, it’s definitely time to consider it. Next to experiencing your property via in-person tour comes experiencing your brand through a well-branded website.

Creating an online home for your property will allow you to showcase both photos and videos of your community, amenities, and units — while also allowing you the control to decide how potential residents view your property. You might view your property as warm, cozy, and ready to be someone’s home, but how well does your website communicate that to renters?

Don’t Forget About UX

There’s a lot that goes into good website design; when we talk about the look and feel of a website, it goes beyond just the property logo and use of complementary colors.

How a website feels to a user often comes down to UX design, usability, and accessibility, too. When you’re marketing to someone who won’t be popping into the leasing office, you want their experience to be just as smooth and informative as you (and they) would expect if they had scheduled an in-person tour.

This is why it’s also paramount that your website have clear, concise, yet detailed descriptions about different aspects of the property. What is the community like? What’s nearby? You can even go as far as detailing finish packages in your unit. The more your website can serve as an extension of the tour, the better.

Virtual Tours

Virtual tours are an amazing tool to have in place of an in-person tour. They can be way more comprehensive by providing a full walkthrough of the property and an opportunity for whomever is recording the video to talk about the property as they would for an in-person tour.

Guided Virtual Tours

You can also use video to show off things that still photos wouldn’t be able to capture, like the community vibe or how an amenity space is utilized. Realync is a great platform that allows for pre-recorded videos as well as live virtual tours.

While you don’t want to bombard potential residents with a million videos, try to have a mix of both pre-recorded and live content so that they can get a sense of what your property is like in different scenarios. You can use a pre-recorded video as an introduction to your community and units, and then have live virtual tour options for those who want to see the property in real-time and ask questions as they go along.

Online Virtual Tours

Marketing to out-of-town prospects can often go further than just creating tour videos. Many property managers supplement their marketing materials with unit renderings, or use Matterport to create a virtual tour that can be accessed on the site at any time. Oftentimes rendering companies can also do virtual staging for your renderings, which can help a unit feel more complete (and therefore more desirable) to a potential resident.

Virtual Staging

RoOmy is a virtual staging service that allows you to place furniture within, for example, your existing Matterport 3D tours. Renderings can be one of your biggest allies when it comes to marketing your property; if you’re able to provide a realistic idea of what the units and community spaces look like, you’ll be able to attract more leads.

Great Photography and Videos

Including photos in your listing is non-negotiable. Make sure that you have high-quality photos and videos of the property so that potential tenants can get a good idea of what it looks like.

You want your leads to be able to really envision themselves living on your property and using all of the features that make it special. It’s always best practice to include photos of the exterior as well as the interior, too.

Many property managers opt to hire a professional photographer for this, so don’t be afraid to defer to professionals! They know how to stage enticing shots to ensure your photos are well-lit and tell a story that invites the prospect to imagine themselves in the space.

It may seem like an unnecessary investment, but it’s worth it when a great listing can be the difference between filling up your units or not.

Taking Photos Yourself

If you opt to take your property photos yourself, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your photos are clear, not blurry.
  • Opening the blinds in every room you photograph helps tremendously with image quality and atmosphere.
  • Be thorough! Take photos of every room, at multiple angles if you have to! It’s better to have a selection to choose from than to post a listing with only one photo of each room.
  • Take shots with a focus. You don’t have to fit everything in a single photo.

Property Maps

A property map is a great item to include in your ILS listing or website listing. When you have an out-of-town prospect, they may not be familiar with your city yet; it can be a huge help to be able to contextualize the property within the greater community. 

Some multifamily operators include site maps of their buildings in order to show the individual unit, too, so renters know exactly where they’re applying to live.

Up-to-Date Pricing and Availability

While up-to-date pricing and availability may seem like a no-brainer, lots of property sites don’t actually keep up with their listing in real-time. If a unit is no longer available or the price has changed, make sure to update your listing as soon as possible. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including your own!

This is also a great way to show that you are responsive and on top of things; if a future renter can see that you are updating your listing regularly, they will be more likely to trust you and think positively of your community.

Stellar Communication

One of the most frustrating things about being a renter searching for an apartment online is the lack of communication from property managers. It’s not uncommon for a potential renter to fill out an online form or request a tour, only to never hear back from the property.

Be Responsive

When you’re marketing your property to someone who can’t take a tour, it’s essential that you are responsive to their inquiries and requests. If they’ve taken the time to reach out, it means they’re interested in your property!

Always communicate with the prospect as quickly as possible and use the communication form that they did as your primary form. If you aren’t sure the best way to get in touch with them, then simply ask, “what is your preferred method of communication?”

Stay Engaged

Beyond the initial outreach and communication, the best way to keep potential tenants interested is through an email or text blast system that can send automatic updates. Share relevant content that will keep your community top of mind.

You can use these systems to set up alerts for when a unit becomes available or goes off the market, and you can even segment your contact list so that only the people who have expressed interest in a certain type of unit receive those updates.

Get Creative

You can also use these systems to provide more information about your property and the amenities it offers. You can even include links to virtual tours or other video content you’ve created! The key is to keep potential tenants in the loop so that they don’t forget about your property in the midst of their search.

Use these tools to share relevant content with prospective renters that is not directly related to your listings for bonus points. You’ll build trust and stay top of mind by letting out of town renters know about what’s going on in your neighborhood or city that might be relevant at the time of their move.

Great Reviews and Incentives

The last thing you’ll need to consider to market to out-of-town prospects is reviews.

If your property has great reviews on popular platforms like Google and Yelp, be sure to include those in your marketing materials. If you don’t have many reviews, or if they’re not great, consider offering incentives for people to write them so you can get your ratings up. 

Incentivizing Residents

Rentgrata is an awesome service that allows your prospects to speak to existing residents of your community for real-time reviews and questions. They offer incentives to your current residents for answering these questions.

Incentivizing Prospects

Incentives also work as a tool to market towards your prospects. For example, you could offer a discount on the first month’s rent or a free storage unit for six months. You could even offer a new computer or furniture package for those who sign a lease! For incentive ideas, check out our post: What are the best apartment leasing incentives?

These types of incentives can be a great way to attract potential tenants who might be on the fence about your property; by offering something that they can’t get elsewhere, you’ll be more likely to convince them to choose your property over another.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to market to your out-of-town prospects who can’t tour the property in person. And, these tips will make a huge impact on the section of your audience who might be able to visit your property in person, too.

Need help marketing your multifamily property? Contact Resi for digital marketing services that will help you attract and convert leads! We design immersive, responsive multifamily websites — and we’ll take the reins on paid digital advertising, too. That way, you can focus on what you do best: running your property.

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