This photo looks familiar, eh? Yeah, a CHEAP solution from Dollarama. Simple and fast, but result? Nah. Exposing your phone number out there is where your nightmare starts from. Being a landlord in 2016, you have to be 100% on top of everything. Getting an unexpected phone call from nowhere is not cool at all (to me at least).
A phone number sometimes means nothing. You have to make your ad informative and interactive! You have to answer the questions that your future tenants might ask, so you don’t have to answer these over and over again on the phone. So instead of putting a phone number up there, we are going to put a link containing as much information as possible. As a f/t digital marketing professional and a p/t landlord, here is something that I’ve been using to help the prospective tenants gather enough information before calling, and also help myself rent out property efficiently. Most importantly, it’s totally free! (Thanks to Google).
So here we go.
First things first, we need a website to showcase your lovely room, or at least a web page. In this case, a web page would be enough. Unless you have multiple properties and a bunch of property manager at your disposal, then it would be another story. There are a lot of website services out there. Some are free, and some needs big $$$. But if you are a fan of Google, then you are worry-free.
Login to your Google Account and find an app called Google Site. Google Site is an user-friendly tool for you to create a stunning web page. Oh well, that’s an exaggeration. At least you will have a functional web page with zero coding and free permanent hosting service.
When you get onto Google Site, you will find the interface of the new version of the Google Site is very easy to use and navigate. Everything is pretty much self-explanatory. I won’t talk too much about it here. Here is what I wrote for my property. You can go a little bit creative to showcase your house and your personality.
What’s next? Photos, photos, photos. Lots of photos. The tweets with images get 2 x the engagements than the ones without in average. The same rule applies. We will need a section to showcase our photos! Google is considerate enough to provide an option called “Images” on the right sidebar. It works fine when you have a couple of photos. If you have more than five photos, the web page is not going to look nice. We need to stack’em up and throw’em into a gallery. Unfortunately, Google Site doesn’t provide such an option. But here is a workaround.
Fire up an app called Google Photos. Upload all your photos onto Google Photos and create a new album. Click the “Share” tab, and copy the link.
Navigate back to Google Site and click “Embed URL” on the right sidebar. Paste the link into the input box in the pop-up window. Then you will have a photo gallery section on your web page.
Now we have the informational section set up, and we will still need a spot for the prospective tenants who read your ad to communicate with you in a way. Our main goal is to build up a screening process for the busy landlords. So we need a contact form for tenants to fill out. Go to Google Forms to create a questionnaire style form and link the results to Google Sheets. Set it up to alert you via email every time when there is a new entry. (Sorry for speeding up in this step)
Go back to Google Site page, highlight a right spot in your ad and insert a hyperlink to the form that you just created in Google Forms. Here is what I did.
Good job if you’ve done everything above. Now we can go ahead to publish our site! You will have a chance to customize the address.
So your website’s address would be something like sites.google.com/view/myproperty. This address might be a little user-unfriendly due to its length. We can call Google again for help — Google URL Shortener. You can create shorter links like goo.gl/xyz with this amazing tool. Other tools like Bitly can also do the job. But let’s try Google for now.
With this tool, you can also to track how many times your ad has been viewed(clicked). With the number of entries you’ve received in the Google Forms, you will be able to calculate the CTR (Click through rate) of your ad and re-evaluate it for better performance :p
Alright, we have everything set up, from the front-end to back-end. Now you have a web page that advertises your property, and back-end systems that you can view the applications and analytics. No more hassle of answering non-stop phone calls, you can go through the applications and pick the ones you like and call them back when you have some down time.
Oh, one last thing before I end here: don’t forget to put the shortened link to your “For Rent” sign. And remember, the link is case sensitive!