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  • Property-a-holics

    Are you leveraging "anticipation happiness" in your property marketing?

    Remember postcards showing far away exotic destinations, with the caption "Wish you were here?" ... and we did ...



    What a great marketing strategy, and so simple.

    When it comes to property investment, I believe that we are only as good as our marketing strategies!

    Without a tenant in our property, paying the rent, and thereby servicing the mortgage debt, we actually don't have an "asset". We have a liability!

    Therefore, as Landlords (or,indeed, lettings/sales agents), I believe that we should wear a "marketing hat" and seek to become better marketeers by using all the tools and strategies possible to ensure that we do not experience voids. Voids are bad news for Landlords and I avoid them like the plague.

    I came across an interesting article recently that will help me with future marketing strategies, so I wanted to share it here.It was about some research into when people are happiest, and this little paragraph below caught my eye:"... When doing a study of vacationers, the happiest people were the ones in the weeks leading up to a vacation. It was all about anticipation.

    Again, it looks like our brain rewards us more for working toward a goal than for actually arriving there. The study actually suggests taking more frequent, shorter vacations. You know, so you can spend more time anticipating them".

    That set a few lightbulbs off in my brain.

    We should market our properties - whether it be standard BTL or holiday lets - by writing descriptions and including media that tap into "anticipation happiness".

    In other words, we want to encourage the prospective tenant to visualise what it would be like to live in (or holiday) one of our properties.It's well known that, the more information you supply, the easier it is for someone to come to a decision, so let's break this down into the three media we can use:

    Words.

    Photographs.

    Video

    Words:

    You must include all the standard details of the property such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But how about including some lifestyle descriptions?

    Example: "Imagine waking up in your clean comfy two bed apartment after a refreshing night's sleep on our quality mattress. Step outside your front door and head over to the Starbucks across the road for your morning brew before heading down to the tube station, a mere 200 metres from your front door".

    There's a nifty little app you can use called WalkScore.

    It's a new site that allows potential buyers to research what amenities are within walking distance of a property they are interested in renting or buying.



    It lists transport links, restaurants, bars, shops, schools etc. and the distance to walk to them.It also has an augmented reality app. although I am not sure if this is available in the U.K. yet.

    This little gem could also be used to market properties, giving a "walkability" score for your property.Just put in the postcode of the property, and you will see all the data come up, along with a map that you can add into your property marketing.

    A simple and free marketing tool!

    The higher the "WalkScore", the more attractive your property is to rent.

    More information >>> here.

    Photographs:

    These are almost more important than words when it comes to property marketing. People "buy with their eyes", and the more quality photographs you can include, the better.

    Statistically, 97% of people search for property on-line and professional photos are a major marketing tool and worth the expense to help your property stand out from the crowd in a competitive marketplace.

    And remember, it's a one-off expense. You only need to take the photographs once, and then you can use them in perpetuity. Money well spent if you ask me!

    In a discussion on Property Tribes, Landlord Glenn Ackroyd conducted a survey with different qualities of photography.

    The results speak for themselves.

    So, yes, we need good quality photos of a clean and staged property with the lights on, loo seat down, flowers etc.

    But what about some photos that tap into "anticipation happiness"?

    For BTL properties:

    Photos of a near-by park, coffee shop across the road, designer shops, gardens etc.

    For holiday lets:

    Photos of the beach, photos of country walks in the area, photos of wildlife you can expect to see.

    The below photo of our holiday let, "SeaBreeze" at Camber Sands, definitely taps into "anticipation happiness".

    Remember, that with holiday lets, the person's holiday starts when they are starting to look for the holiday, and anticipating it.



    Notice the bottle of wine and the welcoming fire.

    And this picture of the beach across the road sells the property far more than interior photos could ever do.



    Remember that when people search on google, they may press "images" instead of "web". Do you want your photographs to stand out from the crowd?

    [Image: 9122939347_916519b671.jpg]

    Video:

    If a picture paints a thousand words, then a video is the equivalent of ten thousand words. Again, it is a one-off expense to produce, and you can use it in perpetuity for both BTL properties and holiday lets.

    Let people imagine themselves in your property, enjoying their life, and they are more likely to book a viewing, or make a booking!

    So, get creative in your marketing, tap into "anticipation happiness", and use words, pictures, and video to full effect and you can enjoy fewer voids, more viewings, and higher occupancy.

    What's not to love about that ... ?

    [Image: house.png]Related topic:

    Creating "purple cows" for holiday lets
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    Hi Vanessa

    What a lovely way to put it, "anticipation happiness." Like you say, it's taking an alternative perspective on your marketing.

    If you can set, while managing, expectation through words and support that anticipation by including photography and video that allow the viewer to immerse themselves in your offering by imagining themselves there, you're off to a very good start.

    It sounds so simple and yet it is often harder than we think to stand back from our own offerings to be able to produce such enticing content. We're advising people to do this all the time, but it's not always as easy as you think to put yourselves in the shoes of the guest and what they would like to read, see and hear.

    This is a nice take on it and a thoughtful read, whether you're new or established in the holiday lets marketplace.

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    Hi Vanessa

     

    Couldn't agree more regarding the use of pics and video that show not just how lovely the cottage (or apartment, caravan etc) is but what the area is like too. All the videos we make include shots of the beach and our websites are more focused on the area that the properties are located in. You need to highlight everything that makes your cottage/area the best place to take a holiday.

     

     

    Also think about the time of year that you are trying to sell for instance, if it is to get bookings for Nov-Feb then show pics of how beautiful the beach/other attraction is during the winter and how lovely it is to sit by the fireside of the cosy pub for instance

    Who wouldn't want to walk along this beach!

    then stop off and by the fireside in the cosy pub

     

    Just think what would sell it to you.

     

     

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    Thanks for commenting Kate.The post was also partly inspired by my brother-in-law, John. 

    He gets soooooooo excited when he starts to think about his annual holiday.  I think we should endeavour to help people get into the holiday mood from the moment they start looking to book it!  As the research says, the anticipation is often more rewarding than the actual experience. Smile

    I think we can also apply these principles to standard BTL marketing.  I think that any lettings or sales agent that adopts these strategies will also set themselves apart from their competition. 

    It just takes a little creative thinking and appealing to emotions as well as standard wants/needs.

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    Great examples Oscar.

    Yes, seasonal marketing silos are often over-looked for holiday lets marketing. 

    Bearing in mind that "the most up to date information is the most relevant to the community", it makes sense to use seasonal marketing hooks to keep marketing fresh and relevant.Topical marketing hooks are also worth considering.

    For instance, properties could be labelled "not affected by the London riots"  or "perfect 2012 Olympic accommodation".

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    Wonderful post Vanessa,

    As others have commented, it's often a case that people focus on dry facts in their promotion.

    It's another thing to be able to capture the imagination. This is why we often pay more for intangible qualities such as 'character' and 'charm', and why brands can charge a premium over generic or own brand products.

    When we book a holiday we are paying for an experience, we experience the world with our senses - so it makes sense that we should communicate in a way that entices those senses.

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    Thanks for commenting Sean.

    I really believe that engaging with "anticipation happiness" is a way to help our properties stand out in a crowded market place.If you read a dry advert 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, balcony .... yes, you may get some interest. 

    But some more emotive writing like "enjoy a coffee on your balcony overlooking a green square, and watch the world go by" puts the person in a different place emotionally.If we can tap into that, then I think we are onto a winner. 

    There are also different emotions like "feeling safe" that we should engage with as well, especially in the light of recent world events.

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    An interesting thread Vanessa, and I completely agree. Think I may have read the same or similar article a short while ago. Anticipation happiness is a good way of phrasing it, and I think there's another phrase with a similar meaning, something like "emotional marketing" or "psychological selling" - though definitely not as nice a way of putting it!

     

    Am quite chuffed though as we used to do this for our holiday let - glass of wine on the patio on a summer's evening, photos of log fires, etc - without realising that was what we were doing. A good idea to transfer that across to the BTL portfolio.

     

    Kind regards,

    Jayne

    Trading as Mozaique Property

    Buying, selling, renovating and letting property throughout South Wales

    https://www.twitter.com/jayneowen

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    Jayne Owen @jayneowen

    Editor and Writer: Your Property Network magazine

    Investor: Mozaique Property, South & West Wales and South West England

    Occasional reviewer at The Property Bookshop (@Property_Books)

    Thanks for the walkscore link Vanessa!
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    Couldn't agree more.

     

    All our BTL tenants are professionals and selling the 'lifestyle' is very important to achieving premium rents.

     

    When we complete a new development, we allocate a full day for creating 'library' pics to use for marketing purposes for ever more. We also use a profession camera Nikkon D90, with wide angled lens (very important to make rooms look bigger) and also video lights. Each room is staged. Wine bottle and 2 glasses strategically placed on lounge coffee table works well. Then bring the wine bottle in the kitchen, bung a cheese board with cheese and kinfe on kitchen counter with bottle of wine behind, makes a great kitchen pic and moving onto the bedroom, made-up bed, candles and a guitar up against the wardrobe looks very neat!   .... You get the picture...

     

    For older properties, if the outgoing tenant is particularly tidy/trendy, we arrange with them to take marketing pics before they start packing up to leave. Properties always look best if they are lived in (provided they are tidy) and these pics work better than the staged pics because they don't look too staged. 

     

     

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