Tenant referrals can be a valuable component of your marketing strategy.
Just like you would call references to learn about a tenant before signing a lease, prospective renters will also vet you based on the opinions of people they may know. If a friend or family member has a high opinion of your rental business, their word can go a long way toward generating qualified leads for your units.
The benefits of tenant referrals are worth the costs of establishing a program. First, referrals reduce tenant turnover and the likelihood of having to evict a new tenant. Excellent tenants will usually recommend other excellent tenants.
Referrals also reduce tenant acquisition costs, as you’ll generate new leads without wasting time on showings or advertising to prospects that won’t end up signing a lease. Renters are more likely to trust their friends and family than an ad they see online.
Finally, referrals build community loyalty. They lead to a tight-knit group of residents who are already loyal to you and each other.
Here are a few tips for increasing tenant loyalty and getting referrals.
Create a Tenant Referral Program
A tenant referral program incentivizes referrals by rewarding tenants for referring people they know to your properties.
The key to an effective referral program is attractive incentives. Rent discounts are often the most compelling incentive for renters. However, you can also offer cash prizes, gift cards, new technology or appliances, or other incentives.
Once you’ve developed your program, you’ll need to advertise it creatively. Use your social media accounts and company website to spread the word about the program. Don’t be afraid to make it fun and engaging for current tenants and their friends/family.
Finally, be sure referrals are easy to submit. If your referral process is needlessly complex or unclear, tenants won’t bother.
Host Resident Events
Hosting events is a great way to build a loyal resident community regardless of whether you have a referral program. They help tenants build relationships with each other, prevent future arguments, and give your residents the chance to interact with you in a more informal setting.
For example, you could host summer barbeques, holiday parties, or drop-in events with food or treats.
When it comes to getting referrals, resident events are particularly helpful. Allow tenants to invite their friends and family members, who will see how great your properties and resident community are for themselves. If a tenant’s friend or family member attends one of your events, they will have already met you and will be much more motivated to participate in your referral program.
Be Active on Social Media
Social media is another engaging way to persuade tenants to participate in your referral program.
Interacting on social media is relatively low-effort, and it’s likely that your tenants are already active on these platforms. If you make a post about your referral program, all your tenants need to do is reply or comment on your post and tag a friend. They can also send the post directly to potential referrals with one or two clicks.
Staying active on social media throughout the year will help your rental business build interest, accumulate applicants, and maintain a solid online reputation as a housing provider. Referrals are only part of the benefits of prioritizing your social media presence.
Provide Excellent Service to Current Tenants
Your tenants will only participate in your referral program if they’re already loyal. Unhappy tenants will only refer their friends if they think the incentive is worth recommending their friend a subpar renting experience. It’s better to provide excellent service and make your tenants eager to recommend you.
Excellent service means top-quality maintenance, prompt communication, and smooth rent collection online.
The best way to boost your customer service is to use property management software. With streamlined features like maintenance management, online rent collection, tenant communication, and document signing, property management software provides a professional digital experience that your renters are sure to talk about.
Plus, satisfied tenants will likely tell their friends and family about their success anyway.
Building Loyalty with Referrals
If you have vacant units you’re looking to fill, referrals are always a great way to achieve your goal. By developing a strong referral program, hosting resident events, staying active on social media, and providing excellent service to your current tenants, you can build loyalty while finding promising new leads for your rentals.