Using Personas for Property Marketing

silhouette of potential customers

Over the course of my two decades working in property marketing, the single biggest mistake I see clients make time and time again is using a “One Size Fits All” approach to market their property. What do I mean by this?  Too often, clients try to create a single marketing message that they then use for all of their marketing across all of their customers.  But the fact is, every property serves a diverse mix of customers with a dizzying variety of characteristics.  We’re not just talking about demographics, but behavioral and psychographic difference as well.  And in today’s content rich marketing environment the need to create “Buyer Personas” is as important as ever.

What is a Buyer’s Persona?

If you are unfamiliar with Buyer’s Personas then let’s review what they are.  Simply put, a Persona is a description of the characteristics of who your ideal customer is.  These can include important demographic and psychographic characteristics of your ideal customers. There really are no limits to what type of information you can include in buyer personas.  Some obvious things are basic demographics like age, gender, income, etc.  However, they can also should include other characteristics like profession, education, hobbies, interests and challenges they are currently facing.

Why Should I Care About Personas?

Simply put, if you aren’t defining the personas of the tenants of your property then you are leaving money on the table.  A recent study conducted by Aberdeen Research showed that marketers who use personas and map content to the buyer’s journey enjoy 73 percent higher conversions over those who use a one size fits all approach.

How Do I Create My Personas for My Property?

I get it, the thought of trying to come up with a list of these characteristics can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Below are some practical tips on how to gather the information you’ll need in order to uncover the unique characteristics of your customers.

  • Review the rental applications from your existing tenants. This may help you identify certain characteristics of your best tenants. Also, it can help you identify what characteristics are common among some of your worst tenants.
  • Talk to your leasing staff. Often they can provide you with feedback on what they notice from their interactions with prospects.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your current tenants for their input. It’s pretty simple to put a short online survey together and ask your existing tenants what their hobbies are, what they do for fun, and what challenges they face.
  • Start asking prospects these same questions. If you can train your leasing staff on this process they can help gather useful information that you can use to refine your personas.

How Many Personas Do I Need?

There is hard and fast number, the number of personas will depend on your specific property and needs. A good rule of thumb is to start by focusing on a handful of personas – say three to five to start. By keeping the number low it will help you focus your messaging in your marketing tools.

How Do I Use Personas in My Property Marketing?

A good place to start is with using Personas when creating your marketing content and messaging. Think about it like this. When you write content with a specific Persona in mind, you’re more likely to catch the attention of your customers and convert more of them.
Here is an example of a persona and how you can use it to write ad titles for your Craigslist ads.

Example Craigslist Titles:

Spacious 2 Bedroom / Perfect for Entertaining Friends & Family
Walk to Shopping and Restaurants at Cedar Hills Crossing
2 Bedroom Apartment near CBD / Maintenance Free Living
Quiet Community near Central Business District
All of the Benefit / None of the Upkeep
You’ll Love Entertaining in Your New Home

It may seem like a small thing, but focusing your messaging can have a big impact on your traffic and results. At a minimum, going through the process of identifying your company’s personas with your team can help act as a reminder of best practices.

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