What is a Rental Property Marketing Funnel and How Can You Optimize It?

February 18, 2024

You've been a property manager for years. Between the pandemic and the uncertainty of 2020, your business has been hit hard. Your properties are spending more time on the market, and we want to help you figure out what you can do about it.

It's time to reevaluate your marketing strategy.

What is a Marketing Funnel?

First thing’s first: It’s time to shift your mindset from a seller’s market to a renter’s market. Gone are the days of 20+ inquiries on a new listing. These days, you’re lucky if you get a few inquiries a week. This means that customers now have the power of choice - and they’re using it.

The thing you now need to consider more than ever before is your marketing funnel. A "marketing funnel" refers to a consumer-focused model that shows your customer’s journey from the awareness stage (someone landing on your listing page) all the way through conversion (signing a lease).

It’s imperative to optimize your marketing funnel so that you can capture as many prospects at the top of the funnel, AND make sure that you prevent as many leaks (a prospect ending their customer journey before making it to the conversion stage) as you can.

Here you can see an example of what the marketing funnel for rental listings looks like.

Before we get into funnel optimization, let’s talk about who the biggest groups of renters are right now.

Smartphones and the Age of On-Demand: Millennial Renters

The chart above, from a recent NAA publication, shows the breakdown of renter profiles in the US. As you can see, 66% of all renters are Millennials or younger.

Here’s what you can expect from the Millennial renters:

  • “Starting out singles” refers to the youngest renters profiled with high rent-to-income ratios. These folks tend to choose smaller apartments (Class B or C properties) and only some gravitate towards Class C units in urban cores.
  • “Young adult roommates” are households with two or more adults (around age 28) whose combined income means that they like to move around and tend to live in Class A or B+ properties in the suburbs or urban core.
  • “Perma-renters” are renters on the upper end of the Millennial range (early 40s) who don’t move around much and typically choose Class B units in the suburbs.

Keep in mind: Millennials grew up with a smartphone in their hands. They’ve become accustomed to convenience, instant gratification, text messages instead of phone calls, and an on-demand lifestyle (think Uber, Doordash).

So how does this connect to marketing your listing?

Matching the Expectations of Millennial Renters

When marketing your listing, you have to keep in mind the demographics of this group because they now make up the majority of the rental market. You must adjust how you market and communicate so that you can match their expectations of instant gratification and convenience. If you can do that, you’ll stand out and be much more likely to fill your vacancy.

How to match the expectations of Millennial renters:

  1. List your vacancies on platforms that have apps (Zillow Rentals,, Zumper/Facebook Marketplace) so you can be where your target audience is - in the palm of their hand.
  2. Optimize your listing with high-quality images, 3D/video tours, transparent pricing, and explicit instructions for how the prospect should proceed through the process. For example, include an obvious call-to-action to schedule a tour.
  3. Respond as immediately to an inquiry as possible, and preferably an actionable response that can be sent to their smartphone. There are several platforms that can help you do this, including Rently, Tenant Turner, Showmojo, and Showdigs.
  4. Offer convenience in the way of unlimited availability or on-demand tours.

The Main Takeaway

The key points you should takeaway from this article are as follows:

Shift your mindset - it’s a renter’s market now.

Match expectations of your prospects and you’ll stand out from the competition.

Empower your prospects to action with instant and actionable communication.

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