Online Advertising: A Beginner’s Guide to Internet Listing Services

May 19, 2021

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Rent Manager

Apartment Building

People are spending more time online than ever before, so having a digital presence for your property is critical. In any industry, it’s important to “be where your customers are”—and when it comes to leasing units at a rental property, this means being on an Internet Listing Service (ILS).


What is an ILS?

ILS stands for Internet Listing Service, an online real estate search database,
showing properties and units that are available for rent and for sale.


ILS sites are a great way to get in front of potential residents in your area, as they play a key role in how potential renters research what’s available in their desired market.

Most ILS services feature single-family homes, student housing, and multifamily properties. Some sites are more specific to certain property types—like MHVillage, which features manufactured homes, communities, and retailers. There’s no shortage of ILS sites you can turn to for attracting more leads. Rent Manager ILS Marketing* integrates with several sites, including Trulia and HotPads, to market the available units/properties in your database.

With varying advertising costs, ranging from pay-per-lead pricing or monthly subscription packages, the increased visibility of your listings typically outweighs the expense. Some helpful tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your ILS postings follow below…

Strong Visuals

High-quality photos and videos are a must when it comes to capturing the attention of potential renters. Be sure to place particular emphasis on the hero image (the first photo) viewers see when they visit your listing. Your lead photo should capture visitors’ attention and pull them in for more information. Your team can work with a photographer or handle property-related photoshoots themselves—whoever takes the pictures, ask them to focus on wide-angle exterior shots and carefully styled images of primary living spaces. Dimly lit shots of hallways and bathrooms and photos that don’t capture the essence of the property won’t do your listings any favors. Once the perfect shots are captured, you/your staff can upload the files directly to Rent Manager from your smartphone via rmAppSuite Pro.*

Property Overview

ILS sites allow renters to filter their searches in a number of ways—from specific neighborhoods and price ranges to preferred property types and features. To give your prospective residents the best idea of what life at your property will look like, be sure to include diagrams, an overview of the area, amenities, and features lists in your property profile. Exact floorplans give viewers a more holistic picture of your space and allow them to imagine it as their own. Use your property overview to communicate an engaging description of the neighborhood and any nearby attractions. And lastly, a breakdown of your community’s amenities and features will improve the searchability of your property when prospects are filtering for something specific—enabling the right prospects to find your vacancies.

Competitive Pricing

Pricing is another key component of a strong ILS listing. Remember, prospects will be able to quickly compare your units to the competition in your area on ILS sites, so make sure your units are competitively priced. Utilizing Rent Manager’s ILS Marketing* capabilities, you can ensure your Unit Marketing* information—including your property’s address, photos, and pricing—is always current with real-time updates. Prospective renters will most likely be using the filter capabilities on these platforms to select their preferred price range, so having the most up-to-date information included in your listings is key to attracting qualified prospects.

Links To Your Website

Once prospects find your property via their ILS searches, be sure to drive them to your website or online application portal via an easy-to-find direct link to your property’s site. By using ILS platforms to connect prospects with your website, you’ll have an opportunity to tell your community’s whole story. Your site shares the full details of why a prospect wants to live at your property, why they want to work with your management company, and why your current tenants are happy to call your community home. Establish digital curb appeal through your company website to create a fantastic first impression.

ILS advertising is a great way to get more eyes on your property and fill vacancies faster. Deciding which site(s) you want to advertise on depends on your industry, market, and property size. And by combining your ILS presence with a well-designed, user-friendly website, you’ll be on your way to finding your next residents!

*To learn more about these Rent Manager features, press the F1 key in your Rent Manager database to access the Help File.

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