This year the number of buy-to-let landlords reached a record high despite the 3% Stamp Duty levy introduced in 2016. Research from the estate agent Ludlow Thompson has found there are currently 2.5 million buy-to-let investors in the U.K. and on the back of a 27% increase in landlords over the last five years, this rising trend looks set to continue. People continue to see residential properties as a strong investment. In total, buy-to-let investors represent 12% of the mortgage market.
This means that if you aren’t optimising your broking service to landlords, you could be missing out on a great opportunity.
As part of our Growth Series, we are providing you with some key information so you can start to corner the buy-to-let market.
Know what you’re up against
You should regularly look at your competitors’ websites to find out what they do well and what you could do better. Your competitors are out there and hungry for your potential clients. Have a look at how your competitors are marketing to landlords, what content and language are they using? Most of this information will be accessible on their website.
Also, if your competitors are doing something you are not, for instance attracting lots of Google reviews, you can use what they have done as inspiration to set yourself apart. Market research is a great way for you to find a niche and build on it!
To win landlords, it is vital that you ensure you are talking directly to them in your marketing content. Have you ever heard of the marketing term persona? Establishing this is key if you want your marketing to work.
Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. We like to think of them as imaginary characters who embody general market traits. They are useful because they allow you to visualise your audience, streamline your marketing comms and inform your general strategy. Some key characteristics you should include to form your ‘landlord persona’ are:
- Age range
- Any other jobs
- Major challenges they face
- Mortgage interests
You should use your market research to develop an appropriate buyer persona. If you don’t do your research first, you might create a buyer persona who misses the point. This could potentially mean that your marketing doesn’t speak to your target audience and you won’t resonate with the audience.
If you can relate to landlords and demonstrate that you cater to their needs, landlords are more likely to approach you for a mortgage. What’s more, you should use these personas to develop fresh, relevant content that will answer your landlords’ problems/challenges. This will help to attract landlords to your website by using search terms and providing valuable content which answers their questions. Vitally, you will be able to position yourselves as thought leaders on BTL mortgages, demonstrating your expert knowledge over your competitors.
Showing you’re the best
Imagine you are a landlord looking at various brokers’ websites. You see two brokers who seem relatively equal in terms of their experience and proposition. However, one website has a detailed case study from a previous landlord touting the benefits of using this broker, while the other does not. Which one would you choose? The former of course.
What we are trying to get at is how crucial it is to have client case studies reflecting your work with landlords on your website. If you don’t, you are likely to lose out to mortgage brokers who do! Nowadays, 9 out of 10 people look at a product review or case study before coming to a purchasing decision (Hubspot). Getting a personal story from a former landlord client will give potential customers a sense of trust and confidence in your firm.
Think case studies are enough? Sadly not… These days people want first-hand information from an independent source too. If you don’t have many Google reviews, this is not a good sign; people in general (and especially landlords) need evidence that you’re the right type of firm for them, and third party reviews provide this.
Fear not - if your Google reviews are looking a little sparse, sending out a mailer to your previous clients asking for a review could encourage them to leave one. A gentle nudge is best, anything too forceful will likely discourage them. Handily, we have a free online review generator that you can use to create a personalised email to send out to all your clients asking for a review.
However, the best way is more obvious but less simple: make sure you deliver an excellent service that goes above and beyond what your clients expect. If you delight your customers, they are going to want to deliver a review.
Independent information shouldn’t be limited to your Google reviews - thankfully, people are not that absorbed by the internet… for the time being, at least.
If your customers are really impressed by your service they are going to mention it to their friends, colleagues, families and (hopefully) fellow landlords. When the time comes and they need a mortgage, this could result in a good, old-fashioned referral.
Should your name get out as a trusted mortgage broker among a group of landlords, you will be selling far more buy-to-let mortgages than you previously were.
Good luck with marketing your business. We hope that our tips help you to get a hold on the buy-to-let market.
If you haven't already downloaded our free guide to buy to let tax you can do so here.