1) Create a way for applicants to apply online. The technology to do this is already exists and some better, faster options are on the immediate horizon. When you advertise your listings, highlight how the application process is simple and fast, and give them a link or web address. To learn more yourself I suggest you check out the following: http://www.appfolio.com/property-management/online_rental_application
2) Spread the word with shameless enthusiasm. Often with the good intention of looking professional or being overly concerned with appearing desperate, we narrow our solicitation strategy. From Craigslist to Facebook to LinkedIn to your local media’s online services, there are many ways to attract applicants. Consider some inexpensive advertising, but try and think outside the box. A good example is to advertise with companies that give free information, have millions of “page views” and “unique visitors” per month, and know how to use the internet to attract “eyeballs” and brand yourself online. A trusted source that I’m aware of can be found at www.maps.com/Advertising. Contact them and see what kind of special promotional offers they currently have available.
3)Create some strategic alliances with realtors, credit unions and independent merchants in your area who need your help. Find creative ways to “cross-promote” and incentivize them to keep their ears open or post “for rent” notices in their stores and offices. If you’ll help other businesspeople in your community to reach their goals, they’re likely to want to help you reach yours. Along the way you’ll learn more creative ways to fill those vacancies and make your management business more profitable.
4)Contact all your existing residents and sponsor a resident referral program. For example, offer a $30, one-time rent reduction for every qualified (you set the criteria for what constitutes qualified) referral who fills out a rental or lease application. You may also want to offer a one-time, one-month-only rent credit if your existing resident refers a potential renter to you and that referral actually signs a rental agreement and moves in.
Original article from PropertyManager.com (2011)