Hearing the term “budgeting” may make many property management pros run for the nearest exit. Well stop right there. A smart marketing budget is an integral part of a property’s success in the coming year and creating one doesn’t need to be a stressful task. We’re here to help with these few tips to conquer your next budget like a champ.
Learn From The Past
Analyzing previous budgets is a great practice – using them as the rule book to develop a new one, however, is not. While there will undoubtedly be some overlap from previous plans, taking a good hard look at channel performance is the first step towards successful budgeting. If you noticed that only a small portion of your traffic is coming to your website from organic search, it could be time to invest in SEO or find a partner to help improve your website’s organic ranking. Tracking results and measuring success is an important first step to knowing what channels to re-invest in and what to avoid or replace moving forward.
Combing through industry reports and digging into analytics can help from a macro level, but your budget should be unique to your property. Do a pulse-check to gain insight that will supplement your analytics and campaign metrics straight from the customers themselves. Take a few minutes to chat with residents or ask them to fill out a quick survey about their apartment search process. Ask how they researched different properties and what factors contributed to their final decision. For a more in-depth approach, ask your staff to shadow a prospective resident as they search for information about your property online to find what sources they consult and how they navigate from research to decision.
The Right Mix
Marketing can sometimes feel like the wild wild west with so many different channels, platforms, vendors and options to consider. Don’t be afraid of the mix! It’s often better to invest in several platforms that compliment each other to improve your overall marketing results. If you are including a paid search campaign in your budget, consider adding a paid social element as well. Social media often amplifies paid search results by increasing awareness of your property and encouraging prospects to search for additional information.
No Final Drafts
Remember that budgets are guidelines, not manuals. Holding back on a new initiative or opting not to test a new marketing channel could be a mistake. Be willing to shift budget throughout the month and make changes through the year where you see opportunities. Also know when to pull the plug on a channel that is not performing.
We understand that budgeting can be big time consumer and an always changing initiative. That’s why we created a tool to help make it easier.