September and October mark a critical point in the apartment marketing budget cycle for owners and marketers. Assessing the previous year’s performance, you may find you have hit all your benchmarks, converted leads into leases, and best of all, did it with a less than ideal marketing budget. Surely you’re due for an increase next year without the constrictions, right? But many times the answer is, “Think again.”
In this day and age, apartment marketers are expected to do more with less to cut costs where possible. The ball always seems to drop on you, regardless of YoY performance and positive results. You may view the situation as a mandate to reach consumers entirely on your own, which is a common pitfall for marketers struggling with constrained budgets.
Before diving into the yearly budgeting process headfirst, take a look at RentPath’s Budget Planning eBook and learn how to create a budgeting roadmap that addresses and prioritizes your goals according to need and feasibility. Once you’ve done so, you can feel confident that you’re armed with the critical information needed to jumpstart a successful year ahead in marketing your properties.
Next, take stock of your internal capabilities and make an honest self-assessment of what can and can’t be done right now without a massive overhaul and investment dollars that are difficult to come by. While it’s tempting to want to divorce oneself of ILSs altogether, consumer behavior means that ILSs are an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy. Data shows time and time again that renters prefer to start their apartment search with an aggregate of their options. SEO/SEM are important for properties further down what RentPath calls “the renter journey,” or the path-to-purchase/rent that consumers undergo when they begin and conclude their housing search, as they perform property-specific searches. The best way to attract leads and optimize conversion rates is by having a healthy inbound strategy that will help properties reach renters at every step of their search journey.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that marketing isn’t encapsulated by the process of attracting leads to your communities. In reality, there is far more that goes into it than that. When planning your marketing budget, you must first consider your overall goals, assess the current landscape and feasibility of what is possible and what makes the most sense, and then identify marketing partners and channels that help you achieve these goals.
Ditch the balloon budget and the sign spinners in favor of reputation management, digital marketing and competitive intelligence to help you make more strategic decisions. We wish you all the best in the year ahead and a successful budgeting season!