5 questions for better marketing returns

Jun 23, 2022

Property marketing spend infographic header

Are you ready to drive results that matter? Property marketing spend can significantly impact NOI — in a positive way — but only if you know what questions to ask your marketing team.

It used to be hard to see and understand property marketing results. Marketers had a hard enough time tracking which leads came from where, let alone which sources brought in leases. ILS and lead journey data was incomplete, and it could be hard to tell which budget items resulted in returns.

If you were outside of marketing, perhaps working in operations or another adjacent department, understanding marketing spend could be even trickier.

Fortunately, with better technology comes better data.

Today, it’s easy to see exactly where a lead first became aware of your brand and at what point they converted. It’s also easy to see how much you’re spending per lead and lease. In fact, you can calculate how much you’re getting back for every $1 of advertising budget spent (keep reading to find out how).

When you’re looking to guide your marketing team and help drive results that matter, here are five questions you should ask.

Infographic with 5 questions for property marketing and operations executives to discuss

1. What is our current marketing mix, and is there data to support it?

Marketers should know how the marketing budget is organized and why. Your corporate and regional marketing strategy should be based on historical conversion data and — if including a new technique or source — industry research and case study data.

Marketing sources should include a balance of traditional ILS advertising and director-to-renter marketing.

ILS marketing is critical for the awareness phase of the renter journey, but it doesn’t also get you the most qualified leads. Director-to-renter marketing, such as SEO and PPC advertising, sends renters directly to your websites where the conversion rate is proven to be higher.

Here’s some data on lease sources:

  • ILS sites appear in more than 80% of customer journeys, but they are present in 10-28% of journeys that lead to a signed lease.
  • SEO is part of 46% of journeys that lead to a signed lease, 18% higher than the nearest ILS source.
  • PPC ads are present in 32% of journeys leading to a signed lease, making less of an overall impact than SEO but still outperforming ILSs.

2. Which marketing sources carry the highest costs for us, and what is the return?

When you’re ready to take a critical look at your property marketing spend, start by evaluating the most expensive sources first. Do the leads and leases you’re getting prove the results are worth the expense?

Make sure you’re not paying a lot and getting little in return. Your team can use the number of leases signed, cost-per-lease and conversion rate to determine the effectiveness of your spend.

3. What is our cost-per-lease for each source over the last 90 days?

Determine the cost-per-lease for all your marketing sources — not just the expensive ones — and make this information accessible as needed. It’s important to evaluate the last quarter of results, since spend and return don’t always align in a given month.

4. What is the return on ad spend (ROAS) for each of our advertising sources?

ROAS will tell you how much money you are earning for each $1 spent on advertising. It is calculated by dividing the total campaign revenue generated by a marketing source by the cost of that source.

For multifamily, campaign revenue equals the net rental income for the defined lease period for all leases generated through the source.

5. What is our total exposure by floor plan, and are there strategies in place for floor plans with heavy exposure?

Start by determining your total exposure. This can be calculated by combining your current availability with undecided expiring leases and month-to-month leases. Who is moving out and who might move out of which floor plans?

When you know which floor plans have the most exposure, spring into action. Create unique messaging for different floor plan types on your website to make sure each one speaks to the right audience. Find out if your team can create featured floor plan pages and/or add featured floor plan widgets to your homepage.

Remember, you can use targeted PPC ads to drive qualified leads to floor plans with greater availability. Ask yourself: Can a little spend now prevent a more costly, lengthy vacancy later?

Revisit these questions regularly

Whether your focus is operations or marketing, periodically considering these questions and their answers will ensure your property marketing spend gets results that drive returns. Use or share the infographic to start a conversation with your team!

Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives is the manager of marketing content at Yardi. She leads content initiatives for REACH by RentCafe. Writing may be her first love, but data is a close second. Geneva is based in Santa Barbara, California.

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