Inbound marketing requires a property management marketing budget big enough to support all of the content needed to give users what they are looking for. Paid ads can also require larger budgets to get the results necessary to make running paid ads campaigns worth it. For smaller property management companies—and even larger ones where the market is not performing well for property managers—this adds up to a lot of dollar signs with no guarantee of success.
How Do You Decide What to Invest in—and How Much?
Do your research to determine how much new business you need and where best to get that business from.
Set SMART goals to help you break down your marketing plan into actionable steps.
Create a budget to help you meet your goals and know what it's going to cost you to do it.
Most goals you'll set in a marketing plan can be achieved by inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is useful for:
- Building sustainable, qualified traffic
- Increasing property owner leads
- Making you an expert in your field
- Strengthening your sales pitch
- Reduce unqualified leads through education.
The problem is; inbound marketing takes time. Even if you were to create six months' worth of content and post it overnight, it takes time for that content to start ranking and build the recurring traffic you're looking for.
For example, one of the reasons blogging is so crucial to inbound is that it creates recurring traffic from readers who are looking for answers to their questions. This builds trust and familiarity as they continually come to you for guidance until becoming your client is the natural next step.
- These clients are easier to work with, as well.
- They'll already understand something about your culture and practices from your content.
- They are overall more qualified leads.
However, as you can see, this is rarely, if ever, something that happens overnight.
This is where paid ads come in.
Paid ads can help to target the right customer, at the right time, to bring them to your website. Using demographics and positioning, you can capture traffic that is looking for your services—even if they are looking for a competitor.
Here is a perfect example: Yardi Breeze, Buildium, and Chetu are all paying for the keyword "Appfolio Integration" in an effort to capture traffic before the user even sees the Appfolio site organically.
This is pretty tricky, but it's also a sound strategy when you have top competitors in the area beating you for organic placement on the search engine results page. Organic placement takes time to grow with inbound marketing.
Paid ads provide more immediate results than inbound marketing does—with one key difference: when you stop paying for the ads, the traffic and leads stop right along with it.
Over time, your inbound marketing efforts should help you:
- Hit the front page for your keywords
- Answer the questions property owners in your area are asking
- Get you more leads.
If you have great customer service and run a good business, this traffic becomes a self-sustaining flywheel that allows you to scale back your marketing budget. It is in understanding this mix that you can make the best decisions about how much of your budget you should allocate to paid ads and how much you should put toward inbound marketing.
- If you are a new company that is not ranking, you will want to put a bigger portion of your marketing budget towards paid ads.
- This supplies you with the leads you need while your inbound content is ramping up.
- As your inbound marketing starts producing results, you can allocate less and less spending to paid ads and move it to inbound.
- Eventually, you can replace your paid ads spending entirely if you wish!
Alternately, you can keep budgeting for paid ads, because paid ads become more effective when combined with inbound marketing.
Why? Inbound marketing gives users value on your website. Not every property owner that clicks an ad for your company is going to be ready to sign a management agreement! Most of them are early on in the buyers' journey, and just realizing that they have a problem.
When property owners are looking for some answers, inbound marketing:
- Helps you meet their needs
- Give them helpful content
- Create ongoing reasons for the owner to keep coming back to your site.
In a nutshell, inbound is the reason a user might bookmark your website when they would otherwise look at your pricing and leave.
This is why RentBridge promotes paid ads in unison with an inbound marketing strategy. We provide fantastic inbound marketing, and we know that increasing traffic provides an increasing return on investment. However, the power of paid ads in conjunction with inbound marketing isn't just limited to property management marketing gurus!