Contributed by Anna-Lea Dieringer, Virtual Marketing Officer
If you’re like any other smart real estate executives we’ve worked with, you’re asking yourself and your marketing team: Is our marketing investment performing well? Are we investing the right amount in the right ways? Are we going to hit our marketing and sales goals? When? How do we know?
In response, you may be getting answers such as “we got 33 retweets, 1% higher click-throughs, and, and net -2 leases…” You have all sorts of tactical data sets but no one seems to be able to tell you what they really mean, big picture. You may be ready to tear your hair out and trust us, we get it.
Oftentimes, marketing teams can get lost in tactical performance, like numbers of retweets, email opens, calls to A-board tracking numbers, and meanwhile, lose sight of the bigger picture. It can be easy to get lost in the weeds and lose focus on the broader investment and how it’s allocated across marketing programs, such as reputation building, demand creation, sales enablement, and market intelligence. To lose visibility into how those programs are and aren’t serving business objectives, like a desired lease-up goal, at a certain per square foot rent, by a certain date.
To better understand how to get to goal, you need to understand where you are now. Enter baseline, stage left.
We often recommend campaign baseline analysis as a great place to start. A baseline is simply a measure of your marketing starting point. With a starting point, you can clearly define what will need to change to get to goal, and how you might want to pull certain levers to affect that desired change.
Baseline measures can include the following:
- Marketing Program Investments
- Unique Site Visitors
- Social Network Size
- Database Size
- Lease Applications
- Conversion Rates
- Cost per Inquiry
- Cost per Tour
- Cost per Lease Application
- Estimated Annual Leasing Revenue
- Return on Marketing Investment
Baseline measures can also be benchmarked against other properties’ campaign efforts to get a sense of what’s low, average, or high, compared to peers in your market. For example, if you found out that your average marketing cost per lease application was $700, would you consider that number low, average, or high? (Hint: it’s probably low.)
To get a sense of how you’re doing compared to others, benchmark analyses can be inspiring (or perhaps depressing). Benchmarks, enter stage right.
Curious to know what we’re seeing across the projects we’ve worked on? Here are a few insights based on data from luxury apartments in Seattle, Bellevue, and Portland:
- Average Unique Site Visitors to Inquiry Conversion Rate: 6%
- Average Inquiry to Tour Conversion Rate: 37%
- Average Inquiry to Lease Application Conversion Rate: 11%
- Average Cost per Tour: $271
- Average ROMI: 23X
After understanding your starting point and how you stack up to others, you can evaluate various change scenarios to achieve your desired outcome. In many ways, it’s the classic choice between good, fast, or cheap.
We find that owners often have a specific date in mind that they want to hit a lease-up target by, for specific reasons such as the asset being a short-term hold, or the high cost of exposure. By modeling change to the top, middle, and bottom of the marketing and sales funnel, we can explore the various ways to hit the lease-up goal: faster or slower, at a higher or lower investment, for higher or lower rent rates, based on the asset strategy.
Frequent tactical levers we’ll pull to get to goal:
- Improved active reach (growing brand awareness)
- Higher quantities of inquiries (driving demand at the top of the funnel)
- Improved conversion rates (improving the on-site experience)
- Higher cost pers (investing more intentionally in marketing)
- Improved retention rates (locking the back door on residents)
By pulling the right levers in the right ways, you can get to goal. It just takes stepping back from the multitude of tactical dashboards in front of you to see the bigger picture. Marketing can be a very powerful tool for owners and investors, especially when used the right ways to achieve business goals.
Want to learn more? Give us a shout. Also, for a limited time, inquire about a complimentary baseline for your multifamily or commercial office property. Restrictions apply.