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What Are SMART Goals? How to Create Them for 2024 (and Beyond)

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What Are SMART Goals? How to Create Them for 2024 (and Beyond)

Published February 21, 2019. Updated January 9th, 2024. 

Marketing has changed drastically over the last 30 years. The rise of the internet revolutionized B2C and B2B marketing into a primarily digital approach to reaching target audiences and generating leads.

Now, more than ever, property managers have a world of marketing methods literally at their fingertips. However, unless you track some tangible numbers, real growth will slip through your fingers.

For property management companies, it is essential to create a realistic and trackable marketing plan for the upcoming year that addresses the changes taking place for your company in real-time.

Keep reading to learn about SMART goals and how to create a solid property management marketing plan, including methods to use and crucial metrics to track.

What Are SMART Goals?

In the property management industry, adhering to SMART goals can be a game-changer for optimizing operations and boosting tenant satisfaction.

The SMART framework, which stands for "Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely," provides a structured approach to setting and achieving objectives.

  • When a goal is Specific, it becomes easier to identify actionable steps.

  • Measurable goals allow you to track progress, thus offering an opportunity for timely adjustments.

  • An Attainable goal ensures that the team has the resources and capability to meet the objective.

  • Realistic goals, grounded in practicality, ensure that targets are not just aspirational but achievable.

  • Lastly, setting a Timely deadline creates a sense of urgency, keeping the team focused.

This strategy can lead to more streamlined services, higher tenant retention rates, and, ultimately, greater profitability for property management companies.

What does developing goals for your marketing plan based on this framework look like? We'll talk about that next!


First, we start with "Specific" in terms of planning your goals. This means your property management marketing goals need to be defined.

With specific goals in place, they become easier to accomplish over time. Delineating your goals will not only outline your expectations but it will also help describe:

  • Why it's essential to achieve

  • Who is responsible for enacting any plans

  • How to reach any goals that you set.

Here's an example:

  • A general goal for a property management company is to rent more properties. As a property manager, you know that growing your doors and reducing vacancies ultimately grows your company. However, this marketing goal is not specific enough to outline a plan for attaining such growth.

  • A more specific example of a goal is for "x" to rent at least three more properties in 14 days. "X" here simply represents whoever is assigned to the goal.

See the difference? A specific goal has details and a timeframe to make it clear that you've achieved the goal (or not).


Next, how will you know if your goals are on track? They need to be "Measurable."

So, outline the goals you're measuring and how you'll assess them. If your goal is too difficult to measure, you should consider creating a different one.

Always ensure the indicators of goal measuring are quantifiable. By measuring the progress of a goal, it becomes easier to achieve it. 

Businessman pointing at a whiteboard with papers during a meeting, what are SMART goals concept.


One of the essential factors in achieving your goals is how realistic they are (i.e., are they "attainable").

It's not enough to want something; you also have to believe that you can get there.

So, if you set a goal that requires an entirely different set of circumstances or skills than what you currently possess, all the hard work and effort put into attaining it will be wasted because it will never happen. Instead, adjust your goal so that it takes advantage of who and where you already are today.

For example, you may have a goal of managing 5 million doors in the next year. That would certainly be impressive!

However, that's probably not attainable if you're just starting your property management business, you don't have the staff or systems to support it, there aren't 5 million available rental properties in your market, and you don't have an inbound marketing system in place to generate the leads you need to get even close to that number.

See what we mean by "attainable?" Wishes, dreams, and "big hairy goals" are great if you are working within a reality that can make them happen.

So, if the goal seems too extreme, create a different one because setting goals that are unattainable will result in a waste of time and resources. You might not be able to hit 5 million doors this year, but you could probably increase the number of doors under your management by 10 or 20%. That's a good start!

Additionally, setting goals that are too lofty can damage morale when things don't go according to plan — and result in a setback for your overall growth.


Realism works hand in hand with attainability. So, to make sure your goals are both attainable and realistic, set objectives that your team can work toward achieving.

Everything from the timing of the goal to the availability of resources must be realistic. It's also essential to align your goals with any other objectives you have in place.


Lastly, any goals you set must have an established time frame. A goal without an end date will never be achieved.

By setting a completion date, your team will be more motivated to achieve the objective.

Additionally, time-bound goals also have a sense of urgency placed around them, ensuring other efforts are properly scheduled to align with priorities.

What Metrics Can You Track for Your Goals?

You don't have to wait until the end of the year to start planning marketing goals for the upcoming year (or just because you have another goal in mind)! It's never too early or too late to create a solid property management marketing plan.

However, if you start earlier in the year, you'll have the time needed to refine your strategies, goals, programs, and prices to ensure you have a successful 2024 when it comes to expanding your doors.

To that end, what you're measuring matters as much as why. Here's a quick look at a few metrics we think property management companies should focus on when defining a new property management marketing strategy.

Lifetime Customer Value

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a critical metric that quantifies the total revenue a company expects to earn from a customer throughout their entire relationship. It helps property management companies understand the long-term value of a customer, guiding marketing spending and retention strategies. Knowing CLV aids in making data-driven decisions, ultimately maximizing profitability.

Calculate this metric by considering the average length of time a client is with your company and multiplying it by your average management fee — then add your ancillary service fees. This is your average lifetime customer value.

When thinking through your SMART goals, always set goals to increase the lifetime value of your clients. The longer you keep your clients, the higher the lifetime customer value becomes.

To achieve this goal, you'll need to push services that lock in clients for extended periods and then provide them with incredible service during that time.

Acquiring New Clients

One of your primary marketing goals should be to focus on the number of new clients you want to acquire. This will help you keep track of your progress and ensure that you make the necessary efforts to expand your client base.

As part of your new marketing strategy, focus on setting goals regarding the number of new clients you want to secure with a contract.

Put your marketing goal in writing and share it with your sales team. Remember: The size of your sales team will significantly impact whether the goal is realistic.

A sales team of five people should work toward gaining 12 to 30 new clients per year. A sales team of 20-plus should set a higher goal of attracting anywhere from 40 to 100 new clients over that same period.

Unit Economics

Even well-established property management companies should think like a startup — especially regarding unit economics.

Once you have your goals in place, you'll need to focus on creating a budget that allows you to achieve those goals. Ideally, you should consider your budget while developing your initial plans: securing 100 new clients isn't feasible if you don't have a large enough budget to back a larger sales team.

Your goals must be in place to refine and allocate your budget properly. Here's an example:

You plan to spend $400 to acquire a new customer. If your goal is to obtain 100 new clients over the next 12 months, this means you need a $40,000 marketing budget. Well-established property management companies will have referrals coming in, reducing the amount of money spent on acquiring each new customer. However, you've got solid data on what you can expect to spend until that time.

Hard numbers from your budget give you a solid footing for how many new clients you can afford to attract in your current phase of growth.

Location and Competition

The location of your company significantly impacts all aspects of property management marketing because the rental market differs dramatically across the United States and in each major metro. It is essential to consider the location of your company when allocating your budget toward goal completion.

It's also important to look at your competition.

  • How much are they allocating toward specific marketing methods?

  • Why are they spending more on these marketing strategies?

  • Should you spend more on those same marketing tactics?

  • Is a competitor finding little success with a particular marketing method? If so, investigate why and use your findings to refine your marketing strategies.

Competition research is an essential part of developing your marketing strategy and goals. 

Businessman brainstorming for marketing plan concept.

Putting Your Marketing Plan Into Action

In our experience in the industry and in working with many property management businesses to enhance their marketing efforts, we've found that it is usually best to allocate 85% of the marketing budget toward digital marketing.

Why? Because digital marketing works — especially when it comes to property management marketing.

Then, put the other 15% toward local marketing tactics like:

  • Attending chamber events

  • Snail mail postcards

  • Flyer marketing

Don't forget that successful property management companies have strong ties with the communities they serve! Bringing in a community focus (or localized aspect) to your marketing efforts can help make or break your strategy.

You Need a Solid Sales Process and Support

Your refined marketing plan will work as long as you approach it from the bottom up. However, all this marketing planning and execution for your property management marketing strategies will go to waste without proper sales support!

You need a consistent sales process in place, along with reliable service and support.

A consistent sales process is crucial to the success of your property management company because it ensures that all inquiries from existing and prospective clients are handled promptly. It also guarantees you're paying attention to the right leads.

Without a defined sales process, your marketing efforts will go to waste.

You can provide better service by considering the technologies you use to run your operations. Property management automation is explicitly designed to maximize your "people power" while allocating tasks that don't need a human touch.

The advantage of automation in this regard is that it ensures you can prioritize your people where it matters and provide consistent and excellent service by eliminating "dropped balls."

Let Us Help You Move Forward With Your Property Management Marketing Goals

At Geekly Media, we know our success depends on you. It's why we're so driven to provide our property management partners with insights into property management marketing tools like SMART goals.

If you're struggling to establish goals that meet SMART requirements and find that your company often falls short of the goals you put in place, let us help! Or, if you simply want to take your marketing to the next level, contact Geekly Media! We're here to help you craft your goals now so that you can amp up your marketing going into the new year.

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