When you have a limited budget as a property management company, you have to be picky about what marketing you can invest in. You'll want results—and the best return on investment options are the best bet.
Keeping your cost per lead low is crucial to keeping your property management marketing spend under control and growing your business simultaneously.
Most of our clients come to us and they don't have the data on hand; they're really not sure what their customer acquisition cost is or what the best channels are to continue spending on. What to pick?
We'll break down how it all works together to help you decide whether to go with an SEO-based inbound marketing strategy or tried-and-true paid ads.
Comparing Inbound and Paid Ads
One cannot effectively compare inbound marketing to paid ads because they are not the same—so we have to understand what makes these unique.
- Paid ads require a user to pay for placement. There are many services out there that offer pay for placement, such as All Property Management or Expertise.
- These sort of pay-for-placement services require a user to click into their site before seeing your paid placement, so we'll always recommend you remove that step and go straight for Google Ads.
- The same goes for other search engines, but they simply don't have the market share that Google does; if you're choosing a paid placement, Google Ads is the top choice.
SEO is earned placement—deemed the most relevant option by search engines (especially Google). SEO is not free: it requires labor, content, consistency, and commitment.
- Inbound marketing is also not the same as SEO—but for this argument, it may as well be because SEO is a byproduct of inbound marketing.
- Inbound marketing seeks to answer the questions people ask search engines and is focused on creating informative, helpful content that draws users in.
- Google—the top search engine people optimize for—has repeatedly signaled that one of the main elements of SEO is helpful, informative content.
Google Ads allows you to set a daily budget cap. However, to get results, the monthly budget we usually see is about .25 to .5 of monthly inbound spend. Cost per click on property management keywords has a wide range, with lesser-value keywords running around $1.50. High-traffic keywords (generally for big cities) run in the tens of dollars per click. Dividing your qualified leads by your paid ads spend will give you a cost per lead.
Working out the cost of inbound marketing is a little harder and is usually done by looking at a longer period. Inbound marketing takes a lot of time to work. Once it does, it creates a 'flywheel effect' that enhances all other marketing efforts. Using inbound alone will allow you to define your cost per lead easier than when you're running other marketing campaigns.
This is because good inbound marketing lifts all your other property management marketing efforts up and gives the prospect additional information and content that further supports your spend elsewhere.
The more marketing elements that are brought together, the more they can work in harmony for a complete lead-nurturing funnel.
Paid Ads Drive Traffic and BOFU Leads
- Paid ads are front-and-center at the top of the SERPs or near the bottom (for a lower cost) for those who didn't find what they wanted on the front page.
- These leads are usually looking for a solution right now and have already made up their mind that they need to hire a property management company.
- They're looking to buy—and just need a good company to guide the way.
These ads drive traffic for people who are also at the top or middle of the funnel and aren't seeing your page because it isn't high ranking yet (think 2nd page and beyond). If you aren't on the front page yet organically, paid ads give you access to that traffic.
Inbound Drives Conversions
Inbound drives traffic once it gets you to the front page—but that is a long and slow road, and it is also very much at the whim of Google's constant algorithm changes.
What inbound does, without a doubt, is make it more tempting for any traffic that gets to the site by other means (such as paid ads or other lead gen sites referring the traffic to stay and become a lead). Typically, paid ads are targeting the 'free rental analysis,' which is a great offer for an owner who is ready to make a decision today.
There are hundreds of owners in any given market that are not ready to make that decision yet, so giving them helpful content is how you convert that tire-kicking owner into a customer.
In the end, neither is truly better than the other. For a lead generating machine that will grow your business the fastest, combining inbound with paid ads is a guaranteed bet for growth. That said, to maximize their effects, you need to have a proper place for your future clients to land online.
Let us take a thorough look at your property management website to ensure it's helping you capture the traffic that is driven to your site by your property management marketing strategy! It's complimentary and designed to help pinpoint weaknesses in your web presence that are costing you leads.