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Property Management Company Marketing Budgets

December 20, 2020

Property Management Marketing Budget

2021 is just ahead.  And while property managers like yourself are what they should allot for their marketing management marketing budget.

This epic post covers the importance of committing funds to marketing your property management firm.  With the right strategy and budget, your company could become the fresh, new market leader and capture the sales revenue you’re hoping for.

For startup property management companies, digital marketing might be the only way you can beat big companies which might have better staff, talent, products, and services. And to beat all the others.

If you’re still formulating your 2023 marketing budget, let’s see why digital marketing can make a big difference in visibility, leads, persuasion, client loyalty, and ultimately revenue.

Creating More Value than Just New Owner Leads

Marketing is the foundation of all successful companies. Business is marketing driven.

And only when prospects learn of your services, business name and brand messages, could you win them as a customer. You must build sustainable presence.  Marketing also supports tenant and owner communications and keeps them loyal.

Retaining current owner clients is cited in recent surveys as one of property manager’s biggest challenges this year. Marketing and communications is the solution.

Why Companies Lose Markets

Why do companies lose their marketshare?  Businesses in many industries (Blackberry, Sony, Microsoft, Yahoo, Chevrolet) that made superior products had their market share fall due to smart competitors.

Technology itself isn’t the issue that took down these behemoths. Their competitors tilted the playing field by using marketing strategies to favor their products/services/technology.  Marketing trumps tech superiority, because companies can redefine quality for the whole target audience.

Remember Mr. Sub? They dominated the sub sandwich markets and consumers considered their subs the most delicious. Along came Subway with a product that wasn’t as good. But with aggressive marketing they took over the sub sandwich market. Today, they’re in danger due to new types of foods (sushi, ramen, and much more) and new types of dining experiences which have invaded the fast food scene. 

Your property management company has to respond to these same challenges, perhaps from the big franchises.

Marketing is the lever that can overpower all other factors (tech, client loyalty, pricing, brand supremacy, customer pain points, etc). It can systematically take down big, established competitors.

Competition in the Real Estate Space

A good example of the competitive challenge is in the real estate sales sector where hundreds of thousands of real estate agents compete for visibility and sales. Amidst the clamor, few home sellers actually see any difference between one Realtor and the next. It’s up to the Realtor to stand out meaningfully.  Some do, via content, social media, videos, online events, news releases, contests, email, and more.

Some do more, by dominating reach and cutting off their rival’s visibility.

Realtors who focus on reach, impact and engagement of prospects acquire better quality leads.  Even after a Realtor gets noticed by home sellers, they may lack a strong brand reputation to make them ‘sticky enough’ to land that client. Reach, impact, and engagement filter in more of the best prospects. Your brand completes the process.

Marketing is too often starved of the resources it needs. If you’re ambitious and want to grow your property management company, you need to use marketing well to achieve growth. A bigger budget is realistic if you want to do well in the next 5 years.

Grow Your Budget and Grow Success

Given 2021 is going to be a better year (managers expect growth) and competitors will be increasing their budgets.  Sure everyone will be looking for improved, dedicated property management software. Yet, software such as ManageCasa is very inexpensive which frees up money for marketing.

A key matter for a property management company manager is that you could be conducting marketing campaigns for your owners too. They won’t be impressed if you spend little on your own marketing and develop minimal expertise in the digital space.

And just like landlords need good tenants, your marketing will land you high-quality owner clients, those possessing the precise portfolio and service needs.

Business is Marketing

Marketing is powerful. In general, it determines your product and service features, customer reach, branding, new service offerings, and customer loyalty. Everything you do is powered by market demand and whether customers see your company as the leader.

And since your property management business is marketing-driven, your budget really will determine your success. Your budget will determine the quality of your marketing mix.

Roll Call of Your Marketing Assets

  1. website
  2. Google search results
  3. Google local business listing
  4. Facebook page
  5. Youtube page
  6. current clients
  7. brand image
  8. email newsletters/alerts
  9. company blog and externally published content
  10. talented, experienced and capable staff who participate in promotion
  11. marketing landing pages + PPC advertising ads

Marketing Spending Now?

Gartner Research says digital marketing channels comprised about 80% of marketing budgets in 2020. 74% expect to spend more on digital advertising and 66% more on their paid search advertising in 2021.

Gartner also said CMOs spend 22% of their marketing budget on digital advertising (13.5%) — including display, video or ads on social media or on platforms like Amazon — and paid search ads. 59% goes to owned and earned digital channels such as social marketing, the website, SEO and mobile marketing.

Technology currently accounts for the largest proportion of marketing budgets (26.2%), compared to media (24.8%), in-house labor (24.5%) and agencies (23.7%). CMOs remain bullish about technology heading into the next 12 months: 68% expect their already significant outlays to increase.

In 2019, Gartner reports that Martech spending as a percentage of the budget has fallen 10% since 2018, from 29% of the marketing budget to 26%. It’s likely much lower in 2020.

Screenshot courtesy of Gartner CMO Survey.

2021: Time to Grow Your Budget

Quite a few managers lack a comprehensive marketing plan and budget. They might have their accounting, IT, operations, vendor and product support plans in place, but marketing gets neglected.

A new study on marketing agencies revealed they had their best year yet and 2021 recovery is ready to accelerate business.

Crisis and market turbulence are the perfect time to rerank your property management market with a fresh new leader. For smart managers, crisis = opportunity.

Who would focus on marketing during a recession? Perhaps smart companies want to get noticed and get a jump on the new year coming.

Take a look at other property management companies across the US and how they’re focusing on marketing.

10% is Not Enough

Governments might suggest spending 10% on marketing. That advice is ill-advised for small businesses however. Because your startup or low sales company is the underdog, you need to spend more. Your competitive challenge, rising ad costs, lower margins, and the complexity of digital marketing requires bigger budgets.

If your ability to convert leads is poor, you need to spend even more to generate sales. For market-leading companies with long-established brands and better value proposition, lead conversion is much easier. And due to their large ad budgets, the challenge is tougher for small property management companies like yours.

Startups Need Larger % Budgets

Startups need much more because they don’t have the legacy audience, reach, brand, or marketshare to rely on. There’s no coasting for a property management startup. Prospects need to see your company and be impressed.

And while small companies can achieve reach, a weak brand means visitors via PPC campaigns will bounce off your property management website. Even customers will slip away because your unestablished brand can’t keep them engaged or loyal. There are always ways to power up your brand.

Marketing Budgets by Industry

Before you can determine the % to set your property management marketing budget, you should review your property management marketing goals. Those goals, especially long term sales goals should be driving your marketing expenditures on PPC advertising, content generation, SEO, social media promotion.

If you do marketing only when desperate, your business might be at risk.

Marketing Budgets by Industry. chart courtesy of CMO Survey, Gartner and Deloitte Digital.

Gartner reported a few years ago this spending criteria for companies:

1. Web (8.8%)
2. Digital Ads (8.6%)
3. Offline Ads (8.4%)
4. Social (8.3%)

Think Big Picture for Marketing

Once your website is truly ready to convert leads (CRO or conversion rate optimization) and you have a phone call tracking service, lead forms, chat app, and good website analytics, and some good content on your website to keep visitors engaged long enough to receive your branding message and sales pitch.

What to Think About:

  • review your business goals, growth expectations, and do you have startup resources to rely on until you get established?
  • review your unique value proposition and how it meshes with what landlords need?
  • review what your competition is doing online
  • prioritize those services that are a current priority for landlords
  • create your branding statement and messaging
  • understand which channels typically produce the results you need (brand awareness, engagement, leads, sales)
  • understand your marketing talent and resources and whether a marketing agency is a better way to go

How to Set Your Marketing Budget

  1. 5% for ultra targeted ppc ad campaigns on Google and Yelp
  2. 10% for organic content, content strategy, SEO, and social media engagement
  3. 1% for one company youtube video
  4. 4% for website, lead pipeline and analytics solutions (your property management software may have a free marketing website option)

That’s a 20% of revenue plan. In creating a marketing lead pipeline, you need to create quality content, test which works to generate leads, send out emails, and find ways to improve the conversion rate. PPC ads-to-sales-pages will likely not suffice as a marketing strategy.  Initially, you may have to step up your PPC ad spend until your organic content begins to generate leads via Google or Facebook.

Marketing Strategy

Use your funds well.  First, ensure your website and Facebook page are ready to accept and create customers.  Ultimately, your website is what converts visits to customers. Here’s some quick tips:

  1. have your website design modernized (WordPress with Google AMP installed)
  2. use a telephone call tracking service (click to call)
  3. take your visitors through a stepped conversion path that’s easy for them to understand and follow
  4. make sure your value proposition is laser clear
  5. ensure all your services are clearly listed so they don’t have to hunt
  6. keep vital info near the top of the page for mobile users
  7. ensure you have your prospects’ pain points clearly covered
  8. make your phone number a little larger font size to enhance your call to action (CTA)
  9. review your whole website (is it really worth it for them to call you?)

Setting and planning a property management marketing budget is a big task.

Do read our posts on property management marketing, online marketing for property managers , property management services evolution, and rental advertising tips.


Landlords and property managers should review and evaluate ManageCasa property management software.

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