6 Essential Building Blocks for Constructing Your Marketing Plan
When it comes to developing the perfect marketing plan, writing it down often sounds intimidating and daunting. Make it a little easier with these pro tips.
Lori Valenci Webb, Director of Marketing at Associated Estates, recently presented a Webinar Wednesday session on the topic and emphasized the importance of committing your marketing plan to paper.
“Many of us are working at properties that are third-party managed, and managers often request a marketing plan,” she says. “It’s really, really important to have your goals outlined on paper. Some people just have a better time visualizing them that way.”
When the time comes to sit down and draft your strategy, there are six building blocks to include in your marketing plan:
Block #1: Define the Scope of Work
The very first thing you should do is evaluate your project and address the scope of work. What needs to be accomplished? Are you pushing rents, pushing occupancy, repositioning your property or overhauling your brand?
Once you’ve determined your priorities, use all of the resources available to you to gather data. You should know whether a lot of new supply is entering the market, what your target demographic is and what your competitors are doing.
Block #2: Goals and Benchmarking
You’ll want to know historical data at the community you’re marketing for before selecting your goals. Some statistics to pull might include average monthly tours, average net closing ratio, average monthly leads, conversion rates or the renewal ratio.
Next, use these numbers to help determine the path to achieving your goal. For example, if you need to secure more leases a month than you averaged last year, you might choose to implement a training program amongst your staff to help improve your closing ratio to achieve that goal, or you may focus on bringing in more foot traffic and maintaining your closing ratio.
Block #3: Communication
Once you’ve written your marketing plan don’t just file it away in your desk. Share it with your team members and clearly identify their responsibilities. Webb suggests meeting as a team to discuss each other’s strengths, and delegating responsibilities accordingly.
It’s also smart to break out your goals by month and review with the team. Project management software can assist in group collaboration and keep everyone aware of timelines, goals and status reports.
Block #4: Programs
Think about the programs and systems available to you, and incorporate them into your marketing plan. If your community utilizes lead management, take that into consideration as a tool to use and track. If your plan depends on social media advertising, check out the different programs available for scheduling and tracking your posts, such as Hootsuite or Post Planner.
Block #5: Ad Sources and Outreach
“Make the most of the ad sources that are most successful,” says Webb. “Are there sources that aren’t working anymore? It’s important not to waste money there.”
Webb recommends adding a regular evaluation of your ad sources into your marketing plan. If you notice an increase in leads from a particular source, it might be worth placing a stronger focus on that, and perhaps backing away from ones that are producing less of a return on investment.
It’s not abnormal to see fluctuations and changes year-to-year in what works and what doesn’t. The important thing is that your plan allow for this flexibility.
Block #6: Plan Implementation
Once you’ve done the hard work of researching and writing down your plan, it’s time to implement it! Follow your steps, track your results and don’t be afraid to adjust the plan as needed.
“I think it’s very hard for people to sit down and do a year-long plan because in six months, it can be very different, and it scares a lot of people,” Webb says. “It’s good to give that tight snapshot view of 30 days or 90 days and then continue to build on that.”
Join NAAEI, Apartment All Stars and Multifamily Insiders for Webinar Wednesdays, the largest premium webinar series in the industry to provide state and local association members with access to industry thought leaders to discuss innovative ideas, best practices and emerging industry trends. These webinars will give participants the tools they need to become industry superstars in their own right. Learn more.
Webb's entire session is also available for purchase at Multifamily Insiders.