Let’s Flip the Marketing Funnel

Marketing Funnel“PPC doesn’t work.”

“Banner ads are a waste of money.”

“The CTR on retargeting is so low, it’s not worth the spend.”

I heard this all the time when I worked for an owner-operator. And I have to be honest, it always ruffled my feathers a little bit. I despise the idea of discounting a marketing channel just because it might not have yielded the results you wanted or expected. I also despise the idea of determining the effectiveness of a marketing channel based on guest cards or leases listed in a property management system. Because let’s face it, they aren’t all created equally and a lot of PMSes aren’t developed to understand the nuances of the marketing funnel or each effort in the prospect lifecycle.

Simply put, it’s not fair to say a marketing channel doesn’t work.

Each channel has its own place within the marketing funnel, and your marketing budget will determine whether that channel has a place within your overall marketing strategy.

Every marketer and operator should flip their marketing funnel. Start at the point of conversion and build your marketing strategy up from there. If your portfolio does not have the budget for a PPC campaign, then you certainly don’t have the budget to nurture those leads from the top of the funnel through the point of conversion.

We forget that leads that come through at all points of the funnel and require additional funds for lead nurturing. That might mean additional advertising, targeted email campaigns, tedious email communication between prospects and leasing teams or more. Portfolios with limited budgets should not be investing their marketing dollars at top-of-funnel activities because they don’t have the funds to nurture those leads. And those efforts at the top of the funnel will seem futile, and not result in leads at the bottom of the funnel.

And on the flipside, it’s a smart and strategic move to implement banner ads or retargeting campaigns for lease-up and development communities, because these communities often have the budget to invest in lead nurturing campaigns designed to bring prospects through the marketing funnel to the point of conversion.

There is a place for every marketing channel and an opportunity to impact demand if each marketing channel is executed correctly and in alignment with the marketing budget. It’s also important to remember that the leasing reports in most property management systems, the one that identifies the source of each guest card and lease, only measures the bottom tip of the funnel. It provides no insight into the rest of your marketing activity. This is where multi-touch attribution comes in, but we’ve gone down that rabbit hole already.

By flipping the marketing funnel, we eliminate the protests on PPC campaigns, retargeting and other top-of-the-funnel activities. Communities with smaller budgets will see highly qualified leads ready to convert quickly, and communities with larger budgets will build the lead pipeline necessary to maintain occupancy and limit exposure. It’s a win for everyone.

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