Creating a Real Estate Marketing Budget
The old adage goes, “You have to spend money to make money”. And marketing expenses are a big part of the money you need to spend. It's an expense some businesses try to avoid, but marketing is paramount to ROI, especially in today’s real estate world of omnipotent web presence and digital media.
Marketing expenses can add up quickly. That’s why creating a budget is the first step in any successful marketing campaign. But there are some additional steps you can take to ensure you stick to your budget and meet your marketing goals.
Study past marketing expenses. The best indicator of what marketing expenses you’ll have in the coming year is what your expenses were in past years. Where have your marketing dollars gone, historically? How much did you spend and where?
What are your marketing goals this year? This is the fun part. Brainstorm a list of all things marketing you want to accomplish this year. Facebook campaigns, direct mail blitzes, referral marketing, even CRM implementations – these all cost money. Along with your list of goals, lay out expected costs for each item.
Stack-rank your marketing goals. For most of us, money is a precious and finite resource. Prioritize your marketing goals from most valuable to least, and determine what you can implement in a given time frame.
Stretch the dollars! Crunch time. Take the funds you’ve allocated toward marketing and start comparing what you aspire to do (the plans) with what you can actually do (the dollars). Assign those dollars to your top initiatives. How far down the list you can make it?
Step back! Behold the plan. Is your marketing budget realistic? Does it accomplish everything you wanted it to for the quarter? The year? If not, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. This is the moment. Don’t fear the financial scissors.
Implement the plan. You’ve now got a rational, working budget. Now, go for it. And don’t forget to stick to the budget.
There are many ways to set up a budget. Your marketing plan can list individual marketing initiatives or it can be divided into categories that include sub-budgets, like a digital marketing budget or an advertising budget. Unlike most things in marketing, with budgets the form is NOT more important than the substance. Make sure your goals are clearly listed and a cost is associated with each goal. Then, go out and set that plan into motion.