Is it that time of the year again for your community? Developing a marketing budget is one of the most important steps you can take toward reaching your sales and marketing goals, but it’s also one that that takes much thought, research and planning.
In this post, you’ll get 3 important tips for aligning your marketing budget with your sales goals and setting your community up for success in the next fiscal year.
1. Outline Your Sales and Marketing Budget Goals
Marketing agencies often advise that a business’ marketing budget should be at least 10% of their total revenue when in growth mode or 5% when in maintenance mode. We don’t subscribe to this approach at Creating Results; It doesn’t take into account our partners’ specific goals. In some cases, it suggests they spend more than necessary to meet their sales goals.
Your sales budget should align with the benchmarks your business must reach in order to make the next fiscal year a successful one. We use a simple equation to guide our budgeting:
Number of Leads Needed x Cost Per Lead = Your Budget
There are of course, other variables that must be accounted for when arriving at your final budget number. For example, what is your community’s current occupancy? What is its monthly attrition number? Are you developing a budget for assisted living or independent living?
But at a basic level, knowing the number of leads you need (which should be based on estimated lead-to-scale conversion rate) and the average cost of those leads will provide a foundation upon which you can work with as you refine your marketing budget.
2. Decide the Channels Where You’ll Spend Your Marketing Budget
The next step after finalizing your marketing budget is deciding which marketing channels to allocate the resources to and how much you’ll spend on each channel. There are several avenues through which you can reach your target market.
This is why it’s important to outline your goals in the beginning phases of budgeting. It will help inform which channels you use to reach your target prospects. For example, when marketing a blue-sky independent living expansion, channels aiding brand awareness are vital to your marketing plan. Whereas, for a more established community with census challenges, it’s best to plan around channels more oriented towards lead generation.
As we tell our partners, it’s important to meet your prospects where they are. If the lion’s share of the senior living search is taking place online (and it typically is nowadays), then it would make sense to invest more in digital channels, such as paid search marketing, targeted display ads and Facebook ads.
It doesn’t mean that you have to completely forgo any investment in more traditional channels, such as print or broadcast. You can still invest in these channels — and should if your prospects are still consuming them. But you’ll want to be cognizant of spending more of your marketing budget where you’re likely to get the best return.
We also advise scouting your competition to see how and where they’re advertising. Upon further examination, you’ll gain further insights into their methods — what works for them and what can be improved upon — and any opportunities to better reach your audience.
3. Analyze and Adapt Your Current Marketing
As you’re preparing your marketing budget and plan for the next fiscal year, it’s important to analyze your current marketing. Which tactics are helping you achieve your goals? You’ll want to continue investing in those tactics and finding ways to optimize them for greater impact.
Conversely, for tactics that aren’t supporting your goals, this is an opportunity to adapt your strategy and invest in channels that are more beneficial to your business. Something to remember is that marketing budgets are dynamic. If certain tactics aren’t working and you feel your resources can be better spent elsewhere, there’s nothing that says you can’t pivot your plan when needed. We encourage it!
We recommend analyzing and reviewing all campaigns every 3 months to ensure you’re getting the results and ROI you’re expecting from your plan. If, after reviewing, you notice gaps in the sales and marketing processes or opportunities for improvement, you should evolve your plan so that it reflects this.
Try Our Senior Living Marketing Budget Calculator
Looking to get a head start on budgeting for your next fiscal year? We recently unveiled our Senior Living Marketing Budget Calculator to help you align your budget with your goals.
The calculator was built using industry benchmarks and data from more than 25 years of senior living experience. It allows you to enter your community’s goals and provides an immediate estimate range for the annual direct marketing budget needed to achieve them.
Visit this page to determine what your marketing budget should be to meet (or exceed) your sales goals.