Today we look into the pros and cons of advertising with traditional methods (TV and radio commercials, billboards, bus ads, etc.) versus digital advertising. “Traditional Advertising,” which is generally defined as advertising through commercials, newspaper ads and billboards, has been regarded as the major form of advertising for over a century. But what about in 2016? Property managers sometimes see their competitors running ads on billboards, or hear them on a radio ad. But – is it a good idea to spend marketing dollars on these channels? The investment you make and the results you get can be different for local property managers.

Note: As we will not have time or space to talk about every form of advertising available, we will cover direct mail and other similar kinds of marketing in a future blog.

Do Commercials Make Sense for Property Managers?

Property Management: Traditional Marketing vs Digital Advertising

When you pay for traditional advertising, the price is based on “impressions.” That means you’re paying for every person that views your ad, whether or not they’re a valid target. This applies to a billboard on a busy highway, a television commercial, or a radio advertisement. The more people they expect to reach, the more they charge.

This traditional advertising model works fine if you’re a company like Coca-Cola, because their potential customer is anyone with a mouth. But in property management, your potential clients are a small subset of the general population. Do you want to pay to advertise to people that will never need your services? Isn’t that money better spent elsewhere?

Digital Advertising for Property Managers

Here’s an example: A billboard on a busy road is expensive because of how many people could drive by and see your ad. However, on a side road that only gets 50 people a day driving past your ad, you’ll pay less. But what if all 50 people that drive by your billboard are landlords? That means that every dollar you spend is being spent on potential clients. That’s what we’re talking about when we say that Digital Advertising gives you a better return on investment.

For local businesses, being able to target your specific audience is one of the main benefits of digital advertising. People often highlight the Internet’s ability to reach an international audience as being its greatest advantage. For local businesses, however, targeting may be number one. Digital advertising allows you to advertise specifically to landlords and investors. For example, an AdWords campaign, if designed correctly, only shows your ad to people searching for keywords that you choose. AND – you don’t pay for your ad until they click on it. How would that work with a billboard? There’s no guarantee that the people driving by even look at your ad. The ad agency is only guessing.

Measuring Digital Advertising Success

The drawback with traditional advertising is that it’s hard to track your return on investment. With digital advertising, you can. We live in a digital age where we can test out ads, analyze engagement, and track results in real-time. These are things that traditional ads simply cannot do. With online advertising, we can track a visitor from an AdWords ad, through a Landing Page, to a phone call or a filled-out form – and often to a signed contract. With that kind of information, we can know exactly how well an individual ad is performing.

So, if you hear your competitor’s ad on the radio or see their faces on a billboard, just think about all the wasted impressions they are paying for. With your digital advertising strategy, you are a sniper, not a machine gunner. You’re doing more targeted work. The goal is not to get in front of as many people as possible, it’s about getting the most property management leads for your dollar.

If you have any questions about traditional or digital advertising, or you’d like to talk about marketing your property management company, please contact us at Fourandhalf.