Heads In Beds Show - How To Build Your Budget For Vacation Rental Owner And Guest Marketing

Episode Date: July 10, 2024

In this episode Conrad and Paul talk about the process of building a budget that spans both guest and homeowner marketing for your vacation rental company. Enjoy!⭐️ Links & Show Note...sPaul Manzey Conrad O'ConnellConrad's Book: Mastering Vacation Rental MarketingConrad's Course: Mastering Vacation Rental Marketing 101🔗 Connect With BuildUp BookingsWebsiteFacebook PageInstagramTwitter🚀 About BuildUp BookingsBuildUp Bookings is a team of creative, problem solvers made to drive you more traffic, direct bookings and results for your accommodations brand. Reach out to us for help on search, social and email marketing for your vacation rental brand.

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Starting point is 00:00:00 Welcome to the Heads in Bed Show where we teach you how to get more properties, earn more revenue per property, and increase your occupancy. I'm your co-host Conrad. And I'm your co-host Paul. Afternoon, Mr. Manzi. How's it going? What's going on? You know, summer day is here.
Starting point is 00:00:22 I'm working on a new house. I'm working on a new house. I'm working on a new house. I'm working on a new house. I'm working on a new house. I'm working on's it going? What's going on? You know, summer days here. I think regardless of one we're recording versus one that's being released, I think we can freely talk about the happiness of summertime here, a little golf action here, a little different sports. We don't have to bundle up as much anymore. You never have to bundle up. But how are you? Yep, pretty good. Can't complain. The pollen and all the seasonality has gone. I feels like there's like a springtime where that's happening. And then so
Starting point is 00:00:55 this time of year, certainly is when I in a month, I'll be complaining because it's too hot. But for right now, I'll enjoy the good and we'll deal with the bad when it comes. And there's definitely it's past that kind of like idyllic season here where it's like, Oh, perfect weather, no humidity. And we're into Oh, man, it's hot. And there's a lot of humidity. But it's fine. You know, like my glasses fog up when I walk out. That's for me. You know, you've reached the glass fog up when you walk out of the house. So that's how it gets here. But yeah, doing pretty good.
Starting point is 00:01:22 Thinking of marketing as we always are. And this is a topic that I think we've kind of done passes at it before, more of like the strategic planning side of things. This one, this episode, I think today will be a little bit different, because it's more specifically centered in around budget, which is always the question that I think clients are going to have early on, you know, prospective clients or clients that are working with us, and they use the term partner. But yeah, vacational managers looking to grow their business, and they need to figure out, you know, how much do I need to invest? How much is going to cost me? Valid question. I thought I'd give some real examples today. And we can go
Starting point is 00:01:49 through some numbers of like real clients, what they're spending, how much they're actually, you know, getting from that investment, right? Leads generated on the owner side, bookings generated on the guest side, kind of like how does it how does all the money come in the front door, out the back door efficiently, and of course, leave some for the owner to slip in his his or her pockets, so to speak, when it's all said and done?
Starting point is 00:02:08 So yeah, we brainstorm before we hit record on some categories. Do you want to walk through some of your categories high level, and then we'll start to just go through them one by one, taking turns? Yeah. Yeah. I think when we're looking at, I mean, you've got the clear search, social, and email. For the owner side of things, it does. I think there's a wider spread. I'll anecdotally share that when I was coming through some of these, I had no idea,
Starting point is 00:02:33 you know, really what it took to get an owner, to really bring in an owner. I didn't know the channels that were being leveraged nearly as much as I did on the guest side when I came into this. So one of the first ones that I saw an overall, we'll say ROI calculator. That's what we used to present to our partners as they came on an ROI calculator. What are you going to spend? But what are you going to get back there? And the first partner that we had come through the annual investment was about $125,000. That was their cost? That was their cost. That was going to be their cost. Now, that was their cost. That was their
Starting point is 00:03:05 cost. That was gonna be their cost. Now, I think let's see here, I'm looking at just looking through the thing. Now what we had projected that out to be being, you know, around 500 leads, 63 deals, you know, it is you're, you're trying to put some some pretty decent numbers around that. But yeah, I think, you know, between doing direct mail, kind of purchasing some of the data that you need to do so that you have the right people that you're targeting there. Between PPC, between doing some custom audience targeting, cold email,
Starting point is 00:03:37 some additional targeting options, direct mail, all these things, there's some cost associated there. And certainly that's the same way on the guest side of things where when you're kind of adding it all up, you want to do everything but we've talked about it many times before is that you want to use the channels that are going to really bring that best ROI back coming through to you. So so it is I mean, when we're looking at it, things that that marry on both sides of things, I think the first one there is probably going to be that search the PPC side of things,
Starting point is 00:04:08 that's going to be something that universally, we're probably going to do, you know, that's, that's my my gold standard for traffic that intent based traffic that certainly, on the management side of things, it's it's dozens, maybe hundreds of impressions a month that are coming around. So you when we're talking about budget, it's it's kind of setting a high level and then kind of seeing where we fall underneath of that. Because in a lot of cases, in a lot of markets, depending on the competition, depending on a range of different Google factors, you're probably not going to spend the full budget that you're allocating unless you are in maybe a panhandle
Starting point is 00:04:45 or maybe you know one of those bigger markets with a little more notoriety. It is not uncommon for us to allocate somewhere between five and seven hundred dollars maybe even up to a thousand dollars a month and hopefully people are you know doing a little more than that even just depending on the locations they're in. But we're just getting to that point of maybe just hitting that threshold or, and you and I both know Google's going to spend the money if they're able to spend it. So it's, it's, it's a little different type of budgeting where I want people to start a little more aggressive and then kind of tame it back just to kind of see where, you know, we focus more on that search impression share, that being
Starting point is 00:05:24 the understanding of how much of the, you know, how much of the audience is out there, how much are we getting and how much can we still get because when the impressions are as few and far between as they are, we gotta eat as much as we can there. So, yeah, I mean, when you're looking at the PPC side of things specifically more on the Google search side,
Starting point is 00:05:43 how are you trying to break that down? I mean, I guess it depends on the goals of the individual customer there. But what does that look like as you're putting that plan together? Yes, that is typically the largest line item for us. I feel like that probably is not the typical largest line item for you guys on the search side. Like the Google outside, I would imagine direct mail is typically larger. But for us, that's the that's the big one.
Starting point is 00:06:03 You know, I was just thinking about what you said. I'll answer your question. Sorry, I was just thinking about what you said. I'll answer your question, sorry. I was just thinking this wasn't in our outline. The outcome from the owner marketing efforts is leads, right? The timeline between when the leads come in and when the cash comes in the door is so long, right? So like all the numbers and things like that,
Starting point is 00:06:18 the brook shares are so accurate and so true. And I believe it to be the case. But one thing that you and I have talked about previously is just this idea that you kind of the owner marketing, you feel all the expenses right away, like we're paying Google, they're charging a credit card every day, every week, every month, whatever. And even if those campaigns are very successful, you don't maybe feel that way
Starting point is 00:06:35 initially, because like you're signing the properties and onboarding, you've got to do inventory, it's got to get going, we've got to get it for a photograph, by the way, this is all costing you money to, by the way, the photography inventory, correct, etc. And then you get your first booking. Let's say I'm just making this up 120 days after they filled out a lead form It might be you you incur the expenses now and then a hundred days later or 200 days later is when you actually get your First booking and you get let's be honest right a few hundred dollar commission if you've done a good job 20% something somewhere in that range, right? It's pretty typical
Starting point is 00:07:03 So I think that's what makes the owner marketing budgeting piece so hard. And you and I have talked about this previously where it's like, you're laying out all this money and you know the long-term investment is there, all the math works out, but it doesn't feel that way. And I think that's kind of a mental thing that maybe it's worth the vacational manager understanding,
Starting point is 00:07:17 which is that all these activities that are producing positive like business momentum, don't always produce cash. And that can be hard for a small business. I myself in my own small business have had moments where I'm pretty cash crunched, like even all on paper, everything is good. Like client ABC owes me this much money, client DEF owes me this much money, you know, it's all going to come in. But there's moments where it's like, wow, we had this expense, this expense, this expense, this expense, and the cash
Starting point is 00:07:39 isn't there to support all these things all at once. We have this with some of our larger tools that we use annually, or we have some people that are paid commissions, and some of those commissions come through all at once, that sort of thing. And it can be hard, so I just wanted to almost say an empathetic comment too, for the vacation manager out there because they're dealing with a lot of money, right? A lot of money is coming in, but a lot of money
Starting point is 00:07:56 is going out that door very quickly as well with respect to things they're paying for now, like cleaning, contractor fees. Obviously the bulk of the revenue goes to the owner anyways, right, 80% is flying out the door immediately and going to the owner in most situations. And the guest marketing, at least I can tie it a little bit more clearly, I'm doing an easier job. In some respect, I would argue that you are because I can say, hey, we
Starting point is 00:08:14 got this booking. And yes, we paid for the Google ads this month. But look at all the money we collected this month as well. So the time gap between costs going out to for example, Google ads and money coming back in is much, much more compressed. You know, it's like they're getting it pretty much instantaneously. Yeah, go ahead, sorry. Add one thing on that.
Starting point is 00:08:29 No, no, no, no, no, no. You're laying it out perfectly there. And I think in addition to all those things that we line item as far as, you know, what budgets and everything like that, truly, and Brooke talks about this a lot, it's the biz dev too. So the true, maybe the most,
Starting point is 00:08:46 it is the maybe the most painful thing for me is to have that lead come in or to have, you know, maybe a half dozen leads come in through the digital channels and to see those leads kind of just wallow out there. Maybe, you know, it is, maybe they just, they're having a difficult time closing it. So I think that's the other thing is that you you have to judge a lot of your budgeting costs, what your close rates going to be and you have to be honest with yourself on on what that close rate is going to be. If you've got that system, if you've got that direct booking flywheel for lack of a I mean, it is it's a website, but it's a flywheel. If you've got that flywheel walk rocking, that is going to make all the difference
Starting point is 00:09:26 in the world. You're still gonna us getting that lead to the door is always going to be something that part of that investment has to be getting them to the door, but then find a closer find someone who's going to be able to really bring that to you because that is going to make a whole lot of difference in what your true return on your ad spend is going to be. I may have been too generous with 100 days, right? Imagine if you're not, that's if you're not being aggressive and you're not moving each step of that process along,
Starting point is 00:09:53 okay, I got to wait for my other contract to end with this other property manager. Again, I've got new furniture coming, but it's back ordered because it's on a boat from China. All these things are going to delay your process. It's almost on the owner marketing side, it really is more of like a long- term investing. I'm thinking of like your IRA or 401k, etc. Where you're like, you have to put $5,000 in there every year. And then like for 40 years from now, it's going to produce 5% a year and blah, blah, blah, and I'll be rich in 40 years, I guess not so much with inflation,
Starting point is 00:10:17 but we won't touch that third rail for the time being. And it makes it a lot more challenging, right to see like no one looks at their IRA each year, when at least when you're like us in your 30s and go, man, like that's getting to be so much money. Like you just think it's getting there lot more challenging, right? To see, like no one looks at their IRA each year, at least when you're like us in your 30s and go, man, like that's getting to be so much money. Like you just think, it's getting there, I guess, but it doesn't really feel like a lot. And then looking at my dad, for example, in his,
Starting point is 00:10:32 like he has these huge fluctuations in value every month because the numbers have grown over a very long period of time. So yeah, I think that's one thing I just wanted to call out specifically because I do think the owner marketing thing is, it's really different. It's almost more of like a B2B versus a B2C kind of mindset.
Starting point is 00:10:45 And we've talked about that concept before and it can make it challenging. So going back to Google ads, so again, I can throw some numbers out there. We have clients that are spending as little as $500 to $1,000 in Google ads and like have been doing that consistently or seeing profitability from that.
Starting point is 00:10:58 And I'll define profitability a second. We have clients that are spending $15,000 or more, you know, every month in Google ads. Now it's pretty atypical, right? These are like your large property managers in a single market or like a region. One of our highest vendors right now, as far as individual like one companies that are spending the most in Google ads spending around $15,000 a month, he's got the largest company in a given region, like a cabin market in the South. And he's like one of the top two or top three in that market. 300 or so cabins is kind of what he's working off of most
Starting point is 00:11:25 weeks. So that you know, someone like that obviously is gonna have a much bigger budget. They also have a lot more rooms to fill. That's that's one thing that I've said ad nauseam and I'll repeat it again here because I really should believe that people always hear those big budgets and go, well, I can't spend that. And I always, you know, I always give the example, well, that's not the point. The point is for your ads to be profitable. But I'll say this, you also don't have 300 cabins to fill. So like, good
Starting point is 00:11:43 news is you don't have the same budget, I guess, like the good news of that side of it is you don't have as many bookings that you need, right? So like your your needs are smaller, you basically have a shot glass size of bookings necessary to fulfill your demand requirements. He's got a notion, you know, for nights available that he's trying to fill up. So that makes it naturally a little bit harder to deliver all the bookings that the owners want. And he has 300 individual owners, for the most part, they're all, you know, have their hand out and say, where are my bookings that the owners want. And he has 300 individual owners for the most part, they're all, you know, add their handout and say, where are my bookings? I want them. So yeah, I mean, that's pretty, again, uncommon. Someone's spending $15,000 a month. We have one client who's like a collection of different brands and properties. They're
Starting point is 00:12:14 more of like a resort type of inventory. And I mean, they collectively spent $80, $90,000 a month, but that's, you know, that's because it's 17 different properties that they, they all manage in a given market. So that's not, that's not common. But yeah, for the most part, you know, if I had to stick it in the ground, your average typical vacation manager doing a million to 3 million a year in gross bookings is probably spending between one and 5000 a month 5000 be pretty aggressive. I've seen it, you know, but it's not really, really common. 1000 is like, at times, I would argue a little bit not enough, depending on the size of the company and what the raw asset that ad spend is. And I'm trying to convince some of our clients actually spend more because it's very profitable.
Starting point is 00:12:46 And they just, you know, maybe they have budgets in place and they can't spend more based on, you know, some kind of corporate requirement, which is silly to be honest with you, but you know, we work with what we're given, obviously, from an approval standpoint. So yeah, on the Google search ads, that sometimes will be the largest line item of like,
Starting point is 00:13:00 hey, every month we're spending $2,500. Now we've talked about this before, we don't need to beat this up too much. Naturally, there's going to be a significant amount of seasonality in most markets. Maybe your slowest month, you're spending 1,000. And your biggest month, you're spending 4,000. And you might kind of change it on a monthly basis
Starting point is 00:13:13 or a seasonal basis. Every quarter, it might move around. But the gist is over the course of a year, there might be spending $50,000 total in Google Ads. But that might be driving. Going back to the profitability comment for a second, anywhere from like five would be a pretty low real ass number. 10 would be, I think, healthy.
Starting point is 00:13:28 20 would be knocking it out of the park. So kind of like, you know, clients might ask us, hey, I'm spending, we'll just make the number 1000 to make it simple $1,000 a month with Google ads. I would say most of our clients would say they need at least $5,000, if not six or $7,000, to kind of be breakeven or slightly profitable. And they really would want $10,000 of gross bookings for that level of ad spend to be really impactful. And those are numbers that I think are pretty attainable. That five to 10 is like a pretty attainable range of like,
Starting point is 00:13:51 you better be at least here on the floor of five. You're probably pretty happy if you're at 10. And there are some people that are able to typically get a much higher ROAS level, usually because they've done a good job of building brand. So the most profitable campaign in most Google ads account is gonna be branded search. And if your brand's returning nothing or zero, then you're doing a lot of heavy lifting on like
Starting point is 00:14:07 these generic terms. And it's going to be harder to see like a 20 to one, 10 to one ROAS unless you're in a market where you have a lot of inventory. Maybe you're newer to that market or your brand is not as well known, but you've managed to secure a lot of inventory. And you're probably paying a lot less per click, you know, to get good return on that spend. And we've got some markets every once in a while, we run into markets where I know one person is listening, that's a client of ours that we work with up in West Virginia, his cost per click, you know, to get good return on that spend. And we've got some markets every once in a while, we run into markets where I know one person is listening. That's a client of ours that we work with up in West Virginia. His cost per clicks, like in the 35 cent range, you know, so he's able to get a lot of juice out of a pretty small budget, 1200, you know, a thousand dollars a
Starting point is 00:14:35 month somewhere in that range gets him a lot of traffic. Whereas for most people, you know, they're getting for that budget, they're getting maybe a thousand clicks, maybe 500 clicks, depending on the market and the geo. So you know, on the owner side, I know the cost per click can be wildly significantly higher on the guest marketing side. In a non competitive market, it might be 2530 cents a click. So $1,000 can actually go pretty far away in a competitive market. It can be as high as $7 $8. I've seen clicks
Starting point is 00:14:59 in Breckenridge or these like high end ski markets, you know, go up to $7 $8. Although I will say typically those managers get significantly higher commissions in my experience. But yeah, those are kind of some ranges on the Google outside of things and some expected levels profitability, if that helps. Yeah. And I think that that's that's something that the next part of that conversation is even when I say, Okay, let's let's spend $1,000 a month. That's even if we think of an average cost per click of 10 to $15 a day, it It's 100 visits if we can spend the whole budget 100 100 plus visit That is not the same volume you're working with on the guest side
Starting point is 00:15:32 So I I think where that that cost per conversion the ROAS is still important one of the I think I ran a poll on LinkedIn Of how much would you be willing to pay? For an owner for an owner, you know, for an owner for a new owner into your portfolio. I think it was the bands were 500 to 1000, maybe 1000 to 15, and then 2500 plus. And the larger managers in the more competitive markets, I'm guessing the old one Dennis actually was one of those bullets. Sure. 2500 plus. It's understanding that I wouldn't hesitate. No, probably. That's it. That's it either. Because again, depending on what you're what you're paying for a BD right now, but you're paying for the leads to come through and then working them through your sales funnel, doing all those things. That is certainly something
Starting point is 00:16:17 that over time, that PPC and then the direct mail cost and then any data cost you're incurring and then any other social media you're doing. Or if you're doing some email marketing, are you going to build those out yourselves? Are you going to have someone else build them for you and kind of run that through an agency? I might be losing that. All of these are certainly things that we're going to talk about on other line items. I mean, we'll jump into direct mail here because this will be this will kind of be the kind of that one, one piece that we talked about, where there's not a lot of carryover. Do you have that? I guess I should say, have you had anybody who was wanted
Starting point is 00:16:55 to or requested to do any type of direct mail on the guest side for you with you? We've done a little tiny fraction of it. Typically, we have a client that we work with, who's in a beach market who has a list that he calls super guests, which is kind of a play on sure host. And it's on people that have stayed three times with him. Okay, we kind of get put on the special list. They get early access to like promotions and specials, which I think has been pretty interesting to test that the list is small, though. I mean, it's roughly 200 people have stayed with them three times or more. Some people have stayed more than that. So that that list is kind of fun. We played with different ideas there. They get a text number so they can like text the, you know, that's like, Hey, use this, you know, text number or whatever, which goes in their CRM, they use a system called close for their CRM. On the guest side, they don't use a traditional vacation rental product, which I find pretty interesting as well. So I think there's something to be said for that, maybe for direct mail. I know, for example, Tyanne Marcink, she's done some stuff in the past with physical mail letters and thank you cards and things like that.
Starting point is 00:17:47 Same with Rose from Your Family's Place. We've been doing some projects with her. She does a physical mail, a postcard and I think she sends a magnet of memory service. Now these are smaller, you know, hosts. These aren't necessarily managers. Well, Tyanne's a manager. I should take that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, Rose is not. She owns all the listings that she markets. But I've seen some of those things like small one-off touches that can be sent out through physical mail. But I don't have anyone who's like invested and said, Hey, here's my whole past guest list. 5000 guests, let's go ahead and fire off something to them. It's so
Starting point is 00:18:12 funny, because I have this client that I've been working with for such a long time. And I talked to him about this some time ago, and it just stuck in my brain so well, which is that his PPC budget is one of those people who's spending about maybe 5000 months on average. And he said, you know, Conrad, this used to be my print marketing budget, you know, I used to go down to a printer, glossy things because he'd been around since the late 80s. He's been around since for a very, very long time, you know, 30 plus years at this point. And he said, Yeah, in this market, I used
Starting point is 00:18:35 to send out these physical mailers catalog mailers to all of our past guests, and he they would buy lists, which was very common, and just be like, Oh, people in the zip code, you know, who have a vacation with us before maybe their neighbor will so he just buy a list or buy data files for people that are all around that area. And he would spend 60 grand a year doing print marketing, knowing that maybe one or 2% would come back. But that was like kind of the math worked out back then there was no Google costs. There was nothing else. It was like
Starting point is 00:18:58 that was kind of his marketing. You know, you write it in send a check that kind of stuff. It just feels so antiquated, you know, hearing about it now, of course, from where we are today. But it's interesting that, you know, not all the people have tested that. I think if it's worth testing, it's probably worth testing in that area, a super guest list or a 2X guest list and narrow it down,
Starting point is 00:19:14 but then hopefully giving them a higher level of touch and service for sure. I will admit that there have been a handful of times where I have told partners that, hey, the cost per click is just so prohibitive right now. One of the partners was in the Smokies, I mean, in that Gatlinburg area where we're not running enough of a budget
Starting point is 00:19:32 where it's going to move the needle enough, or even with a 5% conversion rate, 10% conversion rate, we may only get one conversion through. So I have told people, hey, find your super owner list, what are the 50 properties, the 25 properties you really want to do? Take that $900 budget or take that $1,200 budget, knock their socks off, do something intimate there. It doesn't have to be direct mail, doesn't have to be, doesn't have to be anything in particular. But I do
Starting point is 00:19:59 think that there's something to be said, especially on the owner side of things where you do have to woo and whine and dine them a little bit. It's more of that B2B effect there. But that is something that certainly that is a recommendation we make in every market that that direct mail kind of does keep you allows you to build that brand equity keeps you in front of these people. And it is it's a consistency thing. Don't just do three postcards and say, well, that didn't work. Um, the gig and it's that it's that lead lead time. The the initial impression to the closed lead. Oh, that that sales pipeline can be pretty long there. So,
Starting point is 00:20:34 just not seeing. Yeah, we do. Certainly, there are people who they send that first postcard out to a thousand people. They get a dozen leads and two of them close and they're happy about life. Vintore is the king of all kings and then we are going to we're gonna do some crazy things for you The reality is is that that's that's probably more of a notch and you do you you have to be it is more about that Consistency and we talk about that regardless of channel But especially on the direct mail side of things when people are getting bombarded over the head, again, inventory partners aren't the only ones
Starting point is 00:21:06 sending direct mail, but CASA sends a heck of a lot of direct mail. Millions of dollars, because they're a public company, they've talked about it. Exactly. Millions of dollars of direct mail investment every year. So there is a reason that if they're doing it,
Starting point is 00:21:20 and they were still successful in getting those owners on, I mean, there's maybe some of those 100% there. We've talked about, you know, we're going off topic, we've talked about their net, sorry, their gross additions of new properties every month, and they still add hundreds, if not thousands of listings every month. So, you know, obviously people love to take shots of a casa, but they are excellent, excellent, excellent at acquiring inventory, keeping it in a different discussion, but they can they can sign new homes, like better than almost any other company out there. That's that's a fact
Starting point is 00:21:46 You know it is and I think of this you again you have to break the bank on sending direct mail No, but I think a good budget to have in mind is a minimum of ten thousand dollars You you have to be thinking in the frame of we're gonna cast a wide net You're not gonna get it's not gonna be a one-to-one where you're gonna close everybody So let's cast that wider net somewhere between a list of 750 to 1,000 people, sending that consistent postcard. And it doesn't have to just be a postcard. Spend a little more of a one month. Maybe send them out quarterly and do a handwritten letter or something like that where it feels a little more personal. When people are seeing the same things over
Starting point is 00:22:24 and over again, yeah, certainly you're gonna want to you're gonna want to vary up that that content and messaging that what people are seeing. But still that direct mail getting in front of those owners. A lot of the times it's not like they're in market, most of them are going to be absentee owners where they live in the northeast and they own Myrtle Beach or they live in Minnesota and they own in southwest Florida stuff like they live in Minnesota and they own in Southwest Florida, stuff like that. Those are pretty common scenarios there. So it is kind of important to reach those people in a way where hopefully you'll have their attention as much as possible. Paid search is a great way to do it. But direct mail, if you know
Starting point is 00:22:58 where they live, that's about as attentive as you're going to get them. Now matching that data and making sure you're getting that messaging right is the next step in getting them down that funnel. Could you share some example costs? Like if someone had a thousand, let's say they want to send a thousand direct mail pieces, what would it cost to get the data typically, roughly? And then what would it cost to actually send,
Starting point is 00:23:17 let's say a postcard mailer after this? So absolutely. I think if you're looking at about a thousand, a thousand's a nice, a pretty relatively familiar number with us, because that's what we're always trying to get people to, kind of that list of a thousand and it's a thousands of nice, a pretty relatively familiar number with us. Cause that's what we're always trying to get people to kind of that, that, that list of a thousand there, you know, the getting the data for that is probably going to cost you between somewhere between 200 and $300 kind of depending on
Starting point is 00:23:36 the quality of that. Now you can get cheaper than I think, I think there's, there's always some opportunities for cheaper data, but I do think, especially in our space and our realm, we have to be thinking about the quality of that data. And because there is an abundance of homeowner data out there, you wanna make sure that you have the highest quality data.
Starting point is 00:23:56 So, cheaping out and getting records for a penny, a record, and kind of doing things like that, I wouldn't do that. I would kind of pay the premium for what is deemed as higher quality data. So two to $300 there. Yeah, on the direct mail side of things, $1 a postcard is going to be kind of the the rule of thumb there. I've seen some you know,
Starting point is 00:24:16 sometimes you can do larger sends with a postcard mania for maybe 50 cents a postcard or 75 cents a postcard, you do something like that. But $1 a postcard $ 75 cents a postcard, you do something like that. But $1 postcard $1 per piece for kind of those simple five by eight kind of standard postcards. And the more complex you do the complexity you do, maybe it's going to cost $2 a piece. So I think if you're looking at that list of 1000, somewhere between 1500 and $2500 a send is probably what you're what you're looking at for the direct mail side of things. So again, if you're going a little further there, maybe that $10,000 annual budget isn't going to be enough.
Starting point is 00:24:56 But if you're seeing a high attribution rate, and that's the other thing, making sure you can see it come through because you can do all the direct mail in the world, but if you're not able to tie it back to some type of UTM attribution rate. And that's the other thing, making sure you can see it come through because you can do all the direct mail in the world, but if you're not able to tie it back to some type of UTM attribution, some type of QR code, anything like that, then I struggle saying we should be doing a whole lot of direct mail there. So make sure that you have some way to see,
Starting point is 00:25:19 yes, anecdotally you can say, well, I got your postcard and do that. You can initially justify the spend with that, but kind of that consistent budget allocation on a monthly quarterly annual basis in your budget. You got to be able to see, OK, how many leads are actually coming through? How many calls are coming through there? So I think that's probably unlike most of the other things that we'll talk that we are talking about here.
Starting point is 00:25:43 There's a little less direct attribution where you should have as much as you can and then try to bring in the anecdotal of, okay, yeah, I saw your postcard and then I saw your ad and then I saw this and I saw that and now I'm excited to have you in my portfolio, to be in your portfolio, making more money with you. Yeah. I think that's good because it helps people understand that the data is also kind of a a one time cost. But yes, the refresh it occasionally we've talked about that. So that's something where it's like, you probably want to budget a handful of data refreshes throughout the year, probably not something you need to do every month, I would imagine something you could do a little bit less frequently. But you certainly don't be marketing to a list of someone who sold their property in June of 2023. No, you're sending the postcard today, you know, as you record this still the end of May of 2024. And it's like, dude, I sold my property, you know, a year ago, like you're you're kind of screaming into the void there. And then someone knew about their property that might be considering, you know, listing, you know, then you're not marketing to them, obviously, in that respect.
Starting point is 00:26:35 So yeah, that helps, I think contextualize this. So that might be the biggest line item on the owner side, depending on your frequency, of course, like you said, you know, how often you're going out there. And of course, like you said, the highly variable item on the search side of things is what the monthly search volume is. And of course, the cost per click there. Let's talk through some other budget things. So some things I can go through pretty quickly, because it really depends on the size of your list. But for example, email, we go through that pretty quickly. MailChimp is kind of our typical, you know, kind of software recommendation of choice. Yes, there's a million email marketing software is out there. I think the email marketing software space has more
Starting point is 00:27:04 parity than almost any other space for like opt in newsletter style lists like the difference between how MailChimp works and how something like Constant Contact works or Campaign Monitor or something like that. Active Campaign is really not that different. They all have automations. They all have workflows. They all have tags. They all
Starting point is 00:27:20 have forms that you can add your email address to. So, you know, it's kind of like what flavor do you like, right? Like there's not that significant of a difference there. Mailchimp is just a flavor that we've come to enjoy and work well in. The pricing has gone up a little bit over the years. I will admit that they're not the cheapest option. We have some clients using, for example, like Mailer Lite, which is significantly less expensive at this point than Mailchimp, especially once you get the list a little bit larger. I would argue it's not as full featured. But if you just want like a dead simple newsletter platform,
Starting point is 00:27:45 something like that for a small list, roughly a thousand opt-in contacts is gonna be like 10, 15 bucks a month. MailChimp, we have clients that are typically spending roughly a hundred to $300 a month, depending on its list size of a few thousand, maybe all the way up to 10, 20,000 or more, that sort of thing.
Starting point is 00:27:59 But usually if you have a big list, that's a good problem to have, so to speak, right? On the email marketing side of things, because it probably means you've got a lot of past guests and you're doing some marketing there. So yeah, email-wise, like those are kind of your expenses there as far as software goes. And then you're maintaining that by purchasing
Starting point is 00:28:12 a monthly subscription to something like MailChimp or, again, whatever email marketing platform you choose. So that one's pretty simple on the newsletter email side of things. Now, with respect to, we talked about the paid side of things on Google, the paid side of things on social. This one's a little bit more challenging because it really depends heavily on your strategy and on your approach. We talked about the paid side of things on Google, the paid side of things on social. This one's a little bit more challenging because it really depends heavily on your strategy
Starting point is 00:28:27 and on your approach. We have clients, for example, that only do retargeting ads. So the only ads they run on Facebook or Instagram are people that are on their email list, they've been on the website in the last, let's say, 30, 90 days, somewhere in that range, or they already follow them on social media. So I call that a middle funnel or a warm audience. And if you're doing campaigns only to that set of people, obviously, it would depend on how many people you have coming to the website. If you're a new smaller property manager, you might not spend much at all.
Starting point is 00:28:50 Even if you wanted to, because that targeting is so refined. If you're a huge property manager, like the one I mentioned earlier, the cabin company that has 300 listings, I mean, they get 60,000 people a month to their website. So that audience size that they're remarketing to is significantly larger than many other property managers that we work with. But I mean, we have clients that are spending $5 a day on Facebook and Instagram ads, meta ads, I should say, because their list is relatively small, a few thousand people, their number of people coming to their website is relatively small. And we don't
Starting point is 00:29:14 need a massive budget to actually get some saturation with people that are on the website and on a platform like Facebook or Instagram. So a floor there in my mind of like really conservative kind of simple ad targeting on Facebook for guest marketing could be somewhere in the again, 10, five to $10 a day range. And then really, we have clients that are really aggressive that are spending several thousand dollars a month, you know, 2500 3000 is like a pretty aggressive Facebook campaign, meta campaign, excuse me, and it probably means that they're
Starting point is 00:29:37 targeting not only people that are aware of them, like what I would call middle funnel or warm targeting, but also prospecting campaigns. So trying to find new people building like a psychographic profile, people who live in Charlotte who like the beach might like to come to Myrtle Beach. So I could do a campaign of people that fit that criteria, show my ads to them, we could have a whole separate, you know, call on like ads or recording on ads and ad creative and things like that. But for the most part, that's kind of
Starting point is 00:30:00 what you're what you might be looking for there. I will say the one benefit of Facebook, Instagram, you know, meta ads in general is that you can show your properties people that are not searching for them. Like we talked about earlier, the intent based audience and the intent based ads that you can get on Google are the best, right? Like if you and I if we were down to our last dollar, we had to make it all back. What do we use to do it? We use Google, right? Because the because the audience intent is there. The trouble is that you're kind of pointing this out on the owner side more much more acute than the guest marketing side, there's a limited number of people that are searching in a given day, week, or month for homeowner marketing or homeowner services, right?
Starting point is 00:30:30 There certainly is a limited number of people, although the number is much larger, for people searching on Google. And as what you may find, I find this on the guest marketing side of things, the higher you push, the more budget you push, sometimes the less efficient the ads get. So there's kind of like a Goldilocks zone of efficiency on the guest marketing side where you probably want like 80 to 90% impression share, you probably don't want 95% impression share. I had this conversation with a client recently where it's like the moment we do that, and we do do that some scenarios. So, you know, some clients I know listen, and you know, if we've
Starting point is 00:30:57 if we've done that, it's probably because you've been given us, you know, instruction on, you know, hey, we don't want to be aggressive here. But our cost per click tends to go up, but our traffic doesn't tend to go up with it, You know, so we're paying more for, you know, we're trying to get blood out of a stone at that last few impression points there. Whereas with Facebook and Instagram advertising in general, you're showing your product, your properties to a new audience. Maybe they haven't seen you before. Certainly, if you're doing cold targeting. So it's really unique channel in that way. And I think sometimes, not that we're dismissive of it, but like, we don't talk about the benefits of using some of
Starting point is 00:31:23 those platforms to, you know, show off your properties. And if you're like a new company, people don't know you, but you have this kind of defined core market of like people coming from here or visiting from here are likely to book with me. I think Facebook and Instagram is such an amazing way to get in front of people, especially if you do put the right creative in front of them.
Starting point is 00:31:37 So I know you approach those things differently, email and then paid social. Maybe you could walk through some examples and costs and things like that as well on your side. Yeah, I think email is very similar. The cost, most of the costs you're going to incur on the email side of things are going to be that data, trying to get that list of people who you can email to. So I think that that that upfront cost is probably going to be on the homeowner side, more so really upfront with the with the data there and making sure that that's the right thing. Because really you can't passively wait for people to come do the search to come find you. That it doesn't work on that side of things.
Starting point is 00:32:12 If you've got a good organic presence, if you've got a little bit of brand equity built up, if you've got the right digital infrastructure in place and the brick and mortar stuff in place for the business, people are going to find the website, they're gonna find your rentals, they're gonna find a way to book for you. That might not be the case on the management side of things. So it is, I think it's making sure you get in front of that right, those right people. So getting that data for the email. We have
Starting point is 00:32:38 most of the people who are doing cold email are doing that right within the Venturi system. You know, that's that's something where we have workflows set up in our CRM to reach out to these people that they're getting this data for. So those 1500 people or 2000 people, we're going to try to work them through that cold email. Yeah, you can use a constant contact. You can use any of these other systems. I do. I would agree.
Starting point is 00:33:00 And when we're looking at that industry, it's kind of the benefit of working in a more mature industry is that it is everybody, the people who were held in shoulder above the rest are now everybody just kind of caught up. So I don't, I wouldn't say there's any recommendations, obviously, you know, use Ventura, use Ventura CRM if, if, if that's what you need, but that might not be what you need. I think that's something that we've certainly understood that every property manager really has different needs of,
Starting point is 00:33:30 do they need the data? Do they need more help with the marketing services? Do they need that CRM that's gonna help automate some of that communication for them? So we try to offer all those areas there, but I would say most of your upfront costs in the email is gonna be data. And then on the social side of things, yeah, we're kind of sitting on the tail end of that
Starting point is 00:33:50 where it's low traffic. It's really tough to do the retargeting. It's very rare that I'm going to recommend a budget much higher than a couple hundred dollars a month. If we see some really great traffic coming through on the retargeting side, or again, hitting that custom audience hitting that same data audience that you've hit on the email side that you've hit on the direct mail side We're gonna upload it just the same way that compounding of messaging that Omni channel is working Then yeah, maybe we're gonna give a little more money there
Starting point is 00:34:18 but once again if I can get more of that traffic coming from Google from the digital side we're gonna do it because can get more of that traffic coming from Google, from the digital side, we're going to do it because it is so much more valuable. Even if it's 10x cost per click, cost per engagement with our ads, it is that much more valuable when it comes right down to it. Of those clicks coming to landing pages, filling out forms, being engaged, being a good homeowner lead there. So I would always love to spend more on that side of things. But on the social side, the other part of it is, I would say we see lower match rates of potential homeowners who are on on social media. That's not a hard and fast roll by any means. But when you see the overall
Starting point is 00:34:59 reach we get, even when we start to expand the budget, not being all that high, you do you start to put some of those things together and say, Hey, maybe we're just maybe this this class, this this socioeconomic classes, not as prevalent on Facebook and Instagram, maybe they're in other areas, they're in LinkedIn, they're in other channels that are also worth a shot in some cases, too, if you if you want to go down that LinkedIn route, it's that cost per lead, cost per click is a little more aggressive, but you can, you can find some higher quality gold when you're mining in those hills as well. Walking through email really quickly, because I think that matters quite a bit. Again, you're doing more like cold email, right?
Starting point is 00:35:38 We're getting a list of people who could potentially be homeowners and we're marketing to them. So that's quite a bit different than what we're doing, where it's typically these large opt-in lists. Walk me through some of the costs there, getting the data again, that side of it. And then what tools do you use to like to market out to those people as well? Yeah, yeah. So with the email, we are scraping, scraping all the data that we can, we we have a lot of information from some, you know, some of the larger players in the space. We have some Airbnb specific data and we have some Virbo specific data. We have some Picasa specific data. So really, you know, refining and making sure that that
Starting point is 00:36:12 we're getting as much information as possible. For the email efforts, obviously you want to get that email address and we're not, when we're not able to get that email, you know, there's obviously a Penn Services and Enhancement Services as well. I know there are quite a few property managers who have gone down that road on their own, and it's varying success. I think that's kind of the tricky part about anything we're doing, and any budgeting, that's why I said, when you're putting that budget together, overpay for the data. That is going to positively impact everything else you're doing. But again, the cost that you're incurring for that email
Starting point is 00:36:51 addresses are usually a little more expensive. If a first name last name is, let's say, five cents or 10 cents a record, an email address is probably closer to 40 or 50 cents a record. So something to keep in mind for people, you know, if you're looking to aggregate 500 email addresses, it might cost you 250 bucks just to get those email addresses there. So I do think that those costs are something people need
Starting point is 00:37:18 to factor in there as well. And then as far as the sends or anything like that, in our platform, obviously, we don't have any costs associated with send specific numbers or anything like that. I again, you'd have a better breakdown of that for from some of those some of the lists that you're you're sending to as far as if it's by email sent, if it's by contacts in a given CRM or a distribution list. Certainly, that's going to affect some of those what you're paying
Starting point is 00:37:46 for some of those services there. On the Mailchimp side of things that monthly fee that you're paying is pretty inclusive of any sense that you would do. I think there are some limits that I've seen before, but they're very high. It's like 10x your whatever your list size is, if you're paying for like, contacts, like you can send more than 200,000 emails if they're opt in contacts. So I can't imagine you'd be doing that. but maybe someone that's doing like,
Starting point is 00:38:05 would you have one client that does, I don't know if it's a daily newsletter, but he does like a weekly deals newsletter. Now you have to opt into that. It's not like you're not putting that by default, even if you're a past guest. But if you sign up on that deals page on his website, he sends a little bit more.
Starting point is 00:38:16 So if that were to grow a lot over time, I could see him bumping into some of those limits, but that seems pretty unlikely to me, for the most part. I think that most people who have a list of 10,000 emails are not sending 100,000 or 200,000 emails every single month, top no contacts, that's pretty I imagine it's more for people who have like a daily newsletter, like a news type website is very different than right type of small business that we're working with there for sure. Yes, I think I think we've done a pretty good job of over even the major cost. I mean, there's always gonna be little things there. The natural thing I would say is like, the Tory is going to cost you something right? Like if you you work with us, we're going to have a fee. So you have to work that into the budget. You said something earlier, I think you actually ended up going down a different path. So I wanted to come back to it at the very end here, which is people. And I was kind of making a joke when
Starting point is 00:38:52 you were saying that bit about like people are the most expensive thing. But one thing that I've learned, you know, when building a budget and seeing, you know, clients we've worked with, ones that have been super successful, ones that have not been successful, is the idea that you can find one person to do it all. So I think the common, you know, thought process is, well, why am I going to hire buildup bookings to do my SEO, and my paid search and my email marketing, for example, and then hire Ventura, do all my owner marketing, all this kind of stuff, I'm paying these guys
Starting point is 00:39:14 enough, or I could have a full time person sitting in here 40 hours a week, you know, or whatever, virtually sitting 40 hours a week and doing this kind of stuff for me. Why don't I do that? And that's like, I don't disagree with like that line of thinking, I could see how someone could get there very quickly. The trouble that I think you're going to find is that even if you had a budget of output a high number out there, $10,000 a month, you had a budget for your marketing in total, then you put someone in that seat who's
Starting point is 00:39:34 making $6, $7,000 a month, maybe after you know, payroll taxes, all that kind of stuff, right? People are the biggest expense like it is it is what it is that extra 3000 that they have to work with. And then you can't use the 7,000 that you're paying them to do like all the advertising and so on and so forth your net impact your total impact in my experience is significantly less like one person even if they're pretty well compensated even if they're pretty far along in their marketing journey is typically not able to deliver and play the role of six or seven different people which is when you hire a specialized service or an agency that is what you're getting and yes obviously i'm talking my've talked about my own book here, and the book of people like us, like
Starting point is 00:40:07 services like us. But I've just seen it over and over again, where it's like, just think through that. I'm not saying don't do it. I'm saying think through that the person that I hire, how many things are they going to realistically be able to do at a very high level? Because just because they have 40 hours available every week does not mean that those 40 hours will be effective hours or that they'll, you know, kind of execute properly with respect to, Hey, we're going to do this. We're going to, you know, I'm going to know how to manage paid ads. I'm going to know how to run social media and I'm going to know how to run this. And I know this because as a marketing agency owner, I can't do all those things at the highest level compared to people on my team.
Starting point is 00:40:35 You know, so I own the marketing agency. And if you put me in a room and said, you can only use, you know, your own time and effort. And here's what I needed to do. I actually don't think I would do the best job at five or six or seven different discrete areas of marketing because there's people that are better suited for that. And that that is the benefit of hiring a freelancer for say, I'm certainly open to that, right? We have clients who have like a freelance writer, and then we give them constant ideas. Maybe they're not savvy about SEO, but they're a great writer, they're local in the market. Fantastic. We're open to those kinds of relationships. But I think the trap that I would, you know, recommend someone not falling into as we kind of wrap up here now is don't fall into the trap of instead of paying company
Starting point is 00:41:08 A something company B something, I'm just going to one person that's going to do it all. I think that trap is easy to fall into. And I think it's kind of failed many, many more times than you would assume. And I think it's honestly, it makes that person usually pretty unhappy and not really feeling like they're doing their job effectively, because you're asking them to be an expert at nine different things, and it's super, super hard. So that's my parting thoughts here, for sure. You really hit the nail on that. There's so much more than just the dollars and cents
Starting point is 00:41:32 of what you're spending on Google ads and what you're spending on Facebook ads and email and this and that. It really does come down to, take the specialty, subject matter experts, specialists, all those things, there's something to be said for that, that you can be a dynamic CMO, marketing director, marketing, marketing manager, whatever that role is.
Starting point is 00:41:51 But having that one person, you've hit it, as opposed to having budget to move into other strategies, ideas, campaigns, things like that, across a variety of channels, as opposed to hamstringing yourself. You just, it's not the path to go down. So that's one. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. My parting thought, don't make your marketing budget more than 50% people. Like you want your marketing budget to have a lot of room for advertising.
Starting point is 00:42:17 You want marketing, you know, like you want to give them the ammo they need. They'll actually honestly, you're better off hiring a freelancer or agency and then having more budget for actual paid media promotion on both the homeowner and guest side So I know we ran a little bit long today Paul Thanks for sticking with me here listener if you made it all the way in this was a longer one as well But it's hard to cover these things in a very short period of time I hopefully you got some value out of it today as well And we always love reviews so if you can go to your podcast that choice something that will cost you zero dollars on your marketing
Starting point is 00:42:40 Budget, but will help you I think become a better vacational manager here in 2024 Is to leave us a review of five stars, Spotify, iTunes listeners, you are where we get the most downloads. So you can help us the most, but anyone can help us any podcast app. We appreciate it. We thank you and we'll catch you on the next episode of the heads in bed show. Have a fantastic day.

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