Brokerage best practices

Commercial real estate marketing–everything you need to know

November 15, 2021

“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” – Mark Twain. So said Twain 150 years ago, and it still remains true today.

Before you can get too far into this game, though, it’s important to have a commercial real estate business plan. That means knowing your target audience, knowing the local market, and being aware of all the ins and outs of this tricky, highly competitive real estate segment.

Today, we’ll give you some solid, useful ideas for commercial real estate marketing strategies that you can run with.

Know your market and your key objectives

These are the jumping-off points for your commercial real estate marketing ideas

  • Who are the people you want to engage with, and how do you reach them? Think this through and come up with a detailed breakdown of companies or persons you’d like to sell or lease property to. It might be useful to develop a buyer persona as a profile of your ideal customer.
  • What do you have to spend, and how can you best spend it? Television, radio, internet, local business journals, signage? How far would you like for your marketing efforts to reach? A 50- or 100-mile radius, or closer to home?
  • Who is your competition, and what tools are they using for marketing? What are their strategies and what do you have to do to make your own efforts stand out?

Whether you have a couple of commercial properties or several of them, this is the time to invest in professional, high-quality photography and images that can be used online or in print. Marketing content can only go so far without some compelling images to go with it.

Think about how you can start to build a reputation and a brand for your properties and for your company. Establishing a niche and a strong brand identity is essential to any commercial real estate marketing strategy.

Your strong images and photography will need to be accompanied by equally strong content and messaging, both in the form of copywriting and graphic design. Make your case in a value proposition and define why this certain property is better than the rest of what’s on the market.

Know the digital marketing landscape

Just like in every other business, digital marketing has been a game changer when it comes to how to market commercial property. There’s earned, paid, and owned media, all of which have different methods and different ROI for reaching your market.

Earned media

Earned media is organic exposure that you gain online without having to pay for it. That includes pushes on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest), press coverage (TV, newspapers, radio, local business journals) and search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is particularly useful and has been refined to a science where judicious use of keywords, inbound links, and other factors can keep your company’s information and website in the first page of Google search engine results. After all, it doesn’t pay to have an expensive, flashy billboard on a highway that doesn’t get any traffic.

While SEO can be effective, it’s important to remember that it’s a long game and may take months to show any real, consistent results.

Paid media

Paid media includes any performance-based mediums such as pay-per-click advertising, remarketing, paid promotions, keyword campaigns, or banner ads.

Your advertising can be included on commercial real estate sites, not unlike print advertising of a generation ago. This is a really effective way to get your brand and your properties seen by an audience that’s already engaged and interested.

Google AdWords keyword campaigns are another popular avenue for digital marketing, although it’s important to remember that these adword campaigns are pretty competitive and your keyword choices can be expensive.

Owned media

Finally, owned media includes things like your company’s website and websites for your individual properties. These websites can help make a great first impression on potential customers and are where your SEO plans will come into play, boosting search engine rankings and visibility.

Just remember that more and more people rely on the internet for their information, and what they see online has a huge influence on their buying decisions.

Other owned media includes email campaigns targeted to your potential leads. There’s not much overhead involved with an email campaign (it can be done in-house with the right tools), and it’s an effective, very direct way of reaching who you need to reach.

Finally, content marketing is an owned media channel that’s too often neglected in commercial real estate marketing plans.

You should have regularly updated blogs that are engaging, useful and thought-provoking.

If readers are interested enough to share that blog online, your site benefits in SEO value from the inbound link.

Fresh, regularly-updated content helps SEO rankings.

In addition, a well-written, thoughtful series of blogs can really help establish you as an expert or the go-to person who knows what’s hot and what’s not. People will start coming to you not only with buying interest, but with questions for your expertise and experience.

Have a ground game

All the emphasis on digital marketing may make it seem like traditional. Offline marketing methods are obsolete, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

Tenants and investors still look for and value print and signage. Glossy brochures, flyers, and listings in local commercial real estate papers are still an excellent way to tell customers what they need to know about your properties.

If it’s done right, your print collateral can also work seamlessly with your online presence, especially when it comes to photography.

Roadside signage and displays such as banners, monument signs, flags, and other eye-catching displays can raise awareness and curiosity about the properties you have to offer. Direct mail still reaches thousands every day, especially when your mailing lists are updated, cleaned up and targeted with a laser focus.

Finally, don’t forget to get out and press the flesh by networking locally, regionally and nationally.

We all know that business turns on relationships, and making those connections on a one-to-one basis helps prospects connect a face with a name and determine who they really want to do business with.

Plan, execute and measure results

Now that you’ve got your game plan and you’re ready to start moving on it, just be ready to follow up with the right metrics. This is especially easy to do with online marketing.

For instance, Google Analytics can show you detailed breakdowns of website visits, time spent on individual pages, conversions, and impressions. From this information, you can customize detailed reports on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and make changes to fine-tune them.

Taken together, these custom-tune reports can give you some valuable insights into your customers (helping you draw up those buyer personas we mentioned above), your market, and your own commercial real estate marketing strategies and efforts.

Putting it all together

Now, you’ve learned about commercial real estate marketing ideas, including digital marketing, print and old-fashioned word of mouth, and networking.

You’ve also probably figured out some ways or devised a plan or framework around who you’re trying to reach and what their objectives are. So, you’re ready to go, right? Well, not necessarily.

When you start rolling all these ideas out, remember that nothing is etched in stone here. Not all ideas are fantastic and amazing and not every tool you use is going to be effective.

It’s important that you stay flexible and respond accordingly. Try “testing” marketing strategies, whether it’s Google AdWords or SEO or content strategy, and be patient.

Many of the concepts and ideas we’ve talked about here are going tults (positive or negative) for some time. In some instances, you may need to wait a few months for the dust to really settle.

If something isn’t working, if you aren’t getting a good return on your email campaign, if you aren’t getting a good return on your email campaign, or if your AdWords efforts aren’t getting the ROI you’re looking for, nobody says you have to continue with them.

Remember, this is a tough game. And sticking with the common excuse of “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” is the enemy of innovation and success in any organization. Review, test, revise and adjust until you see the results you want.

Request a demo to see first-hand how Buildout Grids can simplify commercial real estate underwriting at your brokerage. 

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