COVID-19 changed everything almost overnight—and commercial real estate was no exception. Marketers who wanted to promote their brands and listings were forced to adapt to keep the momentum going. In the 2021 DNA of #CRE – Marketer Covid-19 Edition, CRE marketers revealed which new tactics were most effective.
These were the top results.
Video marketing is exploding in popularity. In fact, 79% of CRE marketers said they used video to promote their properties in 2020, up from 57% the year before.
While more brokerages produced their own videos last year—65.8%, compared to 55.4% a year earlier—those who outsourced video creation increased their budget. Only 38.5% of respondents who outsourced video creation said they spent less than $3,000 per year on video, compared with 48.6% the year before.
The rush to put significant resources—whether budget or time—behind video appears to be justified. Out of all new marketing tactics adopted during the pandemic, survey respondents identified video as the most effective.
So, what makes video so beneficial? A video allows brokerages to convey a significant amount of information in a way that’s engaging and consumable. And that means their messaging is likely to reach a wider audience.
Simply put: videos present an opportunity to find, connect with, and retain clients—a goal that became critical due to economic volatility during the pandemic. Clients and prospects also became increasingly hungry for content—such as videos—simply because they had more time to fill.
Your marketing efforts are only as strong as your database. A healthy database—with up-to-date, active, and engaged contacts—is crucial for effective email marketing. So, it’s perhaps unsurprising that 19% of respondents said cleaning up their CRM and contact database was the most effective marketing tactic they adopted during the pandemic.
That work is likely giving those respondents a significant edge. According to a Forrester Consulting survey, only 33% of marketers are confident their data is up to date. For the 67% who aren’t confident, outdated job titles, emails, office addresses, and phone numbers could decrease the effectiveness of their email campaigns.
But bad data doesn’t just lead to ineffective marketing campaigns and wasted dollars, it also skews reports. For example, if you can’t trust your database, you’ll never know whether your emails have successful open or click-through rates. Worst of all, sending emails to invalid addresses increases bounce rates and lowers your sender reputation—meaning more and more of your emails will land in the dreaded spam folder.
There was a 3.4 percentage point increase in respondents using social media to promote listings in the past year and a slight uptick in networking as a means of staying up to date with industry trends. Since it was impossible to attend physical events, commercial real estate professionals were forced to look for virtual opportunities to network, attend educational events, and most importantly—execute deals.
Like video, this tactic proved effective for driving engagement and building deeper relationships with clients in trying times. Brokerages were already taking advantage of videoconferencing and live streaming for business activities, but many organizations started using them as an alternative way to host their events. As a result, the commercial real estate industry adopted virtual events faster than ever before—and the results look promising. 9.4% of survey respondents said hosting virtual events was the most effective marketing tactic they adopted during the pandemic.
While many people are still hesitant to attend in-person events, there are still opportunities for those in the commercial real estate industry to stay engaged, informed, and connected with industry peers. Virtual events can never fully replace physical ones, but they’ve transformed what we thought was possible in a remote work environment—while providing the added benefits of lower expenses, zero travel time, and the convenience of joining an event from anywhere.
Like many industries, commercial real estate is going through unprecedented changes on a massive scale, driving brokerages to adapt and adopt new marketing tactics. If it wasn’t a priority before, it’s now an excellent time to consider a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. To gain more insight into commercial real estate trends, download the 2021 DNA of #CRE survey report.
To see what Buildout can do for your brokerage, contact us and we’ll set up a call to learn about your business needs and identify the tools that can help you achieve your goals.