Even before COVID-19 became part of the zeitgeist, the use of digital platforms by owners and brokers to market their properties was already well-documented. Last year’s shelter in place order saw a proliferation of digital marketing by landlords and brokers. Even as the country begins to reopen, digital platforms continue to gain traction as the most efficient and practical approach to marketing properties of all types.
Whether you are trying to lease or sell a property, several digital marketing tips exist to more effectively market commercial real estate properties online. Digital marketing platforms and CRE tech for reaching tenants, investors, and broker representatives can help brokers fully expose a property to every potential prospect. Here, we break down our top ten tips for digital marketing to help brokers connect with clients more efficiently and effectively.
1. Ask for a review
Always ask for a review once a deal is closed. Provide a link directly to the review entry to make it easy for your client to praise your services. A reservoir of thoughtful, positive reviews, featured either on your site or on Yelp/Trustpilot, boosts your business’ credibility and reputation. Too, the added content on your site is an excellent boost to your website’s pages’ SEO ranking.
2. Have a website
Create and maintain a website to serve as the home-base of your digital marketing channels, or use a centralized resource like Crexi to house your information. Whether you’re a lone-wolf commercial broker or part of a large institution, if you don’t exist on the internet, you don’t exist to your customers. Have your accessible website beautifully and succinctly display recent sales, contact information, your bio, a mission statement, testimonials, market research, and easy-to-find contact information. Don’t forget to make it mobile-friendly!
3. Start blogging
Have a point of view on the commercial real estate industry and share it. Stay positive, professional, and consistent. Answer common questions your clients ask, analyze recent industry trends, and use SEO keywords to boost your site’s traffic. The more expertise you share on your blog, the more likely CRE clients will view you as an expert in your field and trust you with their business. You can also share blog posts through email marketing and social media channels.
4. Make social sharing simple
Add social sharing buttons to your website, emails, and content. Make your information and content easy to share with potential new clients and make it simple for clients to share on their own channels. By adding social media buttons to your marketing materials, you also allow other team members and agents to share the information throughout their networks quickly. Leverage other agents’ connections in your office to boost your listings’ exposure throughout the marketing process.
5. Regularly update your social profiles
Make sure your profiles — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Linkedin, Instagram — are up to date with accurate contact information. If you invest the time and effort to market your properties through social media platforms, your online presence and contact information on these sites must be correct. Don’t let inaccurate information prevent the property from being leased or sold.
6. Maximize social media use
Use social media as a networking tool to connect with new people and engage in conversations. Joining social media groups — such as on LinkedIn — provides you the opportunity to garner a wider net of impressions.
By selecting specific social media groups, especially those with potential buyers, you increase property interest with leads more likely to move down-funnel. Promoting the property through social media groups also opens the door for direct, detailed conversations about your listing.
7. Invest in captivating photos
In the age of digital marketing and advertising, you only have a few seconds to make an impression. Use high-quality images to immediately catch the eye of prospective buyers or tenants. Once they’ve noticed your content, they are much more likely to click on your website. While you’re at it, update your headshot and add it to your social media channels.
8. Virtual tours are essential
In this time, a compelling virtual tour is critical to marketing your commercial property effectively. Get comfortable with the technology and create personality-fueled tours just like you would in person. Depending on the quality of your asset, there are multiple tools available to help you create your virtual tour. Pricing can range from $500 to $3,500 for a professional quality tour. You also can employ a platform like Matterport, or purchase a 360-degree camera to film the tour yourself.
9. Create email drip campaigns
Create tailored, funnel-driving emails customized for specific lead types to follow up when a prospect indicates increased interest in a particular property. The content should help them in their next step. Always stay top of mind – Crexi allows brokers to easily send branded emails to leads who have viewed their properties.
Creating a drip market campaign in conjunction with a virtual tour can significantly increase exposure to your commercial asset. Eye-catching subject lines and compelling email content makes all the difference in the click and open rate of your campaign.
10. Establish yourself as a thought leader
Consider writing for or participating in events with local publications. This could include a monthly column or event sponsorship. Getting your name in print with a reputable publication goes a long way.
Taking the time to contribute to local and national trade association news feeds, and CRE publications will help establish your reputation as a thought leader. Sharing your expertise through blogs and articles will allow you to share your published work with potential clients and direct more SEO-boosted traffic to your website.
As the commercial real estate industry moves into a new normal, the most successful brokers and brokerage firms will embrace the latest platforms and CRETech that have become available to the industry. Agents and organizations that embrace technology will stay ahead of the curve and continue to drive their success as digital marketing moves into the future.
Daniel Levison, CCIM, SIOR, NAR, NAIOP, GWA
Daniel Levison has a commercial real estate career spanning more than four decades. Levison has hands-on experience running a twenty-agent, full-service brokerage operation. He’s also founded multiple technology startups focused on commercial real estate, and acted as a principal in purchasing and repositioning over $40M of commercial real estate assets.
Through his positions on national committees for the National Association Realtors (NAR) and National Association of Industrial & Office & Industrial Park Owners (NAIOP), Mr. Levison has become a thought leader in the commercial real estate industry. His articles on operating a CRE company in the 21st century are routinely published in national magazines for the Society of Industrial & Office Realtors (SIOR) and Certified Commercial Investment Manager (CCIM).