Whether you are trying to lease or sell a property, digital marketing is essential to effectively market commercial real estate properties online. As digital platforms continue to gain traction as the most efficient and practical approach to marketing properties of all types, essential core strategies can make for a successful online representation of your business and listings.
Digital marketing platforms and CRE tech 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. Create an Attractive Website
Think of your website as the home base of your digital marketing channels. Whether you’re a lone-wolf commercial broker or part of a large institution, if you don’t exist on the internet, you often don’t exist to your customers.
Your accessible website should display recent sales, contact information, your bio, a mission statement, testimonials, market research, and easy-to-find contact information. Remember to make it mobile-friendly! If you don’t want to go through the whole effort to create a website, use a centralized resource like Crexi to house your information.
2. Build a Content Strategy
To set yourself apart, have a point of view on the commercial real estate industry and share it. A blog is an excellent platform to get your voice out into the world, highlight your expertise, and attract customers to your business.
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. Sharing expertise on your blog may make potential CRE clients view you as an expert, and trust you with their business. You can share blog posts through email marketing and social media channels.
3. Invest in SEO
We mentioned SEO briefly above, but it’s an essential component of a successful online marketing strategy in the digital age. SEO, or search engine optimization, makes your online presence and website as easy to find on Google and other search platforms as possible.
Your SEO efforts should closely integrate with the content and buildout of your website and blog. SEO efforts take a while to show, but the results are well worth your patience. Effective SEO will direct clients naturally searching for brokerage support to your website – however, users only tend to select results from the first page. So a well-crafted SEO strategy to help your pages rank higher is crucial.
4. A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
In the age of digital marketing and advertising, you only have a few seconds to make an impression. Use high-quality images to catch the eye of prospective buyers or tenants. Once they’ve noticed your content, they are more likely to click into a listing and learn more. While at it, update your headshot and add it to your social media channels.
5. Virtual Tours are Essential
Today, a compelling virtual tour is a great way to further market your commercial property effectively. Get comfortable with the technology and create personality-fueled tours just like you would in person. Depending on the asset, multiple tools are 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.
6. Maximize Social Media
Social media is a networking tool to connect with new people and engage in conversations. By joining specific social media groups, especially those with potential buyers, you increase the likelihood of garnering additional property interest. Promoting the property through social media groups also opens the door for direct, detailed conversations about your listing.
Add social sharing buttons to your website, emails, and content. Make your information and content easy to share with potential new clients and simple for clients to share on their channels. Adding social media buttons to your marketing materials allows 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.
Make sure your profiles — Twitter, Facebook, 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, ensure your online presence and contact information is correct. Don’t let inaccurate information prevent a property from being leased or sold.
7. Create Email Campaigns
Create tailored, funnel-driving emails customized for specific lead types to follow up when a prospect indicates interest in a particular property. Always stay top of mind – Crexi allows brokers to easily send branded emails to leads who have viewed their properties.
A well-crafted drip market campaign with enticing virtual tours and visual assets can significantly increase exposure to your commercial listing. Eye-catching subject lines and compelling email content make all the difference in your campaign’s click and open rate.
8. Invest in Advertising
Social media platforms, CRE marketplaces (like Crexi), and search advertising are well-crafted tools for reaching a highly-targeted audience. While the above efforts heavily influence positive brand recognition and establish your business’ unique qualities, digital advertising can bring that brand power to an entirely new audience. With personalized ad campaigns, you can precisely choose who can see featured listings or other aspects of your business, precisely where your audience already is.
Google and other digital advertising tools promote particular content on a search results page or in users’ social feeds for a set period — using a set budget — to increase traffic to your site. Paid advertising is more cost-intensive, so it’s important to calculate your budget and the exact returns you’ll need to make the money spent worth it.
9. Ask for Reviews
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 Yelp/Trustpilot, boosts your business’ credibility and reputation. Additionally, the added content on your site is an excellent boost to your website’s pages’ SEO ranking.
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 journal 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.
The Bottom Line
As the commercial real estate industry moves into a new era, the most successful brokers and brokerage firms will embrace the latest platforms and CRE tech available. 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).