Commercial real estate marketing shares many of the same principles, strategies, and objectives as any other form of marketing.
What changes from industry to industry is the tools available to leverage each channel and the best practices within each channel.
The following list won’t state which strategy or channel to focus on, but rather show a range of tools that exist for you to execute on any strategy.
Some of these tools are specific to commercial real estate, others are common tools where we explore how they are best used within CRE.
By no means does the list below consist of every tool, or even the 47 best tools. Hopefully, there are at least one or two that you can implement to improve your commercial marketing efforts!
Prospecting Tools for Commercial Real Estate
While it might be a bit cheeky to put ourselves first, we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t believe in our ability to save you immense time in your prospecting.
We pierce the LLC or owning entity of a commercial property to provide property ownership details, such as phone numbers, emails and mailing addresses.
High-quality contact information is the foundation of any marketing campaign and Reonomy sets you up for this.
The true power of the Reonomy platform lies in the filters that can be used to navigate the database. These filters ensure that you can find your target leads specifically to your focus.
Here’s an example lead list creation you could customize;
- Multi-Family Properties
- That are within a 20-mile radius of the last property I sold
- That haven’t sold in the last 10 years
- and last sold for over $1,000,000.
The output of this is an Excel file with contact details of owners highly relevant to you that would take less than 5 minutes to run.
It would take hours to find such a qualified lead list by alternative means.
Google Advanced Search is a great way to build a lead list of recently expired listings. For sales brokers, expired listings represent an opportunity to pick up the listing of a motivated seller who hasn’t yet sold.
By performing a domain search of a particular listings platform and searching for their classification of expired listings, you can generate a long list of expired listings via Google results.
We cover this methodology in more depth in this article here.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator has a range of tools – a great way to start is to use their lead builder tool. You can search for a range of filters including job title and geography.
From there you can save individual leads or saved searches.
Sales Navigator is a solid tool to find contact details of leads to focus your marketing campaigns towards.
Other prospecting tools for Commercial Real Estate: Lead List Buys, EmailHunter, Ninja Outreach.
Content and Social Media Channels for Commercial Real Estate
The following channels are great ways to build an audience over time. Through consistent effort in these channels, inbound interest for your services will grow.
Stumble Upon is a discovery engine that finds and recommends web content to its users. Its serves content based on the user inputted interests.
For commercial real estate professionals creating content, this is a free avenue to submit your content through and build your audience. There is also a paid option to increase the size of readership.
While there is not a CRE specific interest to upload content to, there is a real estate section as well as other complimentary commerce areas.
While YouTube is a well established digital channel, the relative amount of commercial real estate content is minimal.
Though this is not to say there isn’t value here. Allen Buchanan credits YouTube with generating $12million in sales.
Building an audience via YouTube can take some time, though consistency remains the key. If you can provide valuable content, using your CRE expertise, viewers will follow and ultimately inbound leads.
Reddit is one of the internets strongest online communities. Users can submit a range of content including images, text posts, and direct links for other community members to view.
Reddit structures its vastness through subreddits. You can think of each subreddit as its own specific forum with a distinct community engaging around topics and content specific to that forum.
For commercial real estate, the main subreddits are “commercial real estate”, “crefinance” and “creresearch”.
The audience here remains largely commercial real estate professionals and would not be the correct channel to promote properties for sales.
Pinterest is a social sharing site made of virtual bulletin boards. The site is highly visual and is made up of a combination of images and infographics.
Pinterest has growing community of commercial real estate professionals. Searching the industry on the platform will give an abundance of results.
The success that residential brokers are having on the platforms suggests commercial professionals could leverage it further.
Debe does an excellent job of making her boards specific to the area she works in. Rather than just featuring Charlotte homes, she has individual boards for restaurants, places, buyers’ tips and sellers’ tips, all specific to Charlotte.
This is a great example of developing brand and audience through consistent effort.
Quora is a question and answer site with a strong community that covers a diverse range of topics.
There are several CRE specific topics that have questions. Example channels include, ‘Commercial Real Estate’, ‘Commercial Real Estate Marketing’ and ‘Commercial Real Estate Finance’
There are several reasons why Quora is a great channel to include within your CRE marketing. Firstly, it’s free. While there are paid options within Quora, being an active contributor is enough.
Secondly, contributing answers to questions that you have domain expertise in will generate inbound leads. The audience reading these questions and answers are seeking the knowledge you have and likely your services too. It also serves as a strong link building channel to improve your overall search engine ranking.
Lastly, Quora can be used as a channel for blog ideas. The questions asked in quora make great blog titles and mean that you are creating content on topics people want and topics people search for.
Medium is a user-generated content community of long-form written content.
Medium can be pointed to your domain or a subdomain and replace your blog, or you can use it as a channel to copy your content to.
The benefits on the former are that the pre-built aesthetics of Medium save you time formatting and trying to design a blog and instead focus time on the writing of content.
If you don’t want to do this, copying your content onto Medium still exposes your content to a new audience and enables it to be discovered in new ways.
Instagram shares a similar value to Pinterest, both being heavily visual.
Like Pinterest, it serves as a channel to build your brand and develop an audience over time.
For a list of CRE companies doing well on Instagram – check out this piece here.
Other social media channels for commercial real estate: Facebook & Twitter (they were too obvious to include above)
Ad Channels for Commercial Real Estate
While there are a plethora of digital advertising options, Facebook and Google dominate with over 60% of all spend going through them.
(11) Facebook Ads
Everyone knows Facebook, less realize the power of Facebook ads.
Through Facebook Ads, you can optimize ads for who you want to target and what action you want them to take.
Targeting options include serving adverts based on user interests, geographies, employment and income based.
From this, there are several ways to optimize your ad campaign based on what you want the users viewing the ad to do. For example, you can optimize ads for people to click the link to go to your website or to fill out a lead form for more information.
Facebook’s advertising power comes from the number of data points they can customize off. The more time you invest in understanding what you can do, the more likely you will get the results you desire.
Ads that perform well within CRE are heavily image based. Photos of properties are ideal and the carousel ad format is best to deliver on this.
(12) Google Adwords
Adwords is another powerful network for digital paid advertising.
Unlike Facebook, Adwords is based on Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Here you are bidding to place your ad as the top result in Google based on what people are searching.
Setting up a few ads based on a couple of search terms is relatively easy. Developing an account overtime that is targeting a range of different keywords can be time-consuming and involve a range of optimizations.
Within CRE, it is common practice for brokers to bid on searches that relate to the properties they are selling. This ensures that you are one of the top results for a property that you are selling and that potential buyers are getting exposed to the information you want them to see.
(13) Bing Ads
The forgotten cousin of the search engines, Bing shouldn’t be ruled out as a channel.
Bing Ads are very similar to Adwords, in fact, you can download your Adwords account set up and upload it directly into Bing Ads.
While you won’t can’t get the same volume as you can via Adwords, Bing Ads can often come out slightly cheaper for the Cost Per Click.
If you are finding value in SEM (Search Engine Marketing) then it is worth your time to look at.
Other digital advertising channels for Commercial Real Estate: LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora.
Content Creation Tools for Commercial Real Estate
Canva describes itself as making graphic design easy. For CRE Professionals not wanting to use more complicated tools like Adobe Photoshop, Canva is a great tool to make simple changes.
With the importance of photos within CRE, making adjustments with a tool like Canva can give you an edge in digital branding.
If you are wanting to leverage visual social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest, a tool like Canva is all the more important.
Giphy is the leading platform to find GIFs for yourself as well as creating your own GIFs.
For those new to GIFs, GIFs can look like a video but are actually are a set of images that are presented in a specified order that are repeated [example below].
GIFs are used frequently on social media channels and increasingly within emails and blogs.
GIFs are increasingly moving to the mainstream for many reasons. Firstly they are better than images at telling a story and are cheaper than video. With 84% of internet traffic expected to be video in 2018 – GIFs are an easy way to meet these trends.
GIFs can be applied in two distinct ways in CRE; they can be used to grab attention and to help explain concepts.
Type form describes itself as a way to capture real estate leads in a conversation way.
Implementing type form creates a step by step process to engage and qualify your website visitor. Though, ultimately type form seeks to improve the conversion rate of your inbound lead efforts.
The best way to understand how it works is to go through one of the examples they provide.
The Hemingway App is an editor that makes your writing bold and clear.
It helps to identify sentences that are too complicated, lengthy or have incorrect grammar.
If you are writing a blog or are intending on, this is a great way of consistently having your work proofread.
Testimonials or case studies are hugely valuable for any marketing mix. They develop authority, legitimacy and most importantly trust.
The creation of testimonials doesn’t have to be difficult – it’s better to have a few quotes than nothing.
Though, great testimonials tell a story. They show the transformation your customer experienced from your services. Dedicated website pages and the use of video are great ways to tell customer stories.
Grammarly’s name suggests what it does – it checks your grammar.
It is a Chrome Extension, which means it can check your grammar across all marketing channels.
Whether you are writing a Facebook Post, a Tweet or a blog post the extension can be applied to review your work.
(20) Webinar Tools
Webinars or live Q&A’s are a great way of directly engaging your community, an easy way to develop content and a strong way of establishing authority.
There is a range of ways to action a webinar.
At Reonomy, we’ve started to use YoutubeLive for our twice-weekly webinars. With the increasing emphasis on live video, there are many other options to perform a webinar on – Facebook Live is a growing channel for this.
Alternatively, there are a range of webinar specific software tools.
Depending on your nature in the CRE business, you will want to structure the webinar to the information that you are generating.
For a commercial broker one example could be a webinar answering questions on the latest market trends for your locality.
(21) Direct Mail Tools
With a heavy emphasis on digital marketing tools in this list, mailers are somewhat of a contrast.
Direct mail can come in a range of formats. Letters, post cards, and brochures are some of the most popular formats.
The main success of direct mail comes back to identifying your target and actually reaching them. In other words, having the correct information.
Without this, you are setting yourself up for failure because you are never reaching the people you intended to reach.
As noted above, Reonomy provides mailing address as one of the details to contact property owners. It’s a popular tool for Reonomy users for the very reasons outlined above – we ensure you are reaching the right people.
On average, a mailing campaign has a 2% response rate. This can change significantly depending on the nature of your campaign. To work out if direct mail has a good return on investment for you, use this calculator here.
To create mailers, there is a range of online tools you can use. Again Canva is a great resource that has a dedicated section on creating direct mail.
Unbounce is a landing page generator that allows you to improve the conversion rate of traffic towards your website.
For example, if you were running an ad on a particular property for sale, you could direct that ad traffic to your Unbounce page rather than your own website.
Unbounce is much easier to make changes for (not requiring a developer) than your own website. Therefore you can make optimizations to improve the likelihood that someone will take the desired action.
If your current conversion rate is 4% (4% of people that hit your page from an ad take the desired action) an increase by 1% would increase the number of inbound leads by 25% over time.
Buildout is a CRE specific marketing tool. It is focused on the content creation process with its main feature using your brand’s blueprints to automatically populate all your marketing material
As its name suggests, Buildout is a great tool to further build out your existing marketing reach and current content creation efforts.
Buildout also streamlines the listings process, a helpful feature for CRE brokers.
Content Discovery for Commercial Real Estate
Content discovery includes anything that provides inspiration for you to create further content.
(24) Blog Idea Generator
Sometimes the most difficult part of content creation is deciding what to create.
A lot of the above channels should serve as inspiration for content creation. If you’re stuck specifically on what to write, Hubspot Released a great tool that can be used to help think of more ideas.
Have a play around and see if it can guide any inspiration!
(25) Google Alerts
Google Alerts doesn’t quite fit into any one category as it can serve a range of purposes for your marketing plan.
Google Alerts allows you to be updated on specific terms when new content across the internet is created.
For example, if you were a broker that had several listings you could create alerts for these properties. When mentions/content is created around that address you will receive an alert to your inbox.
There are a couple of ways that you can leverage this information. Firstly, it may show potential prospects that are interested in your listed property that you should be approaching.
Secondly, it shows you content on the property that you can further leverage for yourself. If someone has uploaded a photo or made a copy of that content you can repurpose or share this content for your own purpose.
Tweriod is a free twitter tool that tells you when the best time for you to tweet is based on your Twitter account and followers.
For ideas on what to Tweet, read our article about the top CRE professionals to follow on Twitter.
Marketing Operations for Commercial Real Estate
Here we’ve outlined some of the commercial real estate specific CRMs.
REthink have CRM products tailored for both the commercial and residential markets.
Considered a highly customizable CRM, Rethink labels its strongest features as prospect management, deal pipeline management, and reporting.
Another CRM that is commercial real estate focused, MREN’s unique features include interconnected networks, internal communication, and collaboration tools.
It also has a marketplace to support syndication and capital raises.
Apto is a broker-specific CRM system, made for all brokerage types including tenant reps and investment sales. Because of its specializations, there are a number of additional features that brokers can take benefit from. This includes calculating brokers’ commission splits and setting your own brokerage’s workflow.
Because of its specializations, there are a number of additional features that brokers can take benefit from. This includes calculating brokers’ commission splits and setting your own brokerage’s workflow.
Apto has 6 of the top 8 CRE brokerages using their platform.
Clientlook is a CRM for professionals across CRE including brokers, investors, and owners.
Clientlook allows you to track company-wide listings and automatically push them to public listing platforms. It has the ability to integrate with a range of other apps and services such as MailChimp to further its functionality.
They also state they are the only CRE CRM that has a team of free virtual assistants that can handle data entry, online lead capture and listing administration.
Real Hound is a mobile-optimized CRE CRM that can starts at only $20/month.
It carries the same functionality of many other commercial real estate apps. In addition, it has the ability to tie people with properties, displaying your properties on a map and email/text templates.
MailChimp is a marketing automation platform as well as an email marketing service provider. It’s the only non-CRE specific tool included in this section.
Mail Chimp makes email creation and automation super easy. If you run or intend to run email drip campaigns or newsletters, it executes on these with ease.
One simple implementation of MailChimp could be the following sequence.
Step A: Website visitor enters email to access your “Top 5 tips to sell your Commercial Property”.
Step B: MailChimp automatically emails the PDF through to the submitted email.
Step C: Sequence of emails spread over several weeks are sent to the same email. Each email goes into more depth on each of the tips.
Setting up this process one time enables you to have an ongoing tool to engage potential customers.
SharpLaunch is an all in one marketing platform for commercial properties.
This includes the creation of property websites and telling you who from your leads is viewing that content.
Custom interactive maps, document portals, and email marketing are all powerful features that are included within the Sharp Launch marketing platform.
Commercial Real Estate Listing Platforms
Presence across listing platforms remains essential to any broker’s marketing mix. There is an abundance of listing platforms for commercial properties. We’ve included some of the more popular ones in our list.
(33) Commercial Search
Commercial Search is a free national listing platform that lists leases and sales for all the major CRE asset class types.
The site has a strong audience with its own traffic and traffic directed from realtor.com.
Commercial Search also has a broker directory, another useful place for commercial brokers to have a presence.
(34) Leavitt Digital
LDCRE enables brokers and owners to increase local and global reach on listings through LDCRE’s national and international listing syndication platform into city based news websites.
In other words, it allows you to list your properties in one location and have it distributed through a long tail of local listing platforms.
Brevitas is an exclusive marketplace for buying and selling commercial real estate assets. An international platform, Brevitas helps to streamline the investment search and help create long-term relationships in target markets.
(36) Total Commercial
Total Commercial is a nationwide platform with a heavy focus in Florida.
For $90/year you are able to generate unlimited listings.
Once again they also have a professionals directory for brokers, auctioneers and a range of other CRE professions.
Loopnet is the largest of the commercial real estate listing/marketplaces.
It covers the full range of geographies and asset classes within CRE.
There is also a range of options paid options that can help increase your exposure within the platform.
Analytics for CRE Marketing
Any good marketing campaign is making consistent improvements and optimizations. Central to that is having the tools that can give you the data and analytics to make decisions of.
(38) Google Analytics
Google Analytics remains the universal tool for measuring marketing activities. It’s power and different uses are too extensive to all be covered here.
The common areas of use for CRE professionals include knowing how people are reaching your website (i.e. what marketing channels are working), what geography your website visitors are located in and what sections of your website visitors are engaging with.
FullStory allows you to replay sessions visitors had on your website, where you see their exact screen and the actions they took.
FullStory can get quickly addictive as you see what people actually do on your website, often debunking some assumptions.
For this very reason, it is a useful tool. It will help you understand where there are issues on your website and where changes/optimizations could be made to reduce these issues.
Optimizely is an A/B testing software, a tool to help you run experiments on your websites.
Running experiments are important as you continue to grow and explore new marketing channels. It is a safety net to ensure you are not wasting money on any one channel.
A/B testing software allows you to serve example A to some users and example B to other users. One use case could be serving two distinct landing pages, one with 3 paragraphs of content and the other with one short paragraph.
By running this test, you would learn whether landing pages containing lots of text improve the rate of conversion.
Optimizely has a range of products with differentiation in the level of sophistication, it’s worth having a look round at the options most appropriate to you before making changes.
(41) UTM Generator
UTM tracking is a way of creating a custom URL that helps you identify where your traffic is coming from.
Say for example you were creating a post on Facebook that links to your blog post.
You would go into the UTM generator and fill out the information like the below.
This then spits out a URL that looks a lot different but doesn’t change the destination the link is meant to direct to.
Instead, what the new URL enables tracking of where this user came from.
You can then go into Google Analytics and when you look into where your traffic is coming from (acquisitions section), the UTM will correctly assign traffic from this link to the respective marketing channel.
Bitly is another link tracking tool.
Like the UTM Generator, Bitly doesn’t change your original URL destination. It shortens the original link and allows you to view how many people are clicking the link.
If you are not comfortable with the full process of Google Analytics, this presents an easier way of tracking information. Creating the links and tracking the number of clicks all occurs within bitly.com.
Bitly can still be used in combination with UTM tracking, specifically, it is used for internal links or within emails where marketing departments don’t want UTM’s to be overwriting each other.
Google has a range of tools that are great for optimizing your website.
One of the most popular tools is Google PageSpeed Insights.
After entering your website URL, it will analyze the speed of your website for both mobile and desktop. Based on the results it will give a range of feedback and suggestions on how to fix/optimize further.
The speed your website loads may seem trivial to some, though it has significant effects.
If a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, over 25% of users will click away. Walmart.com also noted that with every second of increased age speed, they saw a 2% increase in conversion.
Google Search Console is another free tool from Google.
The search console provides a range of data, including what people are searching in Google to arrive at your site. This can help you identify what content is ranking well and whether your website is receiving the type of visitors you are after.
It also shows you the links pointing to your site. Link building is an important aspect of SEO that improves ranking and allows content to be indexed in search results quicker. By knowing what is currently linking to your site you can identify channels to expand further on.
For explanations on how to implement, you can read further here.
Podium allows your business to take a pro-active approach to building and managing your online reputation. It helps you to know what people are saying about your business.
With Podium you can see online reviews from the most influential review sites, send business review invites via text message, and monitor new reviews as they go live — all resulting in increased local SEO and brand trust for your business.
Quick Email Verification is an email address validation and cleaning service.
Based on how you are sourcing your contacts to email, this can be an important step.
It is especially important for companies/marketing professionals that buy lead lists or scrape contact information and are unsure of the quality of their emails they have acquired.
If you have too many bounced emails, your risk your sender reputation. The higher your reputation, the higher your deliverability.
Upwork, is one of the many freelance marketplaces. Mechanical Turk and Fiverr are similar, popular platforms.
Upwork can be used for pretty much anything across the marketing process. Whether it is finding someone to execute on a paid advertising campaign or make a video for you.
Common uses within CRE are lead scraping and data cleaning of lead lists.
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully, you’ve found something of use to apply to your CRE marketing mix! Either way, check out our blog for more advice covering how to use Reonomy, marketing and sales tips, and general commercial real estate industry pieces.