After you win a listing for a commercial property the real work begins, the search was only the beginning. Now you must direct your focuses heavily towards your real estate marketing efforts.
You now need to deliver on your promise of selling the property for the highest price possible in the least amount of time. To keep your client happy, you also need to make the process stress-free for all parties involved. Want some insight into how top-performing brokers execute this process with ease?
In this post we discuss important elements of successful commercial real estate marketing plans.
The Commercial Real Estate Marketing Plan
There are plenty of traditional and non-traditional marketing channels that brokers can use to effectively market and ultimately sell a listing. But first, to get started, we’ve created a detailed plan of attack that you can use both for client proposals as well as with your own internal team.
Distinctive Marketing Package
The first priority after earning a new listing is to build a high quality and distinctive marketing package. The longer you wait to build the marketing package, the longer you wait to market the property and ultimately collect a commission check. But, by all means, don’t rush this process just to get something out the door. A generic, one-size-fits-all marketing package might save you some time up front, but it certainly won’t help you stand out from the crowd.
The key to building a great marketing package is to customize it for each property. Your goal should be to tell a story for each listing and engage qualified buyers. This means you should consider things like property history, unique value adds – what sets your property apart and highlight the features that make it distinct. Is it an office building with beautiful scenic skyline views? If so, highlight this attribute with a high-resolution photo on the marketing package cover page.
On the other hand, if you have a warehouse listing located next to a garbage dump, you probably don’t want to use a detailed photo of the property near the beginning of the package. Instead, an aerial showing favorable highway access might be more appropriate. The important point is that each package needs to be shaped by each property’s unique characteristics.
If you’re using financial modeling software, you can easily export your analysis to Excel and copy/paste into your Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign marketing package templates. This way, you’ll have full control over the colors and fonts that match your brand, and you’ll also be able to customize the elements and ordering of the package to better tell your listing’s story.
The fastest way to make your listing details accessible is to build out a listing page online. These pages should be in addition to posting through other listing service sites. The website you create can be through your company website, your personal website/blog, or a simple single property website. This reason it’s beneficial to use your own real estate website is that it gives you a dedicated place to refer to on all of the other online channels below, such as LoopNet or your email campaigns.
Additionally, using your own site to post listings allows you to track viewers through Google Analytics. Knowledge of how many people view your page, where those people come from, how long they spend browsing etc can greatly help your continued marketing efforts.
You can even require registration to view the full details, which will help you build your own internal marketing database.
Marketing your listings to your own internally created database of principals and other brokers can be highly effective. Within your lists, you can segment out the population of potential clients for specific properties and target individuals that you think would most likely be interested in the property you have on hand. Many commercial real estate listings are discovered and ultimately sold this way — a common practice in the commercial real estate industry.
Aside from your own internal database, there are also several third-party services that you can use to email your listings out. For example, Reonomy lets you search for similar properties and bulk export the contact information for owners or potential buyers into a spreadsheet. Spending time planning and executing a quality email marketing campaign can be an effective way to generate interest in your listing quickly.
In many cities, it is common for local companies or associations to host networking functions that allow brokers to market their properties and generate further property leads. These events typically occur over a meal or cocktails and offer the opportunity to pass around marketing collateral and/or stand up and give a quick presentation. In addition to the marketing, these events can also be a great way to stay connected and in tune with the local market.
One of the biggest benefits of having a highly detailed database of potential buyers when conducting a search, is that you can segment out a smaller, targeted group of potential buyers that might be interested in your specific listing.
While this approach takes more effort than a blanket email blast, it can often be more effective because it’s highly targeted.
You also get the added benefit of connecting with and marketing yourself to prospective buyers in a more personal way, who will then be more likely to remember you when it’s time to sell their own properties.
While the cost of sending postcards and flyers is significantly more expensive than email, it can also be more effective when targeted to a specific group of qualified buyers that you have yet to connect with. For example, if you’re marketing a small grocery-anchored shopping center, it might make sense to send a direct mail campaign to owners of other shopping centers within a 100-mile radius.
Display advertising shouldn’t be entirely discounted because of online dominance. If your listing has high visibility and traffic counts, putting up a sign is a very smart move. Some brokers report that up to 20% of their inbound calls are generated by well-located for sale signs. Other forms of display advertising are admittedly becoming less and less effective with the rise of online distribution channels, but it can still be useful in some situations. For example, if you have a really high end property and need to gain visibility quickly, running a promotional campaign in local, regional, or even national publications can go a long way towards achieving this goal.
The most efficient and well used marketing channel for commercial property is online ads. After setting up a dedicated website address for your listing, creating a Google Adwords campaign to drive targeted traffic to your page can be highly effective. You can target certain search phrases such as “shopping centers for sale in Orlando, FL” and even restrict who sees your ad by geography.
Once you get the hang of Adwords, you can also experiment with other search engines like Bing. Additionally, you can test the waters with LinkedIn and Facebook ads, which allow you to create highly targeted campaigns.
Stand Out From the Crowd
By creating and executing an effective commercial real estate marketing plan, you’ll maximize your chances of selling quickly for the best possible price. By keeping yourself organized with a detailed plan of attack, you’ll set yourself apart from other brokers and stand out in the eyes of your prospects and clients.
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