After you win a listing for a commercial property the real work begins. 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
In a moment we’ll discuss traditional and non-traditional marketing channels that brokers can use to effectively market and ultimately sell a listing. But first, to help you get started, we’ve also created a detailed plan of attack that you can use both for client proposals as well as with your own internal team. Feel free to download our commercial real estate marketing plan template as you follow along.
Distinctive Marketing Package
The first priority after winning 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 custom tailor it for each property. Your goal should be to tell each listing’s story and engage qualified buyers to find out more. This means you should think about what sets your property apart and highlight the features that make it distinctive. 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 panoramic 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 around each property’s unique characteristics.
If you’re using financial modeling software like PropertyMetrics, 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. This can be on 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.
If you’re using your own personal or company real estate website you’ll also have the added benefit of Google Analytics, which allows you to track how many people are viewing your listing, where those people are coming from, how long they spend browsing your listing, and many other helpful metrics. Additionally, you can even require registration to view the full details, which will help you build your own internal marketing database.
Online Listing Websites
By far the most popular listing website for commercial property is LoopNet, but there are also several other niche listing services such as CCIM, CityFeet, TotalCommercial, and many more. The residential MLS also includes a commercial real estate section, which shouldn’t be discounted.
The important point to remember about listing websites is that you want to strike a balance between too much information and too little information. Make sure at a minimum you include a great property description highlighting its unique characteristics, a correct address, and some high quality photos. Your goal should be to give the potential buyers enough information to quickly decide whether they want more information or not.
Marketing your listings to your own internally created database of principals and other brokers can be highly effective. Many commercial real estate listings are discovered and ultimately sold this way, and these so called “Email Blasts” are 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 CCIM has an internal email list that allows members to exchange properties and other information. 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 a networking function that allows brokers to market their properties. These events typically occur over breakfast or cocktails and allow you 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 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.
Of course, 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. 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.
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.
A newer and much less 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 or Yahoo. 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. Additionally, 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. Do you have any other effective commercial real estate marketing strategies? Let us know in the comments below.