Understanding the Value of Digital Marketing in Commercial Real Estate

5 minute read

Understanding the Value of Digital Marketing in Commercial Real Estate

When committing to a new digital marketing strategy, commercial real estate marketers should be wary of a few things. With the overcrowded markets and constant construction in major metropolitan areas, it can be a challenge to know how to distinguish yourself and your property while spreading a message far and wide.

In addition, when the strategies being adopted are nontraditional and trendy, it can be hard for marketing veterans to understand how they add value or contribute to success.

What most in the commercial real estate industry fail to realize is that digital marketing methods actually offer more measurable value than traditional methods. Traditional methods bring prospects and residents at largely unknown rates, whereas inbound marketing offers measurable results.

In fact, inbound marketing offers three times more leads per dollar than traditional methods, and inbound leads cost 61% less on average. This form of data intelligence is one of the many values that a digital marketing method like inbound offers CRE marketers.

An Integrated and Informed Solution

Perhaps the biggest benefit of digital marketing is the ability to track everything. Traditional marketing material physically printed and displayed can’t always track how many people saw your billboard or looked at your mailer before throwing it away. However, digital marketing tactics can provide this information by the ability to set goals that produce specific, measurable insights into your efforts.

Tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot offer data on website visits, how long visitors spent on the site, or what pages they’ve looked at. Email marketing platforms can not only tell you who opened your email, but which links were clicked on most. Social media can give you the reach of both organic posts and paid advertisements. The world of analytics in the realm of inbound marketing is deep. It’s just a matter of keeping up with that data.

Consider a commercial office space marketer trying to lease up workspace in a renovated building. Looking at all their digital efforts independently, they could know the percentage of website traffic on the leasing page that came from social media versus referral sites versus organic searches. However, an inbound approach further emphasizes the integration of a variety of marketing methods to maximize the educational experience for a prospect.

For example, a simple but well-planned social media post might lead to a blog, that then has a call-to-action, and finally leads to an offer describing the benefits of working in a downtown metropolitan area. By emailing the prospect after they download the offer, they are given more information on what to look for in an office space that increases productivity. Continued follow-ups via email might ultimately lead to a lease.

And digital marketing can pull data and analytics to understand the interactions at each point. An inbound marketer can figure out how many people who saw that social media post chose to click on the link. On average, they can tell how long people spent reading that blog and how many people on that blog clicked on the call-to-action feature. Insights like these allow marketers to make changes where necessary. Maybe the email that came after their first download doesn’t receive as many clicks as hoped. That email subject line could be tested, or after a time of poor performance, a new offer could be used in its place.

This is an underappreciated value of inbound marketing. The ability to regularly track and offer such insights in the conversion funnel allows marketers to better optimize their efforts. Businesses can save large amounts of time and money by ensuring their marketing strategy is always on track and that goals are within reach. Per HubSpot, the less a business knows their key performance indicators (KPIs), the less likely they will be to meet revenue goals. Therefore, with this “track, test, and re-test” approach, properties using inbound are certain to know and meet their vital goals.

Supporting the Numbers

While marketers in their day-to-day life may care more about achieving goals efficiently, most C-level executives care primarily about the numbers. This is another area where inbound marketing offers strong value to commercial real estate marketers. Calculating return on investment (ROI), cost per lead, and customer acquisition cost is simple for marketers using inbound methods, as the data gathered throughout the integrated solution can be tracked easily.

Consider cost per lead: It’s as simple as knowing your marketing spend and dividing it by total leads.

Cost per lead (CPL) = Total Marketing Spend / Total Leads

If you want to understand your cost down the pipeline, you can break this down further, calculating the cost per qualified lead or cost per opportunity. To do so, you would just need to divide your spend by the number of leads classified at each point. Remember how we mentioned earlier that inbound leads cost 61% less on average? This is how marketers can prove that number.

For marketers looking for more comprehensive numbers, cost per customer acquisition can help show the value of each customer brought in for a period of time using your marketing method. For this, you simply divide spend by amount of customers. The value of customer acquisition cost is its use in calculating overall ROI. This, along with lifetime value (Annual Spend on Product or Service by the Customer * Expected life of customer), can help you come up with the ROI number your CFO desires.

ROI=( Lifetime Value – Cost Per Customer Acquisition)/ Lifetime Value

This number is key to gaining support for your efforts.

An All-Encompassing Solution

It can be tempting for marketers to rely on the world of traditional advertising. For so long, many of our lives have been surrounded by intriguing television commercials, snappy jingles and radio ads, and thought-provoking billboards, making the world of digital seem strange and unfamiliar.

However, digital marketing efforts like inbound offer a true measurable ROI that is often absent from more traditional methods. With this, commercial real estate marketers can ensure that their efforts are consistent and effective, giving them the upper hand in a largely diluted market.


Cyndi Castle
Analytics Consultant