Think about what your top source of new business leads was last year for your commercial real estate business. If your answer was “word of mouth,” you are probably in trouble. If your answer was “I don’t know,” you are arguably in even more trouble.
U.S. Postmaster General John Wanamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Wanamaker’s saying — in most cases — no longer applies to modern-day marketing.
Whoever is working on your commercial real estate firm’s marketing strategy — whether it is an agency or an in-house marketing team — should be able to track your marketing investments back to actual leads and revenue for your business.
Why Inbound Marketing Matters
There are a lot of definitions floating around about what inbound marketing is, but an easy way to think about it is to think of the leads flowing in versus you scouting them. According to HubSpot, inbound marketing is “focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage of your customer’s buying journey.”
A good example of inbound marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). A CRE firm with a website that ranks high in the search engine results for relevant keywords is likely to have a good flow of inbound leads.
The Rise of Digital Marketing
Who does not love referrals? But we are living in a new digital world where people do not need to pester their neighbors to find a good CRE firm — they have a whole slew of information at their fingertips via smartphones.
In fact, 89% of American adults use the internet and 77% own a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center. Moreover, 72% of consumers use the internet first when starting a search for an apartment. This is how the new generation of buyers is poised to continue to find the products and services they need.
Ditch Direct Mailers for Opt-In Email Marketing
Are you tracking if you actually get any leads out of those direct mailers? Printing and mailing are not only costly, it is also not necessarily targeting your prospective customers when they are actively seeking your CRE services.
While it has been ingrained in society that digital marketing is the future, groups with no expertise in the industry are unsure how to strategically use digital marketing. Partner this with a hesitancy to leave behind expensive “tried and true” outbound methods like direct mailers, and it becomes clear that while the CRE industry knows digital marketing is the future, they are not quite sure how to invest in it.
While plenty of companies still purchase email lists to send their marketing e-blasts, there is a better option. Offer your prospective customers valuable content — like a quiz, fact sheet, or infographic — in exchange for their email. Over time, you will build a robust opt-in email list that is more likely to have engaged contacts.
Optimizing SEO and Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Optimizing your website to rank on the first page of search engine results is a long-term strategy that can pay off in the years to come. On average, 60,500 people search the keywords “commercial real estate” each month. If you are not located on the first page of search results, your potential customers will likely miss you.
Search Engine Advertising
Organically getting your website to rank high in search engine results can take time. That is why it can be beneficial to also pay to advertise in the search results. There are a lot of paid search advertising strategies that an agency can recommend and help you implement. For instance, you can pay for your business to show up when someone searches for your competitors.
Display advertising — particularly in a campaign where you specifically target users who left your website before contacting you — is also a worthwhile campaign to test.
Social Media Advertising
Search engines are not the only place you can pay to advertise. In fact, social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn offer even cheaper advertising options that have the potential to deliver sizeable returns on ad spend. Boosting content through social media advertising can increase your reach, impressions, and engagement.