The next three years are going to be both favorable and challenging for California’s commercial real estate (CRE) market — favorable because the recent federal tax overall is expected to increase the rate of return on commercial real estate and make investments more attractive. However, experts say development will be slow as market optimism declines, particularly in office and retail construction.
To stay on top amidst the challenge, you need to focus on creating a powerful commercial real estate marketing approach.
Creating a commercial real estate marketing plan
Marketing encompasses everything – from the way you do business to the way you find potential leads and advertise your business.
The first and most important thing you need? Creativity. Consider engaging in both short-term and long-term marketing strategies. It’s not enough that you only employ one. There’s no single strategy that works best for everyone. You’ve got to be creative and explore different media.
Leveraging social media
Once the building is complete, the next step is to fill it with tenants. Social media is no doubt the best avenue to market your commercial real estate, but to make it work, you have to determine your target audience and study the demographic. Follow these key pointers to successfully use social media:
- Engage in Facebook groups. What’s great about Facebookgroups is that you know you are dealing with a specific audience. In most instances, people join groups in search of recommendations and ideas. So if you’re offering a newly constructed rental space, you can join groups of entrepreneurs in your area. While overt advertising is usually banned, you can advertise through comments, especially if someone has posted that they are looking for one.
- Go Live on Facebook. This is a great opportunity to communicate with your target audience and walk them through the property without them having to step inside. Encourage questions about the listing and ask people to share and like your video.
- Maximize Instagram usage. This social media platform has plenty of features to help boost your CRE marketing. But it requires strong photography to attract followers. Photograph a property from all angles and post your photos on Instagram. Images taken with drones are best for real estate. Another strategy is to look for influencers that cover all things related to the property you’re advertising. Invite them to take a tour of your building and feature it in their feed. Lastly, take advantage of the recent Instagram carousel feature which allows you to upload 10 videos and static images in a single post. Adding a quick catchy video, along with “before” and “after” construction photos, all add to the visual experience.
Further, social media sites also offer advertising services. Compared to traditional advertising approaches, these are less expensive and don’t always require a cash advance to get your marketing plan rolling.
Optimizing your CRE website
Your website is your unique property. However, there’s a difference between a real estate website and a regular site. The former has to be targeted to specific regions you conduct business in. Determine what your market needs to know. For instance, why should people move to that region? What do they do in case they want to buy a commercial property in that area? Find out how they will find value from your website. Consider incorporating IDX and MLS to allow other real estate agents to share their listings on your website, and vice versa.
More importantly, your CRE website should be constantly updated to drive traffic and promote search engine optimization (SEO). Do this by highlighting new listings, uploading a monthly blog post and providing market reports on a regular basis.
There are thousands of tools and resources online that you can utilize to add more traffic to your site, and among the most powerful are CRE listing sites.
Engaging in local advertising
Even though capitalizing on social media and online marketing offers tremendous results, local advertising still plays a key role in promoting your CRE business. When you market at a local level, you know you are focusing your efforts on the right people. You also get to connect and work with business and government leaders who can greatly help you.
Signing up for listings on Google, Yelp, Bing and Yahoo is a great way to capture more local leads. However, make sure you comply with the California Real Estate Advertising Rules. Whether you’re advertising through banners, business cards, stationery and flyers, ensure your marketing materials contain:
- your name;
- your license number; and
- your employing broker’s identity using their name or license number, or both.
As the CRE industry faces tough times, you’ll need to engage more actively in real estate marketing. Fortunately, there are ample ways to market your business. The key is to strengthen your online presence, leverage social media, drive more traffic to your website and engage in local advertising. With these strategies, you will be more likely to succeed as a commercial real estate agent.
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