In 2011 CoStar purchased Loopnet for $860 Million. Yes, 860 million dollars. With a price like that it’s alarming to think that there are leasing brokers who don’t praise the value in using online media to not only advertise their properties, but to also engage with potential tenants and the community.
Office leasing, and other forms of Commercial Real Estate leasing, is an ever-growing industry. Despite the countries’ current economic status commercial properties continue to be built in the forms of retail centers, office buildings, and multi-family properties. Along with the expansion of the industry, the methods used to market these properties has changed.
The days of placing ads in the local newspaper or real estate magazines advertising your available office space or building are not over, they’re just slowing down. Direct mail marketing is still used, and quite effectively. People still check their mail, but how often does that carefully curated flyer get tossed out with all of the other junk mail? E-mail makes it quite easily to send your electronic correspondence to the “trash” with the simple click of the button. How do you know that your marketing efforts are actually landing on the appropriate eyes?
The short answer is, you can’t. While you may have a very good understanding of the target audience in your area, it is also very fragmented. Perhaps they don’t check their email, maybe they’re already locked into a 4 year contract and they’re just not ready for you yet. That’s where the internet and social media comes in. Millennials are becoming the largest generation in the workforce, not only are they becoming employees, but they’re also rising up to employer. Startup companies are being spearheaded by the younger generation and they’re buying up office space to fit their business.
This generation, being the first to not know a world without the internet, is rarely seen without a smart phone or tablet in their hands or fancy messenger bag. It’s not only millennials, the President is frequently seen with his smart phone- even the First Lady Snapchats. The commercial real estate sector can’t continue to ignore the power of social media in advertising any longer if it wants to keep up.
The benefit of advertising on social media channels is that you are often able to target your advertising down to the viewers interests, or zip code. Yes, someone who subscribes to REDNews is more than likely interested in commercial real estate, but are they in your area? Do they ever plan to be? Placing an ad in a nationally distributed magazine may be a good idea depending on what type of property you’re trying to sell, but sometimes online advertising may bring better results and save a bit of money.
Online marketing is not one size fits all. There’s PPC (pay-per-click) and PPV (pay-per-view), on-site SEO, organic and paid search, all of this can be a bit confusing, but luckily most of the social media channels take care of the hard work for you.
For example, Facebooks advertising methods lets you set a budget, duration of campaign, and narrow down your viewing audience by zip code, interests they have on Facebook, and age. All you have to do is create the visuals for your campaign, which is a perfect place to put your latest commercial real estate flyer. In return, Facebook provides you with analytics so you’re able to track the information in order to determine if your campaign was successful, or what changes you should make in the future.
If you have a website (which you should), SEO (search engine optimization), a method of combining key words into your website copy and optimizing the metadata in order to increase your ranking in search engine results, is important. If someone types in “Commercial Real Estate + [your city]” if the SEO on your webpage is curated well, then your business will land on the first page of results.
Social media is also an integral part of being able to communicate with your potential customers. It’s a great idea to promote new tenants on Facebook or Instagram, videos and pictures attract a lot of viewers and can in turn generate leads by way of emails or phone calls.
The truth of it is, there is no one right way to market your commercial property but the impact of the internet and social media can’t be ignored. It would be a detriment to your business to only market in print, you’re missing out on a vast array of potential customers by not being active on Twitter or Facebook. That doesn’t just mean post your latest floor plan, but find or create other relevant content, actually interact with your followers. The benefits will be measurable.