The commercial real estate (CRE) industry has had many setbacks since 2020, but 2022 promises to be a harbinger of new things.
The new normal created new opportunities and digital marketing ushered in innovative ways to help the CRE industry reach its targets. While the rise of eCommerce might seem like the death of brick-and-mortar stores, many feel that is just an exaggeration.
While there may be many who are still unwilling to visit physical stores, go out dining, or return to the office, most are open to the idea. The CRE industry is waiting to see how other sectors will balance various workers’ demands — to continue working from home, go back to the office, or introduce a hybrid concept.
No matter which way the wind blows, real estate marketers should take advantage of all developments. And creating a CRE marketing strategy is the foundation of their success.
What Is CRE (Commercial Real Estate) Marketing?
CRE is any real property meant for commercial and business purposes. These include workplaces, such as offices, boutiques, shops, restaurants, and other properties leased to companies to generate income. Health care facilities, hotels and resorts, and shopping malls also fall under this umbrella.
A commercial real estate business focuses on advertising and promoting commercial properties for sale or lease using readily available strategies and marketing tools for real estate brokers and agents. These include traditional and digital marketing approaches that help them reach their target markets.
Marketing commercial real estate properties can be tricky, given the wide target audience and different property types. So, marketers need to create strategies that suit each client’s target markets and property categories if they are to succeed.
9 Steps To Creating CRE Marketing Strategies
Whatever CRE marketing strategies you create, note that successful ones always involve the marketing process:
1. Identify Your Target Market
Since CRE properties are varied, their target markets are also diverse. So make your profile specific to your target market. For example, consider whether you are looking for tenants or prospective property owners.
Review the properties you are promoting. Specify if they are retail, industrial, or office workspaces.
2. Create A Website Dedicated To CRE Marketing
Create a functional commercial real estate industry website dedicated to your market’s needs—one based on a CRE marketing strategy that will serve as an online marketing CRE leads pipeline. Create detailed property listings of properties for sale or lease, including their locations and prices. Categorize them according to the same characteristics for searchability.
Use the latest artificial intelligence (AI) solutions available on your CRE website. For example, during your website development, you can integrate chatbot and customer tracking functionality to manage customer journeys better by making their experience seamless.
Think again if you believe a commercial website is just an ad for your company. Your site is not just a way to promote your business but also a web development tool to help you target the right audiences and give them solutions.
3. Add A Blog To Your CRE Marketing Website
Adding a blog to your site allows you to provide your target market with insights into the industry. It can also serve as a means for your company to sell specific property types in selected locations. In addition, you can share your knowledge and expertise with readers in a blog post which allows you to be seen as an expert in the field.
Regularly posting new information can distinguish you from the competition and make your company appear tech-savvy.
4. Create A CRE Email Marketing Plan
Adding an email marketing strategy to your overall CRE approach is the best way to connect with leads who may have initially made contact through your website, a blog subscription, or an inquiry over the phone or with your chatbot.
Creating a list of your contacts allows you to segment the target market and nurture leads more efficiently. Regular CRE email blasts will remind them of your presence and inform them of the most up-to-date info.
5. Use Social Media
In most cases, social media is the fastest way to reach specific market segments and niches. And since many prospective clients have accounts, you should, too.
YouTube, for example, is an excellent venue to showcase some of your properties, while you can use Instagram to spark interest each time you post pictures and ads for your commercial properties that are up for sale or lease.
Facebook, especially Marketplace, and Twitter are also fantastic platforms to find leads. Meanwhile, LinkedIn is the best way to connect with industry leaders and CRE marketing experts, making prospects see you as one of the best in the field.
These are just a few examples of social media platforms that you can leverage for your CRE marketing strategy.
6. Use AI Solutions To Track Your Marketing Efforts
We recommend using a customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage client interactions and organize marketing efforts. To analyze which strategies work for which locations and properties add AI to the mix. This will help you drive focus and grow. A CRM system will also help you identify those strategies needing improvement.
7. Use CRE Software
Using CRE software for marketing provides additional insights as it helps you manage finances linked to your portfolio. In addition, it collates all your leased properties and tracks workplace utilization for field agents to assess which strategies suit specific locations best.
CRE software also makes it easy for landlords, tenants, real estate agents and brokers, commercial property managers, and real estate teams to manage properties, finances, mortgages, and marketing plans on a single platform.
8. Explore Outsourcing
You do not have to build a team of designers, marketers, and content creators for CRE marketing. Instead, you can outsource the work to expert graphic designers and content creators.
You can also hire real estate marketing consultants or firms to redesign your brand and develop marketing strategies to attract your target audience. In addition, real estate outsourcing is another way of reducing costs and expenses.
9. Create A Brand With An Image That Stands Out
What image and voice are you projecting? Your brokers should be approachable and knowledgeable about the properties on your list and the needs of your prospects. While building your brand, don’t forget to create a commercial real estate marketing logo for your website.
If your brand intends to focus on CRE, make that clear in your corporate branding, including your CRE logo and site design. Some real estate firms focus on hotels and resorts, and their approach and image distinctly set them apart from residential real estate companies. You can talk to real estate branding agencies about appropriate design and imagery and choose one that best suits your business requirements.
7 CRE Marketing Trends For 2022
Real estate remains one of the most stable investments, with or without the pandemic. Here are some of the notable CRE trends that agents, property buyers, business owners, and brokers need to be aware of:
1. Some Markets Will Grow More Than Even Major Cities
Many people are moving to smaller towns and cities, making those markets grow. Population growth will attract more jobs, and property rates will increase as more industries and businesses move to secondary cities and towns.
Outsourcing talent will also contribute to the growth of secondary cities and towns as people explore work-from-home opportunities.
2. Available Capital & Debt Will Contribute To Growth
Investors are pouring money into CRE, with equity funds reaching $152.2 billion. CRE offers diversification, lower market volatility, and guaranteed income to investors looking for robust marketing investment opportunities. Real estate provides numerous opportunities for higher returns, whether from recapitalization or buying and selling distressed properties.
3. Offices Will Remain Open, Albeit With Significant Changes
Many companies require employees to return to the office, making office spaces lucrative still. But changes need to be made to accommodate the highest vacancy rate in recent years. List office spaces that suit employee preferences, are adaptable for hybrid work and match business owners’ budgets.
With companies asking employees to return to the office and making improvements, such as adding amenities and enhancing space flexibility, investors can expect occupancy and growth to stabilize this year.
4. Real Estate Companies Will Explore Quantitative Analysis & CRE Software
CRE companies have incorporated AI and machine learning (ML) into their marketing strategies. They should consider using CRE data to resolve inefficiencies and find new growth areas in the same vein.
These technologies allow for stable growth and provide a hedge against volatile markets. Using AI and quantitative analysis creates empowering partnerships that protect businesses and investors.
5. Proptech Is Growing
Property technology, or “proptech”, means using technology and software in CRE. It uses digital technology to manage properties, buy or sell assets, and carry out office administration using real estate data and analytics.
Real estate companies will need to work with proptech providers to make the industry more efficient and productive while protecting investments.
6. Construction Costs Will Increase
The pandemic pushed inflation rates to an all-time high. As a result, disruptions in the supply chain, labor shortages, and slow economic growth resulted in increased material costs for new construction projects.
Existing assets will also benefit from this increase, owing to a rise in property values driven by increasing material costs. This will only add to their current values, making it beneficial for investors.
7. eCommerce Will Continue To Boom
While the rise of eCommerce negatively affected physical stores, it did not bring about their death. Some CRE properties, such as hotels, resorts, entertainment parks, even boutiques, and small shops, continued to attract many people.
The recent growth of eCommerce should be a wake-up call to investors to acquire properties that will combine the best that brick-and-mortar stores and eCommerce sites offer.
CRE businesses can start by offering spaces for pickup stops and delivery points. Beauty salons, spas, and restaurants will also attract customers, especially after pandemic restrictions cease.
The Future Of CRE Marketing
Despite a bumpy start, the CRE industry is poised to recover and grow as companies balance their need for on-site personnel and work-from-home staff. As remote work and outsourcing become the norms, employees and workers are also considering migration opportunities to less expensive cities and towns.
Investors and real estate firms remain optimistic about 2022, even if some marketing firms continue to focus on retrofitting properties and repurposing workspaces to maximize their value, instead of exploring the use of new technologies and CRE software.
Many CRE marketing companies are also considering environmental and sustainability demands and other social issues, such as diversity and inclusion, in their targeting strategies.
Technology At The Forefront
CRE software and CRM systems will make the CRE industry more efficient and dependable. In addition, analytics and ML (machine learning) will contribute to the efficiency of agents and brokers, while qualitative analysis will make trend and property value forecasting more reliable.
Commercial real estate marketing is reaching new heights, thanks to increased digital technology usage. However, some real estate agencies and firms are slow to accept these changes, even though they are starting to realize their value.
Contact ELK for a free website audit for your commercial real estate organization.