Few industries are as copycat as commercial real estate. So how do you differentiate your portfolio, property or platform from the rest in CRE? Today’s clients, tenants and partners begin their search online, meaning that in order to effectively market your properties or platforms, it’s vital to establish a commercial real estate marketing plan that extends beyond generic collateral. We’ve compiled a comprehensive commercial real estate marketing guide to help you stand out in 2023, and it begins with brand.
Always Start with Brand
When was the last time you asked a third party to objectively assess your brand? Have you ever? Partnering with an external consultant is key in finding true distinction among your competitors. From true distinction comes powerful branding.
Your brand is far more than just a logo or catchy slogan; it’s how your audience perceives your business. A strong brand wins in a competitive market — it gives your prospective tenants and buyers a sense of who you are, what you stand for and most importantly, why they should choose you and your offerings over something else.
Creating a long-lasting and effective brand comes down to staking a claim that defines your brand. An idea or value that you will own in your space. A ton has been written about how you can effectively identify that brand essence, and it is possible to undergo this journey on your own, if you choose.
At COHN, we want our clients to stand out with what makes them special and unique, so we spend time getting to know them from the inside out. We will dive deep into your origin story, asking questions about your mission and vision to ensure we fully understand your why.
We’ll conduct in-depth interviews with your team and stakeholders to truly absorb your values. From there, your brand will guide the rest of your marketing efforts — from design, content creation, messaging, press releases, and radio spots. You name it and your brand will guide it.
Prioritize Your Commercial Real Estate Website
Once you’re feeling confident in your brand identity, you’ll need to update all of the key experiences in your user’s journey. Collateral, business cards, tradeshow booths, ads/marketing—and, most importantly, your website.
These days, nothing matters quite as much in marketing as your website. A well-designed, user-friendly site will create memorability for your brand. Given that the majority of commercial real estate searches begin online, your website’s user experience can make or break a prospective deal.
Your website should be on brand, feature high-quality images of your commercial properties, easy-to-find contact information and a straightforward navigation menu to guide visitors to relevant sections. A clean and organized layout helps visitors focus on what matters most — your listings and how they can meet their needs.
And not to toot our own horn, but it’s worth mentioning that COHN recently received the 2023 Web Excellence Award. So, rest assured, we have the expertise and creative skillset to craft a website that doesn’t blend in but stands out remarkably from the rest.
Rank Higher In Search
Once your brand and website have set the stage, it’s time to reach your target audience. Both organic and paid real estate marketing strategies will give you an opportunity to increase visibility and, more importantly, inspire action — whether that’s a scheduled visit, a direct inquiry, or even a lease signing.
So what’s the best practice for increasing visibility? By optimizing your website with targeted keywords, meta descriptions and high-quality content, you improve your chances of appearing at the top of search engine results when potential tenants look for commercial real estate options.
A consistent blog can also help with SEO. Good content not only boosts your search ranking but also makes you an authority in your field. Blog post ideas include market insights, tenant tips, or property updates to drive more traffic to your site and keep potential tenants interested.
Break Their Routine with Paid Campaigns
While organic search optimization is a long-term play, paid campaigns can deliver more immediate results. Platforms like Facebook Ads help you target specific demographics, locations and even behaviors, offering a more refined approach to reaching your target market .
By combining analytics with compelling ad copy and visuals, you can create campaigns that not only capture attention but also drive action, which will move prospective tenants or businesses one step closer to signing on the dotted line.
Leveraging Social Media for Commercial Real Estate Marketing
Social media marketing is important for any industry and commercial real estate is no different. Using platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and even TikTok can help you reach a broad audience. The visual nature of platforms like Instagram is particularly beneficial for showcasing property aesthetics, while LinkedIn can serve as a platform for industry-related insights and connections.
However, a good social media strategy goes beyond content. It all hinges on a carefully planned strategy that covers a mix of informative articles, property showcases, customer testimonials, reels and interactive posts like polls or quizzes. User-generated content can also be a powerful tool, offering an authentic perspective that can boost reach and engagement.
Utilizing Email Outreach for Real Estate Marketing
Email is still the top marketing channel when it comes to new business prospecting. A recent whitepaper revealed that 59% of marketers believe that email marketing is over twice as effective at generating leads than channels such as PPC and paid social media. So, what does this mean for those in commercial real estate marketing?
Collecting prospective clients’ email addresses as early as possible helps with resource allocation, allowing you to gather addresses over time without scrambling when you really need them. Doing so will also serve you in other marketing efforts, for example, in targeted social media ads. If you haven’t already started collecting email addresses, don’t wait – even if you’re not prepared to launch a consistent newsletter just yet.
Using gated content will help you along in your list-building journey through the use of gated content, such as white papers and case studies. When prospects find your content valuable enough to share their email address, you not only provide them with useful information but also lay the groundwork for future marketing efforts.
Just like with any marketing effort, the type of content you put in your newsletter is important. Your emails should offer your audience value. By featuring exclusive market insights, previews of new property listings, or actionable tips on property management, you are creating content that will resonate with your audience. Informative emails become valuable resources, setting them apart from irrelevant content in your audience’s inbox and keeping you top of mind for future real estate needs.
Atomize Your Content
A great way to keep yourself organized while keeping track of all your content is to create a content calendar. This can be your roadmap to ensure that your property marketing efforts across blogs, social media and email campaigns are aligned and systematically rolled out.
At COHN, we optimize content atomization, a strategy that maximizes your output while minimizing effort. For instance, a single blog post can be repurposed into 3-4 social media posts, all of which can direct traffic back to the original post. These posts can populate your social calendar, creating a cohesive narrative across platforms. The same blog post can then take center stage in your newsletter, giving it extended life and reach.
Next, determine the frequency of your content. While it’s important to be consistent, quality should never be sacrificed for quantity. Use marketing tools and analytics to understand when your audience is most active and receptive across different platforms and schedule your posts and emails accordingly.
Finally, assign roles and responsibilities within your team. Make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and when their tasks are due. This ensures accountability and makes it easier to track performance. Regularly revisit and update your content calendar, making adjustments based on performance metrics and upcoming opportunities.
The Premier Commercial Real Estate Marketing Agency
For over two decades, COHN has been a pioneer in the field of commercial real estate marketing. We began with a singular focus on this sector, but as our expertise expanded, we discovered an invaluable overlap between real estate marketing and various forms of destination marketing. Today, our portfolio includes a wide range of areas such as travel and tourism, cultural attractions, casinos, business improvement districts, elective healthcare and credit unions, among others.
COHN’s expertise ranges from brand development and design to comprehensive digital marketing strategies. Our approach is strategic and designed to integrate marketing campaigns cohesively across multiple channels. Leveraging our creative ingenuity and innovative thinking, we’ve consistently delivered successful campaigns tailored to meet the distinct challenges and opportunities present in commercial real estate marketing. When we begin our relationship together, you won’t need to get us up to speed because we’re already there.
Take a look at some of our case studies below, and give us a call to chat. We know CRE, and we want to get to know you.
COHN Marketing’s Client Success Stories
WhiteHaven, a private equity real estate firm, needed an updated brand to attract new clients and partners. COHN stepped in with a two-phase approach that resulted in a fresh and modern brand strategy, web design and other marketing collateral. The brand was successfully revealed during a launch party, where COHN received positive feedback from WhiteHaven, its clients and institutional investors. COHN’s expertise proved instrumental in helping WhiteHaven achieve its branding goals and maintain its industry prominence.
Fulenwider, Inc. needed help building a website that reflected the cutting-edge “smart city” concept they were introducing to North America with Peña Station NEXT. As they embarked on a real estate project at the forefront of technology, sustainability, clean energy, and wellness, they needed an innovative and forward-thinking website to reflect their vision.
COHN rose to the occasion and designed a state-of-the-art website, perfectly capturing our client’s real estate project. During the initial reveal to the client, people in the room claimed they got the chills from seeing the property vision in real life, which is one of the highest compliments we hoped to receive.
IOTAS, once a pioneer in smart apartment technology, needed a brand overhaul to reclaim its innovative edge in the face of emerging competition. COHN stepped in and refreshed its brand strategy using tailored personas and developed a content strategy that led to an overall revamp and a dynamic new website. The rebranding and digital efforts paid off: IOTAS not only restored its industry leadership but also attracted an acquisition by ADT Security, bringing the brand under the ADT umbrella.