5 ways to balance marketing vs. construction timelines

August 14, 2017

Let’s talk about marketing and construction timelines.

In real estate marketing, one of the biggest challenges can be managing your marketing timelines against their notoriously fluid construction timelines.

At what point can I safely run the long-lead print ad that announces our grand opening?

How do I promote something without a name?

What should I do to my marketing plan when the construction timeline gets delayed?

Why should I be held accountable for leasing units when I don’t even know when the property will be complete?

These are not easy questions. As a real estate marketing agency, it’s a challenge we have faced dozens (possibly hundreds) of times.

Because we’ve learned a thing or two over the years, here are five COHN-approved tips for remaining nimble in the face of an ever fluid construction schedule.

1. Simple, editable, dynamic landing pages.

Once you’ve solidified foundational elements—brand, name, logo, identity—the next job should be the landing page. Building a mobile-friendly microsite will make message management decidedly cleaner for you.

Work with your web developer to build something that can start small (a single landing page) and grow deep and wide over time to showcase the multiple faces of your property. To simplify copy edits and allow for maximum flexibility, we recommend working in WordPress, which is probably the simplest CMS for everyday marketers to understand and edit content.

Most of all, launching a simple microsite will enable you to make on-the-fly messaging updates related to the property, including project updates (with video), tenant information, leasing brochures, and more.

2. Specific timing should never be in print.

Make this mistake once, and you will never make it again. With lead times as long as six months in some publications, print ads are a huge vulnerability for your messaging points to become outdated. As a marketing manager, do yourself a favor and avoid specific timelines in print, out-of-home, collateral, etc.

Depending on the project and publication lead time, you might be able to get away with seasonal messaging. But avoid specific dates in print until you’re less than a month out from the grand opening.

3. Send everyone—print, out of home, radio, TV, etc.—to the landing page only.

Reap the rewards of digital. Because you’ve created a dynamic microsite for your property, you can now push all audiences to the landing page for additional information.

And for print, always have materials (with placeholders) ready to go so when the time is right, you’re prepared. Make sure your brand, messages and plans are aligned with milestones so that even when dates may shift, your strategy is still on target.

4. Utilize real time social channels, video and email to engage interested parties.

While stuck in timeline limbo, nurture leads with content updates, social media posts, video and email to keep them engaged.

Think of your property as the most interesting project in the market. Make a big deal out of every little aspect. Identify when the ISP installs fiber connections, and interview the technician about what fiber does for internet speeds. Do you have access to a drone camera? Get sweeping site shots to share on YouTube. Will there be electric car charging stations? Tell your fans in a fun social post. What kind of insulation is behind the drywall? Why did the developer choose this product? What does it mean for residents/tenants?

There’s always something interesting happening on-site, so capture those insights and tell your fans. Keep them engaged.

5. When the grand opening finally comes, make a really big deal out of it.

They set the grand opening date. Now it’s your job to make a splash. Hire a PR team to think through the best way to grab headlines. Consider a media tour, PR stunt, or possibly even a large ad buy. With digital advertising so effective and efficient, spend budget on paid SEM and paid social advertising to make sure your property is everywhere online.


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