What 25 Years of Marketing For Commercial Real Estate Have Taught Us
When FocusedCRE was founded in 2018, its founder and CEO, Chelsea Brown had already been in the CRE game for 12 years. She shares:
“It has been my privilege to work with large and small CRE firms across the country. In the time I have spent developing and implementing digital marketing for commercial real estate properties, I would say one of the strongest takeaways has been my (and my teams!) ability to be proactive consultants to our customers. The experience we carry allows us to understand a project’s need by simply learning about the property type and location. We pride ourselves on being able to highlight a property type and make that marketing material engaging.”
Let’s dive in to learn more about Chelsea’s journey and that of her team of creative and hands-on marketing managers; creating offering memorandum, flyers, maps and more for over 120 clients.
We asked Chelsea to tell us about her team, describe its strengths and key takeaways when it comes to commercial real estate marketing and these are the top 5 notes she gave us.
#1: Surround yourself with the experts you need
It is impossible to be a subject expert at everything, but what is possible is to find and outsource the strategic business needs you have. Alexia Barrail, FocusedCRE’s Communications Director, has been working with Chelsea since 2017 and she shares a little about how Chelsea vets and recruits her hires:
“Besides being a positive and encouraging leader, Chelsea’s superpower truly is complementing the skills each of her team members have to offer. Because Chelsea has been a part of the entire CRE journey (from sales to training to marketing and administrative) she understands what is needed, the pitfalls and what will lead a property to success. When she hired and trained me, her well rounded understanding of the market propelled me into a successful role.”
As a business inevitably continues to grow, it is essential to hire team members that can balance and counterpart the existing skills in the company. We have already covered the importance of outsourcing your marketing in this blog, but beside the fact, a healthy dose of humility can help us audit our existing processes to find the gaps that need fixing. These gaps can easily be overcome with the right experts on your team.
#2: Be up to date on best practices
With digital transformation hitting all aspects of commercial real estate, marketing is no exception. Being a business savvy digital marketer means you are constantly (if not daily) scouring the internet to ensure your strategy still aligns with the most effective best practices on the market. A great testament to this is our implementation of video offering memorandums.
While our team of designers and account managers are all well versed in the latest and greatest techniques, in terms of engagement and effectiveness, video is climbing the ranks. We noticed that not only national firms were investing in video oms, but our competitors were kicking up their marketing strategy to include all kinds of videos.
We did what we do best: see item #1 above. Our designers and web developers trained to understand what made a video offering memorandum effective, and our team grew in subject matter experts that could offer us the best types of video OMs possible.
In that vein, our clients were offered a new service they could take advantage of, and our prospects flocked to the website to learn more.
#3: Audit your strategy
A classic phrase states “if it aint’ broke, don’t fix it.” However, what happens when you leave a strategy (or anything really, a product, a software, a workflow) unchanged for too long? Your competition will swoop in and take over while you are complacent.
What is our recommendation for this? The first thing we do with any new client is evaluate their existing collateral. Yes, sometimes we will continue using what is already in place, but a lot of it depends on the quality and engagement the collateral is yielding. More often than not, our clients benefit from a design revamp which can be minor to the full extent of a rebrand.
Lindsay Amones, our Director of Account Management, comments on her experience implementing this audit: “I would say that it is common for our sales prospects to approach us after being impressed by the portfolio of work on our website. They are interested in a fresh approach to design. However, some clients are resilient to that design change, and they simply require support in the marketing department. It is our duty as proactive consultants to give them our recommendations. They may not make any edits, but we are doing what we can to ensure all of clients produce the most strategic and engaging marketing collateral. You would be surprised at how many clients are excited and willing to see what a logo or flyer update may look like.”
#4: Make sure your brand is consistent
Brand consistency is the practice of always delivering messages that are in line with the identity and values of your brand. Consistency here means that your target audience is being exposed to the same core messages repeatedly. Because the more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding.
The most obvious reason why brand consistency is so important is that it leads to brand recognition. As a company, this is what you should always strive for, to be immediately recognizable by your target audience. You could say brand consistency is marketing at a higher level. By being consistent in your messaging you can set your brand apart from your competitors, which is especially valuable in a highly competitive and saturated market.
Trust is an important factor when it comes to selling your product or service. Brand recognition is about more than getting your name out there, it’s about helping customers get to know your brand on a personal level. Trust works so well because purchasing is more an emotional decision than a practical one. You can trigger the right emotions by making your customers feel like they know your brand. Once you have built the necessary trust, it’s easier to persuade customers to make a purchase. Brand consistency helps to build trust and loyalty since consumers will know what to expect when they buy your product or use your service.
#5: Thoughtfulness goes a long way
Thoughtful Marketing refers to deliberate action by a brand to allow their audience to opt-out of brand communication at difficult or sensitive times—the most common examples of this are Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas. A key part of the initiative is the awareness that the more brands that do this, the better the world will be for people at particularly triggering times.
The simplest and most effective way to start implementing Thoughtful Marketing is through your email campaign.
Through whichever platform you use to create your emails, you should have the functionality to build lists. Start by creating a list specific to that occasion and year, and then simply ask your audience via email if they would like to temporarily opt-out for this period.
Those who have clicked yes can be added to the list you have created, which can then be suppressed for all communication specific to that subject. Once the period has passed, simply remove the suppression and that audience will continue to receive all communications again from that point onwards.
While we are no experts, we do try to acknowledge work anniversaries and maintain strong relationships with our customers.
Being in the industry for a collective 25 years has really opened up doors we did not expect open. By working together as a team, and ensuring our skills continue to complement each other, we are optimistic and hopeful of what the next 25 years will bring!