6 Robust Commercial Real Estate Marketing Strategies and Tools for 2023
This guide gives you 6 effective commercial real estate marketing ideas.
I will describe modern CRE digital marketing tools, as well as tested classic methods, to market commercial real estate for sale.
The knowledge I share in this article comes from my years of extensive experience investing in commercial real estate, which involves selling.
Read below to learn how to market commercial real estate effectively. Let’s start with two powerful CRE online marketing tools.
#1 Commercial Real Estate Online Marketplaces
The first thing to do is listing your property on a commercial real estate online marketplace.
They are made to connect sellers with buyers, just like home listing sites such as Zillow and Trulia. But these are optimized for commercial real estate professionals.
That’s why these platforms get highly targeted traffic, unlike other places such as social media. They are very effective marketing venues.
Just like on well-known websites for homebuyers, you list your commercial property online to get contacted by interested buyers.
Make sure to add as much helpful information as possible. Present all advantages your property offers to investors, like value-add opportunity (rather than showing any disrepair as a flaw).
Don’t skip fields you don’t remember data for. Look it up and fill them out.
The more detailed your listing is, the sooner you’ll get contacted. Uninformative listings, especially with no photos, get ignored.
The most popular marketplaces charge a fee to list and advertise your property. Here is one, however, that is free, at least for now, while it’s only gaining momentum.
It’s PropertyCashin marketplace for commercial real estate. This platform is different from other marketplaces with its thought-through navigation and search filtering system.
Investors looking for properties can fine-tune their search on a very high level and see data, allowing them to assess the investment costs and potential profit.
They even have financing options and helpful other resources — all in one place.
Such value of data attracts highly qualified buyers. When they contact you, they already know, almost for sure, the property is very close to what they are looking for.
This is also one of the reasons for the rapid growth of the number of buyers and sellers on the platform.
Use this form to list your property on PropertyCashin marketplace.
#2 Your Website
If you don’t have a section on your own website where you show properties listed for sale, you should have one created.
The benefit is obvious for brokers and investors who sell real estate on a regular basis: your users can easily see properties you are selling and contact you to buy one.
Even if you don’t sell commercial real estate regularly yourself, having a marketplace showing properties being sold by others might benefit you.
Say you are a lender or property manager. Investors visiting your website can find a property for sale and contact you for details.
From there, you will connect them with the seller and at the same time sell them your lending or property management services.
Same goes for other professionals serving commercial property owners.
So whether you are selling only one property or it’s your main business, a showcase of property listings (your own online marketplace) on your own website can be a great lead generation tool.
My team is currently working on such a tool — Reciprocity Network. It’s part of a website solution for various types of real estate businesses: agents, investors, property managers, etc.
First of all, you can list your properties for sale on your website. Additionally, you can enable or disable showing properties near your location for sale by other vendors.
If you enable this function, this means that your listed properties will also be featured in marketplaces of other companies using our website template.
This will immensely expand your reach by placing your listing in front of visitors of tens or hundreds of local real estate websites.
This product is currently in development. Join the waiting list by messaging my team through this contact form.
In your message, tell us that you want to become one of the first and privileged users of our website solution.
The sign business is still alive and well today, and for good reason: signs are attention-grabbing. You can advertise your property with signs through property signs, road signs, and billboards.
How It Works
The property sign is the most important. Investors, brokers, and others in the commercial real estate industry often look for local properties for sale.
The property sign is your way of letting people know that this property is for sale, even if they never see your ads on the internet or in print media.
This also helps prospects who have seen your ads to confirm they have found the correct property if they decide to drive by it.
Road signs are an inexpensive means of marketing a commercial property through advertising.
These signs are most effective when they are strategically placed and use large print with as few words as possible.
Road signs should be placed in the immediate area around your commercial building.
For example, if it is located in a business district, you can place your signs in locations within the district.
They are also effective in areas where local investors hang out. This could include office complexes or industrial areas, depending on your property type.
Signs for apartment buildings and office spaces could be placed near commercial complexes and near any corporate headquarters located in your area.
Road signs are visible to drivers. They work best in intersections where drivers may stop, but you want them to be able to read them as they pass, even if they do not stop.
The best way to accomplish this is to only include the necessary language:
- [Insert your commercial property type] for sale
- Phone number
If you include more information than this, drivers will not be able to read it all, and they may miss the most important information, such as how to contact you or where the property is located.
The most powerful form of signage advertising is through billboards. Billboards can be located around your city or on the interstate.
They are a large size, and you can include artwork to make your property as appealing as possible.
Billboards can be seen from a greater distance than road signs because they are usually elevated.
This allows you to use more wording, but keep in mind people will only look at your billboard sign for a few seconds.
The most powerful billboard text will include a super short, attention-grabbing headline that lists a major selling point, followed by a strong call to action, such as “Call now before it’s gone.”
You can list a phone number and website, especially if the website has an easy-to-remember URL. It also helps if your phone number can be listed as words, such as 1-800-CALL-NOW.
Your billboard image could include the building or a picture of happy customers or tenants, depending on your marketing message and your property type.
Make sure the text contrasts well in the image and is placed strategically so it does not detract from the image or vice versa.
If you decide to use billboard advertising, you will get the best result if you hire a professional agency.
They specialize in billboard advertising and have experience advertising commercial real estate.
#4 Print Marketing
Print marketing may seem a little old school, but the method still works. A study by eMarketer revealed that most people do not trust advertising in general.
Almost half of respondents said they trust print, TV, and radio ads. Less than 40% trust search engines, only 30% trust websites, and less than 20% trust social media.
Trust is important when advertising commercial real estate due to the significant amount of money that is exchanged.
This means print marketing not only helps increase exposure, but it also helps build trust. This can go a long way towards selling your commercial property faster and for a higher price.
How It Works
Newspapers may be on the decline, but as long as they are still in business, people are still reading them.
Many local newspapers also have websites and offer digital ads, sometimes for free, with a print ad package.
This means you can reach an offline and online audience by advertising in your local newspapers.
Newspapers are available for home delivery by subscription or in grocery stores for a small cost, doctors’ offices, and in other local businesses with waiting areas.
The exposure you receive is usually well worth the cost.
When purchasing the ad, you will also have the opportunity to speak with a live person, who could be a great networking source also. Remember to seize every opportunity you get.
Magazines and trade publications are also still widely read. Unlike newspapers, these are more specifically targeted. This means you can choose publications your likely buyers would read.
This will vary by your property type and industry. This is another example of why you will need to be knowledgeable about your likely buyers.
Local and national trade associations may offer printed newsletters, magazines, or directories where you can advertise to their members.
#5 Direct Mail
Direct mail is paper advertising you send to customers through the mail. It is usually mailed to hundreds or thousands of addresses within a targeted area.
Direct mail is perhaps one of the oldest marketing methods available, but businesses continue to use it because it works.
The key to a cost-effective direct mail campaign is to know who your likely buyers are and specifically target them.
The United States Postal Service offers free tools to help you compile the addresses of your target business districts. Collect the addresses and add them to your CRM software.
If you know of specific neighborhoods or areas where individual investors or business owners live, you can target these residential areas as well.
How It Works
Direct mail works best when you target a large number of addresses – thousands rather than hundreds.
The response rate is usually low, but the cost per marketing piece is also low. The postal service offers discounted rates for bulk mailings.
Like other forms of advertising, your direct mail needs to be enticing. Focus on your most likely buyers. What would they be most likely to open?
Focus on the benefits of your property and even on the outside of the envelope. Show them you are offering something they are looking for.
Getting Prospects to Open Your Direct Mail
Most people throw direct mail away as “junk mail,” without opening it. You can include a picture of the property on the outside of the envelope with an urgent message.
Handwritten envelopes with regular stamps have the highest open rates. Many services and software programs are available to prepare handwritten, hand-stamped envelopes for you.
Try to personalize your direct mail. Many mail-merge programs will do this for you. The copy should read more like a letter than an ad.
If it looks handwritten, that is even more effective. Most people will decide within a few seconds whether the letter is worth reading or if it is junk.
Getting Prospects to Read Your Direct Mail
If you target the correct prospects, you will easily be able to determine what would entice them and how you can keep them interested.
Make sure you provide your contact information throughout the text and frequently encourage prospects to call. The rules for direct mail copy are similar to website copy.
Don’t forget to provide your website information to your prospects.
Prospects that find it interesting may not be inclined to respond, but they will visit your website and possibly subscribe to your email newsletter.
Preparing direct mail can be time-consuming, but there are many ad agencies that specialize in direct marketing.
They can do all the hard work, from gathering your best prospects’ information from the post office to mailing them out, plus everything in between.
#6 Commercial Real Estate Marketing Package
The marketing package contains the most important marketing content because this is the content investors use to make a purchase decision.
Typically created by brokerages, a strong and effective marketing package will contain all the important information about the property, including:
- Property features and condition
- Financial information
- Broker information
This information needs to be formatted so an investor can quickly and easily get a feel for all aspects of the property.
Your design should be aesthetically pleasing and professional, and the information should be comprehensive.
How It Works
- Provide complete location information about the commercial real estate site, including the following:
- Property address
- Details about the immediate vicinity
- The amount of traffic in the area
- A short profile of several other businesses in the immediate area
- Demographic information about the area
Provide aerial photographs of the property and its surrounding area. Have it photographed by one of the best local commercial real estate photographers.
Include maps and nearby landmarks and services.
You may need to write a few short paragraphs to describe the area, but also use charts and graphs where possible.
Always remember to make it easy for investors to glean as much information as possible in a quick glance over the page.
Location Selling Points
Make sure you use language that sells the location.
Avoid using sales pitches, but keep in mind the purpose of the commercial property marketing plan is to provide enough information to entice prospects to call you.
Pictures and descriptions should always present the property in its most favorable light.
Is there a story to tell about the location? What would make this location appealing to investors? Is the city revitalizing the area? Are other investors moving in by the hordes?
If the property has performed poorly in the past, sell the location and show investors why this location offers a massive opportunity.
What is happening in the area that makes this a better opportunity now?
Location is everything in real estate, so make sure you show investors every advantage of the property’s location.
Include the important details about the property. This will vary based on the property type:
- Square footage of the building and of individual units
- The number of units (such as offices or apartments)
- The number of tenants and vacancies
- A brief profile of each tenant
- Tenant improvements that have been offered to new tenants
- Include photos of the building and individual units.
The Importance of Financial Information
This is the information investors will study the most. The financial information should present a complete overview of the property so the investor fully understands its performance.
Investors care about cash flow, income, and their return on investment (ROI).
While property and location information are important to draw investors to consider your property, a favorable financial profile weighs the most heavily.
Even an ugly property in a poor area can sell quickly if the numbers are good.
Financial Information for Properties with Tenants
If this is an apartment building or office building, investors will want to see a detailed rent roll with complete information on each tenant.
They will need the vacancy rate, and they will want to know about tenant turnover.
They will need to see financial documents showing previous income and cash flow, as well as projected income and cash flow.
You will also need to provide your rationale for your projections. This information will help investors determine how long it will take to realize a return on their investment.
Financial Information for Industrial and Retail Properties
If the property is an industrial or retail space, your financial information will vary, depending on the type of business the space would house.
The most important goal of the financial section is to make it easy for investors to understand their most important parameter: ROI.
For industrial spaces, other factors may be more important, such as property feature information.
Can forklifts and heavy machinery operate freely throughout? How much storage space is there? Can pallets be delivered there?
These can play into the financials and should be emphasized under the property section if your property is not an income-producing property.
If your property is a retail space, demographics, traffic, and other location information will be important factors to use when projecting income and cash flow.
Make sure you provide as much of this information as possible and document your sources.
While the purpose of the marketing package is to promote the property, you should include at least a small section describing your brokerage.
Not only does this reassure investors of a smooth transaction, but it also helps you win future business, especially if your marketing package is complete, appealing, and easy to read.
It should include your name, your brokerage name, address, phone number, email, website, and a short profile of your brokerage. This should be at the end of your document.
Formatting Your Marketing Package
Your marketing package should begin with a cover page that shows a picture of the property, the property address, and the name of the brokerage. (For example, “Offered by YourCompany”).
Before you go into the details, provide an overview that highlights the most important: location, financial information, and important features.
This should be a short, at-a-glance section that entices the investor to keep reading for more details.
Provide a call to action throughout the marketing plan. Occasionally, between paragraphs or sections, you can include a statement like, “Call us now” followed by your phone number.
Why Offline Strategies Still Work
In this age of digital marketing, offline strategies may seem obsolete. However, neglecting them could be a mistake.
Your goal is to use a broad reach, and you would not want to miss investors who either subscribe to offline media or just don’t use the internet as much. These investors do exist.
Digital marketing methods rely on likely buyers searching for specific information online.
Offline strategies can place your property in front of the general public regardless of their search methods and even if they were not searching at all.
At the same time, an effective commercial real estate marketing strategy should be all encompassing.
The goal is to reach as many potential buyers as possible, as quickly as possible. Combining online and offline methods gives you the best of both worlds.