The commercial real estate industry has change significantly over the last few years. The Internet has had major impact on the way in which we promote properties. That being said, the same rule applies when it comes to the commercial real estate agency itself.
The marketing message about your offices and services needs to be carefully considered and crafted. The different markets, times of the year and staffing strategies will all have an impact on your advertising and promotional processes. Essentially you need a good marketing plan.
Here are some tips to help you in establishing the marketing strategy for your real estate office.
- First and foremost, you may be part of a franchise group and therefore have the advantages of their branding processes. They will set specific rules when it comes to the use of their branding and marketing material. Without these rules, their brand becomes weak and threatened. Before joining a franchise group, it pays to understand the rules and obligations that they will impose on you as part of your membership and relationship with the group.
- If you are part of a greater franchise group and its branding, be aware of the associated costs that are required as part of marketing. It is likely that these costs will be outside of the standard franchise fee that the head office requires you to pay. It is interesting to note that some of these franchise groups will charge an overhead or premium as part of supplying marketing material to you. In other words the marketing material costs may be above well above that which you can achieve locally through local suppliers. It is also the case that some of that marketing material can only be sourced through the franchise group itself. You are therefore captured and committed to the costing processes associated with branding your office. This may be a good or a bad thing, however you do need to make informed decisions when it comes to these costs.
- The commercial real estate industry today is well represented on the Internet in a number of ways. It is not sufficient to have just a website as part of your marketing strategy online today. There are many other things for you to do. It may be that the franchise group will provide you with all the required strategies and tools. That being said, investigate the costs of the process because some of these groups will charge a premium for providing online marketing materials and website systems; they may also charge you for the use of their online database and website integration. In other words your online database may be tightly controlled by the head office and not normally accessible for your own personal use. From an agency perspective, this can be very restricting. When and if the time arises for you to leave the group, the ownership of the data and the accessing the material can be very frustrating.
- Let’s assume that you are comfortable and committed to the franchise or membership group that you are part of. That also says that you will have reasonable access to well-crafted and branded signage, flyers, websites, and other specialized marketing tools. It is wise to set a strategy relating to the primary zone of focus when it comes to marketing. That zone will be where you get at least 75% of your business. This will normally be geographically close to your office and well covered by your sales team. It is within this area that your signage presence needs to be optimized. The commercial real estate industry is based on local contact and local focus. Certainly you do get some outside business coming to you from remote locations, however most of the deals that you do are within your office location, town, or city.
- Split the sales team up into specialized groups. Those groups will relate to both property type and property location. Each member of the team should specialize in certain ways. This then allows them to provide optimized service and information to the prospects and clients that they deal with. It also allows them to improve their market knowledge and become more relevant as a property specialist. Top agents specialize, and that is how they are more relevant to the local property market.
So these factors will help you establish a marketing plan in your local area. You can then move into the special factors of considerations such as web site, social media, direct mail, flyers, database, and e-mail. All of these factors have a role to play in spreading the message regards your real estate expertise and property specialties. It is better for you to specialize than to be a generic real estate office of ordinary focus.