“Action!” yells the director when he wants the crowd of actors standing around the sound stage to transform from everyday people into characters that deliver the story of the movie being filmed. Moving from planning to execution of your commercial real estate marketing plan is much like yelling “action”. In this moment, your plans move from statements of goals and identification of target markets to one in which your business actually engages the marketplace in order to develop relationships and nurture prospective new clients. Doing this means using the right set of tactics that represent your brand and appeal to your targeted audience, setting you up for success.
Identifying the right tactics
Marketing is all about relationship building. More than once, we've touched on this point and just how relevant it is to the commercial real estate industry. Creating deep relationships with clients and prospects carries with it several key benefits for your business. First, it establishes trust and sets you up to be the “go to” organization for all things related to your field. Consider how much you may personally come to trust a mechanic that's worked on your cars for years and whom has always been honest and fair with you. Second, working hard to achieve a level of inter-connectedness enables you stand out from your competition and enhance your brand position.
Kim T. Gordon of Entrepreneur magazine sets out 7 Relationship-Building Strategies for Your Business, but at the top of her list is the need to communicate. She states “...it's possible to combine e-mail, direct mail, phone contact and face-to-face communication to keep prospects moving through your sales cycle without burning out on your message.” This is great advice in terms of using a mix of methods to communicate with the market place, however, it's critical to identify those tactics that are right for your commercial real estate market. In doing so, here's some ideas to consider.
Use tactics designed to attract your audience
Good marketing communications should speak to your audience. Use language that lets the audience know that you understand them. If you're targeting investors, let them know that you understand the intricacies of identifying the best opportunities from those that are suspect. Let them know that you've “walked in their shoes”, so to speak.
Tactics should put you closer to your target audience
Physically being where your target audience is may be an impossibility, so show them how important they are by having a presence where they are. Advertise in the publications they read, guest author a blog on a favorite commercial real estate site or send them copies of an article that you found particularly interesting and which may hold value for them. You can host a seminar or attend the same industry events they might. Whichever tactics you use, think about how those will get you closer to your next client.
Tactics should track back to a specific goal
Earlier in this series, we talked about goal setting. We said that establishing goals for your commercial real estate marketing plan means looking at where your business as a whole wants to go over the next year and in, say, five years. As you take action against your plan, the tactics you use should tie to a specific a goal(s). If your goal is to increase revenue, know how a website redesign can help you accomplish that.
Put your best foot forward – do justice to your brand
Whichever tactics you choose, they should support your brand promise. One area in particular where businesses sometimes lack judgment with this idea is with marketing materials. The materials you create and send to prospective clients should not only look good, but feel and appeal to the senses. Think about how you would perceive a company that sent you a crookedly photocopied piece of collateral.
Getting help with execution
There's no doubt that doing marketing right takes an investment in people, time and resources. That means getting it right the first time and maximizing your execution dollars is very important. Perhaps you’ve been thinking that it is more cost-effective to do all the work yourself. You may even have some people on your staff with the skillsets to help. However, if you or your team are trying to balance marketing responsibilities with those of your core responsibilities, then you may not be using your time in the most efficient manner. By tackling the development of your commercial real estate tactics alone, you might be losing the opportunity to connect with prospective clients and possibly put revenue at risk.
You might consider hiring a commercial real estate virtual marketing department. An independent contractor who works on an as-needed basis could be the perfect solution for improving your productivity, balancing use of time and maximizing your marketing dollars. Even if it's only a portion of your execution that you outsource, pick your marketing partner carefully. Be sure to opt for a firm with proven experience in the commercial real estate industry and is one that develops deliverables with the intent of generating leads, not merely bolstering their portfolio. Finally, make sure that they are a company that's willing to truly partner by getting to know your business.