Eight Strategies for Marketing Your Commercial Property

Empty commercial building with no tenants

Successfully marketing a commercial property usually involves more than simply putting a “For Sale” sign in front. A necessary step prior to marketing is to make sure the property is correctly priced. Comps on commercial space are sometimes difficult to obtain so you may need to work with a commercial appraiser to determine a fair asking price. After establishing a price, your next step should be investing in high-quality marketing materials tailored to that property. Although generic marketing packages may cost less, it won’t differentiate your property from the rest or help you to fetch the best possible price. Effective marketing collateral should highlight a property’s unique appeals. For example, if the building has a highly attractive exterior, your marketing brochure should be illustrated with full color photos of tenant spaces and the building’s common areas. If location is the property’s primary appeal, you may want to include aerial photography that highlights its proximity to major roads and rail lines.

For marketers who already have a website, creating a listing page for the marketed property on your website can be a very cost-effective advertising strategy. Listing it on your website allows Google Analytics to be used to track views of the listing. Marketers can even capture information about views by requiring visitors to register to obtain full details on the listing. Sites such as LoopNet, CCIM, CityFeet and the commercial real estate section of MLS can also be utilized to widen your audience. Ads on these public sites provide the best results if the description in the listing communicates the uniqueness of the property in concise text and supporting photography.

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are powerful tools for advertising commercial properties. Each of these platforms enables marketers to choose a target audience for the ad as well as when and where the ad will be displayed. For example, if the property you are marketing is a warehouse, you can opt to run ads reaching out to the executives from manufacturing companies in adjacent markets.

Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn provide access to 300+ million users, including millions of real estate and finance executives. Specific groups of users can be targeted through blog posts and group discussion boards. Twitter, recently beefed up its marketing tools and now enables users to embed multiple images in tweets and capture information on ad viewers.

Video sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo are becoming increasingly popular as marketing tools. Video is the fast-growing advertising niche and is already used extensively to advertise residential properties. Industry statistics indicate that roughly 78% of Americans view online videos at least weekly and 55% watch online videos on a daily basis.

Email blasts are useful as a low cost tool for marketing commercial properties. An email blast is created by embedding a property listing in a group email. The email addresses in the group email may be sourced from an in-house customer database. Marketers can also rent databases from third parties; for example, CCIM rents out its membership list for marketing campaigns.

Networking events provide opportunities to directly market a property to a carefully selected pool of potential buyers. Most cities have professional associations and real estate business groups that sponsor networking events. The typical networking event is structured as a breakfast meeting or after-work gathering where attendees may pass out materials and sometimes make a brief presentation. These events are also a great way to meet like-minded professionals, accumulate leads and expand your business network.

If no networking events are scheduled in your area, consider organizing your own event by hosting an “open house”, inviting local business executives and consultants to partake of a light breakfast or lunch buffet, followed by a quick tour of the property. As the event’s sponsor, be ready to explain your connection to the local business community, when your listed space will become available and the numerous benefits the listed space offers to prospective buyers.

Cold-calling can be an extremely effective marketing tool if care is exercise in selecting prospects. A good starting point is to screen in-house database for those contacts likely to have interest in the type of property being offered. These individuals can then be contacted directly. Cold-calling involves some extra time and effort, but usually produces results that are superior to email blasts or on-line ads. This is because the outreach is both personalized and highly targeted. An added benefit of cold-calling is that those you contact are more likely to remember you in the future and possibly reach out to you directly the next time they are shopping for your type of property.

Direct mail postcards are the least expensive form of direct mail advertising and simple to create. Postcards generate their highest response rates if prospects are targeted and the message is kept simple and personable. For example, if the property you are marketing is a strip mall, a direct mail campaign reaching out to nearby strip mall owners and tenants will often yield the best results.

When a marketing campaign should employ multiple on-line tools, don’t overlook the usefulness of a well-located “For Sale” sign on the property. Brokers report that up to 20% of their inbound calls are generated by “For Sale” signs. This type of display advertising is most effective if the sign is highly visible and there is plenty of foot and/or car traffic near the property.

Also keep in mind that even the best-designed marketing campaign will encounter difficulties selling a property that hasn’t been properly prepared for showings. The building’s exterior and interior must be spotless and tidy. It is often easier to sell commercial structures that have been emptied. Your investment in power-washing exteriors, professionally cleaning carpets and polishing floors will more than pay for itself by increasing the number of potentially interested buyers and ultimately helping you to secure a higher selling price. . .

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