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The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Commercial Real Estate Marketing Plan

Table of Contents

There is a multitude of things real estate agents must consider when devising the ultimate commercial real estate marketing plan. The commercial real estate industry is ever evolving. Staying organized and maintaining your priorities is crucial.

The current digital revolution has affected every industry – but perhaps real estate has seen the greatest disruption. This isn’t a bad thing. Your real estate marketing plan can benefit from new tech, strategies, and real estate marketing ideas.

But in this technologically savvy landscape, commercial real estate brokers must pivot efficiently and provide their target market with the information they’re looking for. This can only be accomplished with an effective commercial real estate marketing plan.

Once you develop your marketing strategies and put together a plan, you may see room for improvement later – that’s okay. In fact, constant analysis and tweaks are part of the plan. As you perfect your commercial real estate marketing plan, it’ll be like riding a bike.

14 Steps to Creating the Ultimate Commercial Real Estate Marketing Plan

The following 14 steps will provide you with the tools you need and reward you for your marketing efforts by effectively growing your real estate business.

1) Define your goal and your audience

You can’t reach the end of a path if you’re unsure where you’re going or where to begin. The best way to market commercial properties relies heavily on your audience. So, you need to start by defining your end goals and your specific audience by asking these questions:

  • Where is your audience spending time online?
  • What’s the best way to reach them?
  • What marketing materials do you need to produce?
  • What’s your budget for the above?

You can learn a lot by examining competing agencies. How do they market their properties and services? What can you do better? How can you do it better? Consider how you can make your brokerage stand out.

Whatever value you bring to the table above and beyond your competitors is the entire foundation of your commercial real estate marketing plan – your answers to the above questions are the ingredients in your real estate marketing strategy and your future marketing campaigns.

2) Design your commercial real estate marketing plan

What is a marketing plan? Why do you need one?

Without a roadmap showing where you are and where you need to be, you could get lost. A commercial real estate marketing plan is your compass. It helps direct you on your mission towards unique selling points for your target audience, strategies, and every point in between. It also helps you devise metrics so you can measure what is and isn’t working and tweak it as you go.

As you begin to develop your commercial real estate marketing plan, make sure to include:

  • A business summary
  • Who your target audience is – and why
  • What your budget is
  • The marketing channels you’ll use
  • The marketing tools, strategies, and campaigns you’ll use
  • What metrics you’ll track and how you’ll measure them

3) Types of media to include

Part of your overall marketing plan should include a mix of media. There are three types of media in any marketing strategy:

  • Earned: Earned media includes all activities you usually earn via brand advocates but also includes free methods like search engine optimization (SEO) and social channels
  • Paid: Think of paid media as a mode of advertising or a channel in which the end user takes a specific action, such as PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, Google Adwords (now known as Google Ads), retargeting, and site banners
  • Owned: Includes all media assets owned by you or your company, such as social channels, email marketing contact lists, blogs, websites, or landing pages

As you analyze and tweak your real estate marketing plan, you should distribute this media mix cross-channel. Start out equally with all types of media and if, for instance, paid media isn’t delivering the bang for your buck you expect, funnel those marketing funds into your owned channels until you find a mix that works for you.

But first – let’s finish going over the necessities in your commercial real estate marketing plan.

For instance, property marketing depends on what you’re selling (apartment complex vs. storefront) and who you’re selling to (your target audience). What kind of content will reach a buyer looking to invest in commercial rental properties? You’ll see that each different type of buyer will react better to different content types depending on the property type they’re looking to purchase – and your content budget should reflect this need for variety.

4) Property types and territories

Above we mentioned a business summary. Before you can really begin marketing, you need to decide who you’re marketing to, what types of commercial properties they look for, and where those properties are located.

Now, there’s no law that says you can’t sell all types of commercial property – but if you’re just starting out or you want to craft a narrower focus, choose the type of commercial property you’ll focus on with these things in mind, such as your:

  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Current and long-term goals

The types of property you can specialize in include:

  • Industrial
  • Motels and hotels
  • Office & retail space
  • Storage spaces
  • Multi-family complexes

There’s plenty of variety in the above commercial property types. And each type holds its own set of risks, as well. Gauge your goals against potential risks before you decide.

For instance, if you’re brand new to commercial real estate, look for properties where you can partner with experienced brokers – specifically, those with experience in those property types. This is a shield against the unknown but offers the opportunity to learn. Consider providing leads to these brokers, handling the actual deals, but giving your partner broker a certain percentage of each sale in exchange for their assistance.

The same goes for different territories. Just because multi-family units are popular in one zip code doesn’t mean they are everywhere. In territories where industrial properties sell like hotcakes, multi-family units might not even exist.

Also, examine past, current, and future projection data on your chosen territory. Research the number of sales and costs a decade ago compared to now, as well as what analysts project for 10 years from now.

Territories are often large and encompass several regions of a large city. Breaking these regions into sections can be helpful – you just target one section at a time. If you’ve partnered with investors, they might prefer certain sections over others.

It’s tedious, hard work to cast a wide net – too many different property types located within areas you’re not familiar with is rough, especially if you’re new to real estate. When you’re creating your sectioned target areas, if you can narrow your focus onto just a few streets, your marketing can be even more targeted. It’ll give you the chance to get to know the current owners – if you don’t, you could miss out on a huge deal.

5) Build a property owner list

This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of your commercial real estate marketing plan. Property owners names and contact information is sometimes hidden. If you don’t know who is selling which properties or how to reach them, it’s the equivalent of hitting a brick wall head on.

It isn’t as easy as doing a search for property owner contact information as you might think it is. Most commercial property owners put their properties into ownership under an LLC or company name, and this information isn’t public knowledge. While you can find some information online or at the local assessor or clerk’s office, you won’t find phone or email information for the majority of property owners. Add to this that a lot of owners aren’t even interested in selling their properties – and you’re left with a lot of time spent for bleak results, if any.

The good news is that ProspectNow does all the heavy lifting in this respect. Not only can you find all of this information and more, but our proprietary analytics predicts those properties most likely soon to sell. This eliminates a great majority of uncertainty and tedious labor.

6) Real estate marketing tools and software

No marketing plan will reach a potential client without the proper tools. For instance, have you considered video marketing for your property websites? Virtual tours are all the rage presently, and this could be a new norm going forward.

So, while you’re thinking of stacks of money, you also need to consider your marketing “stack”.

But what is a marketing stack?

It’s basically all the tools, software, and other programs you use to let people know your agency exists. Tools in your marketing stack could include a good customer relationship management (CRM) suite, an email marketing platform, and much more.

Your stack is really important. Take the necessary time to evaluate each tool and platform you’re considering because:

  • Not all tools are created equal
  • Learning curves exist
  • Changing platforms mid-campaign isn’t desirable

If you switch from platform to platform constantly, you’re decreasing productivity and hindering your team from operating at 100%.

Look for a platform or tool that incorporates as many required functions as possible. Streamlining your marketing and processes can lead to sustainable growth.

7) Find or write a winning call script

Mastering the art of the perfect call script deserves a post of its own. But here, let’s simply go over the basics. With a solid calling script, you can use it over and over to help you build real relationships with the commercial property owners in your area.

Sometimes picking up the phone to call someone you don’t know has enough anxiety laced throughout – the last thing you want is to raise that level by thinking of what you want and need to say in those crucial, precious moments when you actually reach a potential prospect. A script keeps all your calls the same – a routine you can practice so eventually this part comes second nature. So, a few tips for your call script:

  • Rehearse – practice makes perfect!
  • Be original – don’t say what you think you’re supposed to say; be honest and forthright
  • Progress the call logically – there’s a lot in between the greeting and the ask and will keep the call focused
  • Empathize with your prospect – don’t be a robot; craft your script so that you offer a solution for the prospect, not in such a way it sounds like you’re asking for a favor

Preparation, confidence, and genuine enthusiasm have much to offer.

Once you’ve prepared the above, it’s time to really start setting some goals.

8) How many listings per month?

To get your first listing, you must be generating leads. Goal setting is important, but it’s also important to start out small. For instance, try for one listing each month. To crush this goal, you’ll need to make around 50 or so calls and attend around two meetings every day, and present around three or so listings every week.

The constant generation of leads is huge in the overall commercial real estate marketing process. Leads are the difference between a successful real estate brokerage and a not-so-successful one. But to begin generating a steady number of leads, you have to loosen your process a bit. This might sound as though it goes against the above strategies, but on the contrary – it basically means:

  • Don’t be discouraged if you get a “no”
  • Don’t place all your hopes on just one or two leads
  • Get used to objections and questions

Having arrow holes in your plan helps you navigate the forest of commercial real estate that much better – it points you on the path to more meaningful leads and deals. Once you make those solid connections, reach out once in a while in a friendly manner having nothing to do with real estate. Watch how this solidifies the relationships you’re building.

9) Get ready to double your listing count

After you build a solid set of listings, you can use those listings to generate even more. For every contact you have, start putting together a list of similar owners. Now, it’s not as easy as “build the list and they will come” unfortunately. There are cycles in commercial property sales. Have you noticed the pattern in your area? If not, take a look at property records. It’s likely the pattern will emerge with enough research. One of the most important aspects to look at is how long a property has been owned. You can predict, based on other factors, when this specific owner might be interested in selling. You can find much of the information you need on ProspectNow – then use this info to broaden your network and illustrate your commitment.

All in all, it’s about relationship building in your area and the surrounding communities.

10) Update your brokerage site

The first impression you make on potential clients is often your only chance to instill trust. While you may make your first impression with a phone call or at a speaking engagement, nine times out of 10 your first chance to make a great impression is on your brokerage’s website.

Your website is part of your total marketing mix. It’s the perfect outlet for brokerage news, thought-provoking content, and property promotion. If you don’t have a blog, start writing some engaging posts. Don’t have the writing chops? Hire a writer. Also create a new page where prospects can virtually tour the properties you’re offering.

11) Segment your lead and client lists and create separate email campaigns

Not every lead is going to knock on your door. You have to reach out first. One of the best ways to reach out aside from cold calls is through email. In fact, a great majority of prospects prefer email to phone because they can go over your information at their leisure and don’t feel “put on the spot” by an unknown caller.

First, build an email list of prospects. Then segment that list into smaller lists and create engaging campaigns depending on the demographics of each targeted list. You’ll fuel future sales.

12) Offline marketing

While a large percentage of your leads will come via email prospecting, your website, and social media posts, online marketing isn’t limitless. Real estate offline marketing is still quite an effective means of building and showcasing your experience, generating trust, getting leads, and enhancing your image.

Consider attending networking events in the area. If you can, organizing your own event is an incredible networking method. You’ll get to meet others in the real estate field, but you’ll also get to rub elbows with prospects. Bring your expertise to light – discuss trends you see, introduce yourself and hand out your card. You can also have other print materials available. Listings brochures or brokerage flyers are great handouts is you have your own booth.

Better still, get the contact information for regional news outlets and real estate publications. You can offer commercial real estate advice, predictions, and other tidbits of information only a real estate insider would know. This builds your presence and your brand.

13) Measure, measure, measure

You can only tell how well your efforts are succeeding if you analyze what you’re doing and what’s working. Measurement helps put the pieces together by showing you what’s working and what isn’t. For instance, which of your strategies has generated a majority of leads over the last 30 days? Which strategy hasn’t generated anything?

14) Adapt – and pivot if you have to

With your metrics before you, tweak your strategy. Understand your audience and adapt your approach based on their needs. Fine-tuning your efforts helps your overall strategy and ensures successful campaigns for the long term.

Commercial Real Estate Marketing Wrap Up

These real estate marketing steps can net more leads and value as you grow your brand. So, how is your brokerage different from others? Make sure your website highlights these differences. If you don’t have a Mission and Values Statement – create one.

ProspectNow has been helping real estate agents just like you since 2008. We help match agents with the information they need for much less than other platforms. We can help you find more leads, close more deals, and make more money.

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