Among the myriad ways the global pandemic has upended the commercial real estate industry, rapid digitization is one of the biggest factors in making many CRE professionals feel like they’ve fallen behind the curve.
Whether they are relying on a disjointed array of commercial real estate marketing tools, analog tactics that don’t translate well in our new virtual reality, or outdated commercial real estate marketing software, many are searching for a better way to meet the exceptional demands of the moment.
But how do you sort through the ever-growing number of options available?
In this guide we’ll cover eight key questions to help you consider your options when choosing the best commercial real estate marketing software and we’ll discuss why you might need specialized software to streamline and speed up your marketing efforts.
8 Questions for Evaluating a Commercial Real Estate Marketing Software
There are several factors you might take into consideration when evaluating potential marketing software solution.
How do you find the one that best fits the unique needs of your company?
To start, let’s look at 8 questions that can help identify the most important features for your company, and ensure the software you select will be a viable solution for years to come.
1. How much customization is allowed?
You want a tool that streamlines your efforts, but not one that homogenizes them. The best solution will let you create listing websites, marketing collateral, and other content quickly, but in a custom-fit way that sets it apart from the pack.
Does it let you create custom URLs for each property? Can you tailor content, graphics, and layout for every listing? Can you easily change up your marketing emails on the fly? You want creative control wherever possible.
2. How scalable is the solution?
If you want to grow as a business, then your marketing platform needs to grow with you. Evaluate how scalable each platform is and its ability to serve you today, tomorrow, and years down the line. More importantly, how quickly can the solution scale and will you need any extra tools, resources, or cash to do it?
Try to think of your business five or 10 years down the road, and evaluate a software with your future-self in mind. Would it still pass the test, or would you need to switch solutions again?
3. How long is the setup process?
You should also evaluate the implementation process for any tool you consider. What’s involved in the platform’s set-up? How long does it take to implement, and what kind of resources do you need to make it happen?
Make sure you’re choosing a tool that you can integrate and start leveraging as soon as possible. The longer it takes to set up and get going, the less you stand to gain from it.
4. How much support is provided?
As you get started with your new CRE software, you may need some support along the way — at least if you want to use your new tools to their full potential. To make sure you have the help you need, always ask about the support team. How and when can you contact them? What can they help with?
Also be sure they can provide support across all devices and operating systems your team uses.
5. Does it integrate with other tools or platforms?
Does the platform work with other tools and software solutions you use, or will you have to change your workflow completely? How easily does it integrate with your website and other commercial real estate tools?
You don’t want to reinvent the wheel here, but instead improve your processes and increase your overall efficiency.
6. How user-friendly is it?
Support is great, but you shouldn’t need help with every step along the way. The best CRE marketing platforms are intuitive, easy to understand, and user-friendly. If they involve a lot of manual processes and back-and-forth between tools, they’re probably not the best use of your time and resources.
To be sure you’re getting an intuitive platform, always demo a CRE solution before buying in. Ask for a guided demonstration or free trial from the provider, and give the software a test run to ensure it meets your needs and feels right.
7. What companies are already using it?
Ask for a client list or, at the very list, look at testimonials and reviews for any platform you consider. If big commercial real estate companies already trust their business to a platform, then you’re probably in good hands. If there aren’t reviews and the company isn’t tight-lipped about its current or previous customers, then you may want to keep looking.
8. How much does it cost?
The cost of the platform obviously matters. Know your budget, get a full breakdown of the costs, and make sure there are no hidden fees that might crop up along the way.
You should also do a full comparison of what you’re getting with each solution you consider. While one may be cheaper than the other, if it doesn’t offer all the features and tools you need to properly market your portfolio, then it might actually cost you more in the long run.
Why do you need a commercial real estate marketing software in the first place?
An effective commercial real estate marketing solution streamlines your marketing efforts and automates the tedious and time-consuming manual processes that often weigh businesses down. This means you’ll spend less time on administrative back-and-forth tasks and more time growing your business.
If you’re currently using several marketing tools, it can also help you consolidate considerably, cutting down on overall inefficiencies, costs, and hassle.
Have Better Control Of Brand Consistency
One of the best parts of using marketing software is the scale and continuous consistency it brings to all of your materials.
The last thing you want is an ad hoc approach with your team producing inconsistent marketing assets, diluting your overall brand equity. A marketing software can help bring consistency to your entire portfolio featuring similar color schemes, fonts, photos, logos and match up with your company’s branding.
Centralize All of Your Data
Gone are the inefficient days of maintaining your data in multiple isolated islands. The advances in cloud-based technologies offer you the power and speed to quickly access property and contact data from anywhere at any time.
Besides centralizing all your admin information, a property marketing tool can help create public facing information hubs to store all your property data for tenants, leasing teams and property managers accessible by one single URL.
Automate Marketing Activities
Without a doubt, one of the most crucial benefits of a full-feature marketing software is the time it saves for your team. You can automate tedious marketing production activities (website updates, client reporting, flyer generation, etc.) and make sure all the moving pieces of your marketing operations are cohesively connected together.
Get Listings To Market Faster
It goes without saying, SPEED is essential when getting ready to list a property on the market. Do you hate creating static aerial maps?
Updating property listing data? Manually updating your company website? Then find yourself a solution that can help you build listing presentations quickly and efficiently, so you can focus your time on higher-value activities.
Access Multiple Tools From One Solution
Full-feature platforms, like SharpLaunch, solve many problems with a suite of commercial real estate marketing tools that are integrated together. This provides a true solution for commercial real estate firms that want to simplify and consolidate the number of tools they’re using. The added benefit of a fully integrated platform is that you only need to purchase, learn, and train your team on one platform vs. several disparate tools.
Gain Visibility To Key Metrics And Client Activity
Another major advantage of a marketing system is the wealth of data and insights it provides you so you can make better sales decisions. Data provided by a CRE marketing system can provide a bird’s eye view to help you analyze your properties and clients. It can surface insights about the sources bringing visitors to your property listings, who has executed your CA/NDA agreements, who has downloaded your documents and who has opened/clicked your emails, etc.
Good software should save you time and improve results. It should allow you to launch new campaigns faster, link resources together, and augment your existing marketing efforts. It should provide visibility into the impact of your efforts and which campaigns are most successful in driving new prospects to your website.
By asking the questions above and evaluating the key benefits that a marketing platform offers your company, you can be sure you get the very best solution for your needs.
Want to see if SharpLaunch fits the bill? Schedule a demo now.