Marketing mistakes in commercial real estate can cost you leads and lost revenue opportunities.

While there is no surefire way to succeed in commercial real estate marketing, there are plenty of mistakes you can avoid to improve your chance of selling or leasing properties.

To help avoid costly fallout, we’ve gathered 11 of the mistakes you absolutely must avoid at all costs as a commercial real estate company.

Mistake #1: You’re Following the Herd

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to just “do what everyone else is doing”. It’s tempting, of course.

Simply posting your listing on LoopNet and sending a few generic emails won’t get you very far.

Not every audience is created equal, nor should every marketing strategy be the same. By following the herd and promoting your business in the same channels and with the same approach, you’re wasting potentially useful energies on outlets that don’t represent where your prospects spend their time.

What is relevant for commercial real estate?

  • The types of properties you promote
  • The potential audience you hope to engage
  • The geographic location of your properties
  • The need represented by your available space

Simply sending a one-size-fits-all email won’t help you better engage your audience and it will waste a whole lot of your time.

Spend time evaluating where you should invest time and energy, what types of content and marketing collateral are needed to reach your ideal audience, and you’ll have a stronger strategy.

Mistake #2: You Use Too Many Tools

It’s very common to get swept up by the multitude of marketing tools and CRE technology that exist and combine them into a “Frankensystem”. Besides complicating your life and consuming a lot of time, this also creates multiple disconnected data silos.

The solution: invest in an all-in-one commercial real estate marketing software.

One of the big benefits of a full-feature marketing platform is that it offers a suite of tools under one umbrella to make things easier and much more efficient.

Mistake #3: You Have a Weak Promotional Strategy

You might have listed your property on some commercial real estate listing sites and invested in eye-catching presentation materials but if you don’t have an effective promotional strategy in place, you will not achieve great results.

To create visibility and qualified leads for your property listing, then you need to roll up your sleeves and put in the work. That means continuous, multi-channel promotion.

Let’s break this down:

1. Continuous: Simple one-time campaigns do not work as well as campaigns with relentless, ongoing promotion. Keep frequency of promotional activities high during your marketing phase. Properties that keep showing up are the ones prospects will remember and have better chance of converting into leads.

2. Multi-channel: Effective campaigns make use of multiple distribution channels. This includes CRE listing sites, email, social media, SEO, paid campaigns and personal outreach. Spread the net wide to capture the attention of as many prospects as you can.

Mistake #4: You Have Weak Content

Good photography is a start, but close behind it is the quality of your content and composing a compelling property description. Weak content that does a poor job of describing the property and its amenities can kill interest quickly.

Written content has a profound impact on conversion rates for several reasons. Just think about how much even a short blurb describing your property conveys:

  • Location and proximity to nearby attractions
  • Accurate description of space and availability
  • Benefits of certain amenities in the context of the property
  • An accurate understanding of the cost and value of a space or property

Good copy on your landing pages and property descriptions is vital to capturing and keeping attention, while communicating the benefits they stand to gain from choosing this property. Low quality copy can at the least fail to do this, and at the worst push people away due to an unclear message.

Mistake #5: You Don’t Share Efforts With Your Team

When it comes to marketing a property listing, it’s a team effort.

Companies that place the burden of marketing on one person never achieve as much success as teams that are all actively promoting the listing together.

The key is to make sure your marketing and sales (brokers) are aligned and processes are in place to make it easy for team members to participate.

There are many marketing activities that require no investment (posts on social media, sending emails, outreach, etc.) and are simply a question of your time and effort.

Mistake #6: You Lack Objectives

You need a plan – one that accurately represents your organizational goals, exactly what you plan on doing, why you plan on doing it, and the metrics you will track throughout your campaigns.

Marketing without objectives is akin to investing capital in a casino. Sure, you might hit it big every now and then, but the odds are you’ll come out in the red.

Your plan should include several important elements:

  • A clear understanding of your target audience
  • A list of specific strategic goals you plan on engaging
  • The reasons and expected return on investment for your strategy
  • The specific numbers you will measure as metrics for success

If you are missing even one of these, your marketing efforts might be dead on arrival. The worst part? You won’t realize it until you’ve invested heavily in trying to make them work.

Mistake #7: You Have No Process in Place

Once you know what you want to accomplish, you need to answer the next big question: how?

How will you successfully build and execute a marketing plan? What resources do you need in place to do it? What tactics will you pursue to drive success in your selected metrics?

This is the game plan – the blueprint for your potential success – and far too many CRE professionals start spending time and money without it in place.

Some of the specific things that need to be included are:

  • Tactical action plan for what you will do to achieve the objectives you’ve laid out
  • Specific tools you will use to build your marketing campaigns
  • Technologies that need to be integrated for your website, content distribution and marketing follow-up efforts
  • Vendors you need to engage to complete key elements of your plan
  • Total budget and timeline for each of the above components so you know how much you’ll spend and how long will it take to accomplish?

A good plan is a fundamental cornerstone to your success in any kind of marketing. Go in without it and you’re flying blind.

Mistake #8: You Have Low Quality Photos

This applies to just about any type of business – visual aesthetics are incredibly important. But, for commercial real estate companies, photography is one of the single most important aspects of your marketing.

A high-quality photo does a lot of things. It engages your audience, showcases the property, captures attention at various distribution points, and conveys the story of the property through a visual medium.

Without good photos, not only could your prospects get a bad impression of the property, they may not see it at all – whether on a local listing directory or your own website, low quality photography can make people skim right past your most important properties.

Mistake #9: You Don’t Include Calls-to-Action

Imagine you launch a new marketing campaign and it’s a huge success at first glance. Hundreds of page views from a diverse range of traffic sources. Tons of clicks and time spent on site. Good quality traffic coming in to your website quickly.

And yet…no forms or calls.

Without strong, well-placed, and timely calls-to-action on your website, you might as well be erecting billboards in the desert.

People need to know exactly what to do next – how to act to get what you are offering. This means two things:

  • Include relevant contact information in an easy to find location on every page of your site. It should include multiple contact methods – not everyone likes picking up the phone.
  • Include targeted links and buttons for relevant conversions above and below the fold on every page. At any point on any page of your website, a visitor should be able to see a button that offers them an option to talk to someone in your office, download a document or otherwise engage.

If you don’t do these things, expect to receive half or a third as many possible prospects from the same amount of traffic. It’s that important.

Mistake #10: You Don’t Send Targeted Communications

How many pieces of marketing collateral do you get in your inbox every day? Dozens? Hundreds?

The average person sees an average of 200-300 marketing communications a day, half of which come via email. That’s a lot of potential junk mail – and if the messaging isn’t clear, you’re wasting an awful lot of effort and even doing more harm than good.

A broad, untargeted blast email to 1,000 people on your list may drive a bit of engagement, but you can exponentially increase the response rate by segmenting your audience and only sending relevant email communications to relevant people.

New property? Send to engaged prospects without deals attached. Company news? Send to frequent contacts, not recently converted prospects who don’t know your company well. Segment and generate better results from every email you send.

Mistake #11: You’re Not Measuring Success

In step one, I warned against the lack of a clear objective and metrics for success.

But setting those metrics is very different from measuring and reporting them to ensure things are working the way you want them to.

Having basic KPIs in place to try and understand the ROI of your marketing efforts is a must. It helps you to measure success and failure, and ultimately improve your efforts in future campaigns.

Some key metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Total visits
  • Total leads
  • Lead conversion rate
  • Total sales
  • Sales conversion rate
  • Total marketing costs
  • Cost per lead
  • Marketing ROI

Your actual KPIs may vary depending on what you hope to get out of your marketing efforts, but if you’re not watching and adjusting based on at least some of these eight KPIs, you’re less likely to be successful.

Making Smart Marketing Decisions to Prepare for Success

Who doesn’t want to succeed in their marketing efforts?

It’s not for lack of desire or ambition, but often planning and over extension that CRE marketing plans fall flat and fail to generate results.

That’s why it is so important to invest carefully, both in terms of time and budget, to build an executable plan based on the specific people you are targeting.

Avoid the 10 mistakes covered here and you’ll be in a good place to drive positive ROI in your future campaigns.