8 Reasons Why You Should Be Investing in Digital Marketing Now

For years, the commercial real estate industry has been shifting toward digital engagement, but a tidal wave of change has accelerated that shift in the last two years. Despite the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world continues to move, and the commercial real estate market is increasingly transitioning online to adapt. 

To stay ahead of the mass transition to a more digital process, CRE brokers and agents need to be investing in real estate digital marketing now.

Here’s why:

1.More Customers Online Than Ever Before 

More commercial real estate tenants, investors, brokers and operators are online than ever before. There are several reasons for the shift to digital interaction. COVID has accelerated the process, with restrictions in major urban areas, the inability to cross certain borders, or the risk of contracting the disease keeping many investors and tenants out of in-person meetings. 

But it goes beyond the immediate risks of COVID. Commercial real estate was already shifting in a digital direction, with investment in proptech firms rising from $221 million in 2012 to $23.75 billion in 2020 (creti.org), and growth expected to continue accelerating. New tools like 3D tours, electronic signatures, document storage, and access to massive, highly targeted marketing platforms are making it possible to engage with prospects almost entirely online, and with buyers increasingly preferring this mode of interaction, it’s a win-win. 

2. Unbeatable Speed to Execute

Digital marketing is quite simply faster than any other channel. Online CRE platforms eliminate extraneous steps in the process, and a digital approach to marketing expedites the process of listing a property and engaging with a pool of investors and tenants. 

Traditional marketing channels can take days or even weeks to engage. Collateral needs to be designed, printed and distributed, and in-person showings need to be scheduled. Digital marketing assets can be distributed as soon as they are finalized, and 3D tours and online showings allow prospective tenants or buyers to view a property within hours of a listing going live. If there is interest, you can engage within a couple of days instead of a couple of weeks. There is no faster way to execute a new campaign. 

3. Expand Your Market Reach Outside the Local Market

Most CRE brokers have broad networks that stretch beyond local boundaries, but that doesn’t mean they are able to activate those networks for every property they list. Digital marketing enables brokers to quickly reach a wide audience of prospects whenever a new listing goes live.  

In 2020, Ten-X reported that 56% of its commercial buyers purchased properties from out of state or overseas, never seeing the physical property in person. Those numbers are expected to rise with the advent of newer and better proptech solutions. For CRE brokers, more customers being online means a wider reach, more competition for new listings, and a much bigger pool of potential investors. 

4. Measuring Results is Clear and Precise

Digital marketing strategies offer real-time feedback on performance. Content distribution, digital advertising, and online interaction with prospects can all be measured, analyzed and cataloged to determine what is most effective and adjust quickly to conditions. This type of monitoring means you know in real time what works and what doesn’t and can adjust your spend, but it also allows for incredibly precise targeting. 

In just five years, more than half of marketers are now utilizing attribution reporting, a tool once only available to enterprise organizations. As a result 91% of marketers are confident that their investments are driving revenue and most marketers are able to report directly on how their efforts impact revenue. In the commercial real estate industry this visibility is more important than ever. 

5. Ability to Target Specific Customers

Segmentation of your existing databases based on geography, past purchases, amenity preferences, and more allow you to reach out to people with catered opportunities they are most likely to engage with. Ads are only shown to the people who are most likely to click on them. Website content can be customized automatically to reflect the location and interests of the prospective investors and tenants who visit your landing pages. The control and granularity offered by digital marketing makes it a powerful resource that uses your marketing budget more effectively. 

The average marketing campaign targets three or more segments and according to Campaign Monitor, those who segment their email lists see a 760% increase in revenue. The tools are at your disposal to craft custom messaging that engages your prospects with marketing campaigns most likely to engage them. 

6. More Cost Efficient Than Anything Else 

This is all fine and good, but what’s the ROI? 

With a broader reach, actively engaged audience that’s ready to shift to digital, and incredibly precise targeting, digital marketing eliminates much of the waste of a traditional marketing campaign. In fact, no other marketing channels offer the same ROI impact as email marketing, SEO and content marketing. How much so? The average ROI on email marketing is 4,200%. Those who engage in content marketing are 13 times more likely to see positive ROI. The average return on Google ads investments is 100%.

When implemented effectively, digital marketing tactics result in significant, faster, and more targeted engagement with prospects, and a growth in your return on investment of a marketing budget. More importantly, you can directly tie those efforts to the bottom line due to the effectiveness of reporting technology.  

7. CRE Tenants and Investors’ Buyer Behavior Has Changed

The world was already moving in this direction. More than 84% of the population shopped online more during the pandemic than the past and 81% of those used multiple devices to engage with brands and sellers. Millions of deals closed in 2021 without those investors seeing properties in person. 

COVID has accelerated digital behaviors of tenants and investors. These are individuals who are accustomed to doing everything online in their personal lives and those habits are shifting to encompass their CRE search and engagement activities. They search for properties online, request information through website forms, communicate via email, and often conduct transitions remotely, relying on increasingly sophisticated CRE technology to engage with sellers instead of traveling long distances to close a deal. As a CRE broker, it’s about more than accessing a larger market. Digital channels are increasingly preferred by your prospects. It’s vital that you meet them where they are. 

8. Your Competitors Are Gaining Market Share

With your prospects online more than ever, COVID creating a new normal in which digital engagement is not just accepted but is now expected, and the tools in place to do so relatively easily, your competitors are already making the shift. 

The commercial real estate industry has woken up and the appetite for digital marketing is stronger than ever. This isn’t a fad. The industry was already trending in this direction and recent events have accelerated the transition to a digital-first approach. Anyone who waits will only fall further behind. Digital marketing is the present and future of the commercial real estate industry. Act now or risk being left behind. 

Building a Robust Digital Marketing Strategy

The tools, technology, and expertise in the commercial real estate industry are more accessible than ever before. From a booming proptech industry to growing expertise to support your digital marketing efforts and listing services to reach a wider audience, it’s more possible than ever to implement a strong digital marketing presence for your commercial real estate business. Now is the time to invest and capitalize on a major shift in how commercial real estate investors and tenants research and close on new properties. 

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