Digital marketing has never been more important for business and commercial real estate is no different. Although in this industry a one-size-fits-all approach will not work, experts say. Why? Because the vast difference between everything from asset types to buyer profiles calls for specifically tailored campaigns – far more so than in many other industries says director of Melbourne’s Dux Agency Lauren Mai.

 “CRE digital marketing is highly targeted and not ‘one size fits all’,” Ms Mai says. “Digital strategies that may work across other business sectors will not be as effective for selling or leasing a development or specific property. Carrying out behavioural targeting across google platforms requires a solid strategy around audience profiling. For instance a campaign for a property such as a large retail centre or A-grade office space would require a quite tailored approach as the audience pool would be quite small.”

Tips and tricks

In the age of covid, investing in professional and engaging video will pay dividends, particularly as WFH and sporadic lockdowns place us more frequently online. Print media while in decline “still has its place” Ms Mai says. CRE marketing should also go beyond a basic property description to be more informative. “Descriptions should provide more insights into benefits gained by leasing or buying the asset. Every property has a story.”

Targeting a client type is also imperative. For example, Dux Agency’s campaign for the premium investment property at 658 Church St in the heart of buzzing Richmond took its lead from the edgy inner Melbourne suburb’s tenant mix. “The area is home to major fashion brands and well-known tech companies as well as smaller agencies, so the style of the campaign was more playful and colourful to appeal to that style of client,” Ms Mai says. The end result comprised a fast-moving video showcasing Richmond’s lifestyle as well as the property’s benefits via animated features, a parallax website and an information memorandum.

Online on the up

With internet users rising by 513,000 last year and nine out of 10 people online, (Hootsuite Digital 2021 Australia) a mere general knowledge of digital marketing is not enough. “The more sophisticated you get with your marketing and approach the more success you will have,” says Mark Cronje, director of CRE-specific digital marketing company Hubble.

A common mistake he sees is an “urge to jump ahead and be super cutting edge” without looking after key fundamentals. “It’s not ideal to spend thousands on a link to your website or that handy article you wrote for your marketing campaign without setting up the correct infrastructure first,” Mr Cronje says. “We come across CRE agencies that do this but without tracking pixels in place to create a cookie store so when a user visits their website they can retarget them at a later stage. When someone visits the Hubble site and clicks on my phone number – that is all information I want to know. Often people totally forget to employ that capability or are simply unaware it exists.”

Mr Cronje is also believer in the power of Facebook. “It is our primary channel because the majority of Australians use Facebook which means everyone from shop-owners to company CEOs will be using it.”

Perfecting the virtual handshake

Visibility online should be a key focus for any business given current events, says marketing coach and CEO of Bluewire Media Adam Franklin. “We can’t see people as much as we did in the past which means increasingly the only way people will see us is through the screen, whether via social media, email or some other way,” he says. “That’s our virtual handshake now so we need to be visible. “

Likewise, keep an eye on what goes on above and below the surface of your digital approach. “Above the surface can be marketing posts on social media or publishing content through consistent channels. It covers anything like graphics, video, text only documents and of course it makes total sense to repurpose these for to post across the channels you’re using like Instagram and Facebook.

“Below the surface – the things nobody sees - are the private messages and outreach to grow your network. This is where most of the commercial outcomes take place. So if a business can be growing their network and starting conversations privately with these people - that’s where they want to be.”

Mr Franklin’s number one tip is to pursue email marketing with a passion. “It is hands down the most effective form of direct marketing,” he says. “Too few people have a focus on building their email lists and then regularly following them up. An email list is an asset you actually own – whereas your list of followers and friends on social media channels can be lost overnight because they change their rules so often.”