Thank you for joining us for Part 2 of “Brand It and They Will Come”. To recap, this blog is a continuation of a 5-part series based on our CEO’s presentation at ICSC Southeast. Previously, we set the stage for the competitive marketplace of real estate developments today explaining that your tenants have more options than ever when deciding where and with whom to open a new store. Which, as you know, they are very selective about.
How do you reach your prospects and convince them your center is the best choice? We did some research and encourage you to go beyond traditional leasing means and experiment with the digital playing field.
Let’s begin with the New Marketing Ecosystem.
Traditionally, business transactions (leasing included) have been a one-way street where one party would reach out to the other first. The new ecosystem reveals not just a two-way street, but endless means through digital sources where prospects are conducting research about their next business decision long before the other party has even made contact. So how and where are they doing this? According to Accenture’s B2B Procurement Study of 2014, they are using the following means:
- 94% of buyers utilize online research prior to decision
- 84% visit a suppliers website
- 77% use Google search
- 41% read user reviews
- 34% visit third party websites
- 19% read blogs and social media
Now, let’s get specific to commercial real estate. Knowing how tenants find you is key to serving up content about your development long before you make contact. A joint study by Loopnet and Google revealed the following insights into Commercial Real Estate Consumer Online Behavior And Trends:
- 80% of tenants agree that they rely on the Internet for their commercial real estate information needs now more than three years ago.
- 6 in 10 respondents search for commercial properties using their mobile devices at least sometimes.
- Over half the respondents (55%) reported that they perform their own online searches for commercial property, even when they are working with a broker.
- 62% percent of respondents believe the Internet is a useful tool for finding a broker.
- One-half of the tenants and investors surveyed reported that they have purchased or leased a property they originally found searching online.
What does this mean? As soon as you break ground and people start learning about your development, information needs to be
- Visible on the web,
- Responsive to mobile devices, and
- Optimized for search immediately.
The best way to achieve all three of these things is through content marketing. In 2015, the Content Marketing Institute defined this as:
Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, drive profitable customer action.
You see, content marketing is all about relevance. You have to know your customer (or your tenant), know what content they want to see, and know where (channels) to give it to them. This cool chart below expands on this in detail.
Customers use channels to research content that is relevant to their needs and they share it with others. And that relevant content is what will ultimately drive customer action for them to reach out to you. Or at least be well aware of your new development by the time you call them.
Now, quick disclosure. We’re about to go off-topic for a second. But this is important.
We actually encourage you to take this a step further. Integrate prospect searches with your Customer Relationship Management software. The following chart details the percent of B2B Marketing Leaders rating CRM technologies as Important To and Effective For creating a cohesive customer journey.
What’s shocking to us is that 75% of marketing leaders find CRM tools to be very important, but only 41% found them to be very effective. That tells us that you may not have the right tool or are simply not using it to its fullest potential.
Recommending CRM tools is something we do all the time. And lucky for you, we’ve got a chart of over 25 CRM tools detailed by price, number of contacts, unique advantages and our special notes. Email Kelly Nation at firstname.lastname@example.org to get one for your team.
To wrap up, knowing where and how your tenants find you is critical to a leasing sales cycle (or any prospect funnel, really.) But we’ve got something new you might want to hear – an unexpected channel of where your prospects exist. We expound on this more in Part 3: The Power of Social Media.