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How digital is changing enquiry generation for property marketing, and why you should bother.

Traditionally, commercial property marketing has relied heavily on generating enquiries from an existing network of contacts. An agent or a landlord would reach out to contacts from their black book to market a given disposal. Someone from their list would respond and eventually a building would be leased after lengthy negotiations.

Nevertheless, if you want to grow and expand, you simply cannot fish from the same pond without running out of fish to catch.

With the technological boom and a rise of startup companies, the market has evolved. This new breed of clients’ habits is reflective of the so-called “digital nomads” - the digital-first generation.

As there often is with new and emerging trends, at times the industry is slow to adapt and generally resists the change. As a result, a knowledge gap is extending which supports the creation of anecdotal beliefs.

There are three such myths, in particular, that need be challenged:

No. 1 - B2B decision makers don’t search for high-value products/services before contacting sales reps/agents

It’s a common belief amongst agents and landlords alike that potential tenants do not search for larger properties (say 20,000+ sq ft) online.

Realla’s own data shows that 0-5,000 sq ft office spaces are viewed slightly less than in proportion to the number of listings on Realla (0.9x), spaces from 5,000-10,000 sq ft are viewed slightly more than in proportion, and 10,000+ sq ft office spaces are viewed even more as a proportion (1.34x). Even if you look only at the largest office spaces, those of 20,000+ sq ft, they are viewed more than the number of listings would imply (1.28x).

This evidence clearly dispels the myth.

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No. 2 - Digital channels are not relevant when it comes to lead generation for commercial properties

According to Google Search data, there are approximately 1.3 million searches monthly related to commercial properties in the UK. Globally the number reaches 15 million monthly (English-language searches).

A large number of searches only proves the importance of digital presence, especially from an SEO perspective. According to research from Hubspot, SEO is the best channel for B2B businesses to generate enquiries.

But that’s not all. Did you know it takes 7 to 13+ touches to deliver a qualified sales lead (Online Marketing Institute)? In the world of commercial property, a qualified sales lead means a solid enquiry leading to a viewing. Your potential prospects are researching your portfolio even before they have any intention to contact you directly. It creates a need to create and distribute brand assets across multiple channels used by your target audience.

Social channels like LinkedIn or Twitter are a perfect medium for commercial real estate owners to distribute marketing materials. Assets like reports or surveys are examples of content types well-suited to social media channels as they provide value to a prospect and build initial engagement between a brand and prospects. Your target audience is likely to ponder over your assets on social media which, as a result, extends their level of awareness of your brand and its value to a prospect.

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No. 3 - Only the CEO and CFO are involved in making a decision about which building they are going to lease

According to a survey by the American Society of Interior Designers, “employees cited their physical environment to be one of the most important factors influencing their decisions to accept or leave jobs, tying for second with benefits.” Forty-one percent of respondents said that the physical workplace would impact their decision to accept a job, and fifty-one percent said that it would impact their decision to leave one. Armed with this strong evidence, companies are opening up the decision-making process to HR and IT departments. The requirement that buildings should help businesses to “attract and retain talent” is becoming one of the most ubiquitous truisms in office design and leasing.

With those additional groups in the mix, it’s important for marketing professionals to adjust their targeting. Recently one of the most talked about B2B marketing approaches is ABM - Account-Based Marketing. It considers different target groups involved directly or indirectly in a decision-making process and advocates devising individual content-led campaigns for each group ensuring high relevancy.

For instance, if you’re targeting HR specialists in your prospect organisations, you might want to conduct research on how a specific aspect of a building (e.g. natural light or high ceilings) can improve the wellbeing of staff or increase their productivity, and promote this to them. On the other hand, if your targets are CFOs and CEOs, you might want to produce a thought leadership piece on the impact of talent retention attributed to flexible workspaces.

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