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Top 5 strategies to get the most out of your online commercial property listings in a slower market

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High interest rate environments, a change in public policy, and black swan events are a few factors that may contribute to a deceleration in the commercial real estate market. In slower times, it’s wise to take a step back and reassess your time, money, and sweat equity investments to ensure you’re getting the highest rate of return

A key investment to look at is your online presence and digital marketing usage. Snail mail and newspaper columns are still alive and well, but if you don’t already have a strategy for marketing your listings online, now is a good time to start. 

Here are 5 key areas to focus on online to help weather the storm.

1. Refresh and republish regularly

Slower markets often mean listings sit on the market for longer. Update the Hero image on your listing page and re-arrange photography every 30 days to prevent your target audience from scrolling over, as different aspects of a space will be of interest to different people

Re-write the first paragraph of the listing to highlight a different feature of the property (e.g., shift from highlighting the square footage and proximity to transit, to emphasizing the re-development potential of the space). 

Be sure to update the listed date upon republishing, as this step pushes the listing to the top of any content aggregator and content freshness remains a confirmed ranking factor for Google Search. 

2. Optimize your listing metadata for SEO

Ranking in the #1 position on Google is key as it averages a 40% Click-through rate, which is 2x higher than the #2 position and 4x higher than the #3 position

Ensure your URL and Page Title contain both the type and address of the property. If a potential client drives past your “Office Space for Lease” sign on Willingdon Avenue, there is a big chance they won’t remember your name (no offense), but they will search “Office Space for Lease on Willingdon and Lougheed” on Google.

It’s crucial that your listing shows up first in the search for its address and property category, or else, clients might end up calling your competitor who is leasing another floor in the same building. 

If your listing page is not showing up on Google, double check your XML sitemap to ensure your URL is included, and manually submit your listing on Google Search Console by inspecting it on the tool:

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Select “Request Indexing” if your URL is not currently appearing on Google. 

3. More content, more power

We’ve seen listings for separate units in the same building where the more comprehensive page garnered up to +133% more traffic organically.

Ensure your listing contains all up-to-date information, including keywords that your target audience is using in their searches. It is helpful to attach the Offering Memorandum of your listing but be sure to extract that information and write it out as text on the page. In general, users on their mobile phones are less likely to download a PDF, and Google re-crawls HTML a lot more than embedded documents. 

Include all supplementary information on the listing page as well, including contact details, tour time windows, price decreases, lease areas, floor plans, trailing 12 months, and so forth. The only exception to this rule is price; if it’s negotiable, it might be best to leave it out so as not to immediately put off potential buyers. 

4. Advertise on social media 

Our Meta campaigns for listings in Q1 2023 have yielded a result of $28 per qualified lead and $1.12 per listing click. 

One of the best advertising methods for commercial properties is running a lead generation campaign on Meta or LinkedIn. Inbound campaigns on social media allow you to target people based on their interests, all the way down to their job titles and the company where they work. When your target audience sees the listing and is interested, they fill out a form with their contact information, along with the consent for a broker to reach out directly. If a campaign is set up correctly, a small budget of a few hundred dollars can lead to a spreadsheet full of warm leads. 

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When advertising on social media, use professional photography or video, and keep the copy concise

5. Leverage technology

While there is no one-size-fits-all for your tech stack, below are a few options you can implement to improve the user experience:

Matterport Display your space in 3D

Calendly – Book free consults or schedule a tour of your space

Walkthruit Offer a virtual tour of the space

LiveChat – Respond to enquiries on your listing in real time

ChatGPT – Write first draft of your ad copy

 

Aldo Stephanus is Senior Manager, Digital Marketing for Colliers Canada based in Vancouver.