When it comes to commercial real estate and property marketing, historically, online advertising platforms have been behind the curve in providing solutions that met commercial agents needs. But, great news, in the last few months the online portals have really stepped up their game.
With the launch of popular portals like realestate.com.au and domain.com.au, the residential real estate industry witnessed a rapid evolution from print to digital marketing. While over the same period of time commercial listings have seemingly lagged a few steps behind, sticking to more traditional advertising methods.
This has now begun to change. The landscape for advertising offices for sale or rent, retail premises and industrial space is becoming more diverse, as is the demographic interested in commercial property. The waves of digital innovation are finally having an impact on the way commercial properties are presented to their audience.
Today we explore the key marketing benefits behind the fresh new faces of commercial property advertising:
The changing demographic
In the past, the target audience of commercial real estate advertisements were high level decision makers. Picture a suit-wearing male in his mid fifties who’d been doing the same job for quite some time. He would typically reach for the Financial Review to check for new commercial property opportunities. Pulling out his smartphone, to look for property listings, would not have crossed his mind – until now.
Today, the profile of such commercially focused decision makers looks very different. The new market of business owners includes a much younger demographic who are looking for flexibility, convenience and work / life balance.
The new breed of entrepreneurs is less likely to shop for space within the commercial property pages of the Australian Financial Review. Instead, they’re heading online (often from a phone) to uncover their options.
As noted by Maty Paule, Head of Product for commercialrealestate.com.au (CRE), the average age of commercial property website visitors has plummeted. On the ‘News’ section of the CRE website, the age is down to 33 years. “We’ve seen an increase in younger people interested in stories about what is happening with their local pubs or shopping centres”, explains Maty, “They might not be set to sign a lease just yet but they are definitely looking to get involved in the future.”
Where commercial real estate portals used to offer a one-size fits all solution for property marketing, they now offer options for extended business types and categories that include:
- Serviced offices
- Shared / coworking spaces
- Medical and consulting premises
- Industrial / warehouse
- Investment properties
With more online listing options for commercial property advertising, it makes sense that a wider audience is taking notice.
Image source: www.commercialrealestate.com.au
From farm to franchise
Marketers can now list almost any kind of professional property, including commercial farms in regional areas. Brokers can also promote businesses for sale alongside properties for lease.
“The main driver behind leasing or selling commercial property is being the best you can in business,” says Maty. “For example, someone may be planning on opening a bakery. After conducting a few searches on commercialrealestate.com.au, checking out the available retail properties to lease, they will see that there are other avenues to opening their bakery. They could even end up exploring the idea of buying an existing business or joining a franchise network. Launching franchise listings on CRE was a natural migration to be able to support more business owners.”
CRE lists franchise opportunities for businesses including Boost Juice, Gloria Jeans, Muffin Break and Crust Pizzas. The entrepreneurially minded can also search for businesses to buy across industries and around the country.
Landing pages for a new landscape
A fresh online marketing strategy taken by commercialrealestate.com.au is to set up property specific landing pages for its commercial real estate clients, building a suite of pages and a structured online profile that showcases not only the individual listing but the entire complex and full range of listings within it. This is particularly effective for office block buildings that have several floors and space for more than one business.
Maty and his team have created 400 building profiles over the last three months, mostly for CBD based offices. However, the vision is to become the ‘IMDB’ of buildings, enabling business owners to search the entire country for something to suit their needs.
“Office admins who are seeking new space are interested in the whole building, including the amenities, the ‘end of trip’ facilities and concierges,” says Maty. “They are also looking for buildings with similar tenants.”
Building landing pages like this one for 100 Harris Street, provides an opportunity share information about the building, its location and its history, as well as current tenants and facilities. Those who visit the web page looking for available office space are more likely to become excited about choosing this complex because there’s more to learn.
Leading the charge on future tech
With the evolution of online marketing for the commercial real estate industry, data and statistics have really come into their own.
“Property marketing used to simply be about colours, logos and branding. But today’s agent is more digitally savvy and interested in click through rates” – Maty Paule
A huge benefit of the online realm is the detailed trackability of ad performance. Agencies can see whether their page visitors (or traffic) is coming from social media or search engines. They can gather demographic information about the people viewing their listings and see at a glance which of their listed properties are most popular.
Maty and his team are also responsible for a new Augmented Reality experience available on mobile. From within the CRE app, users can hold their phone up near a building to see information about available spaces as well as current tenants and building amenities. They can also check out information about other buildings they may not have noticed otherwise.
To add even more to the user experience, Commercial Real Estate has also expanded beyond the leasing, buying and selling of property. Purchasing startup Beevo last year enabled the company to offer services for the entire life cycle of office occupation.
Beevo bundles services like energy, phone, waste management, cleaning and insurance, using local providers to take care of everything in one hit. “Customers are typically moving their business from one building to another and when that happens they need to set up things like internet connections, electricity and phone systems,” says Maty, “Beevo makes the service more seamless, saving huge costs and allowing businesses to be up and running as soon as they are in their new premises.”
Home buyers and renters on residential real estate sites are getting used to seeing beautiful images, detailed descriptions and video content. It therefore makes sense that these trends are migrating to the commercial side of selling property for commercial property sales and leasing. Adding dynamic new features has attracted a new audience and is enabling leasing and selling agents to gain more exposure than ever before.