The goal of advertising is to reach potential customers and inform them about your products or services. Advertising should be designed to capture the customer’s attention and encourage them to use your product. All advertising should be clear and consistent with the unique positioning statement of your business.
The purpose of advertising is to communicate information about a product or business in a way that is interruptive, credible, unique, and memorable. For advertising to be effective, it must be used in conjunction with other marketing tools and business elements. It is also important for advertisers to have a solid positioning strategy. Furthermore, a sufficient amount of money must be spent on advertising so that the ads are seen by a significant number of people.
Word-of-mouth advertising referes to when customers talk to other potential customers about a product or service and is considered to be the most effective form. This is because it is credible, attention grabbing, and well received by the audience. Word-of-mouth advertising is efficient and memorable, and often includes free demonstrations and samples. Whenever possible, businesses should try to create an advertising campaign that will lead to word-of-mouth advertising, as this is the most effective form of advertisement.
Advertising is only one part of what drives sales for a product. Word-of-mouth is often more important, especially for products that people need to try before they fully commit to buying. Advertising can act as a catalyst for word-of-mouth, but it’s not the only thing that matters.
Guidelines for successful advertising campaigns
Here are some guidelines for creating memorable advertising that really sells:
- Make sure your ads are “on strategy” with your business positioning. A good positioning strategy ensures identification of the correct target audience for your advertising, along with a listing of meaningful features and benefits. It can provide reasons why the product is superior and unique, along with an advertising “personality.”
- Communicate a simple, single message. People have trouble remembering someone’s name, let alone a complicated ad message. Use the “KISS” principle for ad messages: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” For print ads, the simpler the headline, the better. And every other ad element should support the headline message, whether that message is “price,” “selection,” “quality,” or any other single-minded concept.
- Stick with a likable style. Ads have personality and style. The Pillsbury Doughboy becomes a beloved icon; the Quiznos “sponge monkeys” nearly sunk the brand. Find a likable style and personality and stay with it for at least a year or more of ads. Changing ad styles and personality too often will confuse potential buyers. It also fights against memorability.
- Be credible. If you say your quality or value is the “best” and it is clearly not, advertising will speed your demise, not increase your business. Identifying and denigrating the competition should also be avoided. It is potentially confusing and distracting and may back fire on you by making buyers more loyal to competitive products, not less.
- Ask for the sale. Invite buyers to come to your store, send for more information, or call for information and orders in the ad. Provide easily visible information in the ad for potential customers to buy: location, telephone number, store hours, charge cards accepted, etc.
- Make sure the ad is competitive. Do your homework. Examine competitive ads in the media that you are planning to advertise in. Make sure your ad stands out from competitive ads. You can use personal judgment, ad test exposures to a small group of target buyers (i.e., qualitative research), or more expensive, sophisticated quantitative test methods. Compare ads for uniqueness, memorability, credibility, and incentive to purchase.
- Make sure the ad looks professional. If you have the time and talent, computer graphics and desktop publishing software can provide professional-looking templates to create good-looking print ads. Consider obtaining writing, artistic, and graphics help from local agencies or art studios who have experienced professionals on staff, with expensive and creative computer software in-house. They may save you time and money in the long run, with better results. Electronic ads (e.g., TV, radio, Internet) and outdoor ads are best left to professionals to write, produce, and buy for a fee or percentage of media dollars spent (i.e., generally 15 percent of gross media spending).
- Be truthful. Whatever advertising medium you select, make sure your message is ethical and truthful. There are stringent laws regarding deceptive practices and false advertising.
Take full advantage of low and no cost advertising
There are several ways to advertise, promote, and publicize your business without spending a lot of money. When your business becomes successful and you can afford more expensive advertising methods, you can measure how effective they are in terms of business growth. The most important thing is that your advertising causes more people to buy your products or services.
Cultivate referral business
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on advertising if you spend it wisely. As we noted earlier, word-of-mouth is the oldest form of advertising and it’s still one of the most effective ways to promote your business. To help encourage word-of-mouth advertising, ask your customers for referrals on a regular basis. Depending on the type of business you have, staying in touch with your customers can help generate referrals by keeping your name top-of-mind. For example, many personal service businesses, such as accountants and real estate agents, send birthday and holiday cards to their customers. Other businesses, such as hair salons, offer discounts or a gift certificate to customers who provide a referral that brings in new customers.
It is important to have a consistent message and look for your company across all platforms, including print and web. This can be achieved by having a simple logo that is used on all printed material, such as business cards, letterhead, brochures, and flyers. Your logo should also be featured on your website.
Leverage your business cards
It’s important to print attractive and informative business cards that include your logo, and to hand them out consistently in order to promote your business. If it’s appropriate for your business, you can use your card as a discount certificate or another type of incentive. Another option is to have some cards printed on a magnetic backing so that customers can put them on their refrigerator.
You can increase your business by printing up gift certificates. These certificates allow your customers to introduce you to new customers. By being paid up front for the product or service, it provides a cash flow.
We’ve gathered 11 of the most costly mistakes that commercial real estate companies should avoid.
Mistake #1: You’re Following the Herd
If you just do what successful people around you are doing, surely you’ll be successful too, right? One of the worst things you can do is follow the crowd. It may be tempting, but if you just do what other successful people are doing, you’ll likely be successful as well.
You won’t get very far by simply posting your listing on LoopNet and sending a few generic emails.
By not promoting your business in the same channels as your competitors, you have a better chance of success.
What is relevant for commercial real estate?
- The types of properties you promote
- The potential audience you hope to engage
- The geographic location of your properties
- The need represented by your available space
Sending a generic email will not help you connect with your audience better and it will be a huge time waster.
It’s important to spend time thinking about where you should invest your time and energy, what kind of content and marketing materials will appeal to your target audience, in order to create a more effective strategy.
Mistake #2: You Use Too Many Tools
It’s easy to get caught up in all the different marketing tools and CRE technology that are available and try to combine them into one giant system. Not only does this make your life more complicated and take up a lot of time, but it also creates multiple disconnected data sets.
If you want to succeed in commercial real estate marketing, you need to invest in an all-in-one software solution.
A full-feature marketing platform has many benefits, one of which is that it offers a wide range of tools combined in one platform, making things more easy and efficient.
Mistake #3: You Have a Weak Promotional Strategy
If you don’t have an effective promotional strategy for your commercial real estate listing, you won’t get great results, even if you’ve listed it on some listing sites and invested in presentation materials.
To increase the visibility of your property listing and generate leads, you will need to put in some continuous hard work. This includes promoting your listing on multiple platforms.
Let’s break this down:
One-time campaigns are not as effective as ongoing campaigns with consistent promotion. Keep the frequency of your promotional activities high during your marketing phase. Properties that keep showing up are the ones prospects will remember and have a better chance of converting into leads.
An effective campaign will use multiple channels to reach its audience. This can include online listings, email, social media, paid campaigns, and personal outreach. The more channels you use, the more likely you are to reach your target prospects.
Mistake #4: You Have Weak Content
If you want to succeed in selling your property, it is not enough to just have good photographs. The quality of your written content is just as important in creating a description that will interest potential buyers. Poorly written content that does not give an accurate picture of the property and its features is a quick way to lose interest.
Written content has a profound impact on conversion rates for several reasons. Just think about how much even a short blurb describing your property conveys:
- Location and proximity to nearby attractions
- Accurate description of space and availability
- Benefits of certain amenities in the context of the property
- An accurate understanding of the cost and value of a space or property
Your landing pages and property descriptions need to be clear and concise in order to capture and keep attention, while communicating the benefits of choosing this property. Low quality copy can at the least fail to do this, and at the worst push people away due to an unclear message.
Mistake #5: You Don’t Share Efforts With Your Team
Marketing a property listing takes a team effort.
If a company only has one person promoting their listing, they will never be as successful as companies that have a team actively promoting their listing.
It is important that your marketing and sales teams are working together and have established procedures to make it easy for team members to be involved.
There are many marketing activities that cost nothing to do (posting on social media, sending emails, outreach, etc.) and only require your time and effort.
Mistake #6: You Lack Objectives
You can’t effectively measure success without a plan. An effective plan for your organization’s success should accurately represent your goals, what you plan to do, why you plan to do it, and which metrics you will track throughout your campaigns.
Investing in marketing without setting objectives is similar to gambling in a casino. There is a chance you will be successful occasionally, but it is more likely that you will lose money.
Your plan should include several important elements:
- A clear understanding of your target audience
- A list of specific strategic goals you plan on engaging
- The reasons and expected return on investment for your strategy
- The specific numbers you will measure as metrics for success
If you are missing even one crucial element of a successful marketing campaign, your efforts might be doomed to fail. The worst part is that you may not realize it until you’ve already invested a lot of time and resources into trying to make it work.
Mistake #7: You Have No Process in Place
The next question you need to answer after knowing what you want to achieve is how you will achieve it.
To successfully build and execute a marketing plan, you will need to have the right resources in place and pursue the right tactics to drive success in your selected metrics.
If you want to be successful in CRE, you need to have a game plan in place.
Some of the specific things that need to be included are:
- Tactical action plan for what you will do to achieve the objectives you’ve laid out
- Specific tools you will use to build your marketing campaigns
- Technologies that need to be integrated for your website, content distribution and marketing follow-up efforts
- Vendors you need to engage to complete key elements of your plan
- Total budget and timeline for each of the above components so you know how much you’ll spend and how long will it take to accomplish?
The key to success in marketing is having a good plan. Without a plan, you will not be successful.
Mistake #8: You Have Low Quality Photos
The visual aesthetics of a commercial real estate company’s photography is one of the most important aspects of its marketing.
A high-quality photo: -Engages your audience -Showcases the property -Captures attention at various distribution points -Conveys the story of the property through a visual medium
If you don’t have good photos of your property, people might get a negative impression of it or might not see it at all. This is because low quality photos can make people not want to look at your property.
Mistake #9: You Don’t Include Calls-to-Action
Now imagine that as the days go on, that traffic starts to dwindle. The page views, clicks, and time on site all decrease. You might be thinking that this is just a normal part of any marketing campaign and that the traffic will pick back up. But what if it doesn’t? If you launch a new marketing campaign and it is successful at first, but then the traffic starts to decrease, you may think that it is just a normal part of the campaign. However, if the traffic does not pick back up, it may be a sign that something is wrong.
And yet…no forms or calls.
If you don’t have clear and effective calls-to-action on your website, it’s as if you’re putting up billboards in the desert where no one will see them.
People need to know exactly what to do next – how to act to get what you are offering. This means two things:
- Include relevant contact information in an easy to find location on every page of your site. It should include multiple contact methods – not everyone likes picking up the phone.
- Include targeted links and buttons for relevant conversions above and below the fold on every page. At any point on any page of your website, a visitor should be able to see a button that offers them an option to talk to someone in your office, download a document or otherwise engage.
You will receive fewer potential customers if you do not do these things, perhaps only half or a third as many. Traffic alone is not enough; these other factors are critical.
Mistake #10: You Don’t Send Targeted Communications
How many pieces of marketing collateral are sent to your inbox every day? Dozens? Hundreds?
On average, people see 200-300 marketing communications each day, with half of them coming through email. This means that a lot of potential email messages are considered junk mail. If the messaging is unclear, it not only wastes effort, but can also cause more harm than good.
If you want more engagement from your email list, try sending targeted emails to smaller groups. You’ll get better results than if you sent one email to a large group.
If you’re promoting a new property, send the email to engaged prospects who don’t have any deals attached. If you’re promoting company news, send the email to frequent contacts who know your company well. By segmenting your email list, you’ll get better results from every email you send.
Mistake #11: You’re Not Measuring Success
In the first step, I warned against the lack of a clear goal and measures of success.
Although it is important to set metrics, it is more critical to measure and report them to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
It is essential to have measures in place to assess the return on investment of your marketing campaigns so that you can gauge their success or failure and make adjustments to future campaigns.
Some key metrics to keep an eye on include:
- Total visits
- Total leads
- Lead conversion rate
- Total sales
- Sales conversion rate
- Total marketing costs
- Cost per lead
- Marketing ROI
Depending on your goals, the key performance indicators (KPIs) you track may vary. However, if you’re not paying attention to and making changes based on at least some of these eight KPIs, you’re less likely to be successful.
Making Smart Marketing Decisions to Prepare for Success
Who doesn’t want to succeed in their marketing efforts?
Although CRE marketers may have good intentions and be eager to succeed, many marketing plans fail because they are not well thought out or because they try to do too much.
It is important to invest time and budget carefully to build an executable plan based on the specific people you are targeting.
If you avoid making the 11 mistakes mentioned in this article, you will be likely to see a positive return on investment from future campaigns.