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Broker insights: What’s your top marketing strategy?

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offering-memorandum-design-2400Market-320x242What’s the best marketing idea you’ve tried this year?

We’re always on the lookout for fresh ways to help you expand your business, so this week we asked several successful brokers for their go-to marketing strategies. Here’s what they had to say:

 Use real mail to get real results

Kevin Vandenboss of Vandenboss Commercial does something that might seem a little old school: he mails out flyers.

“When we market a listing, we do it in a way where we get more listings from it,” he explains. His strategy is simple: skip the inbox and go straight for the mailbox.

It all started when he put together a marketing packet for an assisted living facility and sent it to other facilities in the area. “I did get somebody from that who ended up buying, but I also got three people who ended up calling and saying, ‘Hey, we got this and we actually want to sell ours.’”

“Months later, we’re still getting calls from these mailers,” Vandenboss says. “It pays off for a long time.” He believes that when people see the effort he puts into selling other people’s properties, they’re inspired to come to him with their own listings.

It’s a strategy that pays off for him largely because other brokers don’t provide the same level of care and attention to a single listing. “A lot of brokerages will send out a booklet with all of their listings, but rarely do you see them putting out physical mail for one specific property—especially if it’s not a $10 million dollar property,” he says. “If it’s something smaller, people don’t typically give it that kind of attention.”

So how does he do it?

“The difference is that we don’t just pick up every listing we can get. We’re selective about the properties we take. If I had 200 properties listed, I couldn’t give everyone that kind of attention—but I couldn’t sell that many, either. So if I limit the listings I have, and I give them that attention, then I can sell all of them.”

Expand your circle to expand your business

Derek Hermsen, founder of Union Street Corporate Real Estate, LLC, says that his best marketing investment has been joining ITRA Global, an international tenant representation platform.

“It gave me exposure to tenant rep brokerages across the globe,” Hermsen says, from inbound referral deals to an outbound network for sending deals. “It also gave me exposure to an international audience of tenants, helped me with SEO results, and pushed me to look beyond just my local market for deals.”

“It is my largest marketing expense,” he says, but for him the payoff is well worth it. He’s looking forward to attending this weekend’s ITRA Global Corporate Real Estate Conference in St. Louis, where he hopes to pick up even more marketing inspiration.

David Haug, president and managing broker at Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate also says that expanding your network is key. He recommends creating a “leads group” that includes professionals in adjacent industries: “For example, a real estate attorney, a commercial contractor, commercial architect, commercial lender, etc.”

“Make sure you pick people that actively prospect for business, too,” he says. “You want a group filled with go-getters that are hungry for business like you are.”

“This is a great way to get leads,” Haug says. “But these are also the people that are asked, ‘Who do you recommend as a broker?’ If they know and trust you from meeting with you frequently, you will be on the top of the list.”

Find the social network that suits your goals

Javier Del Carpio, a commercial real estate broker and investor with Caliber Realty Group, says that his best marketing strategy so far has been using LoopNet’s premium and platinum listings.

But he is also testing different ways to market his listings on social media, from Facebook to LinkedIn. “Lately I am using Facebook ads but they do not work as well,” he says. “A more effective approach for me is to post my properties on LinkedIn to my network of close to 9,000 people.”

Build new relationships in new workspaces

“There is a unique opportunity today, for approximately $150-$250 a month, to develop relationships and new clients in the new co-working offices,” says Rick Ferguson, a broker based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ferguson books a “hot desk” within a co-working office, which means he meets a lot of other business owners—many of whom may have their eyes on future property purchases.

“The open space encourages interaction with other business owners,” Ferguson says. “You tend to see and work next to the same professionals, and over time you develop a relationship.”

“I have used a co-working space for approximately one year and have sold two investment properties to a fellow co-worker and just picked up one listing assignment,” he says. “In addition I have two properties under contract and hopefully soon a third with an investor at the office.”

Add to the conversation

What’s your favorite way to get the word out about your services, your brokerage, or your listings? Please let us know your favorite marketing strategy in the comments section. And remember, it doesn’t necessarily have to be creative or cutting edge: it just has to work!