No matter what they’re looking for, more people than not turn to the Internet to find it. When that search includes commercial real estate properties, useful hits can become a little tricky. That’s because commercial real estate lacks the recognized and central multiple listing service available for residential real estate. There is no standard “go-to” website for commercial real estate, but rather a jumble of expensive membership-based sites that all offer what amounts to the same thing. In a nutshell, commercial real estate agencies buy rights to post property listings for other agencies and the public at large in an attempt to put properties they represent in front of potential tenants and buyers. If this is surprising and somewhat worrisome, it should be. If you’re thinking that there exists a very distinct possibility that your particular property may be completely overlooked by a potential user because it’s listed on some real estate websites but not others, you’re absolutely right. And if you’re wondering whether perhaps your agency is paying for only a basic membership to these websites, meaning your property only appears at the bottom of a (very) long list of viable locations, if at all, consider it a warning sign. These are detrimental scenarios for getting your property in front of potential tenants and buyers. So what should you do?
There are a few specific factors that greatly increase your chances for success, and they need to be carefully considered when it’s time to list your commercial real estate. You’ll want to ask to how many online services does an agency belong, as well as what membership level – basic? Standard? Premium? But the most critical question is what an agency’s own website does to get properties in front of prospects. This is something over which an agency has direct control, and it can have a material and significant impact on locating the right buyer or tenant for your property in a timely manner.
There are a long list of online features that impact the overall performance of a website and with it, the chance for successfully getting your property on the computer screen or mobile device of potential tenants and buyers. What follows is a list of important features your agency’s website should have that will maximize your chances for success.
Hosting listings internally rather than using an outsourced service
Why does it matter? Visitors stay on your property listing, without incentive to browse dozens of similar properties.
Functional, aesthetically-pleasing website design to attract visitors and offer incentives to look around
Why does it matter? An unattractive, confusing or difficult to navigate site will lose visitors much faster.
Calls to actions and offers
Why does it matter? These incentives engage site visitors, sharing valuable information that is fast and free in exchange for specific contact information, which can help move them further along the sales/lease funnel and closer to a property like yours.
High visitor count
Why does it matter? The more visitors to the website, the greater the chance for more views of a given property.
Professional property videos shot on location
Why does it matter? Visitors get a virtual property tour without having to leave their site. If a property looks appealing on a video, it’s likely to make it to the prospect’s short list.
QR codes on marketing materials
Why does it matter? These small codes provide instant access to property information on mobile devices.
How long the site has been around
Why does it matter? A domain that has been around for a long time likely has pages with deep roots, meaning they rank well for specific search terms.
Instant online chat
Why does it matter? Offering visitors access to instant chat means they don’t have to wait to have questions (hopefully about your property) answered.
Why does it matter? High visibility and prominent placement of featured listings increase exposure to your property.
Ready to print flyers
Why does it matter? Visitors have immediate access to all printed sales material and collateral so they can get all the details about your property when it suits them.
High level of site activity from the agency
Why does it matter? A site that has fresh and updated content will be regularly crawled by search engines, leading to increased visibility in searches. In particular, a regularly updated blog keeps prospects and clients engaged and keeps the agency top of mind.
Why does it matter? Property search engine optimization and management keeps a website’s visibility in online search high, putting your property in front of prospects searching for it.
In today’s competitive commercial real estate environment, clients need every advantage their real estate agency can provide. In addition to hard work and dedication to achieving successful results for your real estate needs, a great agency website can be a huge advantage to you. If you’re considering an agency, ask them about their site and how they’ll use their online presence to get your property in front of the right people. And if you can’t get a very specific answer, consider finding an agency capable of providing one.
For examples about free offers designed to engage site visitors, visit our Resources page.