You’ve got some real estate – commercial or residential – that you want to sell or lease, ideally as quickly and as profitably as possible, to a suitable person or organisation. Real estate marketing is all about bringing the property to the attention of potential buyers, occupiers or investors. This will probably involve some form of paid advertising, but to increase the likelihood of success, you need to have an effective public relations strategy as well.
First things first
So before you start, you need to know:
- Are you looking to sell or rent out all or part of the property?
- If you are looking for investors, what percentage or element do you want to sell off?
- What type of people or organisations are likely to be interested?
- What is the competition, and how does your property compare?
- How much demand is there for such real estate?
- How strong is your brand compared with that of the competition?
The public relations strategy and real estate marketing that you need will depend on the answers to these questions.
Know your market
You need to understand the market for your real estate. Is there currently a buyers’ market, where the supply of similar available properties is higher than demand? Or is it a seller’s market, where the supply of similar properties is lower than the demand? The amount of effort needed to sell or lease your real estate will vary according to the condition of the market.
The size of the potential audience will also have an impact. Real estate that will appeal to a wide range of people or organisations is likely to be easier to move than real estate that is designed for a particular type of occupier or use.
However, it’s far more complex than that. People and organisations have particular needs and desires. They will probably have their own unique list of attributes they are looking for, and variable priorities. To them, not all properties are the same.
Know your competition
Yours almost certainly isn’t the only property on the market. Those likely to be interested in your property will have others to consider. So how does yours compare?
Location and price are very important factors, as is proximity to transport. The facilities will also have a bearing, particularly if they’re likely to feature on the property searchers’ wish lists.
Does your real estate have any unique features, or a combination of facilities that will make it especially desirable? Can you offer a special deal that will give you an edge over the competition?
How strong is your brand?
One final thing to consider before creating your PR strategy is how the reputation of your brand compares to the competition. Are you better known, more reputable, more reliable than the other real estate providers? How strong is your social media presence?
If you are not particularly well-known, or if your – or your product’s – reputation is not as good as it should or could be, then you should consider promoting yourself as well as your property.
There are huge advantages that come from having a known brand and an associated good reputation, and these are covered in a separate blog entitled “Corporate PR: How to Build Your Corporate Brand in the Media”.
Creating your real estate PR strategy
Armed with the knowledge of what you are offering, who you are looking to attract and how your property stacks up against the competition, you can begin to create your PR strategy.
So, how will your audience search for their desired property? Will they use advisers or agents, the internet, social media, the traditional media, other methods, or a combination of all?
You will want to focus on those methods that your audience will use, those that reach as many of them as possible, and also select ones that will allow you to make the most of your property’s particular attractions and facilities.
Your real estate marketing and PR strategy will inevitably involve a number of different methods, each with advantages and disadvantages.
Paid promotion – non-exclusive
If you want your property to appear in an advertisement in a newspaper, magazine or property search website, you will have to pay for it. The advantage here is that you know what you are paying for. Each provider of advertising opportunities is able to specify the number and type of people who are likely to see your advert or property listing. However, your property will appear alongside others that are available.
Paid promotion – exclusive
You can also consider creating a website for your property – or featuring it on an existing website you have created – allowing you to make the most of the unique or unusual features. And you might consider having a brochure printed. These have the advantage that you are in control of what is said and that they only feature your property. Their disadvantage is that you will have to work hard to drive traffic to the website, or to distribute the brochure to your audience. Other paid exclusive options include holding open days or exhibitions, attending trade fairs, doing roadshows, etc.
Here you aim to place stories and information about your real estate in the news and social media. You ‘earn’ the coverage on the newsworthiness of your story. The result you are looking for could be articles or features in newspapers and magazines, news items on TV and radio, social media postings, blogs and reviews. The opportunities are many and various.
The advantage is that you do not pay to place the stories. The disadvantage is that you are not in control of what appears (in the case of news items and features) or the subsequent comments generated (in the case of social media). See our blog on earned media and media planning for more on this.
Getting professional help
As you can see, real estate marketing is not simple. And using PR to promote real estate can be very tricky if you don’t understand how the media works. You are much more likely to achieve the outcome you desire, without creating the wrong sort of publicity, if you take on a professional real estate marketing and public relations company.
They understand the way real estate works. They know how to use the media to best advantage. And they have established contacts within the media that they can target with your story.
Blackstock Consulting is a leading firm in this field. We have provided professional assistance to a wide range of real estate businesses looking to build their brand, sell or lease out real estate, or attract investors.