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By BTS Brands
You really can’t be in the business of any kind today without a website. However, websites and great commercial real estate websites are two different things. To understand just what goes into a great website for this industry, we researched dozens of leading sites to understand what they all have in common. What we found were 10 key components that cover areas such as design, content and customer interaction. Having every one of these pieces may require an upfront time and financial investment, but will certainly pay off in the long run. If your website is either not already incorporating each of the key components or you feel a little overwhelmed with the implementation – make the additions of these elements a stretch goal and let them serve as milestones on your road map to attaining a great commercial real estate website.
1. A Warm, Genuine About Us Page
It’s important to take your business seriously and to demonstrate your industry leadership. Remember, you’re in the business of building customer relationships. Let visitors to your commercial real estate website glimpse your company culture, learn about your values and be provided with an understanding of why you’re different. Highlight your skill sets, the backgrounds of your team and your collective experiences. It should all feel genuine and not robotic or stuffy.
2. A Detailed Yet Simplistic Service Overview
This is the most important page of your website, so keep it simple. Use broad strokes to quickly paint a picture of the services you provide. This lets the visitor easily connect their needs with how your services can help them satisfy those needs. Use jumps to bring them to additional content further down the page or links to rich content to satisfy a potential client’s desire for additional detail. If you’ve done a good job upfront outlining your services, in a way that is obvious and makes sense, they’ll be eager for more information or to get further engaged.
3. Demonstrate Successful Transactions & Corresponding Testimonials
Nothing can punctuate the value of your commercial real estate business like the voice of a satisfied customer. Prospective clients want to know that you’ve helped other businesses like theirs in the past and customer testimonials are a great way to demonstrate that while building instant trust with website visitors. If you’ve had some particularly interesting assignments, use brief case studies to show how you helped your customers tackle their problems and achieve success. Think about times when you may have had to address a compressed timeline, a unique requirement for a space or a client whose business was rapidly growing and was concerned with for the future.
4. Intuitive Property Section with Deal Room Capability
A picture is worth a thousand words and giving your visitors the ability to see current listings on your website will make those properties more memorable and help to educate your client. Commercial real estate listing services like LoopNet, CoStar, Xcelligent, PropertyLine and Crexi have great property database capabilities which can help you promote your business with a degree of sophistication and be a main selling point during listing presentations. Landlords and Owners want their property to be visible in every possible outlet and your website should be one of those places. Try integrating with key property listing services to help streamline the process of keeping information about properties updated.
5. Serve Up Valued, Relevant Content Offers
Inbound marketing is paving the way to the future by pulling interested parties to websites rather than pushing content at them. To do this, your website needs to offer valued content to visitors. Offering content does two things. First, it promotes your understanding of the commercial real estate industry and shows you are a thought leader. Second, it gives you an important opportunity to collect contact information. You’ll be able to ultimately target market to the people who have found interest in your offerings.
6. A Page on Process
How often have you heard a client say “What’s next”? They want to know what they can expect by doing business with you. By outlining your process, visitors will understand what the transaction process looks like from start to finish. Providing this information will create a transparency of your company with the client. This will make them feel empowered, knowledgeable and demonstrates how you differ from the competition.
7. Be Subscription Ready
Interaction with a prospective client shouldn’t end when they leave your site. If you’ve provided valued, relevant content, give them the opportunity to receive more. If someone’s interested in receiving updates from you, by all means – collect their email address. You can do this wherever possible by offering a no obligation subscription to your blog, your white paper collections or videos. You can notify them each time you publish new information which creates an on-going relationship.
8. Contact & Consultation Forms Throughout
Your website should not be just an online billboard. The ultimate goal for any commercial real estate website should be to create interaction and convert visitors into potential clients. Contact or consultation forms will help promote expertise and generate leads. There isn’t a better way to do this than a contact form. Remember, it’s hugely important to be hyper-responsive when those leads come in.
9. News and Article Section
Writing articles is hard work. What’s even tougher, is doing it consistently. However, writing content is a must in the age of search engines and email marketing. Articles provide a basis for making your website attractive to search engines but also build your credibility and demonstrate that you are a thought leader.
10. Responsive Design
With people using so many different screens these days, it’s important to make sure that your commercial real estate website looks great on all of them. Modern programming languages and contemporary content manage systems will facilitate responsive design to ensure your site is visible and “responds” properly to every type of computer and device. It goes without saying in this day in age, but without a responsive website, you’re living in the stone age. Make sure to regularly check your site using different devices and web browsers and don’t forget to include smart TVs in that mix.
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