5 Strategies for Marketing During an Economic Downturn

During an economic downturn a company’s marketing strategy and budget should work even harder to support the vision and goals of the company. However, getting sucked into looking at only short-term issues isn’t the same as taking a holistic approach to adapting marketing plans to the new normal.

In the world of commercial real estate it’s no different, and as we all come to grips with the impact of the COVID crisis, proactive measures must be taken in order to mitigate loss both in the short and long-term.

While the ground beneath us is ever changing, and what worked just last spring will no longer be plausible, CRE firms must be willing and able to adapt quickly, thoughtfully, and with a fair amount of creativity. Now more than ever before a strong digital marketing strategy is a key factor to remain competitive, seeing as brokers, tenants, investors and operators will rely heavily on online channels.

On the plus side, there is an opportunity in the here and now to adapt your marketing strategy in a way that will serve your company both during the downturn and when the commercial real industry reverts back into something a little more normal.

Here are five ways that you can adapt your marketing during a downturn:

1. Strengthen relationships with existing clients

With fewer opportunities to pull in new clients, it is a good time to focus on building and maintaining strong relationships with current clients. This works in a variety of ways – it can build rapport, set you up for repeat business, and even if clients don’t return to you, you may find yourself being recommended by them in the future.

Strengthen your relationships by focusing on exceptional communication and exceeding expectations whenever possible. Consider your clients and what would be of value to them – this will most likely differ from client to client. Look for the opportunities to go above and beyond in a manner that will be appreciated.

Here are some examples of what that might look like:

  • Make introductions and connect your clients to people in your own network that could provide value to them
  • Share useful market data and information
  • Provide personal touch points with email and calls
  • Nurture the relationships via useful content marketing
  • Send a gift on any memorable occasions

2. Optimize your website

Now is an opportune time to invest in resources and find ways to improve your company website. This is where you communicate with your potential customers and share information on your company as well as your properties. Does your website look its best right now? If you’re not sure, then take advantage of this opportunity to start tweaking.

A few ways to optimize your site might include:

  • A full website redesign
    If your website is looking a bit outdated or just isn’t up to snuff with competitive firms in your market, consider a redesign.
  • Develop (or expand) your content strategy
    You want your website to truly be a resource in your field. Give your visitors a reason to come back and engage with your website by building a content strategy that informs and educates visitors. From news articles, Q&As, short form video, industry deep dives, interviews, market studies and various other types of media, now is the time to get creative and set yourself apart.
  • Implement new features
    There is no longer a reason to procrastinate. If there’s a feature or idea you’ve kept putting off for your site, now is the time to actually put it into development. You’ve got nothing to lose.
  • Enhancing the property search experience
    The majority of time spent on your website will be spent viewing properties. How can you make this experience better for your users, and how can you make it more likely to convert into fruitful opportunities? Develop your property search engine in order to efficiently attract, capture and convert potential opportunities.

3. Invest in new marketing technologies to get ahead

Traditional marketing channels are becoming more accessible to companies with smaller budgets, but that means that they are more saturated than ever before. In fact, a recent McKinsey study showed that one of the most prominent differences between successful companies and their peers have been advanced use of digital technologies.

To keep ahead of the pack, consider investing in new CRE technologies. This can run the gamut from creating VR property tours with Matterport, to purchasing a plan with a marketing platform such as SharpLaunch or Buildout.

4. Tighten up your SEO strategy

During unprecedented times like these, search engine optimization (also known as SEO) is more important than ever. It’s vital that your business and properties are coming up in the results of a Google search done by your potential customers. A well-executed SEO strategy will help maximize this result, although SEO is more of a marathon than a sprint and requires continuous effort.

A thoughtfully-created SEO strategy will not only provide long term value for your organization, but it will also help you reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and generate leads. And very importantly, it also will lessen your reliance on third party listing platforms while bolstering your own digital presence.

5. Tidy up your contacts list

Working with “clean” data can improve the engagement rates of your email campaigns and prove to be a crucial element to your email marketing strategy and therefore your overall marketing strategy.

Use the slowdown to do a bit of spring cleaning by:

  • Removing duplicate contacts
    No one likes receiving the same email multiple times. Search and remove duplicate entries to avoid this fate.
  • Removing inactive contacts
    Prune your list. If someone hasn’t opened or clicked on anything you’ve sent out in the last year, it’s time to bid them a fond farewell.
  • Segmenting your contacts
    Segmentation allows for more highly targeted and personalized messaging. This is much more useful than an umbrella “one size fits all” approach.


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