As any sales and marketing expert worth their salt will tell you, to attract customers, you have to know what they’re thinking. What are their pain points and their business objectives? Then, you have to create messaging and marketing materials that address those needs. In commercial real estate, location remains king. But you can’t move your building, so what else matters to your prospective tenants? How can you create property marketing that will draw their attention? In our experience, most tenants ask a few specific question about each potential space:
- Is this space usable?
- Will it work for my specific business needs?
- How much will it cost?
- Can I picture myself/my business here?
- Will it help my recruitment and retention efforts?
As we’ve mentioned before, while commercial real estate professionals work with these properties and spaces every day, most end users have a hard time visualizing how a space can really meet their needs. Your property marketing for a space is likely the first thing a prospective tenant will see about your property, and it will be one in a stack of dozens (or more) sent by their broker. Is yours good enough to avoid going straight into the trash can?
How Not to Market Your Commercial Property
So, your tenant has moved out and now you need to get their space leased out again. You’re not sure when was the last time someone measured the space, but the building engineer has an old drawing somewhere in the basement. You grab that, scan it into your computer and drop the picture into your template. Sure, it’s at an odd angle, a little blurry, and seems to contain measurements for where each fire extinguisher should go, but that doesn’t really matter, right? It’s a drawing of the space (approximately) and you’ve listed the usable square feet. That should be good enough.
Now, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Does your marketing give them a sense of how this space will be a good fit for their business? Does the drawing clearly show the space in a way that non-industry people can understand? Does it include the information they want to know, or is it a mishmash of technical details that will only muddy your messaging?
The most successful property marketing materials don’t use repurposed technical drawings. Instead, they employ space plans designed specifically to be persuasive. They are easy to read for even the most non-technical user, incorporating color-coding and only the data that prospective tenants need.
More Agile Marketing
Commercial real estate deals are very time dependent. When you’re dealing with commercial interiors projects that need to turn on the proverbial dime, you don’t have time to wait for site surveys and drawing a space from scratch. So you don’t want your property marketing to be managed on an ad hoc basis — that is, only dealt with when a tenant leaves. By maintaining those space plans and updating them on a regular basis, then, when a tenant does move out, you won’t have to do as much extra work to market the space.
Having digital drawings on file will also help you react quickly to requests from your prospects. As a Twin Cities commercial architecture and interiors firm, we often work with clients that have a space they’re marketing, but a prospective tenant only wants a certain amount of that square footage. If the space drawings and area calculations are already on file, we can review them to show the landlord the different ways they can demise the space. Likewise, if the property manager wants to potentially demise a larger space to make it more rentable, we can quickly determine where to demise the space to get the most value out of it.
In general, the more familiar an architect is with a building, the quicker we can turn around any needed edits or marketing materials. And that makes the landlord more agile. As every broker will tell you, the best thing you can have is a team that’s already very familiar with the space and can quickly create any property marketing materials you need, so you can close the deal.
The end result: quick-turn, high-quality property marketing that will impress your prospective tenants.
In addition to outward-facing marketing materials, well-executed space drawings can help you and your team better manage your leasing activities. Most property managers will have a list of each tenant space in a spreadsheet somewhere, noting its size, rate, and when the lease expires. But that spreadsheet is often hard to understand, and, for a lot of people, it doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot.
Moreover, once you get over a dozen vacant spaces that you’re trying to keep track of, that spreadsheet becomes downright cumbersome. One of our clients, for example, has more than 20 buildings in their Twin Cities portfolio, ranging from small to large. And each one has anywhere from six to 50 tenant spaces. So that adds up to a lot of spaces to keep track of.
We’ve worked with these clients to develop a system that helps them keep better track of their portfolio. The clients feed us their lease information on a regular basis — quarterly, monthly, whatever makes sense for them — and we use it to create stacking plans in a graphic format that’s very easy for them to read.
Color-coded stacking plans provide a quick visual reference to improve property marketing.
The stacking plans use color-coded floor plans that are more meaningful than a crowded spreadsheet. Though they can be more complex, often, it’s as simple as green, yellow, red. Green means the space is leased out and locked in for the next three-plus years. Yellow means this lease will be coming due within the next 18 months. And red means the spot turns this year or is already vacant. So you can quickly, visually see the health of your properties.
There’s a value in having that graphic representation quickly at the property manager’s fingertips. Moreover, within the stacking plans, we can add as much data as a client wants. For each tenant space, we can display the leaseable square feet, the rentable square feet, and any other stats a client wants pushed into that plan. So it’s not just a pretty picture — it can be full of data, to use however you need to help manage your buildings and lease out spaces more quickly at higher values.
For landlords and property managers, your lease book is like a log of how your buildings generate revenue. The lease book for a building details how many square feet each particular tenant is taking, as well as the rate and term for each space. Any vacancies in that book are overhead, dragging down your profitability. Just like the physical parts of your building, your space drawings and property marketing materials need ongoing maintenance to remain healthy and marketable. Without this ongoing maintenance, you will have a harder time attracting prospective tenants to your properties — making it increasingly difficult to drive revenue from them.
Do you own, manage, or represent commercial buildings with stale, out-of-date space drawings and property marketing materials? Don’t let this basic maintenance keep you from attracting tenants and closing the deal. Contact us today to bring your property marketing up-to-date.