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Broker Marketing Feedback
While our overall office strategy effectively increased visitors to our website, lead generation that results in a transaction has and will most likely always come from the brokers own networking and marketing strategies. The following is based on the feedback received from our offices Brokers and their Marketing Specialists.
Of the brokers who responded to the questionnaire all of them were no longer running print ads, post cards or any printed marketing for that matter. The reasoning across the board was that it was simply too expensive for the current marketing budgets. While they did mention that in the past leads had been generated from print ads and post cards it was too low to justify the cost involved.
Email Marketing Campaigns
This was the number one used marketing resource of all brokers, primarily because it allows them to reach large amounts of people quickly and with little cost involvement. The additional tracking information seemed to be under used, though an added bonus for those who follow it. While some brokers indicated that they would receive up to five responses per every 100 emails, others mentioned that many of the smaller brokerage firms as well as agents who also work in residential were typically the first to respond. In either case, almost all of those who responded indicated that if email campaigns lead to a transaction it was usually due to an outside broker who received the email. This was also the exact result from brokers who were regularly using services such as PropertyLine and other third party sites.
Signs were and still are the primary lead generating tool, based on the feedback we received from the questionnaire. The majority of deals that did not involve an outside broker seemed to come from people driving by the property and calling the number on the sign. Simply put, property signs will always be a necessity.
Events, Press Releases & webSite
The various use of the companies website, press releases and participation in local events was very diverse overall. Where one broker mentioned that events such as NAIOP’s breakfast or an open house had lead to a deal, several other brokers had comments in direct contrast about the usefulness of participation in any event. Similar was the response about the companies website, such as the use of team sites and featured property sites. While some indicated that they had never received a call from someone who visited the website, others stated that they received calls on a regular basis from people who found them via their site, though none had lead to a transaction being done, so far. Press releases and news coverage seemed another item that some brokers felt strongly about being involved in, but others did not see the need. While some brokers saw media coverage as added exposure, even without leading to a transaction, others admitted it was useful for gaining public awareness, but since it wouldn’t lead to a transaction it wasn’t something they wanted to focus on.
New Media, Viral & Social Marketing
With the release of emerging social media and viral marketing there have only been a handful of people across our partnership that have actively been involved in marketing their listings this way, many with limited success, though at least two with significant results. Our take, is that as this technology becomes more familiar with more people and the learning curve is passed, it may begin to have similar results as email campaigns and PropertyLine.
The broker suggestions this year were varied, but had a consistent theme. More tools and flexibility were desired. The top requests were, more flexibility with the company website as far as what information could be put up and how we are allowed to market them. A desire for broker edit able marketing templates was expressed, such as for brochures, proposals, offering memorandum, etc. The sharing of all email lists among all of the brokers within Colliers was also mentioned, as well as the sharing of more marketing collateral.
The information compiled within this report was primarily based on the ebb and flow of projects and production within the Las Vegas Colliers Graphics Department. In addition, the following brokers and marketing specialists gave feedback on the marketing questionnaire: (In alphabetical Order) Adam Malan, Alicia Luz, Brian Riffel, Delia Dominguez, Kimberlee Hamilton, Margery Schulz and Megan Hatala.
– Michael G. Hurston
The following is my preliminary marketing report for the first half of the year. Over the next few weeks I will be interviewing brokers and their marketing specialists to use in the full report coming out later this summer.
This year our marketing goal was to completely overhaul the way we do advertising and marketing for our office. We needed a new approach on a reduced budget that would still get us results with lead generation and staying in the public eye.
In the past we had done many overpriced one off campaigns and for the most part ignored any type of promotion of our website, regardless of its updated features. Therefore, this year we decided to focus on multiple phase marketing strategy which included extended length web advertisements to promote our featured property websites, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), a consistent branding campaign to show the people behind Colliers and a recruitment campaign to bring in more brokers to our office. We also created guides for the creation and use of listings on Craigslist and Social Media sites, simply put this year we pulled out all the stops.
While our PR firm MassMedia handled much of the price negotiations and the actual buys, the campaign placement, concepts, designs and photos were all done in-house (with exception to the Las Vegas Strip Aerial and Corporate Stock Art).
In October of 2008 the planning began for a new ad campaign for 2009. We looked at a few of the ads we had done that conveyed messages or ideas we wanted to promote and incorporated these ideals into our campaigns, but with a unique and fresh look.
While the Las Vegas office has always had a strong relationship with many of the local publications, including In Business, Nevada Business Journal, Review Journal, Red Report, Western Regional and the Business Press.
Due to significant budget restraints this year we decided to pick Greenspun Media as our main outlet for print advertising. Greenspun Media Group is currently the owner and distributor of most publications within Southern Nevada. They currently produce In Business, Las Vegas Weekly, Las Vegas Home & Design, Las Vegas Magazine (LVM), and many others.
In addition to their print publications they also own and operate many of the local business news websites and niche media outlets in Southern Nevada including RecruitingNevada.com, 702.TV, LasVegasSun.com and more.
While Greenspun Media was where we placed the bulk of our budget, we still included placements in other print publications such as the North Las Vegas, Las Vegas and Henderson Chamber of Commerce publications. For our online ads we chose the Las Vegas Sun website and PropertyLine.
During the year, as always, brokers and their clients were free to pay out of pocket for any specific publication ads. Those included, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Nevada Business Journal among others.
The primary message we wanted to get across in our branding campaign was that we were not simply a business offering services, but rather people servicing our clients. The concept of the ads was to show the “faces behind the divisions”. The distribution for this was In Business Magazine, one of the most popular business magazines in Southern Nevada. We had six Island Ads, with an ad popping up every other month. A couple times throughout the year we managed to be upgraded to a full-page ad at no additional cost.
We chose the North Las Vegas, Las Vegas and Henderson Chamber of Commerce publications to target a very set demographic. We tailored each of the ads to their specific areas, Speedway & Aliante (North), Downtown and Strip (Vegas) and Green Valley Ranch & Horizon Ridge (Henderson)
The Las Vegas Sun was the news site we chose to advertise our website on. All ad banners were created in either flash or animated gif formats and also appeared in the e-newsletters (e-bizclick) sent out monthly. The links directed viewers to our featured property page.
For our recruitment campaign we were able to negotiate for 3 consecutive pages of ad space. This allowed us to place consecutive ads showing growth and work as a teaser within the publication. We again chose In Business to place our ads in. The online version of the ad linked to our recruitment page and was included in the PropertyLine e-newsletters.
SEO Strategy, Social Media & Craigslist
While we received an immediate increase in direct traffic to our featured property sites due to our online ads, we still needed to increase the overall organic (search engine) traffic to our website. We did this by incorporating a three-step process. We began by reviewing and writing into our featured property sites appropriate and individualized Meta Tags; the key words and descriptions that some search engines use to index websites. The next step involved the massive re-submission of our sites and main Colliers sites to multiple search engines. We used available free services from Addme.com and Submititexpress.com. The final steps involved created a web presence among sites that already had high organic rankings and could direct visitors to our Colliers site. This was done by the creation of a CPI Wikipedia page and Aboutus.org page. After one month we began to see a slight increase in organic traffic.
Our next online endeavor was to educate those within our office who were members of social sites on how to include their listings on their social pages, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This had two immediate affects, the first was that the brokers now had another reason to give to potential clients on why they should list them based on the amount of exposure their property would receive, as well as this resulted in increasing our organic traffic. Similar results occurred with the implementation of Criagslist postings as well.
Public Relations & Exposure
In the past we had lost some of our offices connections with the local media, so this year we made it a point to correct this. We began with the internal promotion of all public transactions to generate buzz within the office and get our brokers and staff thinking about our media exposure. A calendar of events was created, one internally for CRE events and one by MassMedia that included many local events that would be worthwhile for our brokers and staff to attend. We next worked with MassMedia on consistently generating stories within local publications and sharing them with others within the office. To coincide with this we had MassMedia create a bi-monthly e-newsletter for our office sent out to over 12,000 people. An official media policy was developed for our office, as well as a reporter source book of contacts within our office the media could rely upon for accurate and timely information.
We also included more focus to our research this year, with Matt and Campbell organizing an industry round table for the quarter ends as well as a magazine style all inclusive report known as the VQR (Vegas Quarterly Report), later renamed to LVQ (Las Vegas Quarterly). Being the first CRE brokerage in Southern Nevada to release their market report each quarter allowed us to play up our media publicity each quarter.
All Eyes on Us
Among the Graphics departments within our partnership we typically all share “best practices” among each other. While many of the other offices in the past have used a few of our ideas, this was the first year that the majority of these marketing strategies created in our office were pushed out among the other offices. The Event Calendar, our Craigslist guide, our Viral Marketing guide, our SEO strategies, our Reporter Source Book, and our Recruitment Page are all being considered for implementation at many of the other offices based on the work done within our Las Vegas office.
– Michael G. Hurston