The digital revolution is here, and it is impacting every industry, including commercial real estate. While the service that commercial lenders provide may be largely the same as in years past, how it is marketed to investors is changing. With Web3 and the Metaverse on our horizon, commercial real estate lenders are on the verge of having some amazing tools that could give them an advantage over their competitors if they plan ahead. At the same time, some of the traditional ways of marketing are still useful. Below, we will give suggestions for how CRE mortgage professionals can blend both to create great marketing campaigns that work well in the changing times we live in.
Before you can understand how best to target your ideal clients, you must understand who you are looking for. What is their ideal persona? Take some time to brainstorm their traits: minimum income, length of commercial real estate loan, and interest rates are all useful to consider. As a commercial mortgage lender, the more detailed you can get about your perfect borrower, the easier it will be to understand how to find and connect with them.
Grab a sheet of paper and draw two columns. Label the first column “offline activities” and the other “online activities.”
Now comes the part that might make you feel a little silly, but remember that a successful CRE lender can put themselves in the shoes of their ideal borrowers. Close your eyes for a moment and try to step into their lives and see how they spend their days. Where are they likely to go? What industries do they work in? What’s important to them? What do they do on the weekends? Open your eyes and write all of this and anything else you can think of in the first column.
Now repeat the exercise, but this time, picture your client sitting down in front of their computer and surfing the Internet. Are they users of Facebook? If so, watch them scroll through posts. What makes them stop and read one? Is it something serious, funny, or flashy? Do they like to listen to podcasts? What kind of content do they enjoy hearing about? Do they like to read articles? What might those topics be? Open your eyes and write all of this in the second column.
Hopefully, what you will have in front of you is insight into your perfect borrower. As you get more specific about what they do and what gets their attention, you will be able to create marketing campaigns that will lead them to you, the CRE mortgage professional they have been looking for.
There are a lot of bells and whistles out on the market these days that can improve the productivity and sales of a commercial real estate lender. However, before you invest in any, take a moment to nail down your CRE lending goals. Also jot down the timeframes for each and realistically assess where you are today and how long you need in order to achieve those goals.
Now devise your budget. How much money can you commit to marketing your CRE lending services? You might consider padding that budget a bit to account for any unexpected price increases as your marketing campaign proceeds.
It’s time to create two more columns that detail ways to market yourself online and offline. Write down everything here no matter how small or crazy it might seem. Word of mouth, public speaking, Facebook ads, webinars, TikTok – get it all on paper without censoring yourself. You can cross out options later. For now, put down every conceivable way you can let the public know that you are a commercial real estate lender.
Now go back and look at each one more closely. What are the pros and cons of each? How many potential commercial real estate borrowers can you expect to reach with a particular method? What are its time constraints and costs? Can you implement it on your own, or will you need help? Can you afford the time or money that bringing in extra help will require?
Cross out anything that seems too expensive or time-consuming or that is unlikely to yield the number of commercial loans you would like to issue each month.
What you should be left with is a list of marketing strategies that can help you to grow your commercial mortgage business. The key, however, is to only commit to those you can follow up with every day so that your marketing efforts eventually lose steam.
A CRE website that is well-designed one day can easily become outdated the next, as styles and technology are always changing. To keep up with advancements in website design, visit a few of your competitors’ sites each month and see what you like and don’t like and incorporate those changes on your own website. That way, when your potential clients look for commercial real estate lenders and click on your site, they will be more likely to stay and check out its information.
Make your CRE lending site as useful and easy to navigate as possible. Anticipate what your target audience wants to know and provide the answers on your website. Either avoid jargon or explain it in a way that is easy to understand. Remember that everyone learns differently: some people like to learn about CRE mortgages through podcasts while others prefer to read about them in short blog posts. You want your site to be a place of accurate information on how to obtain a CRE mortgage as well as one that helps borrowers keep up with the latest trends in commercial real estate lending.
It’s a good idea to fill your website with visuals to keep visitors from getting bogged down in terms. Property photos and infographics can be appealing as well as inspire people to seek a CRE loan from you.
You have been a CRE mortgage professional for a while, so you already know that every client you have will be at a different stage of the buying process. Divide your marketing plan into “kicking the tires,” “curious,” and “definitely ready.” How will you move each person from one phase to the next? For example, to inspire an individual to become more interested in the investment potential of commercial real estate, you might hold a webinar that delves into the current outlook for specific cities and industries. You could also put out an article that helps more people to understand the daily responsibilities and rewards of owning a commercial property.
The potential that Web3 and the Metaverse have for commercial real estate lenders is incredible. We are heading towards an Internet that is three-dimensional and that will conceivably allow you to tour a building, touch its walls, inspect its space, and basically see all of it without even leaving your computer. We may not be there yet, but it is something every CRE lender should have on their radar, especially when they think about their marketing plans.
The technology is evolving daily, so it can feel a bit nebulous. If you are one of many commercial mortgage professionals who secretly feel uncertain about Web3 and the Metaverse, here is a plan of action that will help you feel more confident about it and eventually incorporate the technology into your marketing plan.
When you implement your marketing plan, some parts of it will work great, and others will inevitably be a dud. When that happens, don’t worry – instead, analyze what went wrong and file it away in your mind for consideration when you prepare for a new CRE marketing campaign. As you know, nothing is guaranteed in business, but that’s what makes your job as a commercial real estate lender such an adventure, isn’t it?
Finance Lobby is an online CRE lending marketplace that is making it faster and more efficient for commercial real estate brokers and lenders to find their perfect deals. To learn more about Finance Lobby, please see https://financelobby.com/.