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Is Online Marketing Dead? Where your Marketing Budget Should be Going.

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There’s been plenty of blog posts going round the internet recently making claims like “online marketing is dead”. And the truth is, things are getting more competitive. The internet is no longer – sadly – the land of opportunity it once was. Time was, any property owner with a bit of time on their hands could open a blog and rank among the top results in a couple of weeks and AdWords was literally a gold mine for anyone who decided to throw money at it.

As more and more businesses have discovered the benefits online marketing can bring, however, objectives are getting harder and harder to reach, and are costing more time and money. The competitive landscape is changing. Google’s many algorithm updates don’t help, either – the goalposts are constantly moving for what is becoming an increasingly specialist sport. Rapidly, businesses are going back to marketing basics – networking events, print collateral and sponsorship – in order to bring in customers.

Claiming that online marketing is dead, however seems to be taking things a little far. After all, what percentage of your potential clients do you think use the internet? If you’re not targeting them here as well as at the BOMA Convention and on the golf course, you’re missing out on an opportunity. It’s difficult to find exact stats for commercial property, but as a benchmark you should bear in mind that 81% of consumers research online before they buy (GA Capital Bank). Gartner also reports that the average spend on digital marketing is currently 25%.

The key is not stop competing, but to compete properly. So how does one go about creating a well-rounded marketing strategy in the modern day?

• Cross-channel promotion
One important way to get the most out of both channels is to remember that investing in online or traditional marketing shouldn’t be an either-or decision. Think of how your website can complement traditional sales cycles. These days, chances are even the prospects you initially meet with face-to-face are going to head over here to check out what you’re up to before making a decision. This is a great opportunity, so make sure your website is full of well-organized information and activity. Think about the image your website design and copy give off – is it professional? – as well as making sure potential clients can find what they need rapidly. Your website has the potential to be the most powerful sales brochure you own, so make the most of it!

• A watertight approach
Going in the other direction, your website should also be designed and optimized to feed plenty of new leads back into your phone lines. You should implement a careful follow-up strategy and nurturing scheme for users who’ve contacted you from your website. This also means you should have proper tracking and reporting in place to help you better understand how well you are converting your online activity to offline sales. If you’re not sure how to do any of these things yourself, it might be wise to seek expert advice.

• Cover all your bases
We normally make decisions about the new company website from the comfort of the office, so it’s easy to forget that potential clients might not necessarily do the same. In a recent study run by inMotion Real Estate Media, we found that more than one in eight visits to commercial property sites comes from a mobile device. Meaning your budget should be spent accordingly. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to bet even more heavily on mobile than this figure suggests – as the same study shows, mobile traffic to commercial real estate websites is rapidly increasing (by 46% between 2012 and 2013), so some future-proofing may be in order.
Where do you stand on the online/offline debate?

We’d love to hear readers’ take on the issue, so don’t hesitate to write in and let us know what you’re up to.

inMotion Real Estate Media is a digital marketing agency for the commercial real estate sector. Looking for pixel-perfect websites, cutting-edge mobile sites or professional print collateral? Get in touch with us and we’ll send you a proposal within one business day.

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  • Dave Lewand

    All excellent points! creGROW (http://creGROW.com) is a comprehensive web design and development team with a commercial real estate focus. We deliver simple, mobile-friendly and customizable websites that accurately showcase your people, properties, services and stories. Having completed 20+ CRE websites that we regularly monitor, we also witness some interesting CRE-specific traffic trends. Some of those statistics were presented at ICSC RECon Las Vegas (VIDEO: http://youtu.be/19OtBfL7rS4 SLIDES: http://bit.ly/davelewand-RECon13) and later at ICSC Chicago “Responsive Web Design for Commercial Real Estate”: http://bit.ly/davelewand-ICSC-Chicago . We see 2015 as the year iPad/Mobile traffic overtakes desktop traffic to the creGROW family of websites and the CRE industry as a whole – design accordingly! – Dave Lewand, Founder, creGROW

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  • Antonio Small

    Duke, I need an online CRE marketing plan. Do you have a list of websites I must put my listings on?

  • I don’t think online marketin is dead, in fact I think it will just become more popular as more people actually learn how to utilize social media and new tools coming out. Google’s updates shouldn’t make a difference as long as people don’t try and cheat Google. So many people tried to just cheat Google without doing any work at all on websites that were promoting a product. I think the updates if anything have leveled the playing field and made it fair for those who actually have quality content to share with people. The information is becoming more visible to people now because Google has gotten rid of a lot of the “fluff” that was on the first pages of Google. If you need more information on online marketing and how you can get it for a affordable price, I have found a website I use that has some of the best information I have seen in my 5 years of internet marketing. Check out http://www.affordablesearchengineplacement.com It gives some good insight into internet marketing.