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3 CRE Marketing Strategies To Borrow From Online Dating (Or How To Get More Deals Done In 2013)

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How many times have you carefully designed marketing flyers and campaigns, only to put your listing out there and hear…crickets? Unfortunately, the prevailing CRE industry rule of thumb has been that the wider the outreach, the higher the chance to make a deal, all of which is somehow supposed to translate into quality deals.

The reasoning behind this mass-market approach is faulty and spammy at best, and a time/money waster at worst. Sure, your email campaign may reach thousands of inboxes. How many of them get deleted, ignored, put into spam, just because the receiver does not work in your geographic area, with your listing type, or industry type?

It’s basic pre-qualifying of leads 101.

Consider the online dating industry for a moment. Many of today’s online dating sites have figured out that the success rate of making a meaningful connection (and ultimately closing the deal), goes up significantly if both parties are matched based on a very specific set of user preferences. It’s this unique, behind-the-scenes criteria match that helps singles filter through all the basic questions of interests, values, and beliefs. Once the basics are out of the way, two people are left enjoying the benefits of the each other’s company…not wondering how the heck did I get here. It’s basic pre-qualifying of leads 101.

And who doesn’t love a pre-qualified lead? CRE deal making is very similar to the dating world. Relationships are everything, any number of things can go wrong before deal close, and if you don’t want to be left at the altar, you need to connect with quality leads. What separates dealmakers from your everyday CRE folks is strategy and focus on targeted outreach.

At the same time, the market is inundated with available listings, swarming potential clients or their brokers with irrelevant opportunities. So when your listing comes on the market, how to you cut through all the noise to make a love match?

The phrase “targeted outreach” gets thrown around a lot, but essentially it happens when your specific listing criteria matches a potential client’s unique set of preferences for a deal. Similarly to the online dating world, targeted outreach turbo-charges CRE marketing efficiency.

While you’ll always find a few industry friends for who mass outreach works, here are a few reasons to consider the targeted outreach approach instead:

1Targeted listing matching ensures qualified leads. OkCupid.com, a popular online dating site, came up with a way to quantify matches based on user preferences set on both sides. You’re much likelier to have a good time with someone who is a 90% match to you, than with someone who is only a 45% match. The same can be said for CRE deals. Except here, the listing criteria are matched to what the potential client or their rep is looking for. As such, a listing won’t be turned into spam, because you’re not going to broadcasted to a audience that didn’t seek out to begin with. The bonus? You get contact with clients who have specifically requested what YOU have to offer.

2Work smarter, not harder. Time and effort will always equate money, and all three are valuable commodities for CRE professionals. Mass marketing, whether via email, social media, or by any other means, is like staring into a void each time you do a campaign. It’s hard to measure your efforts, and thereby reach any productive conclusions on whether your marketing is working. Targeted outreach is the difference between throwing resources to the wind, hoping for the best, and getting results-oriented market traction.

3Irrelevant deal solicitation is a distraction for everyone involved. If you take inventory of how many irrelevant emails clutter your inbox throughout the day, you can safely assume your clients are facing the same problem.  Focus is the name of the game. Showing clients that you care about what they want to hear by sending them only relevant deal flow inspires confidence, and this can very well expedite a closing.

Just like you often find yourself on either side of a transaction, targeted outreach is a two-way street. One day you have a listing you’re offering, another day you have a client looking for space. Instead of spending time scouring for availabilities, indicating your preferred deal criteria allows relevant deals to reach you.

What separates dealmakers from your everyday CRE folks is strategy and focus on targeted outreach. And before you say that reaching as many people as possible is a worthwhile strategy, consider that most people have yet to find a quality date by throwing out their business cards in the middle of Times Square.

What strategies are you applying and are they productive? Do you have any suggestions to share with those who are on the fence between mass-market vs. targeted approaches?