Buyer’s Journey #1 – Here’s what you should know about CRE’s rapid shift to online marketing

Here’s what you should know about CRE’s rapid shift to online marketing

Relying on the internet to generate new business may seem futile to industry vets, but for investors climbing up the ranks today, it’s vital to their survival. Now more than ever, lead generation between Commercial Real Estate (CRE) brokers and investors is happening online.

Just look at the numbers. In a joint report released by Loopnet and Google, a whopping 80 percent of surveyed investors utilize the internet for their CRE information needs. More than half make use of specialized online search tools and over three quarters use online CRE services. To boot, online searches for CRE have increased by 60 percent since 2008.

One thing is true: the buyer’s journey has changed tremendously. Investors are partnering with brokers late in the transaction process with the knowledge and capacity to make independent and quick decisions — just like you’d step into a phone store with a preferred brand in mind, investors don’t have the time or interest in discussing anything aside from what they want.

Unlike a decade ago, these avid real estate researchers are turning away from print advertising, on-the-ground research and personal connections and are instead vying after finds online. A mere 23 percent utilize a broker as their first source of information, while an estimated 59 percent rely on the internet, according to the joint report.

Investors’ use of the internet goes far beyond a quick Google search. Instead, they’re doing their own analysis and are looking for specialized content to gain an edge. According to analytics from KeywordSpy, the phrase “Internal Rate of Return Calculator” was up to 24,000 hits per month in the U.S. And that’s not it, searches for “Cap Rate Calculator” and “NOI Calculator,” for example, are also on the rise. It’s a clear indicator that investors are specializing on their own.

With this in mind, investors are being extra cautious about who they hire on as their broker. According to the joint report released by Loopnet and Google, an estimated 84 percent of investors fact check the work of brokers to make sure they’re correct.

But what does this all mean? In essence, these stats show that investors are researching comprehensively and are making final comparisons online before they hire a broker. In the end, it’s your duty to develop content that attracts an audience, develops trustworthy alliances and compels investors to act.

Next week, tune in to learn how easy it is to outsource CRE lead generation.