Friday, May 18, 2012

Can prospects find your vacant building? Use these tips to make sure!

I provide location advice for owners and for occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...buildings where companies make and/or ship things. If you own a commercial building(s), at some point the building(s) is going to be vacant. How do you insure that your building can be found by all potential prospects for tenancy or purchase? When I started my CRE practice in 1984, if an owner suffered a vacancy, the owner engaged a broker OR himself to market the vacancy. A building was found by a sign in front advertising its availability, a listing in a MLS, a brochure that a potential occupant or broker received in the mail, a prospecting call, a newspaper ad, or word of mouth...that's it! If an owner had an impending vacancy and agreed to postpone placing a sign in front of the building...a building's chances of being found were reduced dramatically! When marketing buildings today, we still rely upon these age old techniques but must insure that a building can be found "digitally" as well. You see, the way in which occupants search for buildings today has changed. Rarely will an occupant drive through an industrial area these days and jot down phone numbers from signs. More typically, an occupant will conduct a Google search of "available buildings", or a specific address, etc. If a vacancy cannot be found digitally, a vacancy may stay that way...vacant! So does your vacancy have a "digital footprint"? Try this simple exercise...conduct a search for your vacant building's address in your favorite search engine...Google, Bing, You Tube, Yahoo, etc. See what comes up on the first page. Below, I conducted a search for 500 S. State College in Fullerton, California, a building that we are actively marketing, and here are the search results:

Any occupant searching for this address will find information on Loopnet, Postlets, and a virtual tour on YouTube. The Loopnet listing costs...the others are free. Recently, I posted about social media marketing for CRE that really works. Postlets, now owned by Zillow, is a free way to create a digital foot print of your CRE listing. Make sure that your engaged agent has created a Postlet for your vacancy. The below screen shot shows the landing page of the Postlet for 500 S. State College:

A searching occupant can fully research your vacant building (including a video virtual tour) without leaving the office...OR if they are mobile...the research can be conducted on a pad or smart phone. Video is one of the BEST ways to get your vacancy noticed in the digital world. We recently accepted a listing engagement on a building in Irvine that has been on the market for several months. One of the strategies we employed was the creation of a digital footprint. I am pleased to say that after only a week, the search "results" for 28 Hammond are remarkable...largely due to the creation of a simple virtual tour on YouTube:

Some occupants insist upon driving through commercial areas to look for vacant buildings. Make sure that somewhere on site...on the banner or sign...or on the front door, your engaged agent creates a QR code with the video footage above embedded in the code. The visiting occupant (or cooperating broker) can scan the code and gain helpful insight into the vacancy. You can scan the code below and see how it works. This is one of the ways in which QR codes really work when marketing vacant buildings.

Creating a digital footprint for your vacancy may secure a tenant or buyer for your building quicker than you can Google "done deal"!

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