99 Commonly asked commercial real estate marketing questions answered in 2 sentences or less. Have questions about your marketing plan, strategy, how to get more leads, what is a target market, what is branding or where to get additional info? You’ve found the right place!


  • How do I get more leads? By using a combination of a Reonomy, website, email marketing, mailers, social media, blog, Google AdWords, website banner ads, yellow pages, and answering questions on public forums.

  • Should I depend on my broker for leads? No. A broker’s job is to bring in productive agents and turn around listings, they do not bring in leads.

  • How do I find a property owner’s name and address? Reonomy provides you with a building’s owner information.

  • How do I find contact info for potential tenants? Use InfoUSA.com to find contact information for store managers, owners, and businesses in your area.

  • What should I do with leads gathered from my website?  Send them a thank you email for downloading your Special Report or contacting you.  Place them on your email newsletter (if they opted in) and your mailing list.

  • How do I gather more leads from my website?  Make sure your website is stupid-easy to navigate; your Special Report should be glaringly obvious.  Don’t Make Me Think is a great book to read if you’re creating your own website.


  • Is specializing in a certain area or business type a death sentence for getting new clients? No! In fact, when you specialize in a certain location or business type, you’ll notice a significant increase in business.

  • Why is my title important?  No one knows what a “Sales and Leasing Specialist” does.  A potential client would rather have an expert in his location or business type.

Targeting your Market

  • What is a target market?  The people to whom you want to advertise.  Ideally the same people who are interested in your services.

  • Why is a target market important?  Advertising to everyone is extremely expensive (magazines, yellow pages, etc.).  Limited budgets require that you pinpoint exactly who is interested in your service and advertise directly to them.

  • How do I find my target market’s contact info?  Search for property owners and tenants in your area with Reonomy.


  • What is branding?  Getting people to know, like and recognize you.  Consistency is key, all your materials should look alike and have the same message.

  • What’s my message?  A brief description of what services you provide.

  • Why is my message important?  A clear message will help potential clients understand what you provide.  Keep it simple, getting too cute or creative can be a bad idea.

  • Why do my marketing materials have to look to same?  People may be confused if all your materials look like they’re from a different company.  Remember that professionalism is more important than rampant creativity.

  • I’m just starting out, what marketing pieces do I need?  Lead generators include, (1) website, (2) special report, (3) postcards, (4) personal letters, and (5) email newsletter.  Basic essentials include, (1) business card, (2) corporate brochure or list of services, (3) listing brochure template, and (4) signage. See our templates.
  • What is a corporate brochure?  A corporate brochure is usually provided by your broker and lists the services and specialties of the particular firm.  If you’re going, this will be a list of your services and explanation of your specialty.

  • What basic info should be on my listing brochures? A listing brochure’s focus should be on turning over that property as fast as possible, not advertising yourself.  The title of the property, size, and pricing, quality photos, and maps should be easy-to-read and understand.  See our listing brochure template.

  • What basic info should be on my signage?  A sign’s focus should be on turning over that property as fast as possible, not advertising yourself.  Focus on the property or available suite size(s), type of property, and your phone number.

  • Do I have to stick with my corporate branding policies?  Yes!  A good designer can make even clunky branding specs look amazing!

  • What are the best fonts to use?  Keep it to one or two of the fabulous-five-fonts: Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Myraid Pro, or Calibri.

  • My market is very competitive; how do I standout?  Be the best at the things your competition does the worst; if your biggest competitor is a jerk, advertise yourself as “professional”.  If your competitor flaunts his money, advertise yourself as “down-to-earth”.

  • I would like to start marketing, but I have no money…seriously, NONE!  Save a percentage of every commission and place it into a separate savings account.  There is planning, special report writing, researching specialties, competitive analysis, and all kinds of $0 marketing activities you can do until a savings account is built.

  • What are some marketing activities that I can do for free?  (1) Write your Special Report, (2) Develop content for your monthly email newsletter, (3) Develop a social media campaign, (4) Post and become active in industry blogs and forums, (5) Guest blog for industry websites, (6) Podcast informative videos and post on YouTube.

Marketing Campaign

  • Shouldn’t my broker be funding my marketing campaign?  Most brokerages don’t offer funds for individual marketing campaigns of their agents.  A broker’s job is to turn-over properties (they give you a listing marketing budget) and bring in successful agents.

  • Why won’t my broker fund my marketing campaign?  Simple, not every agent is serious about building an effective, thought-out, lead generating marketing campaign.  Most agents will blow a budget on shirts with slogans and custom designed pens.

  • If I have a well thought-out marketing campaign, will my broker fund it?  Feel free to ask, but never expect.  If a broker does agree to fund some/all of your marketing campaign the funds will likely go directly to Reonomy, Vista Print and the designer(s), you likely won’t get a fat check to spend freely!

  • Why shouldn’t I ask my broker to fund my marketing campaign?  If you decide to leave your current company, you won’t be able to take marketing materials funded by the company.  If you purchase these marketing materials yourself, there will be no question or accusations of theft on either part.

  • My company provides a marketing department, why won’t they work on my marketing campaign?  Commercial real estate marketing departments have limited resources and are NOT an advertising agency!  They have limited time schedules (usually no overtime is allowed) and may not be able to provide any more than marketing for your listings.

  • My company has a marketing department that will help with lead generating materials, but none of the materials bring in leads.  Why is that?  Usually the marketing department is actually a graphics department – they know only little about marketing or sales, so the message falls flat.  Also, most departments don’t have a library of stock photos or professional editors, limited resources can easily kill the effectiveness of marketing materials.

Special Report (White Paper)

  • What is a Special Report?  A special report is something your target market wants to read.  It should be 5-10 pages of honest advice with a small section of your info and is not a self promo piece. Download our ready-made Special Reports.

  • What kind of Special Report should I write? A few examples, (1) Industrial – Planning Warehouse Space in 5 Steps, (2) Office – 5 Ways to calculate how much office space is needed, (3) Medical Office – 6 Reasons to buy a medical condo instead of leasing, (4) Retail – 10 Tricks to finding locations with high foot traffic, (5) Land – 7 Variables when calculating the feasibility of a site.

  • What should I do with a Special Report?  Offer a “FREE Special Report” on all your mailers, eblasts, website, and other advertisements in exchange for a potential client’s email, name, company, and phone number.  Bring your Special Report when meeting new clients or hand out during cold-calls.

  • Should I get my Special Report professionally designed?  It’s not necessary, but studies show people decide what to read based on the cover.  Even if you cannot afford a fully designed piece, spend some money on a nice cover.


  • Why do I need my own website when my company has one?  If you decide to transfer from one company to another, having “www.YourName.com” will help former clients find you.  It’s also important to bring in leads independently, and websites are great lead generators.

  • What should I put on my website? Clearly define your specialty and area. Provide list of your services and specialty, write an “about me” section, and provide your contact info.

  • How do I get people to my website? Add your website to your email signature, business card, marketing materials. Submit your site to search engines, announce it on social media sites, post comments on popular blogs, and request that non-competing friends with websites link to yours.
  • How do I get even more people to my website? Consider spending money advertising with Google AdWords (read this book). Or buy banner ads on popular industry magazines, donate money to charity (significant donations from companies are often provided a link), and write as a guest for popular blogs.
  • How do I get people coming back to my website? Blogging will give you topics to post on social media sites and keep people coming back.
  • How do I get better search rankings in Google? Blogging will help; Google loves new and original content. If you’re having a lot of trouble, consider hiring an SEO company.
  • How do I get my site to come up when a certain keyword string is searched, such as “industrial space in Maryland?” Be sure your wording in your site’s title, description, and content contains those keywords. Create several blog posts about “industrial space in Maryland.”
  • What is a landing page? If your home page is focused on keywords like “industrial space in Maryland” you may want to create a few landings pages for “commercial real estate agent in Maryland” and “available warehouses in Maryland.” Keeping individual pages focused on certain keyword strings will bring in more prospect.
  • What should my landing page contain? A list of your services, offer your Special Report, and your contact information.

  • Should I have advertisements on my website? Personally, I often wonder how successful someone really is if they are selling website space. I’m not a fan, but it can be an idea for supplementary income.
  • Should I use Google AdWords to advertise my website? Yes, but only if you’re willing to do the work. It takes months to get your Google AdWords account working efficiently, read Google AdWords by Marshall Todd for more information.
  • What’s the number one thing I should know before starting a Google AdWords campaign? The difference between “quoted keywords” and unquoted keywords: “commercial real estate” will only bring you traffic from keyword strings with all the words, weeding out unnecessary traffic. While commercial real estate without quotes will bring in ANY of those words – such as, real estate mortgage rates, real estate mls, etc.
  • What do you recommend for billing settings in Google AdWords? I strongly recommend you select “Manual Payments”. This will keep you from waking up to a $10,000 Google AdWords charge.
  • I’m just starting out with Google AdWords, what should I budget for my first try? I suggest around $50 to $40 for your first shot. It’s a small enough number so if it spends all your money in one night, it won’t break your bank – make adjustments and try again!
  • My Google AdWords campaign spends my money too quickly, what’s wrong? Don’t panic, this is a common problem for first time campaigns. Your keywords may be too generic, use the apostrophes instead of broad keywords, and/or your bids might be are too high. More info.
  • My Google AdWords campaign isn’t getting any clicks, what’s wrong? Don’t panic, this is a common problem for first time campaigns. Your location may be affecting your campaign (rural areas may not get as many clicks as high population cities), your bids may be too low, your quality score is low, and/or your ad is a dud. More info.
  • Why are some of my Google AdWords keywords getting low quality scores? Getting everything to match is key! Your keyword string should match your Google AdWords ad, the page it lands onto should be about this keyword string. More info.
  • Why does my Google AdWords quality score matter? A low quality score means that you pay more per click than a competitor with a high quality score. For instance, if you have a quality score of 3 and your competitor has a quality score of 8, you’ll be paying approximately quadruple what your competitor pays for that same keyword.
  • How do I learn more about Google AdWords? I highly suggest you read Google AdWords by Marshall Todd before starting your own Google AdWords campaign.


  • My experience with mailers has been awful, what did I do wrong? You were not providing relevant content, “I buy, sell or lease for you, tenant and/or landlord!” Separate your mailings and speak directly to a tenant or landlord, never both at the same time!
  • I heard postcards aren’t successful, what’s the deal? That person was not providing relevant content, “I buy, sell or lease for you, tenant and/or landlord!” Postcards can be as effective as any other mailer when they speak directly to a tenant or landlord, never both at the same time!

  • What’s the secret to a successful mailer campaign? Have relevant content that interests your target market. Offer a call to action like, “Go to (Website Address) and Download my Special Report!”
  • How often should I send mailers? Any more than once a month can sometimes be mistaken for desperation. I suggest one mailing every other month (bi-monthly).
  • Which are more effective, postcards or personal letters? Both can be equally effective when they have relevant content, but a combination of both is ideal.
  • What mailers should I try on a budget? Oddly enough, postcards and personal letters are almost equal in cost. Vista Print offers printing and mailing services starting at $25 for 100 postcards.
  • Should I mail out my Special Report? No, make potential clients work for it! Offer your Special Report in your mailers in exchange for filling out a form on your website.
  • How do I measure the effectiveness of each mailer? Create a website landing page specifically for each mailer, check each page’s hits on to measure effectiveness. Examples: Mailer #1 – Go to MySite.com/Special to download my Special Report! Mailer #2 – Go to MySite.com/Report to download my Special Report!
  • I have one mailer that does great and another that’s a dud, what do I do? One mailer probably has more relevant and interesting content than the other. Adjust your mailers accordingly and send out several varieties of mailers with varying content to properly measure effectiveness.
  • What mailers do landlords want to read? The services you provide to find tenants for their empty space, expertise in finding new property, proficiency in selling current properties, and capability in their particular area or specialty.

  • What should I write in a personal letter user for mailings? Always speak directly to your audience, if you have to separate your letters into categories (tenants and property owners) do so. Content should contain, (1) a problem the potential client likely has, (2) how you can help, (3) additional services provided, (4) call to action like “Download my Special Report” or “Email me today for a free consultation.”

Social Media

  • Is Facebook effective? With the new timeline feature, Facebook is a great place for people to see how your company has changed and grown over the years.
  • Is Twitter effective? The purpose of Twitter is to get information out as fast as possible to certain groups who share similar interests. Even if Twitter never provides a lead, it’s a great resource for up-to-date and obscure news that you may not have heard of without Twitter.
  • Should I join and use Twitter or Facebook? Only use social media if you’re 100% willing to up-date it on a regular basis. Having an abandoned Twitter or Facebook feed says a lot about your company.
  • Should I use my personal photo on my company’s social media? Social media companies swear that a person’s photo is a more effective icon than a company logo. I have yet to see the statistics backing this claim, so I say choose whichever makes you the most comfortable.
  • Should I start a blog? If you have a website that’s not doing too well on Google, start a blog! Search engines love new, original content so blogging is a great way to get on the top of search engines.
  • What should I blog about? Be sure you’re blogging about something your target market wants to read. Industrial people would like you to comment on articles and laws affecting their industry while retail would like to hear about sales trends and how to bring in more foot traffic.
  • What should I blog about? Be sure you’re blogging about something your target market wants to read. Industrial people would like you to comment on articles and laws affecting their industry while retail would like to hear about sales trends and how to bring in more foot traffic.
  • How often should I blog? Once or twice a week. Try to keep it consistent.
  • How do I think of new blog topics every week? Get inspiration from sources like WikiHow. Comment on articles from magazines, newspapers, books and other blogs.
  • Someone said something rude about me or the company on the Internet, what do I do? Post a reply to the comment with tact and professionalism. If you’re angry, give yourself a day or so to calm down before posting a reply.

My Listings

  • What are the top online directories to advertise my listings? LoopNet, Property Line, Catylist and Xceligent. All the directories have an option to post your properties for free (restrictions apply).
  • How much should a brokerage spend marketing a single listing? The rule-of-thumb most commercial real estate companies use is 5% of the Broker’s cut.
  • How do I save money on printing costs? Printing brochures and signs are big expenses in commercial real estate. Usually locally owned and independently operated printers are the cheaper and better quality than chain print shops.
  • How do I save money on listing’s signs? In my experience I found the best deal is to hire one company to print signs and another company to install the signs. When you combine the two activities it becomes difficult to leave that company if you become unhappy with the service.
  • What important info should I put on my listing’s sign? In order of importance, (1) contact phone, (2) sale or lease, (3) building info, and (4) company logo. Remember, the purpose of the sign is to bring in potential buyers or lessees, not promote you, agent names not are necessary!
  • What is the purpose of signage on listings? The purpose is to advertise available space and turn-over listings quickly. Listing signage is not meant advertise yourself, rent a billboard if you want to advertise yourself.
  • Why can’t I brand myself with my listing’s signage? Your listing signs should focus on selling or leasing a property…you do want checks, don’t you?! If you want to brand yourself, create a branding sign; never combine the two.
  • My clients want a marketing plan for their listing, what the heck does that mean? This is easier than it sounds, they want you to describe in detail how you’re getting the word out. (1) Outline the online databases you will be using LoopNet, Property Line, CoStar, and Craig’s List, (2) detailed photos of the spaces and property will be taken, (3) if available floor plans and sitemaps will be posted online, (4) a sign will be placed on the property, (5) email blast will be send to local real estate agents, (6) a detailed property brochure will be available for print or download.
  • What information should I have on my listing brochure? The purpose of a listing brochure is to turn-over the property, not advertise yourself. Place all critical information on the brochure including photo of the property, map (either street or aerial), pricing, details of the space(s), building details, zoning, floor plan, and pricing.
  • How should I design my listing brochures? All your marketing materials need to look the same. If you’re part of a larger corporate that requires a set of branding standards don’t go against them; there’s no excuse for going it alone because you don’t like the color scheme – a good designer can make even clunky branding standards look nice. See our listing brochure templates.

  • How should I place my contact information on my listing brochure? My personal pet peeve is when insecure agents put in their contact information on the top and bottom of the flyer. Keep it in one place on the flyer, place it on every page, and only state your name and contact info once per page.
  • What added effects can I do to my listing brochure? Keep it as simple as possible or risk being thought of as an “amateur”. Don’t over-use drop shadows, border, gradients (color fades), or watermarks.
  • How do I turn-over a problem listing? (1) Advertise directly to the target market like insurance agents by looking up small insurance companies near the area and sending them a personal letter with a brochure of the property, (2) send additional eblasts to local real estate agents, and (3) analyze the site to see if it’s over priced or request renovations from landlord.

Email Blasts for Listings

  • What should my listing email blast look like? Everything should match! Your brochure, website, email blasts, mailers, etc. should all have the same color scheme and basic design.
  • How do I keep my listing email blast out of SPAM filters? NEVER USE ALL CAPS in your subject or message and definitely don’t use a lot of crazy punctuation!!!! Some words trigger spam so stay away from words like “enhancement” or “male.”
  • How do I get better open rates on my listing email blasts? I’m not sure why, but 7am to 11am gets the highest open rates. Also, the middle of the week (Tues, Wed, Thurs) has higher open rates than other days.
  • What should my “subject” be on my listing email blasts? I suggest something like “2,000 SF Industrial Bldg Lease SE Las Vegas.” Detailed explanations of the message get the best open rates.
  • When should I send a listing’s email blast? Send one immediately after you’ve complete the brochure and posted the listing online. Wait at least a month before advertising this listing again.
  • How often should I send a listing’s email blast if it’s not turning over?  Limit yourself to once per month, only break that rule if there’s a price reduction or a special promotion.

Cold Calling

  • Is cold-calling an important marketing activity? Technically it’s a “sales activity” and it can be important. However, don’t rely on cold-calling as your only method to bring in leads.
  • How often should I cold-call? If you’re a brand new junior agent, you should cold-call on one building once per week. If you’re an established agent, you may want to focus on a marketing campaign and use cold-calling sparingly.
  • What’s an effective method of cold calling? (1) Get a list of your target market from Reonomy, (2) send postcards and mailers to that list requesting that they download your Special Report, (3) call the people on that list asking if they would like your Special Report. Meshing a marketing plan in with sales activities (like cold-calling) is a great way to get leads.