Almost all marketing that we’ve practiced 10 years ago is irrelevant in today’s world. I, personally, would never spend money on newspaper, magazine, billboards, radio or television ads. They are extremely expensive and difficult to track effectiveness. In 2014, I suggest direct marketing (relevant mailers with clear calls-to-action) and online marketing.

1. Content is still king. If you haven’t started your article writing yet, this is the year to start. Suffering over articles every week doesn’t have to be your future.  Try developing 12 articles that you can post once a month. Even minimum efforts will get you ahead of competitors that refuse content development all together.

2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) basics. Understand this one key element of search engine optimization and you’ll know more than 99% of the population: If your website actively tries to make the Internet a better place, it will be rewarded with high rankings. What the heck does that mean?! Provide good advice to your visitors (blogs, articles, how-tos, videos, detailed explanations of difficult concepts) and your website will, over time, be ranked higher as your content grows. Search engines want to match people with companies that can help them…be helpful.

3.  Google Adwords, try it. If your website is brand new, search engines aren’t going to take you seriously (it takes about a year for search engines to trust that your website will stay-the-course). If you’re having a hard time with getting into the search results, try Google Adwords. You can set your campaign to only show in your city / zip code / state to ensure you don’t waste money. Long keywords like “buy commercial real estate” won’t cost as much as “real estate,” giving the CRE agent an edge over other markets.

4. Mobile revolution. 91% of people have mobile phones and 21% of phone owners use their devices as their primary means of accessing the Internet. (Numbers from Pew Internet & American Life Project.) What does this mean for us? We need to redevelop our email and websites to be easily accessed with mobile devices. This means making everything “responsive” to auto-adjust its size depending on what type of device is being used (computer monitor, tablet, or mobile phone).

5. Direct marketing. This is one of the old, familiar ways of doing business, but things need to be more polished than they were even 5 years ago. Direct marketing is the act of speaking directly to your customer. This can be done with social media, online ads, and mailers.  Reonomy makes finding your target market very easy (either tenants or building owners), so use their list in combination with postcards and sales letters that speak directly to them. Offer specific services that they need, don’t be generic.