SL Green Realty Corp. is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust, or REIT, that predominantly acquires, owns, repositions and manages Manhattan office properties. The Company is the only publicly held REIT that specializes in this niche. As of June 30, 2008, the Company owned 30 New York City office properties totaling approximately 23,719,200 square feet, making it New York's largest office landlord.
SL Green relies on brokers to fill their offices spaces. New York City brokers are inundated with email flyers about available properties, so much so that their email inboxes are flooded daily. And because brokers are always out and about, they tend to hit Delete the second they see most eFlyers hit their Blackberries.
Melissa Libner, Director of Marketing for SL Green, wanted to find a way to break through the clutter. After watching the widely-covered success of Barack Obama’s text messaging campaigns, Libner began searching for a text messaging solution, and a friend suggested she take a look at EZTexting.com.
She called EZ Texting and a representative took her through a free demo of the software, giving her all the information she needed to take a proposal to her management team. With a rate of 5 cents per text, the cost was a non-issue. That is much cheaper than the eFlyers she sends!
From a broker’s standpoint, all they want to know is the key information: office location, square footage and cost. Sending this information via SMS is much more productive and gives the brokers direct access to understanding what the current availabilities are. Libner also includes a phone number they can call for further information.
This program is positioned as a way for brokers to hear about exclusive availabilities before they are released to the public. To further strengthen the offer, SL Green promises to send only brand new space openings. Frequency can be anywhere from 1 to 10 messages per month.
Although New York City brokers are known to be a little “old school”, they quickly took to the program once they realized they would not be hit with daily listing (as they are eFlyers). As of November 2008, SL Green has sent out two messages, as they are still testing the service and really want to keep it exclusive and up-to-the-minute. The first text message was to 400 top standing brokers in their database. In this message, Libner welcomed the users to SL Green’s new SMS notification service and invited anyone that wanted to be taken off the list to reply with STOP. So far, after sending two messages, only 8 of 400 people have opted-out.
In addition, the brokers are able to write back to the messages asking for more information. EZ Texting’s 2-way communication feature allows Libner to write back to them one on one, a great means to monitor and keep track of response rates.
SL Green’s usage of EZ Texting is in the early stages, and so far the response has been great. They are working to add EZ Texting’s customizable web link to their eFlyers so they can take advantage of online signups. Because they are a publicly traded company, cost-effective means of marketing are highly regarded by their investors.