CCIM.com Blasts Off!
The countdown has begun: CCIM Institute is ready to launch a new and improved CCIM.com. “We needed a platform that would meet a wide variety of needs,” says institute President-Elect Leil Koch, CCIM, president of Equity One Real Estate in Lahaina, Hawaii. He consulted with CCIM staff and the design team throughout the development process. “We want to market the designation, but we also want a robust member benefit,” he adds. A more interactive, content-driven CCIM.com is being built to achieve these goals.
Your Discovery Zone
When surfing the Web, “my pet peeve is not being able to find what I’m looking for,” Koch says. A main objective of the CCIM.com redesign is to make the site more intuitive so Koch and other industry professionals can quickly locate the information they need. For example, the new CCIM Course Finder module on the home page allows users to search for a specific CCIM course or view all courses “at a glance.” The course list on the CCIM.com education page can be further organized by category, topic, and format. Thus, if a CCIM is searching for an online course on negotiation strategies, he or she can narrow the search by selecting the appropriate topic (negotiations) and format (online).
Commercial real estate professionals also are looking for timely information to help them make the best business decisions in a difficult market. The new CCIM.com includes a frequently updated Newscenter containing news stories, statistical data, and market forecasts handpicked for CCIM members. Articles from CCIM’s award-winning magazine, Commercial Investment Real Estate, also will be available in the Newscenter along with excerpts from RERC/CCIM Investment Trends Quarterly. “If we provide information that’s useful to their business, it gives CCIMs another reason to visit our site first,” Koch explains.
CCIM members can share their own expertise by posting comments on news items and CIRE articles. This not only fosters a forum for the exchange of ideas, but also provides another way for CCIM members to demonstrate their knowledge to potential business partners and clients.
CCIMs already have access to two of the most powerful online networking tools available: the Find a Professional database and the MailBridge platform. With the new social media integration on CCIM.com, that arsenal is now even stronger.
The key social media feature is the Overheard module on the home page and networking page, which aggregates social media posts by and for CCIM members. Here CCIMs can find industry information and connect with potential business partners.
In a world where sites such as Twitter and Facebook are becoming the “search engines” of choice, Koch notes, a focus on social media makes CCIM.com more relevant. The site’s Follow Us module allows users to quickly connect to the institute’s Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. Users also can share CCIM.com content on their social media pages by clicking “add this” buttons at the top of the page.
And when the next Twitter or Facebook takes the commercial real estate industry by storm, CCIM.com will be updated accordingly. “As social media evolves, we want to be part of that process,” Koch explains.
But despite the increasing popularity of social media, commercial real estate is still a “belly-to-belly” business. The new CCIM.com feature an events calendar of industry trade shows, institute conferences, and education seminars, where CCIM members can connect with potential clients and business partners in person. All events are denoted as regional, national, or international, and CCIM members can notify the institute about events in their area.
The least tangible — but perhaps most important — benefit of the new CCIM.com is the increased exposure for the CCIM designation. As more new and relevant content is added to CCIM.com, search engines will improve the site’s ranking. Ideally, CCIM.com will be the first commercial real estate site visited by brokers, other industry professionals, journalists, investors, and potential CCIM members. “Anytime someone is looking for commercial real estate information, we want them go through the CCIM site,” Koch says. “And hopefully they’ll check out our education and member benefits.”
Visitors to the site also will see the new Deal Makers module, which highlights recent transactions involving CCIMs. These deals are a testament to the expertise of CCIMs, which gives positive exposure to the designees and, in turn, the designation program. When visitors who see these deals return to CCIM.com in search of the best minds in commercial real estate, everybody wins.