Eat-your-heart-out-marketing

Kansas City Business Journal - Original Article
June 24, 2015

Eat-your-heart-out-marketing

The way to an industrial real estate client's wallet is through his stomach.

At least, that's often proved to be the case for Pay Murfey, a broker with Evergreen Real Estate Services and author "Pat's Off the Beaten Path" restaurant blog.  The online offering has become both an outlet for Murfey's passion and an inlet for his business.

The blog, with more than 5,000 email followers, is a form of "content marketing" that attracts clients through content they want to consume rather than standard ads they'd rather avoid.

Murfey sends out a new restaurant review every six or seven weeks.  He said the approach has driven a lot of business for him, often putting him top of mind with clients as they get ready to lease, buy or sell a property.

But Murfey acknowledged that he didn't launch the blog with the idea of benefiting from content marketing.

"It's now part of my business plan, but it just grew organically," he said.

An architect by training, Murfey got to explore Kansas City's nooks and crannies - and their little dining joints - while doing design work for the late Barney Karbank, a prolific industrial developer.

Then, after Murfey jumped to industrial real estate in 2001, he would invite prospects and fellow brokers to lunch at favorite dives close to his showings.

"Soon I started receiving emails, asking where we had had lunch," he said.  "They wanted to go back and introduce others to these treasures of our city."

Initially, Murfey responded with only names and addresses of the eateries, which have included spots such as Kitty's Cafe in Midtown, Louie's Wine Dive in Waldo and Los Alamos Markey y Cocina, which serves a mean spicy verde pork on Downtown's West Side.

Then, as more and more requests started flowing in, he started including photos and brief descriptions of the restaurants and their menus.

In 2007, Murfey formalized the process, sending photos and write-ups out on a regular basis through email blasts.

Initially, only about 30 business friends were on his distribution list.  But soon, he began getting requests for his culinary esoterica from strangers who had heard about it secondhand.

One reader, remarking on the blog's advertising potential, noted: "Brilliant! Everybody eats."

Now on his 67th restaurant review, Murfey said the blog represents "an opportunity to get myself in front of people without sending them info on a property the may have no interest in."

In addition to keeping his email subscribers fed with new reviews, Murfey posts each new write-up to his Evergreen Real Estate website, his "Pat's Off the Beaten Path" blog, his "Off the Beaten Path" Facebook page, and his LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

At the bottom of each new post, he may contain links to a property or two he's marketing if they're in the neighborhood of the featured restaurant.  But typically, the posts contain just a photo of Murfey, the fact that "I sell and lease commercial buildings" and contact information.

"My restaurant review is not just marketing my listings and brand but also supports these local establishments by encouraging patronage from those who enjoy dining off the beaten path," he said.

Pat Murfey, CCIM specializes in Commercial Properties with Kansas City based real estate brokerage Evergreen Real Estate Services. Pat can be reached at 913-951-8402 or Pat@KCEvergreen.com.

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