Recently two articles appeared in a national real estate magazine addressing the topic of the value of advertising home listings by Realtors. These articles, written by two long time real estate marketing pros compared the benefits and potential downside of listing heavy advertising.
The first article took the position that listing heavy ads reinforce the perception that all real estate agents or companies are the same and that the only thing that differentiates them is the product (homes) they sell. Don Hobbs, the author, states, “House ads do not differentiate between agents or companies, they differentiate between properties.” He further states that “house ads give the impression that people are supposed to pick a home and a Realtor comes with it.”
He believes that the public tends to think that all real estate agents are the same and the only difference is the home they may have listed. The second article, written by Hal Douthit, promotes the idea that a Realtor has an obligation to the seller to provide the very best possible promotion for the listing. After all, the seller just wants their house sold and listing heavy advertising helps accomplish this and serves the public with what they want – information on homes for sale.
Both articles are worth reading and are full of great ideas. But, I came away with a third option to add to the discussion. In my view both these advertising approaches have equal value and must be thoughtfully included in any effective real estate advertising campaign. In fact, all effective advertising incorporates this approach. In an effective ad, whether print, sign or electronic two main elements MUST be present.
You must answer the reader’s question “What’s in it for me?” AND fully promote the product in the best possible way. You want to give home buyers and sellers a reason to contact you in lieu of your competition and that reason, to build a successful business, needs to be more than the fact that you have a particular home for sale.
I’ll use Starbucks as an example of my point, although you’ll be able to think of many others. If you’ve ever purchased coffee at a Starbucks you know the price they charge for coffee is much higher than many other places. You can certainly purchase coffee at 7-11 instead. But many millions of people will only buy their coffee at Starbucks. Amazing! Why?
Starbucks has very effectively built a brand through their marketing (remember: marketing is everything we do that the public sees) that conveys a particular image that coffee drinkers SEEK out. The product is important – -its quality and presentation– but not as important as the image in building repeat long-term business. If all Starbucks promoted was “we have coffee for sale” there would be no differentiation between other places you can buy a cup of coffee. But they make effort to promote so much more – quality, style, community, comfort, friendliness – and have built a brand with a very loyal following and answered the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question.
This should be your goal as a Realtor – to utilize your advertising and all your marketing to take clear steps to establish in the minds of homes buyers and sellers the unique benefits of calling on you for help in buying or selling a home – any home.
Each of you brings to your business unique aspects of character, background, education, experience and expertise. Does your advertising and marketing effectively and aggressively tell the public of these things? Print advertising we can provide you is the perfect place for this type of promotion. Don’t be confused over the demands of your seller to market their listings to the exclusion of branding your business. Don’t be confused with advertising options that only promote your listings.
This approach does nothing to promote you. Effective ads can and should do both – tell the public about you and your business AND the product you are selling.