Should you advertise? Some questions to ask

After many years of providing advertising options for the real estate industry I’ve found that the most successful real estate pros are those who consistently promote their business with advertising.

Of course, this is true of most business. The ultimate goal would be a business that profitably exists with nothing but word of mouth promotion.

But in real estate the reality is that most people seldom buy and sell a home and a thoughtful real estate professional knows they need constant exposure to the market to find new prospects to grow their business and reinforce to the community that they are actively “in business”.

There are many cost effective places to advertise – online, in print, on billboards, on your car, on neighborhood signs.   But, effective advertising is really a matter of reaching active real estate prospects as directly as possible and then connecting with them via a phone call, open house visit, e-mail or website visit.

I believe it’s more important than ever to measure your results and weigh the return on your advertising investment.  My company provides ways to measure advertising response in all our print and online options.  You should expect nothing less from any place you advertise.

But for serious Realtors, not advertising is not an option.

Here are some questions to ask about your advertising:

  • Do you advertise consistently?
  • Do you get visitors to your website and do they contact you?  What is the quality of that lead?
  • Do prospects call you from your advertising?  Do you get seller AND buyer leads?
  • Do you have a verifiable way to measure response from your advertising?
  • How do you promote your services to sellers? To buyers?
  • For print advertising – is it verifiable, well designed and well written with balance between self-promotion and listing promotion?
  • Does your other marketing support and relate to your advertising?  Like direct mail  (personal letters and post cards) and online social media that connects with past clients.
  • Do you use billboards or bench ads? Do they produce leads for you?
  • Does all your marketing and advertising promote a link to your useful website?  Can you verify that your advertising is leading to website visits?
  • How’s your advertising going? Is it working? How do you know?

Have other ideas?  Please share them.

Learn about LinkedIn

Here’s a couple of videos I came across on You Tube on developing your presence on LinkedIn – the “business networking focused social media website”.

If you haven’t set up a profile on Linked In, these videos can help you get started.  I’m no expert on Linked In, but I’m reading a lot of great things on how it can be used.  As I learn more I’ll share it here.  Many of you may be experts.  If so, share how you think Linked In can be used to connect with others and grow your business.  The Linked In You Tube channel is a great resource for even more information.

Some consider Facebook “waste of time”

Take a look at this chart from the blog Business Insider.  I’m not sure how many people don’t use Facebook (other than the many people I personally know) but this survey found that more than half of those who are Facebook-less consider it a “waste of time.”  Maybe these people would feel the same about TV but either way it’s important to consider this as you decide where to devote your marketing time and money.

I think this is interesting in light of the tremendous hype Facebook receives as a marketing vehicle – a way to prospect and promote your business.

My suggestion has always been to use as many different appropriate marketing vehicles and test, test, test.  Maybe Facebook is allowing you to connect with all kinds of new clients. If so, great.  But if it’s your only or main way to prospect you might be missing all those Facebook-less people out there.  Consider including a good cross section of targeted marketing in your 2011 plan.