25 Frequently Asked Questions about Real Estate Advertising

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Estate Weekly

25 Frequently Asked Questions about Real Estate Advertising

Advertising and marketing is changing dramatically. Below you'll find answers to many questions about this changing environment and how best to utilize targeted print and Internet together for maximum effectiveness.

For more information contact us with any additional questions. You can also order your free copy of our special report "Maximum Marketing for Real Estate Pros: Tips, Techniques and Marketing Insights".

 1. WHAT IS MARKETING?

You could develop an extensive list of many business marketing items-from business cards, to giveaways, to a clean car, to a personal website- because marketing is really everything we do that interfaces with the public. But, there are seven major "marketing musts" that you need to target aggressively with time, thought and action. These seven are:

  • Personal contact with clients
  • Direct Mail to current and potential clients
  • Internet exposure through websites
  • A brochure describing your services
  • Advertising in various mediums (Internet, print, outdoor media)
  • Public Relations - your visible involvement in the community
  • Client Education - educating your clients on the details of buying and selling real estate

 All seven should work together and help to complete your marketing circle. These seven help to build Top of Mind Awareness in a potential client when they are ready to make a move to buy or sell.

New advertising and marketing opportunities come our way each day. It's hard to stay focused over the long haul, but focus on the basics is what yields tremendous results in business growth and longevity. Click here to download a PDF article entitled "Marketing is key for successful business" or give us a call and receive your free copy of "Maximum Marketing for Real Estate Pros - Tips, Techniques & Market Insights", our free report with lots of additional information on the 7 Marketing Musts you can use to more effectively promote your business.

2. WHAT IS ADVERTISING?

Advertising is utilization of various mediums to communicate your message and service or product offer to the public. We all are bombarded daily with hundreds of advertising messages. Ideally, the prospects most interested in using your services would see, hear or read your advertising.

3. ARE THERE CERTAIN ELEMENTS THAT MAKE AN EFFECTIVE AD?

First, establish realistic goals in your mind related to your budget and commitment. Good advertising works and has been proven to work. But, poorly designed, poorly written advertising placed in media that does not effectively reach your best prospects and with only a short term commitment has little chance of achieving successful objectives and long term results.

 Advertising must have certain features to be the most effective. Great ads;

  • must have a headline (or bold statement) to grab attention and sell in the very first sentence. A headline interrupts the malaise that can overtake a reader when he looks through a newspaper or magazine or is watching television or listening to the radio. Click here to download a PDF article "Importance of Headlines"
  • are well written with the reader in mind.
  • tell the reader "What's in it for me?"
  • intrigue the reader to learn more.
  • portray you or your product as best in your field.
  • contain a call to action - What should I do next?

 Look at effective ads in any media-these factors are present.

Second, the offer must appeal to readers, viewers or listeners. It must be priced appropriately and presented with words or pictures that have any appeal to the broadest possible audience.

Third, the offer/ad must "be there" when the prospect is ready to buy. This idea reinforces the importance of frequency (how often you run your ad) and also reminds us of the importance of changing your offer or approach often. New readers may be in the market for your product or your services this week. Don't miss them.

Fourth, remember that advertising, particularly real estate advertising, achieves many objectives, one of which is an immediate response from a potential buyer, seller or user of your services. These additional objectives can include:

  • Providing the very best exposure and quality advertising for you, your business and your listing.
  • Building name recognition in the community
  • Reinforcing your experience and professionalism to all clients
  • Informing past clients that you're still in business
  • Informing current clients that you're providing them the best exposure
  • Showing potential clients what you will do to provide exposure for them
  • Educating all classes of clients about you and your business.

So, expect response from good advertising but be realistic and give it time to work! Overall, an effective ad is the "facts made fascinating".

4. WHERE SHOULD I ADVERTISE?

You should advertise in the mediums that are the most cost effective and provide you with the services and results you desire. Judging cost effectiveness relates to the cost of the ad and who will read that ad. An expensive poorly designed ad with a poor offer seen by people uninterested in your offer is a waste of your money. Since the real estate buying and selling market is relatively small at any given time compared to other types of products (groceries or automobiles, for instance) targeting your ad to the most interested prospects will usually provide a greater return for you.

5. IS THE USE OF COLOR IN A PRINT AD AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION?

Many studies show that color is an effective means to generate added attention to a print ad. But, use of color is not the most important consideration - headline, design, content, offer, frequency and reach are much, much more important. What use is color if these other items are not adequately addressed? Some of the best, most effective print advertising in some of America's top newspapers (New York Times and Wall Street Journal as examples) are NOT in color but have fully addressed these other considerations. We can discuss all these items with you and develop a plan for use of color if it fits your budget.

6. IS A "TARGETED" MEDIUM THE BEST MEDIUM FOR REAL ESTATE ADVERTISING?

By "targeted" we mean advertising that is most likely to be read, heard or seen by the very best prospect for your product or service. A targeted means of advertising real estate is probably the most responsive and cost-effective means available for Realtors because a targeted medium reaches the most qualified prospect for a lower cost so the potential exists for greater return (response) from a targeted medium in relation to money spent. Reaching a unique audience with a product particular to that audience can result in much greater response at a lower cost. In real estate advertising this is particularly important; as the base of active customers at any given time is relatively small and mass-market mediums (like TV, daily newspapers, and billboards) offer a considerable amount of "wasted" distribution.

7. WHAT ABOUT USING TARGETED PRINT PUBLICATIONS LIKE THE REAL ESTATE WEEKLY?

As described, targeted media and particularly targeted print publications have proven to be very powerful in providing results when properly and effectively utilized in a marketing plan. Reaching the most active prospects is the strength of a well-distributed and designed real estate specific publication. All the content, both ads and editorial, is directed towards the specific needs of the reader so the active home shopper utilizes the publication each week during the search process.

8. WHO READS YOUR PUBLICATIONS?

Individuals who are actively pursuing the American Dream of home ownership! Our readership surveys over the years have shown us what our readers want and NAR studies of homes buyers and sellers give us insight into home shoppers in general. These are some of the facts about our readers from our own surveys and NAR information:

72% are actively involved in the home search process that may conclude in 9 weeks from beginning to end.

During this search more than 80% will frequently use the Internet, most (90%) will use a real estate agent and more than half will look to the agent's reputation in deciding who to work with.

73% of home sellers will contact only one agent before listing their home.

These statistics reinforce the importance of Frequency (weekly and monthly), Personal Branding and an Internet Presence. All these should work together for great response.

9. HOW MANY COPIES DO YOU DISTRIBUTE AND HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THIS QUANTITY?

Our circulation quantities are based upon meeting near full demand from our distribution locations. As we expand and modify our locations, quantities increase and marginal locations may be altered or eliminated. This process is ongoing and seasonal. High-traffic and high demand locations are stocked and serviced by our personnel multiple times each week with the goal of always having publications available to meet demand. Our exact distribution information is available to our clients upon request. For further information on our distribution approach and major regional locations Click Here.

10. SINCE THERE ARE SEVERAL TARGETED PRINT PUBLICATIONS, HOW DO I CHOOSE WHICH TARGETED PRINT PUBLICATION WOULD BE BEST FOR ME?

Here are some things to consider and compare:

Design-Is your ad designed in a way to maximize the standard design elements needed for effective advertising, including benefits and use of headlines and graphic elements to attract the reader's attention? Is your ad space able to be utilized for more than just advertising listings? Are you able to promote your services, credentials and experience? High quality design and reproduction, following proven ad design techniques, will allow you to maximize your ad space allowing you to save money and generate maximum results.

Flexibility - Are many different design, frequency, size, type and price options available to you to allow change as needed to meet market demands? Are the contracts rigid or flexible allowing change as needed? Is your satisfaction completely guaranteed thereby limiting your risk in trying new approaches?

Distribution-The number of active home shoppers is small during any given week. You certainly want the opportunity to reach ALL of them and a properly distributed free publication with the most current information does just that. This is the power of targeted advertising-you pay for NO wasted distribution, every reader is a potential client, either now or in the future and is very interested in your offer -- real estate information and services. Consider the wide-ranging exclusive free distribution of our products as compared to options. No one matches our distribution network!

Service-Do you get responsive, efficient service from people who truly care about the success of your business? The Real Estate Weekly, locally owned since 1988, works hard for El Paso Realtors and service companies and will respond to your concerns quickly and completely.

11. WHAT ABOUT OTHER ADVERTISING OPTIONS LIKE TELEVISION OR THE DAILY NEWSPAPER?

Daily newspapers continue to attract real estate classified advertising (and continue to raise their advertising prices) even though their circulation and "reach" to consumers continues to decrease. Competing mediums like cable television and Internet attract more clearly defined users, particularly with the under 40 age group. National advertisers recognize this trend and are devoting more of their ad dollars to targeted mediums such as cable TV (over the major networks). Advertising expenditures on cable TV increased 15.6% from 2002 to 2003 compared to an increase of only 1.8% on network TV. Additionally, many national advertisers do little to no advertising in the daily newspapers (Starbucks and Wal-Mart are two) devoting more dollars to targeted mediums, direct mail, Internet and promotions.

12. HOW DOES THE TREND TOWARDS GREATER TARGETED MEDIUM USE RELATE TO REAL ESTATE ADVERTISING?

Two conclusions should be addressed that help answer this question.

1.   Of the subscribers/readers/viewers of mass-market mediums, a very small number are currently looking for real estate information.

2.   Of those people who are actively looking for real estate, they want easily accessible, comprehensive information about homes for sale and may want to seek out this information prior to ever contacting a Realtor. NAR research tells us that home buyers typically search for homes on their own for 2 weeks before contacting an agent. Active home shoppers will seek the information they want. This is one reason why Internet real estate searching has grown so dramatically in recent years and why targeted advertising options produce results.

With this relatively small buying/selling market, the most effective methods for real estate advertising are those designed for targeted reach to the best home buying demographics. Reaching a smaller overall audience of very interested prospects at a lower cost can be much more effective for certain products than attempting to reach a broad, mass-market, most who are uninterested in the product, at a higher cost. The result: greater return for less money.

So, is there a place for mass-market mediums (television, billboards, and daily newspapers) for real estate advertising? Yes, and it can be used very effectively for client acquisition, retention and company branding. But, only a certain percentage of your advertising budget should be in mass-market mediums. Targeted approaches that reach your best prospects are most likely your best value in terms of price versus results. These targeted approaches include area signs, websites, direct mail to correct buying/selling demographics and past clients and real estate exclusive newspapers and magazines that provide wide flexibility in design and content for your ads.

Additionally, if considering advertising in the daily newspaper be aware of the true reach of most daily papers today. Even in this "broad" reach product (the daily paper) in almost all major markets your ad will not be seen or pursued by the majority of households. Some markets experience paid distribution as low as 30% of the households. This means that up to 70% of the households do not receive or read a daily newspaper. Contact us for information on specific markets how this trend is worsening for paid newspapers.

13. CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT DISTRIBUTION OF YOUR PUBLICATIONS?

Distribution quality is the most important factor for any targeted advertising medium. Therefore, our goal is to continually refine our distribution locations to reach the very best home buying and selling demographic.

14. WHAT ABOUT DIRECT MAIL? DO YOU MAIL COPIES OF YOUR PUBLICATIONS?

We direct mail to hundreds of people locally and worldwide each month from requests we receive via our 800 number and websites. Additionally, we have numerous subscribers.

15. I'VE HEARD YOU OFFER SOME KIND OF ADVERTISING GUARANTEE. HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY GUARANTEE ADVERTISING!?

We guarantee 100% satisfaction. If you sign an Advertising Agreement with any Real Estate Weekly publication and are dissatisfied at any time with our products or services simply contact us and if we can't solve your concern, you have no further obligation to continue.  We want you to be completely satisfied with your advertising. We do ask that you let us help you achieve success and satisfaction by assisting you with ad design, headline creation and well-written ad copy.

16. HOW CAN I FIND THE TIME TO WRITE BETTER AD COPY AND HEADLINES FOR MY LISTINGS?

Use our complimentary on-line Adwriting system and write great ads with little effort. It really works and is free to all our advertisers. Ask us how you can use it. Or give us your listing data and we'll write your ad for you.

17. I'M ADVERTISING MY LISTNGS IN YOUR PUBLICATION. CAN YOU HELP ME COMMUNICATE THIS TO MY CLIENT?

Of course we can! We'll be glad to mail them a copy of the paper or your ad or simply a postcard notifying them of your efforts. Let us know what you need. Additionally, we have complimentary flyers you can utilize in your listing presentations to help you explain the benefits you bring to the listing by including it in our publications. Call us for any of these services.

18. I'M A REALTOR AND I DON'T HAVE ANY LISTINGS RIGHT NOW. WHY SHOULD I ADVERTISE?

For most of the same reasons if you did have listings. Remember these objectives that are met with a consistent, well-designed advertising program: 

  • Building name recognition in the community.
  • Building your "brand".
  • Promoting your Internet presence or website
  • Reinforcing your experience and professionalism to all clients
  • Informing past clients that you're still in business
  • Showing potential clients what you will do to provide exposure for their home
  • Educating all classes of clients about you and your business.

Effective advertising for your business is much more than promoting your listing inventory. Let us help design an advertising program for you that will achieve these objectives.

19. I'M NOT USING YOUR PRODUCTS AND MY ADVERTISING SEEMS TO BE WORKING OK RIGHT NOW. WHY SHOULD I MAKE ANY CHANGES?

Changes are important to consider because the market is constantly changing. Who considered the Internet important to real estate marketing 10 years ago? Who would have thought that a free weekly newspaper devoted exclusively to real estate would be aggressively used by consumers?

The issue is not that you perceive that your current advertising is working. The question to ask is "What advertising or marketing changes could I make that may prove more effective and result in more business?" Give us a call and let us design a custom advertising plan for you.

20. I'M CONVINCED - I WANT TO INCLUDE YOUR PUBLICATIONS IN MY MARKETING MIX. HOW DO I GET STARTED? IS IT HARD TO PUT AN AD TOGETHER?

We strive to make the process of developing and maintaining a consistent advertising program as simple as possible. Simply call me at 915-240-5240 in El Paso and I'll help you get started and keep going. I'll meet with you personally at your convenience and develop a plan that will work and fit your budget. I'll explore the easiest way for you to get your ads together - from our online system, to e-mail to faxing us your lunch napkin with your ad copy - whatever works best for you!

We'll bring maximum flexibility to you and our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. You really have no risk to give our approach a try.

21. I'M NOT A REALTOR, BUT I PROVIDE SERVICES TO HOME BUYERS. HOW AND WHERE SHOULD I ADVERTISE?

Your marketing and advertising should follow the exact formula outlined in these questions. If you serve home buyers and sellers then our publications should be a part of your advertising mix. Your prospects are reading our publications!

22. WHAT ABOUT USING THE INTERNET TO PROMOTE MY BUSINESS? DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS?

NAR surveys show that 84% of home shoppers begin their home search on the Internet. Why? Because the Internet provides active home shoppers with the means to obtain the information they most want - homes for sale in their desired city, area and price range - in a search-able format. Note that home shoppers begin here. They then move on to make efforts to locate a Realtor, drive neighborhoods, pick up print products (or order one on-line), educate themselves on the buying/selling process and generally attempt to gather all the information they can find. So, the Internet is only one of the seven "marketing musts" noted above and can be powerfully used to reinforce all your other marketing and advertising and all your other marketing and advertising can be used to reinforce your website.

23. SO WHAT SHOULD I DO ON THE INTERNET?

Attempt to do the same things you would do in any other advertising because your business is more than just your listings or service - it's everything your business offers and your web presence should attempt to communicate that. Remember, with your marketing and advertising you're trying to accomplish these things, in addition to promoting and selling your listings:

•           Building name recognition in the community.

•           Building your "brand".

•           Reinforcing your experience and professionalism to all clients

•           Informing past clients that you're still in business

•           Showing potential clients what you will do to provide exposure for their home

•           Educating all classes of clients about you and your business.

Your web presence or site should be informative, useful and promoted in all your other marketing and advertising - it does not have to be fancy or expensive.

24. WHAT DO YOU PROVIDE FOR INTERNET PROMOTION OPTIONS?

Buying a home is a local event and searching for a home or Realtor is local too.

Our community focused website provides the friendliest, most effective way for the web shopper to conveniently search the regional market and link to your personal information. Visit www.REWeekly.com and see what we offer. We have various plans available to you that will allow greater opportunities for Internet users to reach you and learn more about your business.

I have a .PDF of all of our services we offer on the Internet that I can email to you in a flash.  Feel free to send me an email at jennifer@mesapublishing.com, and no worries, I help in getting information to you for you to make choices, not to "sell" you.

Additionally, we capture relocation leads for you through participation with hundreds of other similar real estate publications nationwide (over 70 million copies per year) promoting www.USAHomes.com. Relocation prospects can order free publications and link to local websites nationwide through this website. It's another way we will work to gain exposure for you.

25. HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR APPROACH TO SERVING REALTORS AND REAL ESTATE SERVICE COMPANIES?

We will provide real estate advertising that's easy and effective - it's that simple!

 

Sources: Knight Foundation report,, TNS Media Intelligence News, March 8, 2007report, 2006 NAR Buyer/Seller report

 

This information is taken from our Real Estate Marketing FAQ's.  If you would like to have access to the documents in the text with "Click Here", please visit www.epwebinfo.com, or www.rewinfo.com, and click on "Advertising FAQ's" on the left sidebar to view this entire document on-line.

 

For a PDF download of any of the marketing articles mentioned below contact me via email (jennifer@mesapublishing.com) for the links;

Is Your Marketing Budget Unlimited

Hierarchy of Real Estate Advertising Options

Effective Ads Have Headlines

Readers Speak Out: Survey Results

Print & Internet - the perfect combination

Real Estate is location, advertising is frequency

Attract clients with well-written headlines

Marketing is key for successful business

 

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Rainmaker
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Alisa McKeel Willson
Appraisal Pros in Texas - Huntsville, TX
Certified Res. Appraiser

Great points!  I'm going to apply these to my own marketing.

Thanks!

Alisa

 

Jul 03, 2008 02:18 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Christina (Asad) Cavins
Irongate Inc. REALTORS - Centerville, OH
www.DaytonOhioHouse.com Search Ohio Homes For Sale

Jennifer,

I agree with most of your post, but your article contradicts many top marketing specialists. Check out Sara's blog article which echoes their views.

Christina

Jul 14, 2008 01:12 AM #2
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Rainer
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Jennifer Lane

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