Marketing Real Estate – Embrace the Changes, Save Money

Don’t fight forces; use them. – R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 – 1983)

Are you fighting the forces of change by making the mistake of advertising “the way it’s always been done?” Or are you embracing and using this change that snuck up on us over the last 10 years or so? Where do you spend your advertising dollars? If you’re like most Real estate agents, you may be spending the least amount in the spot where your prospects are looking most often.

According to NAR, over 80% of all buyers look first at the internet. And while we haven’t seen the results of any questionnaires, it makes sense to believe that sellers look there too – if only to see who is doing the best job of presenting their listings. And yet, the Promotions magazine I read today showed that Real estate agents and brokerages spend the least amount on internet advertising than any other medium! I was amazed. It’s true that once your site is up and your prospect capture programs are in place, the cost of internet advertising is very low. But still…

Their report from Neilsen Monitor-Plus showed that Realtors spend only $ 6.70 on internet advertising for every $ 972.40 spent on print advertising. They even spend 7 times more on radio and almost 50 times more on television – 2 mediums in which your message is there one second and gone the next. Outdoor advertising, which is at least there for a longer period of time, and may serve as a sort of subliminal message to prospects who see it often, gets $ 110 for every $ 6.70 spent online.

I know, agents are fearful of leaving behind the old methods. They’re afraid that if their faces don’t show up in the Sunday newspaper or the homes books, people will forget about them. But will they, when 80% begin looking on line rather than in those places? The way to find out, of course, is to track where people are coming from. That means you need to ask – and you need to record the answers. You just might find that you don’t need to spend all the dollars you’ve been spending because that’s the way “it’s always been done.”

In trying to determine why so many agents are not putting much faith in internet marketing – in spite of the NAR reports – I found something interesting. Many agents are spending large sums of money on the “look” of their sites, but leave them devoid of marketing copy. The majority of real estate sites I’ve visited are what I call “Chamber of Commerce” sites. They give absolutely no reason why a potential buyer or seller should call a particular agent. All they do is sell the community. Because a website gives you unlimited space in which to tell your story, it’s a perfect spot to present those “reasons why.” Here you can talk about the special services you offer to buyers and sellers, promote your niche, and offer free articles that show your prospects that you know what you’re doing. 

I always tell agents to leave “the herd” behind if they want success. Do things that make you and your services stand out from the crowd. The beauty, of course, is that once your message is there you don’t have to keep paying for it over and over again – and if you want to add new articles, announce new listings, or just tweak your marketing message, you can do it yourself- at no cost beyond your own time. So think about this. Would it make more sense for you to cut back on some of those other forms of advertising and instead make sure that your internet presence is the best that it can be? Go the extra distance to put marketing copy on your website – and then track the results.

Marte Cliff is a Freelance Copywriter and former real estate broker who specializes in writing for real estate and related industries.

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