Monday, August 9, 2010

Property ads - it's also the placement

While I take a short break with the “Listing of the Day” advertising critique, there is definitely room for observation. Hopefully more agents are starting to realize that in this market, cookie-cutter advertising doesn’t cut it. There should be more outrage that I find the same problem areas in advertisements for million dollar homes that I do for $100,000 properties.

Each property should be treated as a unique property, even if it is in the middle of a development of 20 houses built exactly alike on the same circle drive. Heck, even in that case, one is likely to face east and thus not have the hot afternoon sun blazing into the living room and/or master bedroom. (See, there I go again!)

Even though in this age of political correctness it is increasingly difficult to write to your true target audience, there continues to be opportunities for better targeting than what I see in the majority of property advertisements.

For example, suppose you have a listing in an ethnic neighborhood and it is down the block from the elementary school. These days, you are no longer able to say “ideal for young Asian family” or whatever it may happen to be. Many agents and brokers become more concerned about staying within the guidelines, and reduce their ad for such a property to “close to schools”, and fail to realize how changing their advertising approach to something that soft in effect costs them business.

Using that example, suppose the husband in a Latin family sees this ad. He then sees the address, and realizes that the advertised home in an Asian community. He is looking for something in a Spanish community and will look at other advertisements. Chances are he will eventually contact ANOTHER agent with a property in his desired area.

How do you get around the “politically correct” restrictions? That is a tough challenge, but one that should be recognized as a challenge by agents and brokers who understand the importance of advertising for every single listing.

If this were my client faced with this situation, I would start with one important suggestion. Advertise this property, with the “close to schools” (in order to remain politically correct) in a publication and/or web site which specifically targets the Asian audience!

It is not only gearing each property advertisement toward its most likely audience. It is placing the ad(s) where it will have the best reach.

Some of you are thinking, “but I advertise all of my listings in one place all of the time”. If so, you are only reaching the same people all of the time. How are you going to sell the home in the Asian community if only a tiny percentage of Asians would happen upon the ad?

The placement of advertising is very often as important as the content. There might not be any “wrong” places to advertise, but keep in mind that the days of “just put an ad in the paper” or “it’s on” are no longer sufficient in order to list and sell in the current marketplace

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