Most real estate agents are not marketers. They did not enter real estate on their way to a lucrative marketing career. In fact, many agents know nothing about marketing, so they just do things the way they always have. And the way it’s always been done in real estate is with image advertising. This is not news. It is an obvious fact that can be found simply by looking around your own neighborhood and in your own mailbox.
One of the main aspects of image advertising used by real estate agents is large color photography of themselves. When I see these kinds of ads and signs, with the agent’s image being the most prominent on them, I wonder why I should care what they look like. I know this will sound harsh to many of you currently using this type of advertising, but I’m not sure how the fact that my real estate agent is photogenic will help you sell my house. I consider myself an average consumer. And as such, to pick up the phone and call any advertising phone number, I need to see the benefit for myself. I don’t see any benefit to myself from these ads.
So if image advertising isn’t the way to go, what is? Direct response advertising. With a direct response ad, you give people a reason to pick up the phone and call you. You can force people to dial a call pickup hotline with any number of benefits to them. The key is to offer them something of value, such as a coupon, a free report, or a free home appraisal. People are much more likely to call an agent who gives them a free report on “10 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast” than an agent who just gives them a nice smile.
The other important thing you can do in a direct response ad is stand out from the competition. This type of marketing is perfect for yellow page ads. If you look at the advertisements that are normally published in the phone book, they all look the same. What is going to force someone to choose you over all the other agents there? If you use the standard image advertising approach, there is nothing that will make the consumer pick up the phone and call you. However, if you have a direct response ad that grabs their attention immediately and tells the consumer what you are going to offer them (a FREE report, for example) and how to get it (by calling their free call pickup hotline the 24/7) sets you apart from all the other agents on the book.
Direct response advertising also has a significant advantage over image advertising. You cannot track image advertising. Image advertising has its place and it is in companies that have the time and resources to get people to recognize their name or logo on sight. Real estate agents generally don’t fall into that category. They are working with tighter budgets and shorter deadlines. They need to know if the ads they are using are working now, what is their return on investment, and what ads need to be removed. All of this can be accomplished with direct response advertising. Direct response advertising, when done correctly, has a built-in call-to-action that, when acted upon, can be tracked using call-pickup technology. This allows real estate agents to really see what works for them and what doesn’t.
Most real estate agents are not marketing gurus. When they got their real estate license, it didn’t come with a degree in marketing. So it’s understandable that most agents just do things the way they always have when it comes to advertising. Unfortunately, that’s image advertising. If you want to force people to call you, stand out from your competition, and be able to track the results of your advertising efforts, direct response marketing is the way to go.