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If real estate licenses came with marketing titles

Most real estate agents are not marketing experts. They didn’t get into real estate on their way to a lucrative marketing career. In fact, many agents don’t know anything about marketing, so they just do things the way they’ve always been done. 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 it 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 estate agents is the large color photo of themselves. When I see these kinds of ads and billboards, where the agent’s image is the highlight, I wonder why I should care how they look. I know this will sound harsh to many of you currently using this type of advertising, but I’m not sure how my photogenic real estate agent will help you sell my house. I consider myself an average consumer. And as such, for me to pick up the phone and call any advertising phone number, I need to see the benefit to 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 into a call pickup hotline with any number of benefits to them. The key is that you offer them something of value, like a coupon, a free report, or a free home appraisal. People are much more likely to call an agent who offers them a free report on “10 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast” than an agent who just offers them a nice smile.

The other important thing you can do in a direct response ad is set yourself apart from the competition. This type of marketing is perfect for yellow page ads. If you look at the ads that are usually posted in the phone book, they all look the same. What’s going to compel someone to choose you over all the other agents out there? If you use the standard image advertising approach, there is nothing to make the consumer pick up the phone and call you. However, if you have a direct response ad that grabs their attention right away and tells the consumer what you’re going to offer (a FREE report, for example) and how to get it (by calling your toll-free call capture hotline the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) you set yourself apart from all the other agents in the book.

Direct response advertising also has one more great 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 necessary for people to recognize their name or logo at a glance. 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’re using are working now, what their return on investment is, and which ads should be thrown out. 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 capture 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 marketing degree. So it’s understandable that most agents do things the way they always have when it comes to advertising. Unfortunately, that’s image advertising. If you want to compel 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.

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