Let’s face it- not all marketing is good. A lot of marketing is horrible, some is simply bland, some is very good and some should be burned immediately. Good marketing people are not always easy to find, and once you do find them they are often very busy because of the aforementioned difficulty in finding them to begin with.
Selling real estate effectively requires marketing. It takes people looking at your ads so they see the homes. Whether it’s on the internet, magazines, newspapers, postcards, or wherever- sellers want buyers seeing their property and buyers want to find good homes. The right marketing can have a significant impact on the amount of traffic a property gets.
Sometimes good companies have bad marketing, which makes them less-good, but this could simply be the result of bad taste from management, or designers who are either getting revenge on their bosses or are just wasted on crack. Either way, as important as marketing is in the real estate industry, I would think that more companies would care about the look of their brand, which also speaks of the brand of their clients.
I have no doubt people who work for companies with ugly marketing will say that it’s not important what your ads look like, but all things being equal most people would rather have their home appear in high-quality ads and represented by a professional looking brand. And more people look at those ads so it does affect traffic.
Here are some examples of what I consider to be bad real estate marketing.
The whole pilgrim thing is way over-done
Constipation is not sexy
Drugs- I’m 90% sure
In bright daylight causes blindness
Even the kid thinks it’s lame
Bad on so many levels
Not prestigious at all
Will never sell a high-end home
Judge books by their covers
Pray for a new design
Animal pornography is just wrong
All dressed-up for the big photo shoot
When accountants do design work
$495,000 for a doghouse?
And now to recognize a couple of special companies and their design and marketing. Usually once a company becomes national, or large they get enough input to change bad marketing, or have enough money to hire good designers and consultants. But apparently, not all companies;
Ugliest National brokerage marketing goes to these two;
It’s almost as though they’re trying to be ugly
Sad thing about Exit’s marketing is, they actually think it looks good
And here is some real estate marketing that I think is very good and should be used as examples of good taste. There are many companies that have good marketing- here are just a few that come to mind. For more great internet design work in real estate go to Posh’d)
Obviously, if I didn’t think my own logo and look was good I would change it
Sellsius guys have a cool look
Re/Max -Always recognizable, often imitated, and the balloon gives them options
Prudential- Rounded top and the rock symbol differentiate, good font and color. I think the blue is friendly and inviting.
There are obviously many companies that have great marketing, logos and looks that are not mentioned here, but you get the idea. Many Realtors create their own marketing with only the brokerage name attached (which is required by law), and that can be good or worse, depending on the agent.
Good marketing also includes the copy of the ads, and how a home is presented on the MLS, in the remarks and having accurate information. Homes that have no photos are shown many times less, and a virtual tour helps even more. The quality of the photos can make a big difference.
Agents that snap a few shots of hallways and cabinets with their phone-cams are doing a disservice to their clients, while agents who hire a professional photographer who knows camera angles and lighting techniques will be presenting a better product and ultimately have more people looking at their listings.
Here’s an example of two photo tours, which one showcases the home and compells you to see the home more?
This is a home I just put on the market. I hired a professional photographer to take the photos and create the tour.
This is the complete tour provided by an agent on a home that is about the same price as my listing, has a bit more square feet, same size lot, and an extra bathroom.
More buyers will look at my listing than the other simply because of the photos, which means the seller of the second home is missing out. It’s a good home that is not being represented well.
MLS and marketing copy makes a difference as well. Here’s an example;
These are the remarks on the MLS for a home listed by another agent. I brought a buyer who bought the home last month for $170,000 with the seller paying $6000 for the buyers closing costs, so the net price to my client was $164,000. Here’s the thing- the home actually wasn’t in that bad of condition and certainly not as bad as those remarks make it seem. It had granite counters, a huge yard, a new roof, a jetted tub and all new vinyl windows. But none of that was mentioned in the remarks. This home appraised for $188,000 and probably would have appraised for $200,000 if that was the selling price. We made a low offer because the sellers were obviously expecting a low offer. Their agent did a horrible job representing them and the MLS remarks brought people looking for an investment, like my buyers. Different marketing and they could have attracted people wanting to live in the home who would have paid $200,000.
My clients paid $164,000 (after the $6000 credit), put less than $10,000 into the home for paint, carpet, and some other upgrades, and we will sell it for $220,000, which is actually a good price for this home with the upgrades.
The best agents coordinate all the little things and have the expertise to bring in top dollar while branding the property well and making the whole transaction go smoothly. Getting a quick sale for top dollar with as little inconvenience as possible to the client. Good marketing takes more than a clever tag-line or some “unique” idea- it takes an understanding of the target audience and what appeals to the largest group of them as possible.
In my opinion simple is always better than complicated. If you can say it in twenty words don’t use fifty, use images to elicit a favorable response, not because you just like the image, and colors matter. Look at the overall brand and what it says about you, because that’s what marketing is really all about- delivering the message of what your brand is, what it is you have to offer, and what you’re all about.
I don’t know that a bad yard sign will keep a buyer from calling or not, but I think a nice one may make it easier for them. Beyond signs- I think the overall image of an ad makes a huge difference in the traffic it generates and the overall image of a campaign can make a significant impact on the business and clientele of a company.
Look at Alain Pinel in the bay area of California. Everyone in the area knows of their name and brand. They attract high-end clients and agents and their branding is a major reason for it. Obviously facility, personnel, training and leadership all play roles as well, but the branding impacts the pride people take in their company and the image they themselves take on when meeting with consumers.
As an agent I prefer to be with a company that I associate with being a high-quality organization. Whether or not the yard signs bring me business is not the point- I do more business because I’m proud of my service and my brand. Everything else being equal- I will do more business, and enjoy a better brand of business by having a high-quality image and having marketing that conveys that image. It gives me confidence and I believe it gives my clients confidence and pride as well.
People are the biggest contributing factor to success, but don’t underestimate the power of branding and the effectiveness of good marketing.