The National Association of Realtors reports that almost all home buyers are interested in three things: the price of the house, the size of the house, and the area where the house is located. These three things are known as the property basics and should be included in your advertising.
Some agents believe that by omitting some or all of the property basics—the price for example—the buyer is forced to call or email for more information. However, with so much available inventory that includes the price already on the Internet, buyers skip over a print ad that does not include it. Also, most buyers have a clear idea of the size house they are looking for, and many buyers know the areas where they prefer to live. By including area and size you also increase your opportunities for qualified leads.
To reap the full benefits of your print advertising, you need to budget not just money, but time. Make sure you reserve part of your schedule to create quality ads. This will ensure that you promote yourself and your listings with professionalism.
I realize that writing ads can be difficult. It’s easy to procrastinate over creating an ad when you have so much else to do. As with most tasks, breaking down the creation of an ad into smaller steps makes the job easier. Here is a seven step process for writing your next ad:
Step One: Describe the Prospect
Who is the person or family most likely to buy the property? Is it an executive moving up, a retiree, a first-time homebuyer?
Step Two: Describe the Home
Include bedrooms, baths and square footage. Also describe the area. Is the home convenient to work, play, education and recreation?
Step Three: List Features in Order of Importance
If proximity to the hospital is the most important feature, then list that first. (i.e., you may want to target market to doctors and nurses.)
Step Four: Create a Headline
Other than the photograph, the headline is likely to be the most important component of your print ad. In newspaper classifieds, 60% of readers get no further than the headline. If they don’t like the headline they move on.
How do you create a captivating headline? Take the most important feature and turn it into a benefit. Now this raises an important question – what is the difference between a feature and a benefit? A feature is a fact about the property; a benefit is what’s in it for the buyer. For example, a feature of the house may be that it is relatively inexpensive and affordable for first-time home buyers. The benefit/ headline is: “Buy Your Freedom.” You don’t need to pay rent any more.
The feature of home may be that is a beautiful property in a desirable neighborhood. The benefit/ headline is: “Prestigious Spanish Estate Under The Elms.” In other words the benefit is the status such a lovely home brings to the buyer.
Remember, the feature is the fact; the benefit is what’s in it for the buyer.
Step 5: Write the Body Copy
Speak in terms of features and benefits in the copy of your ad. Include the basics: price, size, location. And justify the price. If this is a million dollar property the ad and the photograph need to reflect the value. If you don’t justify the price, how many calls will you get? That’s right—zero. That is why if an agent does not get a response to her ad, the first thing I will do is analyze the ad and see if it justifies the price of the home. Another way of putting it is the ad must illustrate the full value of the home.
Step 6: Include Your Contact Information
Make it easy for the prospect to call and email you – and of course include your website address.
Step 7: Edit the Ad
Finally, edit the ad. Strike out non-essential words but make sure the ad still sizzles.
By reserving enough time to write your ad and following these seven steps, you’ll create advertising that will help you reach your career and income goals—even in a slow market.