Whenever there is a slowdown in the real estate market, newspapers lick their lips in anticipation of huge increases in revenues.
Because Newspapers charge agents for the amount of content they display it can be very tough times for agents. The common theory is that tougher times demand more aggressive marketing, with less buyers and more properties on the market than we have seen for many years agents feel the need to market their listings to attract prospective buyers. Just look at any of the newspaper guides around the country and they are brimming with advertising. Why is it that in tougher times agents advertising costs rise so much? Simple, newspapers charge per line and the more information you display – the more it costs! It does not have to be that way. It will be no shock to most of you to know that there is a way out of this.
Yes Your Website
Your website is your last frontier of control and there is no limit to the amount of content you can display for a fraction of the costs.
The majority of buyers are now online and are looking for properties as I write this article, most private agents have a basic website and this can be fine, but attracting potential buyers is where agents sadly fall down.
Getting Newspaper Advertising Right
My belief is that if a vendor wants a big bold advertising package then you deliver this at a cost, you are providing a service and vendors should pay a reasonable price for this service. Pricing for advertising in traditional media and online should be distinct and separate. This is because vendors will see the benefits in a broader Internet campaign rather than a huge one day cost for advertising in newspapers. To get newspaper advertising right, you must have your newspaper advertising directing readers to your website. To do this you have to have a database driven website. One that has a unique ID numbered system for every listing on your site.
Apart from your main photo advertising in the newspaper guides you should create a listings section that directs people to your website.
Each of the websites developed by your web developer should have a unique numbering system that works like this.
and advertised like this.
Brookvale 3 Bed 2 Bath ID#15986
Biltonite 3 Bed 2 Bath ID#11375
Charlotte 3 Bed 2 Bath ID#14350
Milton 3 Bed 2 Bath ID#15643
Hobart 3 Bed 2 Bath ID#13890
Garrison 3 Bed 2 Bath ID#17896
Hammock 3 Bed 2 Bath ID#12364
All your Newspaper ad now needs is for directions like this. “Simply go to our website and place the Unique property number after this domain name and / slash”.
With this type of advertising you can fit ten times as many ads in the newspapers and at the same time continue directing readers to your website.
All you need now is a website that represents your brand effectively, is easy to use and directs users to automatically subscribe to your property alert service which will then send automated emails of all of your latest listings to their email inbox.
This is a long term solution and can be very, very effective.
The best way to do this is through an online marketing campaign through one of the 3 major search engines. Google should be your first stop. This kind of marketing is so good you will wonder why you have never done this before.
If you can show your vendors and potential vendors just how popular your website is (do not mention “hits”) then you will attract more and more vendors.
The first thing your website must have is an easy to understand stats page, these are extremely useful tools for determining the following:
– How many unique visitors you get. (daily/weekly/monthly)
– How many property views you get. (daily/weekly/monthly)
– Where the visitors come from (search engines).
– What keywords phrases your visitors used to get to your site.
– What other sites are linking to you.
– How many visitors you get from links.
– What are the most popular pages on your site.
– Archives Monthly/Yearly.
– What search engine robots* visit your website.
– How many Bookmarks per visit(added to favourites)
*Robots. Many search engines such as Google, MSN use Robots that visit web servers and index you pages in search engines, each unique URL gets indexed along with a description of that page.
This is valuable information that you can measure your sites performance by, you should always be hoping to build on visitors each year and finding new ways to attract your visitors.
This strategy takes some time but the next time a boom/bust cycle rolls around you will be in a better position than your competitor.