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One of my students emailed me one of his real estate ads had on craigslist and several other websites. He wanted me to give him some feedback because he was not receiving any leads from them. So, being the nice guy I am :), I looked at his ads and replied to him with some constructive criticism. After I send him that email, I thought about it for a second and came to realization that a lot of real estate ads look just like his ads.
Therefore, I decided to make a blog post out of it and share my marketing strategies with you. What’s in it for me? Well, I hope that I will get some really good feedback from you in the comments below.
Let’s get going here. Here are my thoughts on typical real estate ads. Please remember that this is constrictive criticism. I want to help you and am not trying to put anyone down in any way. What does the ad look like? It looks like a typical ad. The main line reads something like: “3 bed, 1 bath Anystreet Rd, Anystate 85237”
1. Your headline needs to knock them off their chair.
I’m not sure what his ad headline was but if it was: “3 bed, 1 bath Anystreet Rd, Anystate 85237” then it could be one of the reasons why there was no response. The headline needs to convert your buyer to open the rest of the message. It has to catch their eye, It has to stop them in their tracks. You need to provide a benefit in the headline. For instance and this is just off the top of my head (if you are targeting investors as buyers):
“Would real estate gurus invest in this profitable investment property in Arizona? Get it before they do!”
This is just off the top of my head but as you can see, it’s totally different than most other headlines you see when looking through all the different ads, especially when you are targeting other real estate investors. It will jump out at people rather that the usual “2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1500 sq ft….”
2. The pictures need to tell the story.
You need to try and capture something about the house that will give the prospective buyer a picture in their head and make them want to see more. Do you know what I mean? For instance, showing a picture of a toilet is not going to get someone to come to your house. Especially, when the picture makes it look like the toilet is crammed in between the tub and the sink. Everyone has a toilet.
Try to capture some kind of a benefit the end user will get when they see/buy the house. If the house has something unusual, great view, unique benefit/features, show them off. Always show off your best stuff in the ad.
Think about it this way, have you ever seen a movie trailer for a new comedy? The movie looked hilarious from the movie trailer, didn’t it? So you went to see it just to find out that the funniest scenes were already in the trailer. Why would they do that? They do that to get you into the movie theater. Once you are there and you pay $10 to see the movie, they succeeded.
3. Focus on benefits in your ad.
Listing such features as the # of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage and all of that other jazz is always good. However, you need to paint a picture for the end user. They need to picture the house, see themselves living there. Let me give you an example- the Febreeze commercials. I think they paint one heck of a picture to the end buyer showing them how few sprays of febreeze will get rid of all of those smells on your couch, carpet and any other stinky places that happen in your house. You need to try painting a picture for your end user with your ad. Using words such as” “Imagine… Discover… Think about…, What if you… Have you ever sat in…”
4. When taking pictures, try capturing the entire room.
Shoot from the corner of the room and if you have a wide zoom lens, use it. That way, the room will appear bigger. Remember that pictures can tell a story. Up close pictures will make the space look smaller. Show off that property to the best of your ability. One other thing to remember when taking pictures is to take them with the end user in mind. If you are looking to sell to an investor, then the pictures might look different than the pictures for a retail buyer. Why? Because investors don’t need to see themselves living in that house, they’re just looking to see if the property makes sense for them to invest in to make some money.
5. Use video for higher conversions.
Go into your property with a video camera and do a walk-through showing the end user the benefit they’ll receive from their investment. Make sure the lights are turned on, windows open (where there is a great view to see and to get more natural light in the room), fireplace on (if you have one), etc. You can use a flip camera (I spoke about it in previous post on my website). If you use a flip camera, you can easily upload it to your website and youtube. What about editing you ask? You can use a cool website called animoto.com. Here’s an article I wrote about it How To Take Pictures of a Property & Turn them Into a Killer Real Estate Video
6. Make it extremely easy for them to contact you… over and over again!
You need to make it really easy for people to contact you. Give them your phone number, email address and a website with a contact form. Here’s a cool idea. Direct people to your website from the ad. Once they get there, they can see more information about the property and be able to contact you directly from your website. Also, you can present them with an “ethical bribe” (free pdf report, free video) to get them to sign up to your list of buyers. You can tell them that you get discounted properties all the time and they can be the first one to get a notification. Over time, you’ll have a list of buyers.
They can also tell you the exact features/benefits of the house they’re looking for. Now you can find the EXACT house they want and sell it to them. Plus, you can follow up with them via email to get them to buy the property or any other services/products from you.
7. Offer them something that nobody else is offering.
Here’s an idea. What if you offered the buyer to pay for the first year of their homeowner’s insurance or free utilities for X number of months? What if you gave them a $500-$1000 gift card to Home Depot or Lowe’s? What if you allowed them to live in the house for 30 days without any risk or obligation. Now, I can hear you say. But Peter, there is a lot of paperwork that goes into getting the person in the house. What if they ruin it? How can I do that? I’ll loose money. Well, let me tell you. It’s all about the numbers. If the numbers work, then you do it. For instance, if you invested $80,000 into the house and you sell it for $100,000, then you make $20,000 in profit. Now, spending $500 on a gift card or $1000 for home insurance is not a big deal because you’ll still make $19,000 on a property.
But what about allowing them to live in the house? Well, if the local and state laws allow it, I would try it. In a recent marketing campaign, GM is allowing buyers to test drive their cars for 30 days without any obligation. If someone doesn’t like the car within 30 days, they can just turn it back without any problems. Is that risky? I bet you that they did all of the calculations and have tested it on smaller scale to make sure that the numbers work. Think about this for a second. How many times have you returned a product that had a 30 day money back guarantee? It doesn’t happen very often, does it?
So give it a try on one property and see how it works for you. I bet you’ll sell a lot more properties with the strategies I shared with you. Good luck and tell me what you think about my ideas by commenting below.
To Your Success,
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