Is Print Advertising Dead?

Real Estate Agent with McGraw Realtors

Recently I wrote a post about how I use my blogs and website to connect with clients.  One thing I mentioned is that I include the words "Google (name of neighborhood)" in the newspaper ad I run.  Several folks commented that they don't do newspaper ads and that print marketing is no longer effective.

That got me to thinking about print advertising.  Is it dead?  Does it work?  Do we use it?  In light of social media, is it the dinosaur of the past?

My opinion concerning print marketing is that, depending on your area, it might be still be an effective tool that can be and should be utilized along with your social media marketing plan.  Let me explain using my little part of the world. 

Here is map of the greater Tulsa area. 

You can see in our area that the city of Tulsa is surrounded by the growing suburbs such as Owasso, Sperry, Skiatook (up North) and Broken Arrow, Glenpool, Coweta and Bixby to the South. 

Tulsa, OK map

If I have a listing in one of the suburbs, such as Owasso, I need to market it to the larger city of Tulsa.  Obviously, I'm going to use social media to do that (Postlets, custom writing blog, Facebook, etc).  I'm also going to use a couple of sources of print media because they are still effective in our area.  One source is the Owasso Reporter newspaper.  Each of the suburbs has it's own once or twice a week newspaper.  My ad there will announce the listing, custom written blog and open house to that local community.  But to reach the people in Tulsa, I have to use another source.  Our Saturday World of Homes is where all the open houses for the weekend are listed.  This piece is published in color and included every Saturday with the Tulsa World newspaper.  These ads are also posted online.  Yet another print media source is the Owasso magazine or Tulsa People magazine.  Why the magazines?  Because Tulsa People is read by people in south Tulsa (primarily).  A house in that publication will be seen by anyone in that area who is considering moving up to the Owasso area...or other suburbs where I have listings. 

Owasso, Oklahoma map

Print media marketing accomplishes a couple of important things in our area. 

First, it gives exposure to the listing via a channel that is used by consumers.  To ignore that would not be wise. 

Secondly, it exposes the home to the local suburb via the small town newspaper.  My sellers will see this also. 

Third, it gives me the ability to take a house out in the suburbs and put it in front of people who live in the city of Tulsa.

Fourth, it makes my net BIGGER.  Print media marketing couples the marketing power social media with the marketing power of a print media that happens to still be effective in our area.  This makes my marketing broader and more effective. 

If your area does not have effective print media marketing, then using that resource might not be a good idea.  But when you live in a unique situation where you need to expose your properties to an area outside of your area AND print marketing is still in use, then don't ignore what works.  If people are still reading the newspaper, then being in the newspaper means my properties are in front of them.

Obviously, social media is the way to go these days, but be careful not to overlook this old school method.  It might be just the hook that brings in that buyer you're looking for! 

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Information and content in this blog is original to Bob Haywood

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Bob Haywood
Bob Haywood
Owasso, Oklahoma REALTOR®

(918) 272-7272

Click here to check out the awesome HaywoodHomeTeam website.  The premier greater Tulsa and Owasso, OK homes local informational website for your real estate needs. I also have a great blog filled with tons of information regarding Owasso Homes.

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Serving the Greater Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Glenpool, Bixby, Owasso, Sand Springs, Oologah, Coweta area communities and other surrounding areas.

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Larry Gray
Real Estate Consultant - Lakeland, FL

Our agency still post a full page ad in the Saturday real estate section of the local paper.  When our listings appear in the ad we get a couple of calls that we may not have gotten otherwise.  Also I view it as one more plug for name recognition.

Oct 30, 2009 07:13 AM #1
Douglas Fischer
East Oahu Realty - Selling Honolulu, Hawaii Condos - Honolulu, HI

If one's budget can support some print advertising, there is no question that in many areas it remains effective.  However, my complaint is that I question how cost effective it is.  It would cost me $300 for a small business card size ad to run in a well known publication for two weeks ($600 a month).  If I'm lucky I may receive one, maybe two calls on the ad.  For that same $300, I run a Google Adwords campaign for the whole month and receive on average 30 visitors a day, or 900 visitors a month.  Of those visitors, roughly 5-6 a week voluntarily provide me their email address, based on a number of features, reports, etc on my website, or 20-24 a month.  I just can't justify the cost of print advertising for the low return.

Oct 30, 2009 07:25 AM #2
Bruce Brockmeier
Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS® - Yorba Linda, CA
Coached By Crouch

don't ignore what works. 

Hi Bob,

I agree!  I tell my clients to use everything that works, and drop the rest.  I remember talking with one agent in TN who became a top producer by using billboards!

Oct 30, 2009 07:51 AM #3
Claude Cross
Homes By Cross, Inc. - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Homes For Sale

Bob - I send a newsletter every month via US mail to my past clients. I get results. I will not drop this because the world is in an Internet mindset. It works for me. And for those that have similar results ... Don't stop.

Oct 30, 2009 12:25 PM #4
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA

Bob, NAR produced 2008 survey results of 1st point of contact sources for Buyers. The apparent results found 1% of Buyers made 1st contact via a home mag/ad.  As you said you have to know  "Your Market" and where buyers are looking. Then as I like to say,"Make yourself very easy to find."LOL All The Best!

Oct 30, 2009 12:38 PM #5
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA

Bob, Sorry, The Survey result was 3% for newspaper ads. ATB

Oct 30, 2009 12:41 PM #6
Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC


I hardly advertise; I network and I have a database on a drip system. I also work FSBOs and Expireds. Little advertising; waste of money in opinion.

Oct 30, 2009 05:20 PM #7
Stephen Howell
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Annapolis, MD
Annapolis MD Homes For Sale 443-994-8043

Wow, this is an important question and I'm surprised at how little attention has been paid to this questions "is print advertising still effective?".  What really caught my attention is how hard it was to find any posts, blog entries, etc. about print advertising.  It didn't take long to locate this post, but, it took a long time to find the topic.  My best guess is that print advertising is on the decline and dramatically so.  Who really reads a newspaper any more when they can get the exact news they want online in no time.

So, does print advertising sell homes?  One picture, a dozen words, and a phone number.  Hmmm.  I just don't think it does the job anymore.  I was told in a training program two summers ago that the only thing that advertising was good for was to move the buyer pool around between brokerages - that advertising doesn't sell a seller's home, just builds the agent's or brokerage's business.  Now, I'm not even sure that print ads (especially newspaper print ads) do anything, that any one even notices them anymore, that they're effective.

Cutting through the online clutter is no less difficult than it was in cutting through the newspaper clutter of display ads ... bigger was always better at getting attention in the newspaper and increasing response rates - and - raising the cost of the ad (newspaper advertising revenues are down, down, down).  So, what it the online equivalent to a bigger more noticeable ad?  What will cut through the clutter online and attract more clients?

We have two jobs as agents.   Our first job is lead generation, because without leads we have not business.  Our second job is real estate sales and marketing, because without sales we'll starve (not literally).

The Executive Summary of the NAR 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers didn't even mention newspaper advertising.  It was all about "online" search.  We've simply moved advertising from print to online services.  Now, we've got to figure out how to market effectively online in an even more cluttered universe than the classifieds in the Sunday newspaper.

Thanks for the post!!!

Dec 23, 2009 12:45 AM #8
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK


We all know that real estate is local right?  Well here in our local market I still see people sitting in fast food joints reading the paper or scanning the real estate section.  No doubt they are online too, but newspaper and print media here is still in the game.

Dec 23, 2009 12:51 AM #9
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