For the past couple of years the power of Internet advertising has been highlighted in statistics that show that 80-85% of home buyers see their new home first on the Internet. This has lead many real estate professionals to question the value of more traditional advertising, such as flyers and print ads.
The problem is that this often turns into an "either ... or" discussion (which one is better than the other?) and that totally misses the point that real answer is to use both, together.
Websites for listed properties have a geat value. That's why I construct a comprehensive site for every property I list. They provide a much more complete presentation that is available in limited print space, they are still available long after newspaper ads are in the recycling bin, and they serve a variety of purposes from engaging initial interest in a property to providing those who have already seen the property with an easily available set of pictures or video if small details about the tour are lost to one's memory.
The trouble is, with so many billions of pages out there clamouring for attention on the Internet, what are the chances that your website will be seen? That's where local advertising comes into play. The Internet goes worldwide, and that's fine, but for the most part you want to get local people on to your website.
Here's how I do that.
1) Every ad in the newspapers gives the website address for your listing. The newspaper ad may give you 20 or 30 words and one or two pictures. The website gives your prospects dozens of pictures, video, and lots of information both about the property and the community, with appropriate links to further information.
I'm not able to publish one of my current newspaper ads here because I do not have the right to keep an ad on display after the property is sold, but the important part to notice is the bottom part of this ad. The main goal of the print ad is not to provide all the information, but to serve as a lead to the website.
(top of ad omitted)
(If I no longer have that website in use (likely because the property is sold) please see BobFoster.ca for other examples.)
2) Every lawn sign also has an extra sign attached to it giving the website address. People driving by can note the website address and take a tour online when they get home to their computers.
3) There is a mailbox on the sign that holds features sheet packages (feature sheet, listing and any supporting documents, such as surveys, all with a plastic binding). The feature sheets provide highlights, but the website address is the most obvious thing on the page. Again, print is used to drive prospects to the website.
4) Full colour photo ads are distributed in the neighbourhood. Open house dates and times are included, and the website address is prominently displayed.
In addition to print media being used to support online advertising, online connections are also important.
- the MLS ad provides a link to the website
- ads on my Century 21 website provide links to the main property website I developed.
- ads on Kijiji.ca provide a link to the website
- ads with links to the property website also appear on BobFoster.ca and YourHomeinQuinte.com
- for rural properties, a feature ad also appears on MovingToTheCountry.ca, with a link to the property website.
To sum up, online advertising is great, and I like to use it as effectively as possible, but by itself, you may end up with a wonderful website that is never noticed. It is only in providing linkages to your onine information through a variety of online and more conventional print advertising approaches, that you can harness the synergy tht develops when they are used together. This truly is a case in which the combination of advertising approaches is stronger than any one method could be on its own.
More information about my Internet Advantage Service Package, which uses the synergy described above, is available on my website at BobFoster.ca.