Don't rule out print marketing just yet...

Real Estate Agent with Georgia Elite Realty

For the last few years we have routinely espoused the virtues of high quality digital media.  Through my work as an Atlanta Real Estate Photographer I have experienced first hand what well produced and compelling images can not only do for a listing, but for an agent's personal brand as well.  As the industry continues to move toward a web-centric market place, we have found less and less value in spending money on print media.  Being that this trending is likely to persist, 2011 will likely see even less of our marketing dollars going toward newspaper ads and real estate books.

Marketing Portfolio of Marietta Georgia Real Estate AgentsBut we haven't completely ruled out print media just yet.  In fact one of our most effective listing tools is a Photobook I created at  For less than the price of a two week ad in big city paper, I was able to compile some of the best images from our listings and other projects in 2010 to create a hard bound, full color, 50+ page portfolio that we are able to put in the hands of our prospective clients on listing appointments.  

Even though I am fully vested in online marketing there are several things this photobook does better than what my online images do.  For starters, it doesn't require electricity or a wi-fi connection.  Ya, I know just about everyone has these two things, but despite this there have been several occasions where I was unable to get a connection or my laptop battery was petering out.  Being that professional photography is a big part of our unique value proposition, this can easily turn into a problem.  Another benefit is that you don't have to go through the trouble of pulling out the laptop, waiting for the computer to boot up and then clicking around to get to where you want.  You simply pull the book out and place it in their hands.

Another aspect I like about these books is it allows the reader to see a definite beginning and end to the "presentation".  They control the speed at which they view the pictures and if they choose they can skip around and spend as much time as they like looking at the images that interest them most.  It lets them know that we are able to deliver this standard to everyone of our listings.  The beautiful photos they see in the book and online are not just "teaser" images but what they can expect to see in the marketing of their home as well.  And then there is the simplicity of it.  Everyone knows how to use a book and it requires no special equipment save a pair of glasses for those that need them.

2010 Marketing Portfolio of Marietta Georgia Real Estate AgentsThe best part, the quality is phenomenal.  Being able to show a high resolution, full page color photo on heavy stock semi-gloss paper removes any doubt that you are able to produce a quality product.  We aren't talking  three color flyers from the broker's 4 year old, over-worked printer.  This is every bit as good as, if not better, than the print quality of any shelter magazine out there.

While these photobooks work great for the purpose I mentioned above they also work very well in other situations.  I love to fill these books with family photos and give as gifts at Christmas and they work just as well as closing gifts for those that had a special attachment to the home or property.  Really any occasion in which you care for high quality photos to be professionally bound and presented can work.

So while the days of newspaper ads and home listing books may be drawing to an end, there is still a case to be made for high quality print media.  These books are easy to create, they are relatively cheap and it shows that you are not only resourceful but you understand how to diversify your marketing.  

(Ok, how was that?  Do I get my free Photobooks now...? )  Just kidding, I stand to gain nothing from promoting their product.  I really do like it that much! 



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Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Iran,

Nice post!

My daughter does specialized books that are stunning!

Your work looks great, and I can see the impact this would have at a listing presentation.


Dec 21, 2010 08:18 PM #6
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I send out quarterly farming newsletters and have Sir Speedy print the "copy side" and I print the other side - 2 panels and mailing section.....I prepare the mailing labels from local tax records AND I mail 1st class so I can control future mailing costs by culling "dead" mailers from my labels

Dec 21, 2010 10:21 PM #7
Kathleen Emhof
Buffalo, Amherst, Orchard Park and Western New York - Buffalo, NY
Home Staging and Redesign, Experts in Transition

A hard-copy portfolio is really important, especially in my business!

I've never used Shutterfly before (I've used another portfolio creating company), but I've just signed up for specials and mailings!  Thanks for the testimonial!

Dec 21, 2010 10:31 PM #8
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Iran, I have been looking at these photo  books and I want to do a couple. You are so right, they are a wonderful and expressive way to give a gift. I like the idea of the closing gift. I shall commit to doing at least one this beginning of the new year. Once people see how easy they are to create and having our photos in such a great format lends a certain validation to the work. Great post.


Wishing you and your entire family a Very Merry Christmas Iran. 

Dec 22, 2010 02:26 AM #9
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

@ Michelle - Indeed they do, thanks for commenting.

@ Robin - I would think a resort area would have enough material to fill one of these books rather easily.  Thanks for stopping by.

@ Tom - Your welcome, I'm glad this piqued your interest.

@ Phil - In the context of a full listing presentation it is pretty strong.

@ Wallace - I did quarterlies for a while, but found my target demographic didn't respond as well as I hoped they would.  It's good to hear they are working for you.


Dec 22, 2010 03:48 AM #10
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Iran -- This has been something that has been on my to do list for quite some time but I never seem to get around to doing it.  Great concept and thanks for the shutterfly tip.

Jan 02, 2011 03:35 AM #11
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I looked at Shutterfly the other day because a fellow agent sent me a bunch of photos using it. It’s on my list of things to explore further.

Jan 08, 2011 02:13 PM #12
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC


Thank you so much for this reminder. There is always room for more than one marketing strategy.

Good post.


Mar 09, 2011 08:07 AM #13
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


You make excellent points. The Shutterfly book is a great idea and one I'll definitely explore. It's a great presentation and/or closing gift.

Thanks for the suggestion and great post!


Mar 17, 2011 03:33 PM #14
Jody Moore
Blue Shirt Photography | SendOutCards - Lexington, KY

Iran - Great looking book. I like your ideas. Jody

Mar 25, 2011 09:17 AM #15
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

I've used these books for wedding presents (after the fact!), but not yet for business.  I don't often meet my clients in person unless they have already committed to going with me.  I need to figure out how to work this in.  Thanks for the idea.


Mar 26, 2011 11:52 AM #16
Beth Good Realtor
Prime Horse Property - Temecula, CA
Temecula Horse Property Specialist

I like your idea for your listing appointments.  What a great way to showcase quality work.  My sister does these books for family vacations, I have yet to make one.  Gonna have to get started!  Thanks for the inspiration!

Jun 10, 2011 06:54 AM #17
Birgit Anich
Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, 203.807.4040 - Norwalk, CT
CT Home Stager Fairfield & New Haven County

I thought of the photobook idea a few months back, didn't do it, and then completely forgot about it. Thank you so much for reminding me of this to use it for my staging portfolio and reading your post, I just had another fabulous idea... Thanks so much for your post!!

Jun 16, 2011 02:16 PM #18
John Manuwal
Keller Williams Northwest Montana - Kalispell, MT
Kalispell Montana Agent and Photographer

I've used a couple of book places but not Shutterfly. I will have to give them a shot since you seem so happy with them. Love the to photos you show of it. Thanks!

Aug 03, 2011 02:18 PM #19
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

I've decided to go ahead and make one since I put my old leather portfolio "away" and can't seem to find it.  I can use this for clients to look at while I'm taking a look at their property for a staging proposal.  Thanks!

Aug 13, 2011 04:46 PM #20
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Hey another tool that I purchased to create my own books (if you have a quality printer) is from Unibind!! It binds your own hardcover books.... bindings cost about 8 bucks and the machine is in the $99-$400 range.

Sep 08, 2011 05:47 AM #21
John Mosier
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Prescott, AZ
Prescott's Patriot Agent 928 533-8142

I, too, am a believer in the value of good photographs. However, I do not plan to pay the expensive prices for space in the glossy magazines. I tell my listing clients that the glossy print media is not effective.

I can put up MANY photos on the internet for the price of a small amount of space in the glossy magazines.

My photos get put into a property flyer that I produce in Corel Draw. I print the Flyers on glossy paper, then put them in a flyer box at the property and use them in my listing presentation.

Sep 11, 2011 08:31 PM #22
Robert Smith
Preview Properties, PC - - Brighton, MI
SRES, Search for Homes Brighton-Howell-SE Michigan

Iran, great idea.  Print still attracts some clients and cutomers and I'm not sure that hardcopy will ever die completely.  I love the fact that you're using a web-based service to generate a user chosen media format - paper or electronic. Odds are that an 80 yr old seller won't be going on the computer to check things out.

Sep 21, 2011 12:00 AM #23
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Shutterfly is an awesome site! The photobooks that you can make from them are just great! Print will still attract many people especially people like me who like to hold onto something! Sometimes, it is more personable to do this than just show someone images online!


Great post!


Dec 06, 2011 09:20 AM #24
Cheryl-Anne Priest
The Real Estate Company Limited - Calgary, AB

Thank you Iran.  I like this idea, especially working with older clientele who are not comfortable using the internet.  An awesome way to show them your work as well as a great closing gift.

Apr 09, 2013 12:32 AM #25
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Iran Watson

Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer
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