When I got this email I had to look twice to make sure the lady wasn't writing from my own home town... because we're always ten or fifteen years behind times.
Here's what she asked...
I’m a real estate sales person in a small town that hasn’t caught up to the current century. Instead of searching the Internet for homes and agents, residents still read the local weekly newspaper and call on the phone or just walk into our offices.
I get a few leads from my website, but they are from out of town buyers.
I mail a quarterly newsletter to past clients and my sphere of influence, and I get a few referrals from those sources. But I want to reach the people in my town who don’t already know me.
Every agent in town runs ads in the weekly newspaper, and I’m afraid to stop doing that for fear everyone will think I’ve quit. But I don’t really feel like the ads are doing much good. It seems like we’re all just “there” saying the same things.
What can I do with these ads to make them stand out from the others and get prospects to pick up the phone?
Here’s what I told her…
As long as you feel that you need to advertise in the local newspaper, change the content of your ads.
Instead of placing the same old ads that say “I’m a Realtor, hire me,” place a short article about something of importance to your market. For instance, write about getting ready for your first meeting with a lender. Taking the right paperwork along on the first visit will save your customers time, so your article will be seen as valuable.
If you try, I’ll bet you can think of dozens of short topics that would give real information to the newspaper’s readers.
An article in place of a block ad is better for two reasons:
- It positions you as an expert
- It will have a larger readership.
Think about your own habits - don’t you usually read articles and skip ads? And don’t you assume that people writing articles know something you might not know? Most people do.
Of course, don't forget to allow space for your name and contact information at the bottom! And if there's room, include a small photo. Make it a good one, so people who see you around town will recognize you from it.
A bonus benefit to placing short articles is that before long your local newspaper might decide to publish your articles for free if you promise to submit something every week, or every other week. Becoming a recognized “real estate columnist” will reinforce your expert status in the eyes of the readers.
Talk about a win-win situation!