What real estate consumers want to hear from you

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

For months I've been harping at my ezine readers about getting away from the "I'm here, hire me" kind of ads and to start stressing the benefits of your service. I've said to stop thinking about what you can't promise a seller and think about what you can promise.

When I started in real estate no one really promoted individual agents - or even agencies. The entire focus was on getting those listings into the newspaper - and doing so in the fewest possible words because each word cost money. The company paid for the ads, and our broker had no intention of spending more than necessary.

So (remember this was 1985) we could say "3 BR, 1 BA, garage, walk to school." Or something equally boring. Then the ADA and Fair Housing laws came along and the "walk to school" part was cut by all but the most daring. 

I think this era in real estate is what set the stage for today's boring advertising, but it's time to move forward.

Newspaper advertising still costs too much to properly describe a home, but we have the internet! You can not only describe homes in words that make buyers eager and anxious to get there quickly before someone grabs their dream - you can promote your own service. 

But... someone forgot to teach the basic rules of copywriting in real estate class. (I don't know why - they really should.)

The first rule is that advertising is never about you - it's always about your prospect. And that's where most real estate self-promotion falls down. It talks about the agent, the agent's experience and designations and number of homes sold. And your prospects don't care. The majority don't even know what the designations mean, and they aren't interested in what you've done - they want to know what you will do for them.  

Next time you sit down to work on a letter or update your web site, think about this. Turn an about-face from words that essentially say "I need to earn a living, and here's how you can help me - hire me." Instead, focus on words that say "You need an expert to help you accomplish what you want. Here's how I will help you."

Oh - that reminds me. Before you send anything for printing or publication, count how many times you used the words" I" or "me." Then count how many times you use "You" or "Your."  If the "me" words outweigh the "you" words, go back and re-write until you have at least twice as many "yous." 

Here's to effective marketing! 


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ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA
Great Advice Marte.  A blog commenter taught me the "I" rule.  Sometimes we learn things the hard way :)
Jan 11, 2008 05:53 PM #1
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate
Hi Marte:  Thanks so much for a great post... full of some really useful information.  Well written, and well presented.  So much so that I will copy it, and go back to my website and see what changes I can make in light of your suggestions.  Thanks for sharing.
Jan 11, 2008 05:55 PM #2
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
Hi Marte - Thanks for your insights to help us improve our online presentation. It's important to remember to always think in terms of what benefits our services bring to consumers, and your post is a great reminder of this.
Jan 11, 2008 06:26 PM #3
Sarah Nopp
South Sound, WA
Yes, the selling is not about the product, it is about the Benefit of the product.
Jan 11, 2008 06:29 PM #4
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
You have a good point.  Thanks for the info.
Jan 11, 2008 07:55 PM #5
Gary McAdams
GMAC Schwartz Property Sales - Key West, FL
Great advice.  I think it is advice we all learned the hard way.  Any new or semi new Realtor reading this post should take it to heart.
Jan 11, 2008 08:10 PM #6
Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes
I love the advice about counting the you's... That's a project for the weekend, since I'm all about the client.  I always tell people I don't do shopping carts or billboards- I advertise properties!
Feb 16, 2008 11:12 PM #7
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