Just about everyone in real estate knows that somewhere between 80% and 90% of buyers start their search for a home on the Internet--or find their home there. It's also true that newspaper readership has declined markedly over the past few years. But if you think this means that print is out of date, think again.
"Print" encompasses not only newspaper ads and real estate books, but flyers and postcards and business cards and notes you write, magnets, and even your name badge. Virtually everything that involves printing on a fixed, permanent surface is a form of print advertising.
With that in mind, think of all the "print ads" you create, one way or another.
When I am prospecting on the phone, I send a quick thank-you note to anyone who speaks to me, even briefly. And of course I include a business card (a magnet card if I have them handy). I have a small farm (about 400 homes) that I send postcards to every other month. Barbara Todaro, the Queen of Postcard Marketing, suggests doing this every month, but my budget doesn't allow it at this point. I do my cards myself, without involving a mailing house, but they only cost about 50¢ each. It might be cheaper to employ a professional, but I have more time than money at this point.
I enclose business cards when I pay bills that are local (trash, water, etc.). I use business cards as bookmarks, and always leave one in the books when I return them to the library. My husband carries a few of my cards "just in case." I wear my name badge as often as I can remember. People often ask about the local market when they know I'm in the business. I contribute short articles to several local newsletters and nonprofit organizations. I get reduced advertising rates (sometimes even free space), and I get to put my byline in the article, mentioning my experience as a Realtor.
I write several notes a day, if possible, keeping in touch with past clients and my COI. I enclose a clipping of interest, or congratulate a friend on her recent promotion, or thank a colleague for his help with a project. How many times do you get a handwritten note? Not too often, and usually they are enjoyed way more than an email.
I can think of many good ways to spend $300 a month on print marketing (see above). I think the best approach is to use online marketing AND print together, creating a subtle synergy that captures attention without shouting. Try it and see!