"Advertising" to Your Sphere of Influence (SOI)

By
Education & Training with Sell with Soul

 bus bench

I've never had much (any?) luck with mass-advertising (newspapers, bus benches, SEO), at least, not that I could tell. One year I took out over $20,000 worth of newspaper ads which resulted in, get this, ZERO phone calls. Enough of that nonsense.

However, I'm starting to think about the effectiveness of "advertising" to your SOI. Here's where my brain is going.

I live in a trendy, hip neighborhood that has barely noticed the recent doom & gloom of the real estate market. People still want to live here and decent homes sell quickly. (Although there's plenty of overpriced crap on the market that isn't moving, for good reason.) I also happen to know a lot of people who live here in the ‘hood with me - probably 20-30 members of my core SOI are neighbors. We're such a hip, trendy crowd...

So I'm thinking... would it be effective to advertise in the local (neighborhood) newspapers - not necessarily to attract the business of total strangers, but rather to reinforce my name recognition among the people who DO know me, or have at least heard of me?

I remember many years ago, there was an agent in town who advertised heavily on bus benches. I thought she must be a Top Dog because it seemed her name was all over the place. When we finally met (and became friends), I was shocked to discover that she was newer than I was and did significantly less business. But the perception I had of her was that she was very successful.

Here's my point... If I were a consumer, would all those bus benches have inspired me to call her up and hire her on the spot? Not a chance. BUT, if I'd met her, at an open house, at a party, wherever, would she have already had some credibility with me, due to her advertising efforts? Probably so, especially if she were professional and credible in person (which she was).

So... I'm wondering if the point of local advertising might be to put you in a position of credibility should you ever have the opportunity to meet those who have seen your advertising. Or, of course, to remind those who already know you of your existence, if they've forgotten...?

Is this a big DUH question?

sws www.sellwithsoul.com

 

 

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Rainer
53,253
Marlene Scheffer
Realty Station - Bremerton, WA
Realtor to Kitsap County, WA
Jennifer, when I first mived back to the area after a 2 year navy-inspired move, I tried several things. I did advertise in the real estate books and a few other places, specifically for name recognition and to re-establish myself int the area.  Well, enough.  I've spent enough money and have reconnected with people I forgot I knew, and now it's time to focus more attention on my SOI, just like the good old days.  You know what I'm talking about!  Who have you not talked to since you've been back?  Pick up the phone!
Mar 23, 2008 05:40 PM #18
Rainer
208,738
Bob Cumiskey
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL
US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor
Jennifer, I agree with you.  My SOI is the backbone of my advertising.  Word of mouth has always been more powerful than print.  Especially in this age where we don't believe anything the media says anymore....so why should we check the advertisers out?  Hmmmm.... could be a new topic for a blog.  LOL
Mar 24, 2008 06:19 AM #19
Rainer
51,604
Jessica Bigger
Bigger Communications - Reston, VA
Freelance Real Estate Business Writer

Jennifer - I think your right.  I think marketing can be a great tool, mostly to build your awareness and branding with the people you already know.  I know I keep my big property listing on our local home cable show just for that reason, because when I bump into people I know they always tell me they saw me on TV with that big listing and ask me how I'm doing in the real estate world.  I also try to get myself in the paper as much as possible too.  Free PR is the best advertising you can get :)

Mar 24, 2008 06:30 AM #20
Rainer
50,733
Greg Knowles Santa Barbara Ca.
Fidelity National Title Group-Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara, CA
Real Estate seems more localized than ever these days. The localized marketing approach makes all the sense in the world to me. Bus Benches are another subject. ;o)
Mar 24, 2008 07:26 AM #21
Rainmaker
211,082
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

Hey Jessica - I think your primary question is whether you should advertise in the local newspaper or circular as opposed to the major newspaper to keep your name prominently out there for your SOI.  While I think what you want to accomplish is a great idea, there are better methods.  Advertising for the sake of advertising is obsolete.  As everyone has already mentioned, people really do ignore advertising.  Even in local newspapers and circulars.

A better idea would be targeted marketing to your SOI.  And, by targeted, I mean set up a marketing campaign specifically for them.  In it, include things that may be coming up in your local community by sending out a postcard with upcoming events listed on the front.  Also, see if there are opportunities for you to sponsor any of those events.  Then, place an ad in the local paper about that event with your name and picture prominently displayed.  That way, the advertising will not be so "advertisy" (is that a word?).

Also, market to your sphere using unique holidays - a reason to get your name in front of them.  Don't send the typical holiday greetings.  Be original.  See some of my past posts about unique holiday marketing.

~Renae

Mar 24, 2008 12:50 PM #22
Rainmaker
150,060
Janie Coffey
First Coast Sotheby’s International Realty - Ponte Vedra, FL
Uniting Extraordinary Homes w/ Extraordinary Lives
Jennifer, I especially believe in advertising if you have a niche that might be a specialty that people would be glad to know you are out there to help them.  For me, it has been very helpful and you are right, if you know your stuff but just need the push, perception of success can become success.....
Mar 24, 2008 02:16 PM #23
Rainmaker
717,806
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

I'm finding that "advertising" to my niche is helpful through my blog. So far one is in contract. I've had several listing appointments  etc.  I also am involved with community affairs which seems to help as well.  But you can't stay local and get enough volume.  So to get "known" all over the county is a very difficult thing. You can't avoid advertising around here. My post-cards are pretty funky and NO ONE is doing anything like it.  So people do call- probably it was so unusual - they stopped long enough to look before throwing every piece of mail into the shredder. 

png The other reason is that there are simply too many other agents (including my two brokers) sharing the same SOI - making it very difficult to compete using your SOI alone.

 Does it help when people I know see this card...Apparently yes,  a couple of pet-owners got the card in one of mass mailings and really liked it.  They noticed it before they noticed that I had sent it.

Mar 24, 2008 04:41 PM #24
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Ruthmarie - in your situation, I wonder if strategic advertising would actually help your efforts? What I'm hoping to achieve is, as Ken said in the first remark, a "celebrity factor" among the people who already know me. I don't expect a stranger will see my ad and be inspired to call, but if I just get a couple of sales over the next year due to either 1) someone who had heard of me when I specialized in this market before and sees my ad or 2) someone in my Group 2 SOI (those I don't socialize as much with) sees my ad and uses me or refers me, it will be well worth the cost and effort. I do very little self-promotion, but I think this might be an effective addition to my SOI efforts...

The Celebrity Factor is why I'm ONLY advertising in the local neighborhood paper where I already have a good name. In my experience, mass advertising alone doesn't work unless you already have some sort of name recognition in a neighborhood, then it all fits together. This is why I won't be advertising in the real estate magazines - I doubt my SOI will ever see those, but they will very likely see me in the local rag...

Mar 24, 2008 09:34 PM #25
Rainer
139,927
Kelly Sibilsky
Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD. - Lake Zurich, IL

I still wouldn't put the money into newspaper ads simply because most of the hip, younger crowd get the news online rather than in print because it's more eco-friendly. Also, the best advertising of all is your 'for sale' signs around the neighborhood!

Mar 25, 2008 01:49 AM #26
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

I appreciate all the input and I'm curious myself as to how this will work. I'm not advertising my listings or even my fabulous-ness as a real estate agent - I'm simply posting a bright, full color link to my website which focuses on the neighborhood. We'll see how it goes. The paper I'm advertising in does have a wide circulation and I'm also going to contribute articles to it...

 

Mar 25, 2008 01:58 AM #27
Rainer
53,163
Nancy Kent
RE/MAX Hill & Valley - Granby, MA
RE/MAX Hill & Valley, Western Mass
Hi Jennifer, you can use my soon -to- be experience as well. I am going to be advertising in 2 local town newspapers. The type of newspaper that gets delivered automatically every week, not one you need to purchase. Originally I was against it, but am now having second thoughts. I recently made the switch to RE/MAX but there isn't a RE/MAX office in my area less than a 20 minute drive. I love my office and really love RE/MAX but I needed a way to let my local community know that RE/MAX is an option ~ thus the local advertising in the paper.  I am meeting with the ad guy this week so I will keep you posted!
Mar 25, 2008 02:41 AM #28
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Yep, Nancy - that's exactly what I'm talking about! Luck to both of us!
Mar 25, 2008 02:45 AM #29
Rainer
53,163
Nancy Kent
RE/MAX Hill & Valley - Granby, MA
RE/MAX Hill & Valley, Western Mass

Have you decided what type of ad you are running? I see a lot of people just do a copy of the business cards, but I was thinking something a bit bigger. Maybe something along the lines of 'Let the power of RE/MAX work for you!' kind of thing. I don't know, still brainstorming on that part! 

Mar 25, 2008 02:54 AM #30
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Here's a draft of what I'm going to try first... It will run me $90/month, full color.

cod

Mar 25, 2008 03:03 AM #31
Rainer
53,163
Nancy Kent
RE/MAX Hill & Valley - Granby, MA
RE/MAX Hill & Valley, Western Mass
That is great! Have you thought about including your pic, for those who knew you way back when - but may have forgotten your name?
Mar 25, 2008 03:16 AM #32
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Yeah, thought about it... but I'm going to try this route for a month or two. I was fairly well known in the neighborhood before I left town.
Mar 25, 2008 03:21 AM #33
Rainer
51,604
Jessica Bigger
Bigger Communications - Reston, VA
Freelance Real Estate Business Writer

Renae - Thanks for the tips.  I'm always looking for things of value to send my SOI.  Community Events Calendar and other community updates are a great idea.

 

Jennifer - Your ad for print...Love it! 

Mar 25, 2008 09:23 AM #34
Rainmaker
717,806
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

I LOVE your ad Jennifer...Are you thinking the local rag - or at supermarkets????

As far as advertising - I advertise in a few on-line doggie journals.  I've had a slew of calls. Unfortunately, mostly for rentals and around here few rentals are listed and those that are only have token fees. ($25 isn't enough - sorry!) Getting it from the customer is like pulling teeth  - they expect it to be FREE and find any way they can to work without me even while I'm going nuts trying to find them something. I was losing so much in time and gasoline on each one that I had to discontinue.  I was also getting the most difficult situations - like someone with 7 cats or someone with a bull mastiff that could only afford $1000 a month.  Impossible around here - and that's without the pet!  I do get some activity for sales, but our market is a very difficult one. 

The cards have worked because they are so funky.  When I first started (in a much better market) I farmed the same areas for a year with post cards and not a single response.  Literally nothing. Not a phone call, not an email - zero, zippo.  $4000 later I said "STOP!" They were the typical "just listed"/"Just sold" cards. These are more expensive by far -but they do get a response. I do go strictly "local" on these.  They are for three select complexes in the immediate area only. What I may do is follow up with an ad in the local newspaper. They have a pet section once a month - and I may actually post to that rather than try to compete my way with the 1000 other agents posting their stuff in the real estate section. 

Mar 25, 2008 01:49 PM #35
Rainer
100,176
Heather Oberhau
Prudential Fox & Roach - Newtown, PA
Bucks County Real Estate, e-PRO

Jennifer,

You know how I feel about this.  I do think that when your SOI sees something on a consistent basis from you, it reinforces the idea that you're the real deal. I send JL and JS to my SOI to let them know, "Hey, I'm really doing this - and I'm successful at it."  I think it lends some credibility to my business. 

Love the ad.  And I agree with pushing the blog.  I'm starting to really push mine, as well.  I'd like to position myself as a resource for people, rather than cramming a "SuperRealtor" schtick in their face.

Mar 27, 2008 02:05 AM #36
Rainmaker
104,214
Robert Slick
Beach and River Homes - Georgetown, SC
NRBA, RDCPro, Trident/CCAR MLS

I am all for newspaper ads, if they are affordable. I joined a company that does its own weekly ad featuring agents homes. I have to admit this was a big draw for me. On top of that they have negotiated favorable rates for our agents on all display advertising and that makes it easy to afford a weekly stand alone ad for myself. People tell me that they see me in the paper all the time. It does help to build credibility especially when so many agents have dropped out of the market. A newspaper ad says "I'm still here" and keeps your name fresh for those phone conversations.

Jun 14, 2008 01:41 AM #37
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