Could an “Expert” derail your marketing efforts?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Last week I decided to follow some advice I’d read here in the rain and check out my competition. Ever since then I’ve been thinking about writing this post and hesitating.

Why hesitating?

Because I have always hesitated to “bash” others in my line of work. I didn’t do it when I was a real estate agent, and I don’t want to do it now. So – I won’t mention any names.

As you may or may not know, I have more than 40 sets of pre-written prospecting and staying in touch letters available on my website. So I decided to check out other sites that offered prospecting letters. Not all offered samples, but at least two that did made me despair for the agents who buy and use those letters.

Why? Because the samples I read break the very first rule in writing a marketing message.pass or fail buttons

They have a severe case of “I-itis.” The first sentences began with “I.” Many other paragraphs began with “I.” The sentences were littered with "I."

The letters are all about the agent, the agent’s experience, the agent’s knowledge, the agent's superiority, and the agent’s desire to list a house or gain a new buyer.

A marketing message – whether an ad, a web page, a brochure, or a letter, has to be about the prospect.

They don’t care what you want and they don’t care how great you are. They care about themselves, their problems, and their own hopes and goals. If they read your message, they read it to find out what you can do for them.

Remember – all prospects are tuned in to station WIFM – what’s in it for me.

Years ago I used to argue with my Mother-in-law because she thought anything she read in the newspaper or a magazine had to be true. I always said “Any fool can write. It doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.”

I think this is true with the people who are writing – and selling – these prospecting letters.

Agents should be able to trust that letters they purchase will be well-written and will make them look good in the eyes of their prospects. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case.

My message to you is this: If you’ve purchased letters like these, re-write them before you use them. It takes a little time to turn sentences upside down and make them customer-centered, but you can do it.

Second, if you read samples and see “I-itis,” run the other way.

Lastly, if you read a letter and think that it would offend you or otherwise give you a bad impression of the sender, don't use it.

I do harp on this subject quite often. Some might say too often - but it's that important.

Read more:


Self-promotional real estate copy - remember the basics.


You wouldn’t do this when door-knocking, so why do it by mail?


What else does really good real estate marketing copy look like?



Pass or fail buttons courtesy of Stuart Miles |


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Real Estate Rookie
It's all about them (ThemThem)
Blogs Happen...
Bartender, Make it a Double
real estate self promotion
rules in real estate marketing

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

Marte Cliff "A marketing message – whether an ad, a web page, a brochure, or a letter, has to be about the prospect...all prospects are tuned in to station WFIM – what’s in it for me."

Right on target - and - re-blog!

Jan 23, 2017 04:50 AM #8
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Many agent suffer from this illlness.  I see it this time of year when agents take out full-page ads in local papers and tout their past year's sales.  Some might "thank" their clients, but ultimately, it's all about them.

Jan 23, 2017 05:58 AM #9
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

I try Marte Cliff  I do I try I really do

Jan 23, 2017 06:41 AM #10
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Sears of long ago made it about the customer every time. My tagline sums it up nicely: People first...then business

Jan 23, 2017 06:59 AM #11
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

No matter the venue, 'I-tis' can hurt the author and cause readers to turn away quickly.  Very good post to get the mind thinking

Jan 23, 2017 08:32 AM #13
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

It should always be about the client and their home not us, they don't care about us.

Jan 23, 2017 08:32 AM #14
Mike Bjork
Pinnacle Home Loan - Redondo Beach, CA

Great message, Marte!  Absolutely, the consumer is only looking for information that will help them.  It's a great reminder for many of us!

Jan 23, 2017 09:52 AM #15
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte

No, I don't think you harp on this subject too often; indeed the reminder about focusing on what the buyer or seller needs and wants vs. how wonderful we are bears frequent repeating. I don't think consumers tend to ask us to tell them how terrific we are!


Jan 23, 2017 10:15 AM #16
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

In all professions there are varying levels of skill and understanding of the job they undertake, or product they sell.  Clearly, you know your stuff.

Jan 23, 2017 12:35 PM #17
Gordon Crawford
Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team - Morristown, NJ
Your Morris County Specialist!

Wonderful post Marte!  It is always about the client.  When we forget that we lose sight of the most important focus.  If the client isn't happy, we aren't happy.

Jan 23, 2017 12:50 PM #18
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

You have been talking about this for a long time and it makes so much sense. People want to know how you can help them. So get straight to it.

Jan 23, 2017 12:52 PM #19
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Marte - You're right. Almost as amazing as the sheer numbers of those who have the simple solutions for us to buy is the number of those solutions that are pure garbage,

Jan 23, 2017 01:16 PM #20
Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Congrats on a featured article. Everyone needs to read this one

Jan 23, 2017 04:24 PM #21
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Great advice Marte, spot on.   It isn't about us.  Off to check my check in letters, lol ;-)

Jan 23, 2017 04:49 PM #22
Anna Banana Kruchten - Phoenix Homes Sales
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Keep harping Marte!  I used to have a CRM that had all kinds of letters that I never used 'as is' for this exact reason. Serious case of I itus.

Jan 23, 2017 04:53 PM #23
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Congratulations on the Featured Post. You are correct, it is not about me, the consumer wants to know WIFM (what's in it for me). 

Jan 23, 2017 05:57 PM #24
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Marte Cliff - 'I'-itis! This is the disease that swings the careers - in the wrong direction! And some agents still don't get it!

Jan 23, 2017 09:29 PM #25
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Used to be know as WIIFM...What's in it for me?

Remember – all prospects are tuned in to station WIFM – what’s in it for me

Jan 24, 2017 04:18 AM #26
Kathryn Acciari
Century 21 Real Estate - Shrewsbury, MA
Brand Ambassador and Business Coach

Solve your audience's problems. Sounds simple, but many don't have the ability to look at their prospective client's view. Thank you, Marte.

Jan 24, 2017 10:39 AM #27
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Bottom line on marketing: You have to address the WIIFM question. 

Feb 21, 2017 05:46 AM #28
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Marte Cliff

Your real estate writer
Do you have a question about real estate copywriting? Just ask!
Spam prevention