Do you waste marketing dollars?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

This week our mail carrier delivered a full-color postcard telling us some agent from another town listed 12+ acres in "close proximity" to us. It was on a road with the address of the other town, but who knows? Addresses can be deceiving.

So I had to take a look.

As it turns out, the property is only about 5 or 6 miles from us, but it's on the other side of a mountain ridge - with no road from here to there. Perhaps "close" as the crow flies, but...

The rest of the message was all about him. What he wants, what he thinks, and how much of an expert on N. Idaho property he is. He didn't give any further information about the parcel for sale, so the sellers would not have been impressed with this "just listed" card.

In other words, he spent those dollars to send a message to people who said A failed marketing messsage"Who cares?" A couple of my neighbors got them too, but didn't see how self-centered they were because they tossed them without reading.

Then yesterday I got a repeat of a message I'd received a few weeks ago. It began "As a leading home building contractor, I..."

It takes a minute to read on and see that no, the writer is not a leading home builder. He was assuming that I am, and he wanted  to sell me software or something to make my business run more smoothly.

This person didn't spend the money that the other one did, but it was still bad marketing, and someone spent time writing that letter.

The conclusion: If you're going to spend time or money on marketing, make sure you're writing to the correct people.

And then - VERY important - make the message reveal what is in it for them if they read on. It must not be all about you and how wonderful you are, because those people who don't know you do not care. Not even a little bit.


Comments (11)

Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you for the tips.  No one has money to waste.

Sep 07, 2022 05:11 PM
Marte Cliff

No we don't. Spending wisely is one thing - wasting is another.

Sep 11, 2022 08:35 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Marte- yes, wasted dollars for sure.  Always show what's in it for them!  We're only human and doubt we'll care unless we can see that. 

Sep 07, 2022 05:40 PM
Marte Cliff

Kathy - we always need to give people a reason to read beyond the first line.

Sep 11, 2022 08:36 AM
Tony Laurendi
Reliable Mortgage - Melbourne, FL
Mortgage and Real Estate Professional

The second to last sentence, 'It must not be all about you and how wonderful you are' is consistently overlooked by many when they prepare their marketing content.

Sep 07, 2022 07:40 PM
Marte Cliff

You are so right, Tony. I don't know why agents continue to do that, but they do. 

Sep 11, 2022 08:37 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

To your question; the answer is yes. I have used your products and I have had success Marte Cliff 

Sep 07, 2022 09:53 PM
Marte Cliff

Thank you Paul. I appreciate that.

Sep 11, 2022 08:37 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Marte - this post and your thoughts on marketing remind me of a favorite quote from John Wanamaker who spent lots of resources (and obviously wasted some as well) as a successful businessman.    Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.  

Sep 08, 2022 03:19 AM
Marte Cliff

Michael - that's so true. However, testing and keeping track can help you know. I think that's easier with real estate than a consumer product, because you do have the opportunity to ask. 

If you advertise your new diet product on TV, radio, Internet, and mailings, you never know what prompted someone to buy it. You don't meet those buyers and talk with them.

Sep 11, 2022 08:41 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Marte. If you have the best message and send it to people with no interest, is it still a great message? I think not. Enjoy your day.

Sep 08, 2022 05:01 AM
Marte Cliff

The message might still be great, but totally ineffective unless it is heard by people with interest.

There's no point in sending a first time buyer letter to a divorcing couple!

Sep 11, 2022 08:43 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I received a double sided trifold marketing piece recently and it was all about the agent with some statistics about the area thrown in for good measure. He must have spent a ton on it and maybe the size/colors/gloss would have impressed some recipients. But not me.

Sep 08, 2022 05:03 AM
Marte Cliff

Isn't it sad that people waste money that way?

A few years back I started receiving oversized full-color postcards from a team who did the same. Once they even sent a folder full of information. And all of it was about them and how wonderful they were.

Some people just can't understand that it isn't all about them.

Sep 11, 2022 08:47 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:


Enjoyed your blog page, and I added you as a friend. I would love the follow back. Thanks Bill

Sep 08, 2022 06:43 AM
Marte Cliff

Hi Bill - I can't add you, because I've already been following  you!

Sep 11, 2022 08:48 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Hmm, this is interesting---at first I thought the land postcard was to promote the land to a wide range of pp--that's fine. But to go on and on about the agent--sounds like that is what he's trying to sell, not the land

Sep 10, 2022 09:19 AM
Marte Cliff

Mary - yes, usually a just listed card is sent to attract buyers, but this one clearly wasn't. He wanted more listings.

Sep 11, 2022 08:49 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

No one really cares about YOU ... but they care about what you can DO FOR THEM!

Sep 14, 2022 11:06 AM
Marte Cliff


Oct 01, 2022 09:20 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Marte - point well taken.  The marketing we get is from local Realtors who know this area.

Sep 28, 2022 05:38 AM
Marte Cliff

Knowing the area is a huge plus, Grant Schneider 

Oct 01, 2022 09:20 AM