The Day My Newspaper Advertising Died

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Valley Realty

Ever since I became a licensed realtor I’ve always run a newspaper ad.

It’s just been one of those things that I’ve done automatically without any thought to how it affects my business, if at all.


I haven’t received any valuable calls from my costly newspaper ad in a few months now. This fact alone should be enough to make me drive down to the newspaper, bust through the doors, and shout “CANCEL THIS NON-PRODUCTIVE, MONEY WASTING AD!”

The truth is, I spent about a month trying to justify the advertising and the generous part of my budget that it encompassed.

My clients have told me that I do not have to advertise their listings in the newspaper (newspaper advertising is featured as one of my marketing strategies in my listing presentation), they don’t think that it works, and are happy to see their listings actively advertised online.


So why did sending in that final “cancel my ad please” email bother me so much?

Is it something that I’m holding on to “just in case” like a warm blanket, or other comfort item?


Am I worried that the public won’t see me and will think that I’m not selling Real Estate anymore?


Or……was it just an ego thing?

Do I just like the feeling of opening up the paper on Saturday morning to see my smiling mug?


In any case, the ad is now cancelled for the second week in a row and I feel great! I have so many new ideas for advertising and finally a budget that I can throw behind them!

Maybe I’ll go back to newspaper advertising after a while, but for now the future looks shiny, digital, and well-funded!


Comments (18)

Lizette Fitzpatrick
Lizette Realty - Richmond KY - Lexington, KY
Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes

I stopped using print ads one year ago. It didn't affect by bottom line at all. I don't miss them at all.

Jan 11, 2009 03:31 PM
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Jennifer- We stopped using print ads about 4 years ago. We still sell our listings!  It is hard to let go of things we are used to doing. Our real estate section has been reduced to less than 14 pages when during our boom it was so fat! Most agents are not advertising because they don't have the money anymore like they used to. But we don't  because it is no longer efficient and you no longer are getting a return on your investment.

We are going to run our short sale seminar ads in our local neighborhood papers because people still read the little papers here for news and events. Our area is behind in the social web 2.0. Katerina

Jan 11, 2009 03:36 PM
Jennifer Lal
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Abbotsford, BC

Wow! Great to hear that so many of you have made the decision to cancel the newspaper advertising. Thanks for your input :)

Jan 11, 2009 03:39 PM
Brian Burke
Kenna Real Estate - Lone Tree, CO
Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate

Jennifer - less and less agents advertise in our area in our local newspapers. A few are trying to hang on but they are not working. It is expensive and the return has dwindled down to practically zero. Online is definitely the way to go. ~Rita

Jan 11, 2009 03:40 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Jennifer, we just canceled our magazine advertising and our company has seriously cut back in newspaper ads. Craigslist is more relevant than our local newspaper. We get leads from it and never got one lead from the newspaper. We didn't have a photo of ourselves, but we ran ads and Open Houses. Don't do many Open Houses anymore, either.

Jan 11, 2009 03:43 PM
Gerry Khatchikian
Red Lodge, MT


We have been cutting back on magazine and newspaper advertising.   It does not seem to generate the bang for your buck any more.

Jan 11, 2009 03:47 PM
Marian Gregor-Ann
Keller Williams - Ann Arbor, MI
Arbor area Real Estate

Hi Jennifer, It all comes down to ROI. We haven't really seen the return for quite a while, yet it's taken RE downturn for agents to drop the paper. Over 85% of buyers start their look online. 'Nuf said!

Jan 11, 2009 03:47 PM
Jennifer Lal
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Abbotsford, BC

I guess I was so torn because our community has quite a high population of elderly people who do not use the internet. I think what I finally realized was that these folks would probably have a son/daughter or grandson/daughter helping them in their quest to buy/sell real estate and that they would probably use the internet to start their search. I feel great about my decision and love the fact that it's being validated with your comments!! Thanks everyone :)

Jan 11, 2009 03:49 PM
Tom Davis
Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today ! - Dover, DE
FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor

Hi there, the newspaper is okay for building an awareness every now and then but don't make it your primary advertising source these days as it is just not worth it!  Well we all know online is the way to go now!  Also another thing is to Advertise maybe once every 6 months or something to keep people in the loop.

Jan 11, 2009 03:58 PM
Pam Pugmire
Silvercreek Realty Group - Meridian, ID
Meridian Idaho Real Estate

Yes, it's all going digital!  Digital can be time-consuming, but much of the best advertising is free!!  Yipee!

Jan 11, 2009 04:38 PM
Barbara Delaney
Park Place REALTORS, Inc. - Roanoke, VA

Dear Jennifer,

I haven't used the newspaper for years, except for open house ads. I have spent a fortune on real estate magazine ads and did really well. That totally died last July.

I was about to totally dump that, but my new ad came out--it really wasn't different. I am getting a lot of calls! Now I don't know what to do!


Jan 11, 2009 05:08 PM
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Our company still does a weekly newspaper ad in our local Alameda Journal newspaper, and it appears every Friday. The reason for this is that every Friday has a real estate supplement that also has information on the open houses that weekend, as well as really good real estate tips, tricks, announcements, etc. This is a very popular section of the newspaper.

Advertising in the paper and our local magazine is also very much part of our branding. The local magazine has a long shelf life. We also get free copies that we hand out during our open houses. So it's critically important that we are in every issue.

But for the most part, a big chunk of our advertising is online.



Jan 11, 2009 05:34 PM
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

Jennifer, we gave up print ads for the most part a few years ago as it just wasn't working. I think part of running them was ego but the business side told us to cut unnecessary expenses. Print ads may make sense if you are trying to target an elderly buyer, ones who may not use the internet but for the most part they just don't work and I think most buyers know that.

Jan 12, 2009 02:22 AM
Jennifer Lal
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Abbotsford, BC

Tom - I agree! I think I'm going to try a different sort of print ad every now and then to see if anything sparks some interest.

Pam - Digital is the way to go! I'm so surprised at the type of response to my listings just by using FREE internet ads.

Barbara - What type of ads are you running? Let me know how it goes :)

Pacita - That's why I've been worried about canceling the ad. It was a big part of our "name recognition" campaign that we were running. I think that in the future I may look into investing part of my advertising budget into some sort of print advertising that has a much longer shelf life than my local paper. I like the idea of being able to hand them out at open houses, etc. 

Dan and Amy - I'm so glad to hear that it's worked out, It's nice to hear that other people have gone through the same decision making process :)

Jan 12, 2009 05:32 AM
Kent Simpson
Realty One Group Mountain Desert - Tucson, AZ
Real Estate Is About People

Print is dead.  In most cities, newspapers are struggling just to keep afloat & magazines are next.

Unless one's local market heavily relies on print media, or you have an astronomical budget, print ads are a complete waste of money IMHO.

Jan 22, 2009 03:27 PM
Jennifer Lal
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Abbotsford, BC

Kent - I completely agree! I have seen no slowdown in business since pulling the ads :)

Jan 25, 2009 03:39 AM
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Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

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