LEGS IN THE AIR

Really, do you have to do that to get someone’s attention?  Thankfully not when it comes to advertising real estate but I’ve seen some pretty crazy attempts to position a property ahead of the pack.  In Spain for instance, there’s a series of ads where the creative staff were asked at what point do people come to the realisation: “I need a house”. One answer was: “When you’re having sex in the car.”

The Spanish being Spanish (I’ve got Spanish blood – mmm – don’t give me any ideas!) grabbed this notion and ran with it.  A series of ads ensued, so naughty in their original form that they had to be watered down for TV.  Hilarious. (I know you are going to Google to find them, and don’t deny it!)

You, or your Agent, could make a video and upload it to YouTube, but unless you’re skilled in online marketing, you may end up with only a few hundred views.  More successful campaigns have seen tens of thousands, even millions of views and an accelerated sale. Consult an expert in online marketing.

Here on the Gold Coast, a company made a series of very sexy ads for their client’s marketing programs.  One can be seen here   I have no idea what it cost to produce but the result is spectacular, if not somewhat alarming!

So, sex sells, that much we know, but it’s certainly not for everyone and may well taint your property as some kind of Party House, or worse.

OK – back to the basics…

The whole idea of advertising is to have as many people as possible see and know that your house is on the market.  Not just prospective purchasers, but everyone.  Why everyone?  Because you cannot predict, using the notion of “six degrees of separation”, where the eventual buyer will come from.  The successful purchaser may come from a friend of a friend of a friend. You just never know.

You must always tell the truth when advertising. Not only does the law provide that you (and your agent) tell the truth, but nothing turns potential buyers off faster than turning up to a home and find it’s nothing like the ad.  Those of you who’ve used dating sites will have plenty of similar stories where the truth was stranger than fiction on the first (and last) coffee date!

One aspect of today’s print and online advertising that grinds my gears is the use of ultra-wide lenses to generate photos.  The images make most homes look like Mansions when they clearly aren’t.  I’ve been to a number of Open for Inspections lately where the photos I’ve taken with me are nothing like the reality. I recall one in particular where the photo showed what appeared to be a 3 metre gap between the kitchen bench and a breakfast table. The distortion in the photo was so great that when I got there I could barely squeeze between the edge of the bench and the table.  A real let down.
It puts people off and they leave angry.  What’s worse for you is they tell their friends, and their friends…

Don’t let your Agent take photos with fish eyes lenses to distort the view.  Photographer gurus tell me that 28mm to 50mm lens length gives the most natural look, with 35mm being fairly close to the human eye.

Remember, distorting the truth is just a fancy phrase for lying.

I’ve no issue with Agents taking property photos.  Some are very good at it. I used to do my own photos with but with an $800.00 digital camera, not a Smartphone.

Smartphones are clever and their abilities amazing but make sure your Agent uses a real camera.  If you’re not happy with the images, tell your Agent and make them take them again until you’re happy.

Always include an online map link to sites like Google Maps, Google Earth or Whereis.Com in your advertising.

Always have a clear, simple floor plan drawn up and displayed.  Don’t worry about burglars stealing the floor plan and using it to break into your home. In speaking to Detectives about this, I’m reliably informed that most burglars are opportunistic thieves and not many have been caught with a copy of your floor plan stuffed in their hoodie!

If your house has a Safe, don’t put that on the plan!

Virtual tours are old hat and expensive if offered.  Don’t bother.  Just make sure that your photos are labelled and match the floor plan.  It’s important to show just enough of your home to get people to take the time to come along and see for themselves.

Agency branded full colour booklets that you see FREE everywhere.  There’s a fairly long lead time to production so chances are you’ll be sold before it’s been distributed, however, given the state of the market at the moment, probably not so much a factor.

People (read Tyrekickers) “browse” these magazines in coffee shops and at the hairdressers.  REAL, active buyers are searching on the Internet.  These magazines do little other than to make you feel good when you see “your” home in print, and to promote the Agency.

Don’t waste your money.

Newspaper advertising.  This is difficult.  I used to be a huge fan but now think newspapers are a complete waste of time.  With over 95% of people using the internet to research everything to do with purchasing a home, why would you spend $250.00 on internet advertising to reach 95% of your intended audience and $5,000.00 to reach 5%? (Arguments welcomed!)

Don’t forget that any advertising you pay for also advertises the Agent and their Agency. Take any full colour display ad in a newspaper and see how much of “your” ad is devoted not to your home but to the Agent and Agency.  You’re paying for that…

Signs. I surely do believe in signs!  Pay for the best and biggest you can afford.
Just one sign if your home has frontage to just one street.  Two signs if on a corner and more if your home faces a park or is on the water. Signs are your silent, 24/7 agent. If it doesn’t annoy your neighbours, or break any local By-Laws, there are solar powered lighting solutions that can add subtle lighting effects after dark.

BIG, BRIGHT, and FULL COLOUR.  Point form description of the major attributes and lifestyle benefits.  Photos of the best parts inside and out that cannot be seen from the street, ocean, canal or lake.  If there are any mistakes, even ONE spelling or grammatical error, reject the sign. Make sure your Agent doesn’t use flowery language – prospective buyers look at a lot of property and don’t want to waste time reading rubbish.  I’ve seen the wrong number of bedrooms, incorrect land size, and photos from another property mixed in.

I cannot believe that any Agent or Salesperson would have, as the main picture on a huge sign for a luxury apartment, a shot of the BED! Photo taken a couple of days ago in Main Beach, Queensland, Australia.

Here is where the quality of digital photography plays its most important role.  I used to work closely with my sign making team and they insisted on large file sizes so that when the photos were enlarged to 1m x 1m or more they didn’t pixellate and look awful. Next time you are out ‘n’ about, take a close look at some colour signs – their picture quality can be awful.

QR codes. ESSENTIAL.  Any Agent worth their salt knows how to generate a QR code that links to where people can access a website or part of a website that’s devoted to your property.

What’s a QR Code? Please see here

Make sure your QR Code is everywhere.  Certainly large enough on your outdoor colour signs to be easily scanned by a Smartphone.  On EVERY single piece of advertising, online or print.  Paste the QR code into your Twitter feed, Facebook, Pinterest and anywhere else you have an online profile.

Agent’s window cards and window flat screen monitor advertising.  Do yourself a favour and take a regular peek at your Agent’s Office window to make sure the information is correct and your property is being displayed in its best light.  Nothing worse than a sun-faded window card or, worse still, replete with dead flies.

The neighbours!  Whether you get on with your neighbours or not, they will always be one of the best sources of referral and advertising.  If your neighbours hate you, they will do whatever they can to help get rid of you as quickly as possible!  If your neighbours love you, they’ll be sad to see you go, but will also be keen to make sure that more nice people move in.

Your neighbours, whatever their motives, will talk to their friends and family about your house.  Never, ever, underestimate the power of gossip as a powerful selling tool.  Just make sure that they are saying the right things.  Talk to them.  Invite them along to take a peek.  Arrange a private viewing. Ask their opinions (even if you don’t intend taking any action or couldn’t give a toss what they say!)

Finally, email all your friends, co-workers and business contacts (if allowed and appropriate) a link to your property.

The foregoing is not comprehensive by any means.  There are plenty of other quirky and inventive ways to promote your home – be creative but don’t do anything that’ll get the Police involved!

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One thought on “LEGS IN THE AIR

  1. Linda Pankhurst says:

    Hi Gordon,

    This is a really good one – starts off funny, and got my attention! It read really well – thanks : )

    Lin

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