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Why Newspapers Are Like Cemeteries

June 12 2012

Way back in 2008, Victor Lund wrote an article entitled "Why Newspapers Are Like Nursing Homes" and published it on the WAV Group blog. In the article, he says, "If your leading marketing tool is newspaper advertising, you're setting fire to money and missing the consumer." Them's fightin' words, Mr. Lund, but they couldn't be more true. In fact, in the time that has elapsed since the article was written, newspapers have become less like the nursing homes Mr. Lund compares them to in his title and more like cemeteries.

Do you need evidence for this?

Look, you don't have to take my word for it. I spotted this interesting tidbit on MarketingCharts.com: "Newpaper Ad Revenues Drop 6.9% Y-O-Y in Q1." The most pertinent statistic in the article is that the classified ads category is taking a major hit, dropping by 9.85%.

That article corresponded nicely with another piece published at the same time: "Majority of US Seniors Now Online." How are these two connected? Well, one of the main arguments for publishing listings in newspapers is that elderly people don't use the Internet. Oh, they don't, do they? MarketingCharts begs to differ.

3740 ret newspaper

"But my sellers expect it."

It's true that many sellers have an uneducated expectation for an agent to advertise their listing in the newspaper. If and when they give you pushback, simply explain the facts of the current real estate market to them and give them a long list of the many other more effective and cost-efficient ways you will help them sell their home. In fact, you can use a tool like the new MergeApp to literally show them how many different actions you're taking sure their listing gets seen.

You can even take it a step further by adding tools like Listhub or Listings 360┬░insight Advisor which will show them where their listing is being seen, how many times their listing was viewed, and how many leads were generated.

"But newspapers are an effective marketing tool for me."

Are you sure? Are you using a tool to determine where your leads are coming from (such as Ifbyphone, as Mr. Lund's article mentions)? If you've actually done the research and have proof that newspapers are a valuable sales tool, then GREAT! Keep using 'em. The point here isn't to tell you what works and what doesn't, it's to get you to truly look at it for yourself and then, most importantly, clean house by eliminating ineffective or outdated marketing channels.

If you need help in this area, check out the countless products for and articles about online marketing.