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Keep the Same (Good) Ad Running

December 11 2012

Guest contributor Ian Grace of REALTOR® Mag says:

realtormag same good adResearch shows that people need to see the same ad or message several times before they'll respond. Whether it's in magazines, journals, newsletters, flyers, newspapers, Internet ads, or social media, once you've created a great ad, repetition is key. I refer to this as the "four times" rule.

Where the four times rule especially applies is in print advertising. Newspapers will sometimes offer incentives for real estate professionals to run ads four times or more and get the fifth or sixth ad free.

In some countries — particularly the United States — real estate advertising in newspapers has diminished dramatically, while in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, print advertising continues to thrive. (The Gold Coast Bulletin in Queensland, which covers the area where I live, will carry 100 to 200 pages or more of full-color real estate advertising every Saturday.) But even if newspaper advertising is not a big part of your campaign, the four times rule will apply to any Internet sites, social media, magazines, or journals you're using, as well as your flyers. Put the message in front of your audience four times or more to get the best results.

Agents often change ads quite quickly, only running them once or twice because they feel they're not getting the result they want. It's like going fishing, throwing out a line and bait, getting a nibble, then cutting the line and throwing out fresh bait just to start from scratch.

Others may change an ad because they think it has grown stale and worry that people may say, "There's the same ad again; obviously they can't sell that property." We must forget about that possibility. Even if there are people who think that, it doesn't matter because they're not the right audience and their opinion doesn't matter.

Keep in mind that the market is changing every day and new buyers are constantly coming into the market — a good campaign will work with them.

In my last article, I emphasised the importance of putting together a media mix advertising campaign, where the ads carry the same message, main photo, and headline across all media genres. All too often, when REALTORS® change an ad, they do so in only one medium. When a new ad doesn't match the ads running in other media, it's not a campaign and it decreases the chance of an effective result.

All too often, REALTORS® are adopting the shotgun approach, trying to aim their marketing at everyone. The reality is you only need one person to sign the contract. Having another two or three interested in the property at the same time helps to push the price as high as possible. But you don't need to reach millions of people; focus on only a few of the right buyers, effectively.

Effective advertising works cumulatively with repetition across different media. When buyers see the same ad time and time again, with the same message across different media, they'll remember the messaging.

While delivering my advertising programs across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand over the past 17 years, I have seen countless examples where buyers have seen ads for properties eight times or more. In one example, a buyer drove past a sign for a property at least 20 times and it finally grew on him enough that he ended up buying the property. So it goes to show: If you've put together a great campaign, keep it running consistently across all your media and you'll obtain the results your sellers deserve.

However, you should also consistently review the performance of your campaigns, the properties competing in the same price range, and any other events that can affect response to your advertising.

In my next article, I'll discuss pricing, points that must be included in every ad, and how sellers can contribute to property advertising campaigns. I realize this would mean a paradigm shift in thinking, but once it's done, the results are quite amazing.

To view the original article, visit REALTOR® MagREALTOR® Mag.