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Advertising is an Art, but Marketing is a Science

August 20 2013

marketingYou may have recently read Rob Hahn's blog post, "The Need for More Effective Online Marketing by Real Estate Professionals... Nine Years LaterThe Need for More Effective Online Marketing by Real Estate Professionals... Nine Years Later," in which he revisits a white paper published by Cendant in 2004 about the need for more effective online marketing. What is interesting about the white paper is that it was published well before the Trulias and Zillows of the world ever launched, and provides considerable insight into what best practices for online marketing should include. Many of the ideas shared are still applicable in today's online marketplace.

In Cendant's (the former parent company of Realogy) white paper they suggested that real estate agents ask themselves the following when thinking about online marketing:

  • Do my listings distinguish me from the competition online, and do they positively reflect on the attention to detail and level of service I seek to provide my clients?
  • Is this online presentation compelling to me as a home buyer?
  • Does the listing description tell me anything special about the home or is it simply a laundry list of details that looks like any other MLS listing?
  • Are the elements of this listing so complete that it would motivate me to contact the agent to schedule an appointment to visit the home in person?

Almost ten years later, these questions are still relevant and important for brokers and agents to consider when presenting listings online. In recent articles, we've shared useful tips on how to maximize your online marketing and provide quality content online by simply re-thinking how you use the MLS. Since the information you enter in the MLS is the source of the marketing content that is ultimately displayed to consumers, shouldn't we invest time and thought into what we enter here? Of course!

When entering your listings in the MLS, get creative with how you present the property to prospective buyers to ensure that your listing stands out from the thousands of other properties online. Include high quality photos (not ones like thislike this!), descriptions of the neighborhood, information about the local schools, etc.

For example, instead of saying, "Wonderful 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home, on half acre lot," which just repeats information the buyer already knows, try saying, "This early plantation farmhouse blends 'old with new' in its rich history and new renovations!" You don't have to hire an ad agency to write great advertising--simply include the information that will appeal to the online consumer. As you are preparing your listing description, revisit Cendent's questions and make sure you have covered all your bases.

As the saying goes, "Advertising is an art, but marketing is a science!" Enhancements to your listings are available for purchase from nearly all of the major publisher websites to increase traffic, but paying to enhance your online listings can be costly. So how can you be sure it is a worthwhile investment?

With ListHub Reports you can evaluate the publisher websites, side-by-side, to determine which sites are delivering the most traffic and leads, and how best to allocate your valuable marketing dollars (remember it's not magic or luck, it's science!). ListHub Reports are the only source for complete and objective consumer traffic data in the real estate industry, and include metrics from the top publisher websites like Zillow, realtor.com®, Trulia, and HomeFinder.com. You can also share the online traffic reports with your seller clients by scheduling their individual listing report to be automatically emailed to them. This is a great tool to keep the lines of communication open and even generate more referralsgenerate more referrals.

In addition to more effectively targeting your marketing dollars, you can use the ListHub Reports for smart "farming" by evaluating which property categories in your listings inventory are most in demand with online consumers and going after more listings like those.

So what is the key to effective online marketing? Give online consumers great content and then measure the results!