Powerful Photos for great results

What is the most important part of any ad? The top bit! The very first part of the ad that prospective buyers see. People will never read every ad – rather, they skim from ad to ad, letting the photo and first few words (which is normally the headline of the ad), decide for them, whether they will read the ad further.

So, now we know the photo and headline are absolutely vital – as I said in my last article, if research shows that with all advertising, only one in five people read past the headline of an ad, then it is imperative we get the headline right – and the photo!

In my last article, I talked about the ad campaign that sold our own home (it was only the 4th day of the campaign when the buyer contacted us, by the way) – I also said the main photo I used would blow you away – I will come to that later, but it illustrates a vital point, a vital rule of advertising, that most real estate ads ignore completely.

Photos and headlines must work together – to grab the prospective buyers interest initially, enough for them to decide the ad has something to offer them and that they should read further – remember, benefit, new/s, curiosity?

This is where we will change what the real estate industry has been doing forever and I promise you, the results will be amazing – time for a paradigm shift in your thinking!

Visualise a properly that, from the back deck or verandah, has a lovely view down over the ocean – now let’s assume we have a headline something like:-

Watch the yachts sail by

and the body copy might continue:-

Relax with your feet up on your back deck, your favourite drink in hand, enjoying this glorious view of the sea, the seagulls circling and the yachts sailing by…………..

Got the picture so far? Now, what would be the ideal photo to complement that headline?

You’ve got it haven’t you? A photo taken from that back deck, with the view prospective buyers will enjoy once they are living there, in their new home – certainly not a photo of the front of the house – make sense?

Watch the Yachts sail by

Watch the yachts sail by


Now, with that photo and that headline, can you see how they are absolutely working together, to give the prospective buyer a clear picture of how they will enjoy what they will be able to DO as a result of their purchase (remember HOODOO?).

Now, just to reinforce what I am saying, go and pick up some magazines, your daily newspaper and look at the professionally put together ads. Photos and headlines must work together!

Now, this is where we come across a dilemma – looking at real estate ads, whether they be on the Internet or hard copy i.e. real estate magazines, newspapers, flyers etc – what do you find as the main photo in almost every case? Yep, a photo of the front of the house.

However, if the rule of photos and headlines working with and complementing each other makes sense, then, if we have all fronts of houses as the main photo, with different headlines – they can’t work together – breaking one of the most vital rules of advertising – with the most important part of the ad.

The main photo does not need to be the front of the house!!

Have you ever looked to buy a property yourselves? Then you look through pages and pages (Internet or hard copy) of ads showing fronts of houses – boring, boring, boring – how can people possibly make an informed decision about what it would be like to live there, in that house, with those neighbours, in that area with everything it has to offer, by looking at those ads?

Conversely, time after time, prospective buyers look at a property they have seen advertised and it is not for them, and it is nothing like they expected from the ad – what a waste of everyone’s time! Another observation – have you ever noticed how people will often buy a house totally different from what they had first specified? Very simply, with the property they actually bought, they had a clearer picture of living there and were prepared to change or sacrifice some of the features they thought they originally needed.

Once again, that is what good advertising does – it puts them in the picture, so they can already visualise themselves living there – very powerful!!

Now, most other products don’t have a dedicated section – there isn’t a refrigerator section, a TV section, a food section, a furniture section etc. When people read a newspaper or magazine, they are reading the articles, they are not looking at the ads.

Therefore, what the ads have to do, is grab their interest (this is where the photo and headline come in) – with a product or service they weren’t even necessarily thinking about at that precise moment and get them enthused enough to make a looking or buying decision.

Once you get your photos and headlines working together, then that is what is going to happen – and as I said before, the results are absolutely amazing. What is also very important to remember, is that the other photos you take, must also match the body copy/wording of your advertisements, in the sequence that they are addressed.

Relaxxx in privacy, after a hard day

Remember the headline of the ad that sold our own home, that I mentioned in my previous article? Now, the three “x”’s (three “a”’s could have done the same job), really emphasises the relaxing – the photo? In my last article, I said it would blow you away and compared to the front of a house, it is like chalk and cheese.

The main photo showed my wife and myself in our bubbling spa (hot tub), relaxing with a glass of wine – now, how easy is it for you to visualise yourself relaxing in exactly the same way? The buyer, who first saw the property on the Internet, asked if it was myself and my wife in the photo – it totally personalised the ad, gave it a life, depicted enjoyment and created the perfect picture of what the buyer could do, once they owned the home.

Then, the copy talked about doing some laps in the pool, or just relaxing in the shallow beach entry area – so, the next photo was of the pool.

Then it talked about them enjoying a game of pool and of course, the next photo showed the games room with the pool table.

Then it talked about enjoying a game of darts – you guessed it, the next photo showed the dart board with scoreboard and its own light – and so on. Oh, by the way, we had over 20 photos in total, showing the home and all the area had to offer and if there was a photo of the front of the house, it was probably about the last one to be seen – not important. If a house has “street appeal”, then that is a bonus, not the reason to purchase a house, except on very rare occasions, with a house that is absolutely unique for some reason.

Ian Grace

Do you get the picture? Can you imagine how different these ads will be and how they will stand out against your competitors ads, time after time after time?

Final thing to remember – always make sure your photo matches the headline, not the other way around.

Have fun – don’t miss my next article where we will talk more about photos, personalising your ads and also understanding something that is vitally important – putting a media mix advertising CAMPAIGN together – powerful stuff!

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Ian Grace

Known internationally as “Mr Real Estate Advertising”, Australian born Ian Grace is acknowledged as the world’s leading authority on real estate advertising and customer service. For more information visit iangrace.com