Research your advertising to guarantee its effectiveness

In the last of Ian Grace’s series on writing effective ads that, Ian Grace has a masterclass on testing the ad, while carefully building relationships with new prospects.

Research your advertising to guarantee its effectiveness is broken into two stages:-

  1. Test your ads before they appear in any media
  2. Research the potential buyers who respond to your advertising, to confirm you are exactly on track

1. Testing your ads before they appear in any media
Professional advertising agencies will pretest their advertising campaigns before they hit the media, to see if their message is right, for the target market they are aiming at.

As a professional Agent who should know how to advertise someone’s property effectively, you can (and should) do the same.

In my “Winning Listings” note-pad I have an advertising checklist which helps ensure you will almost always be 100% on target with your advertising. However, you can make up your own checklist if you like, by following the points below.

An ad is broken into seven basic elements and they all need to flow together properly:-

  • Photo – matching the headline – remember, not the other way around
  • Headline – offering a benefit or implied benefit; new/news or topical; curiosity that is relevant, not just a gimmick for gimmick’s sake
  • Qualifying copy – quickly confirming the promise in the headline
  • Body copy – where you walk the reader through all aspects of “living there” in that property and area
  • Reinforcing copy – if an effective headline has attracted the reader, it makes sense to remind them at the end, what attracted them initially
  • Action copy – pretty straightforward but not always done properly — your full name (with the word “me” in front of it), plus all contact details and open house directions if necessary
  • White space – an ad needs to “breathe” and should be easy to read, not crammed to capacity as I often see, sometimes with flashes and strips and starbursts, where the eye doesn’t know where to look first and read in a logical sequence

Once you have put your advertising campaign together, give it to one or more of your colleagues, with a checklist, so they can objectively tell you if they have totally understood what it is you believe you are trying to impart. If not, don’t try to convince them, as you don’t have that luxury with somebody out there in the marketplace reading your advertising. This will stop mistakes and wrongly targeted ads before they happen – powerful stuff, now you should be on track.

2. Researching potential buyers who respond
This stage can accomplish a lot more for you, than just seeing if your advertising is effective. If a potential buyer is viewing a number of homes that are open for inspection on any given weekend, their purpose is not to make a new Realtor “best friend” but only to find a property that suits them.

They are often defensive and now is a perfect time for you to become the Realtor they remember after they have viewed the properties on show. See if the following suggested dialogue works for you:-

Greeting upon arrival at open house and exchange of names, establishing they have come as a result of your ad, perhaps asking where they saw it:-

“Mr and Mrs Smith/Bob and Sue, I wonder if I could ask for your help/advice/opinion”. (People actually love helping, giving advice and sharing opinions — now you have aroused their curiosity).

“You see, with my advertising, my aim is to give the most honest and truthful depiction of what the property has to offer and what living here in this house and this area will be like.

To confirm I am on the right track with my advertising, after you have had a good look through the property and asked me any questions you may have, it would really help me to know if this property has matched your expectations from the advertising you saw”.

This will give you fabulous feedback, to see if your advertising message is on track, or has gone astray (you will soon know this, particularly if they mention the words “we were disappointed in … “).

“Mr and Mrs Smith, thank you for pointing that out as I can now understand how it can be read that way. I appreciate your feedback and will make immediate steps to change that in my future advertising”.

What is important now, is to ensure you make the change/s you have promised. If by any chance one of the media you are using already has a closed deadline, then tell them you will be too late for the next ad, but after that it will be changed.

This is really important because, if they see your ad again and it hasn’t been changed, you’re just another Agent who is not credible. However, if they do see the ad again and it has changed according to their feedback, they will feel good having contributed and will have formed an opinion that they have met an Agent they can trust.

Be the Agent who is remembered – think about it, if a prospective buyer has visited four or five open homes and spoken to four or five different Agents, who is the one they are going to remember?

Think of those words above – the most honest and truthful depiction – if you were to say “I am honest and truthful, trust me”, just like a used car salesperson, they wouldn’t necessarily believe you.

However, in this instance, you have explained to them what your aim is and invited them to be a part of the process. Out of the four or five Agents they may have seen, they will always remember the one who involved them in putting honest and truthful to the test.

So, not only will this process continually help you to ensure your advertising is always on track and highly effective, giving you and your sellers the best results, it will build trust with prospective buyers on an ongoing basis.

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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