Top 5 Mistakes in Advertising Listings


oops_advertisingWith the news that talk show host David Letterman has decided to retire, I figured it’s a perfect time to run a Top 5 list: The Top 5 Mistakes Agents Make When Advertising Listings.

Many sales associates have approached me recently about doing additional advertising for their listings. We’ve all seen these mistakes (and possibly made them ourselves), so check out my list below and make sure that your ad stands head and shoulders above the rest.

#5 – A bad concept/design

How do I put this gently? Advertising a listing is about the listing, not the agent. You want to keep the focus on the home (not on you). Make sure the listing photo and details are more prominent than your headshot and contact information.

Here’s another sensitive issue. A lot of people think they have a good eye for design or what should go in an ad or on a website, but you may want to consult a marketing professional or consider hiring a graphic designer. You want to be a great Realtor and focus on what you’re good at – selling homes. It shows your “boss” (the seller) that you’re the right person for the job because you have experts to consult with to get the job done.

If it’s not in your budget, be sure to use high quality images and stay away from large fonts or all caps. Plus, there’s nothing more unprofessional than a fuzzy or stretched logo. Finally, have a couple of colleagues review it and remind them you want honest feedback because this is your business (nothing personal).

#4 – Misspellings and typos

This is self-explanatory, but nevertheless, I’ll elaborate. I understand that spell check has made our lives a lot easier, but that doesn’t mean we need to throw proofreading totally out the window. If you know your spelling and grammar skills are lacking, then have another set of eyes look over your ads. The bottom line is that an ad with misspellings and typos is unprofessional, and basically a waste of money. You might as well run an ad that says “I don’t pay close attention to details, call me!”

#3 – Ignoring the internet

With 87% of homebuyers using the Internet to search for homes, this is very important. I’m not saying to abandon all other types of advertising, but your offline advertising should support your online presence. It’s no longer enough to simply run an ad with listings, your name and phone number. It’s imperative to drive customers to a website that features detailed information about you and your listings.

In addition, be sure your listings are featured on as many websites as possible (as long as they update your price changes and remove listings that sell or expire). For example, Metro Brokers agents’ listings are featured on nearly 40 of the most popular real estate websites. On a related note, since most websites pull information from MLS or FMLS, be sure all the information is correct and up-to-date in the listings services. Otherwise, you’ll have false advertising all over the Internet.

#2 – Bad listing photos

I had a hard time not placing this as number one. Anyone who knows me has heard me talk about the importance of good listing photos. Remember that statistic I mentioned in #3? With 87% of buyers searching for homes online, your listing photo is often your first impression (and sometimes your only chance to make an impression) on a buyer. They look at the price, location and photos when searching online. And the more photos, the better. Plus, the photos are a reflection on your quality of work as an agent.

Avoid taking pictures of the house when it’s gloomy outside, if the grass hasn’t been mowed, or when there are cars in front of it. Get the entire house in the shot, so that part of it isn’t cut off the edges. Be sure the photo isn’t crooked. And see if you can get the seller to plant a few colorful flowers to give the house some curb appeal. I could go on and on, but I’ll save that post for another day. Just remember that in the eyes of the homebuyer: Ugly Photo = Ugly House = Not Interested.

#1 – Improper placement

Here’s the one you’ve been waiting for…the worst mistake you can make in terms of marketing/advertising real estate – improper placement. You can waste a lot of money if this is not considered carefully. When you’re deciding how to advertise a listing, you must consider a few things. Who is your target audience? Does this newspaper/magazine/website have enough readers to justify spending the money to advertise? Do the demographics match that of my target audience?

Make sure your ad matches the overall look and feel of whatever medium you are utilizing. For example, your ad in Know Atlanta magazine shouldn’t look the same as your ad in The Real Estate Book that features 15 listings with descriptions. Different publications have different purposes. And remember your target audience, and the purpose of your ad.

What are some ways you market/advertise your listings? What’s worked? What hasn’t?

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