Three Words to Avoid in Real Estate Marketing
Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Marketing a home is hard work that requires knowledge and experience. Would you believe “We have termites” are not the three worst words you can use in real estate marketing? Nope, there’s worse and if your agent is using those three words, it’s time to have a marketing talk.
How to Stand Out: Avoid Cliche Like the Plague
Even in a seller’s market, you need to stand out. Assume all buyers are selective on which properties they want to take the time and effort to view. Does your home show in a way that it will make the cut?
There’s an old adage that the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. There’s a reason it’s an old adage. Because that phrase belongs with other things that are old and obsolete like VHS, fax machines and the Yellow Pages. That’s right up there with “Go West, young man.” By the way, if you’re reading this from east of the greater Las Vegas area, be sure to check out our Green Valley Homes page, young person.
Is location important? Absolutely! Does it affect property value? For sure! Do I hate making points by asking myself questions that I’m going to answer? I do! Why am I doing that now? I don’t know!
In our local MLS, we only get 450 characters including spaces to describe your home to the public. “Location, location, location” takes up 28 characters. Compare to “Unbelievable value” which is 18 and leaves room for adjectives to describe your “chef style” kitchen and now you get the picture.
Moreover, over 95% of Buyers are starting their home search online so if they are looking at your home online, there’s literally a map in the same search result. Shouldn’t the Buyer determine if the property is in a great location?
What They’re Really Saying
Using Location x3 is lazy, uninspiring and conveys a lack of enthusiasm in marketing your home. Even worse, it makes your home sound plain and just like everything else on the market. It’s the Realtor® equivalent of phoning it in. What if you were dining at the best restaurant in town and the chef prepared your Beef Wellington in the microwave? Would you be good with that? No. No, you would not. Your big investment deserves better than microwaved descriptions.
Cliches are for describing homes that are turds. That’s not your house. Did you put time, effort and energy into making a home that you can be proud of? Did you transform that property with your sweat equity? Yeah, you did! So work with someone who is going to love marketing your home as must as you loved living in it. How do you find that agent?
Start Your Checklist in the Interview
Interviewing an agent? Look at their current or past listings. Ask for examples of what they have done or are currently doing. Ask, specifically, what things they will do to market your home.
Check out their website. Are they creative or does it look like every other real estate agent website you’ve ever seen? If they are creative, that can translate to how your home is presented. Are they cookie cutter? That can also translate to how your home is presented.
Do they have a social media presence and do they use it properly? Having an Instagram with a stream of posts repeat with the same message, “If you’re ready to buy or sell, call me!” Is not a social media presence. That’s a commercial. It’s annoying and a great way to get muted.
Do they post relevant content? Hey, even some irrelevant content is just fine so long as it’s something that garners positive attention. That’s having a social media presence. An agent can demonstrate marketing competence if they are active on more than one social platform and they do it well. That doesn’t mean they need to be everywhere but they should excel somewhere.
Good copy is not flowery platitudes but creative, honest descriptions that help potential buyers envision your property as their next home.
Do they write good copy? Over 95% of new buyers start their home buying process online and most (over 65% across all my social platforms and my website) are using mobile devices. That means most buyers are looking at the photos BUT it’s still critical to write good copy. Why? Because the photos often get a viewer's attention but the copy will add to the experience. Good copy is not flowery platitudes but creative, honest descriptions that help potential buyers envision your property as their next home.
Do they work with video? Even a slideshow with great photos is better than no video at all. Want to see something really cool? If your agent has the right equipment, your home can be marketed in virtual reality. (And yes, it’s viewable from your mobile device and desktop but you can also see it with Samsung VR and Google Cardboard!)
What Doesn’t Work
Tried marketing techniques like open houses, flyers and print ads have become tired marketing practices. I like creating a good flyer but they simply don’t work in the 21st century. My time is better spent creating a great landing page. Print ads are the VHS of real estate. Buyers have changed how they shop for homes and good agents focus on where the attention is.
If an agent holds an open house or takes out a print ad, no big deal. I wouldn’t make that a disqualifier. But if their marketing focus is on these outdated practices at the expense of a solid online presence, then you may want to think twice about hiring that agent. When you compare a sterile medium quality print ad to a dynamic video or virtual tour, it’s no contest.
Post and Pray
I’ve written before about agents who only put listings on the MLS and hope for the best, a strategy we refer to in the industry as “Post and Pray”. And while we professionals are inferring a lack of effort with that strategy, it’s not to be confused with agents who take professional photos and write great copy. Because all of that gets posted in the MLS and what gets posted in the MLS gets syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin and 1,000 other third party sites. In other words, your home, in the best light, where most of the attention is at.
There is no one single best way to market a home but using multiple techniques and focusing on where the attention is at will yield the highest chances for success.