Many agents and brokerages today have decided to limit or eliminate their print marketing budgets. In terms of the luxury market, however, high-quality print marketing is not only alive and well, it is a necessity.
What happens when you cut out your print advertising? It can be a costly mistake, as the folks at popular outdoor retailer L.L. Bean learned. Because of the recession, L.L. Bean cut back on its print catalogs. The result was a major drop in sales. When it decided to increase the number of print catalogs it mailed, sales took off.
The case for print marketing
I recently interviewed Rick Goodwin, the publisher of Unique Homes Luxury Media. As noted in part one of this series, the luxury real estate market in the United States continues to see strong growth among foreign investors, especially those from Asia and Europe. Goodwin argues that quality print publications “put you in front of people that you need to know but don’t know yet.” This is particularly true in the international luxury marketplace.
In case you’re wondering who is reading high-end print advertising, Goodwin shared two different studies that showed that the ultra-affluent (those who earn $500,000 or more per year) read an average of 8.2 luxury print publications per month. Of this group, 20 percent spend 11 hours per week reading print newspapers and luxury magazines. Some of the most widely read publications include the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Robb Report, Wine Spectator, and Luxe Interiors.
Stand out as a luxury specialist
According to Goodwin, when it comes to representing luxury listings, “high-quality print advertising is still a strong listing tool. Print provides a way for you to make a name for yourself outside your local market. You need a media mix that combines both print and online.”
Because so many agents have stopped using print publications, print has become an important way to differentiate your premium marketing services from those services provided by your competitors.
Granted, there are some limitations with print, as Goodwin explained:
“Advertising doesn’t sell houses; Realtors do. If you’re expecting print to generate the buyer for your listing, you will probably be disappointed. What print does do, however, is that it allows you to consistently demonstrate the quality work that you do on behalf of your sellers. It reinforces the fact that you are a high-end Realtor.”
Create effective print marketing materials
In terms of using print marketing effectively, your luxury listings must be beautifully staged. Goodwin says high-quality photos are a must. Attention to detail is also critical. If at all possible, hire an architectural photographer to show the house to its best advantage.
To determine which photo(s) to include, ask your sellers what it was about the house that motivated them to purchase it. For example, if it was the family room with the view out to the pool, chances are that the new buyer will probably respond well to the same features. On the other hand, if the house looks beautiful at dusk with the lights on and the outdoor kitchen lit up by the swimming pool, this will create more of a mood shot. In both cases, this approach will allow your photos to stand out as compared to the typical front shot of the property that most agents select.
High-quality photos require high-quality copy
It’s also equally important that your ad copy match the quality of the photos. This is an area where many agents miss the mark.
According to Goodwin: “The big sin when it comes to marketing luxury listings is using your MLS descriptions as your ad copy. MLS copy is just a list of data. Effective copy is more than a list of features. Instead, it complements the photos in terms of creating a sense of what the lifestyle is like for the new buyers.”
Goodwin suggests that one way to do this is to “put yourself into the action of enjoying the property. How would you interact with this house if you lived there?”
For example, if you were marketing a house that was built 200 years ago, you might say, “For 10 generations, the owners of this property have experienced the graciousness of this classic Colonial home.”
Depending upon the publication, the distribution of the ad, as well as the size, you can obtain a quarter-page ad for your luxury listing from $750-$1,000. Half pages can run from $1,000 and up, and full pages from $2,000 and up.
Is it worth it?
Goodwin says, “Realtors are known by the properties they work with and the quality of marketing that they provide.”
So if print marketing is so important in the luxury market, what else can you do to take full advantage of this important medium? See part five of this series to learn more.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.