Boutique brokerage sweats listing details

#madREskillz: Professional copywriters and photographers part of Perca's regimental approach

One need only consider the success of certain online product peddlers to know that engaging copy and images can pay off big time, said Anthony Cadieux, owner and co-founder of Perca, a Parkland, Fla.-based boutique real estate firm.

“Look at the trend of online deals website such as Groupon or Woot, where people buy sometimes based upon the copy alone,” he said. “If that’s the case for a $20 clock radio, wouldn’t we want to invest double or triple that into the listing of a home?”

With that in mind, Cadieux has established a regimental approach to creating listings at his company, winner of Inman News’ latest #madREskillz contest. It’s a process, he said, that ensures that Perca’s listings stand the best possible chance of sinking a hook into people who see them online.

The company hires a professional copywriter to author remarks on every listing in its portfolio, Cadieux said. It finds its writers on freelancer websites, like Creative Hotlist, and usually pays about $20 per listing, he added.

“We have a checklist that the agent/broker will fill out and provide the copywriter, and they take amateur photos on their phone for reference,” he said. “Future buyers want to fall in love with a home, and we believe that well-written copy is the start to that process.”

After a writer completes a description based on a list of home characteristics and photos, Perca uses a professional photographer to visually capture features of a home in their best possible light.

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That step in Perca’s listing-creation process costs a pretty penny (somewhere around $1,000 for one day), but it’s worth it, he said. The company also is a big believer in the marketing oomph of watermarks.

“We can’t use watermarks on [MLS websites] but there are plenty of other sites where we can post images — especially in social — knowing that if the images and copy are good enough, they’ll get shared,” Cadieux said. “We really saw this as a missed opportunity. You would never see a Coca-Cola billboard without their name or logo, so why would we?”

Perca keeps a marketing director on staff to oversee the listing-creation process as well as enforce other strict standards that the company has established. They apply to things including dress code (Perca asks all its employees to wear its brand color), gift-giving, composing emails, leaving voice mails and answering the phone.

“The marketing director has a different worldview than a salesperson,” Cadieux said. “They will also develop a bespoke marketing plan for each listing based on their specific needs.”