We don’t buy ads on radio or television anymore. We tried. We aren’t sure if they were effective. We did have some friends and family comment that they heard our ads.
But I don’t think our message was getting across. We didn’t, however, want to just go “all-in” for online advertising; we thought that regular media had a place for us.
I once read an article that talked about an agent who had his own real estate radio show. That sounded interesting to me. But it also raised a lot of questions such as format, length, time of day, listenership and expense — just to name a few.
All of these questions circled back to a couple of core questions — what were we trying to accomplish and who are we trying to accomplish it with. This made answering the questions of which station and the time of day much easier to answer.
We decided that our program would be educational, and it would, in turn, help develop an expert position for our fledgling brokerage. Going live on the radio for 45 minutes to an hour with a call-in format would enable us to educate the listeners and provide them a forum to call in with real estate questions and feedback.
I also decided on a target audience: sellers. I wanted sellers to hear our message and know that they could rely on us for expert advice. Perhaps they might even consider using us as their choice for a brokerage when it came time to list their home.
We decided on talk-radio as our station choice. The rationale was that talk-radio listeners are usually baby boomer age and are typically homeowners.
My goal was to do the show at low or no cost to our brokerage, so I made a couple of contacts, and I got an introduction to the station owner from a fellow faculty member at Penn State. Turns out that part wasn’t all that important.
The station was interested in the show — for a fee. I thought the pricing was reasonable enough to purchase nearly an hour of airtime once a week in the 11 a.m. until noon time slot right before Rush Limbaugh. Of course, there was a hook — they set their sales manager after me to sell me ads, and I eventually bought quite a few radio ads in the first year.
Success! The show we put together on WRTA 1240 AM Talk Radio had one of their on-air personalities, Doug Herendeen, interviewing me, and we cover a variety of topics as an explainer. I bump into people in public who mention the show and tell me they like what we are doing. More importantly, we have sellers calling in to our office who want to do business with us. Often they call in and just ask us to come and list their home — nailed it.
Buoyed by our success on radio, I talked to one of our local TV stations about a similar concept. It turns out that the local CBS affiliate had filled the old “Oprah” time slot from 4-5 p.m. with a locally themed live variety show.
As luck would have it, they were willing to sell a 30-minute block of their show to us with a sponsored and branded show that would be similar to our radio show. This, of course, also came at a price, but we bet on the reach of television, and we are very happy with the results. It is quite a bit more work preparing for the TV show than for the radio program. Doug from the radio show and I huddle for about two minutes before the show to discuss the upcoming program.
Not so much for the TV show. Because of its visual nature, we have a bunch of preparation each week. One of the segments we run is a “Perry’s Properties” segment, which showcases four homes we have listed for sale. We show pictures of the homes and talk live about it on the air. Clients love it. We tell them in advance that their home will be on the show, and I promise you their friends and family are all watching the show.
It is also a challenge each week to come up with three prepared topics to discuss concerning real estate. Because it is also an interview format and it is live, we write up a bunch of questions in advance for the host. Then we answer the questions ad-lib. We don’t rehearse this because we want it to remain spontaneous and genuine. It actually comes off really well, and we get good feedback from the public.
How do we measure it? We know when they call us to come and list their home because they saw us on TV. You should consider an educational format to get the word out about your expertise in the field of real estate.
Do you have any educational experiences you have found success with in your area? Please share your stories in the comments section below.
Adam Conrad Jr., MBA, is the founder and broker-owner of Perry Wellington Realty, licensed in Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland and West Virginia.