Whether it’s a deceiving description, really unattractive listing photos or blurry videos — none of these strategies appeal to prospective clients. The following marketing “tactics” just need to die.
1. Cliche listing descriptions
We, as real estate professionals, need to get more creative when it comes to copy in our advertisements. Consumers are seeing the same tired old copy in listing descriptions, so who can really be sure if an apartment is “bright” and “spacious” these days?
You never want to overhear this in the office and realize your listing description is the topic of discussion: “If I have to read ‘welcome home to X address’ in another ad description, I’m going to be sick.”
Nothing is more embarrassing than seeing a listing with words like “won’t last” and “get it before it’s gone” on a listing that’s been on the market 50-plus days.
Use more creative language to differentiate your listings from other agents’, but lay off of the “same old cliches.”
2. Too much or too little information in descriptions
One of the most unattractive things to see in a listing advertisement is too much or too little about the home in the description. No one wants to read several paragraphs about an apartment when you need to find a new home in 30 days or less.
Scientists have found that the average attention span is now about 8 seconds so seeing a bunch of paragraphs on an ad description can easily turn a prospective renter or buyer off; therefore, making them miss important attractive details to a listing such as “laundry in unit” “dishwasher,” “elevator,” “high ceilings,” etc.
A simple bullet-point format of the features help a prospective client compartmentalize the features of the apartment to figure out if it has what they’re looking for. Be short and concise in your descriptions, but cover the important details so this marketing trend can rest in peace.
3. Lack of transparency in listing descriptions
Agents need to start addressing the least attractive features of a house, apartment or condo (or in NYC tenement buildings, the shower in your kitchen). You might get an abundance of leads by ignoring the elephant in the room, but the chances of closing a deal with this kind of deceptive advertising are slim to none.
By not disclosing a feature (for example, sixth-floor walk-up, old kitchen, shoebox-sized closet) about the apartment or home that might be a dealbreaker for a prospective client, you’re starting off the relationship by being deceptive and even misrepresenting your listing, and you are wasting time for yourself and this prospective client.
Less is not more in this situation, let’s put that to rest.
4. Over-marketing to millennials
Millennials have been known to be the generation that is hardest to reach by marketers, but nothing turns off a millennial more than seeing words like “lit,” “dope” or “fire” in an ad description.
Not only does adding slang words to copy negate professionalism, but it also shows prospective buyers and renters that you are trying very hard to appear “cool” and “hip,” which is a major turnoff to the generation that seeks authenticity.
Millennials can easily sniff out when an advertisement is trying too hard to target their demographic and pique their interests. That marketing trend is definitely over the hill.
5. Bad listing photos
You know exactly who you are. More and more agents these days are putting up advertisements on large syndication platforms with the most grotesque photos.
Whether it’s out of laziness or intentional plans to be deceptive, there are way too many ads out there with unattractive photos.
Nothing makes a listing look less desirable than seeing a reflection of the agent taking the photo in the mirror, a messy apartment or even an existing tenant in the photo looking less than thrilled to witness this act of photography.
If the apartment is occupied, ask the tenants to clean up a bit before scheduling to take photos.
When a listing is under construction you’ll often be able to tell right away by the ladder dead-center in the photo, paint buckets or a fridge and stove placed in the bedroom while the kitchen is being finished. Why would you post that?
6. Listing photos taken by phone
Although the copy is very important, the real meat in a listing advertisement is the photos. I cannot understand why I am still seeing apartments posted on prominent sites such as StreetEasy, Zillow and other syndications — with photos from a camera phone.
It’s very easy to find a nice camera with a wide-angle lens or to hire a professional photographer. Most times, an agency should provide a means of photography for their agents, whether it’s an actual photographer or professional camera that can be borrowed.
It’s a small expense to invest in your business and accurately represent your listings for successful lead generation. Even a phone with a good camera will still make the home look much smaller than it actually is, and it won’t allow prospective buyers to envision their furniture in the space.
And don’t even get me started on those awful fisheye panoramic photos!
7. Bad listing videos
Often you’ll see an agent post a blurry video of the apartment where you don’t even get a sense of how big (or small) the apartment is.
Shaky, unfocused and blurry videos are extremely pointless to post if they don’t do a listing justice.
For apartments, a simple alternative would be to link a posting to YouTube, so prospective clients can see the video of the home. An app such as Replay Listings allows prospective renters to enable filters — neighborhood, price and bedroom size — to curate an exact match for their respective needs (via ReplayListings).
This allows agents to post videos directly through the app showing the best features of the apartment in 60 seconds.
You can also hire a professional videographer or follow best practices, such as using a tripod, when shooting listing videos.
At the end of the day, better property marketing leads to more potential buyers and renters, a higher price point and more returning happy clients. Let’s put an end to bad property marketing.