A recent article in Advertising Age may lead some to believe that by simply placing a home on a listing aggregate site - voila! The offers come pouring in. Some agents have migrated to this online only strategy because their commission checks have been reduced and most of the sites are free.
While still quite valuable, few - if any - of these sites provide the type of lead activity necessary to sustain an agent's business - especially in the current market. Couple this with the fact that the agent's personal brand is buried in a sea of data and the sites are less an advertising vehicle and more of an information source.
If all the consumer is looking for is information, then why do they need the agent? Many consumers are asking themselves this very question. All agents would benefit from more professional campaigns promoting the value they add to the real estate transaction itself.
According to the same National Association of REALTORS 2008 Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers quoted in the ADAGE article, only 15% of home shoppers relied on social media outlet in their home search. A Harvard Business Review Study also recently revealed that 90% of Twitter posts come from 10% of Twitter account holders. Again, these services are free - but we may be talking to ourselves.
The realities are that real estate is local, prospects not that difficult to target, and - not all print advertising is newspaper classifieds.
Take, for example, local real estate publications as a direct line to the local home shopper. They target only those interested in local real estate and are an affordable, and effective way to drive direct response and traffic to the agent's personal website (though they rarely get credit for the traffic). An Advertising Research Foundation study posted today on Adage.com extolled the value of offline sources not only driving traffic online, but also directly sparking word of mouth conversations.
Combine a robust online offering, with a reasonably active social media campaign, and a local real estate magazine print ad and the agent has a very affordable and effective multi media advertising campaign.
Quite frankly, real estate advertising is no different from any other type of advertising. A single channel is not as efficient as a highly targeted integrated media strategy.