Eight-track tapes, rotary phones, video cassettes, cassette tapes, CD’s, phone booths, etc; they all played a significant part in our history as a maturing nation.
But today, it’s almost impossible to find any of them anywhere other than a museum or a flea market.
Why...because they’ve ‘old school” solutions that have been replaced by better, more effective, and in many cases, less expensive alternatives.
The same thing has been happening with marketing in real estate.
There are a number of old school marketing strategies that are outdated, less effective and way more expensive than their new school counterparts.
Can you get a return on your investment when you employ an old school approach to marketing?
Yes, you absolutely can.
But it takes way more time and effort and certainly, it takes a lot more money.
Here’s a closer look at some old school marketing strategies and why they cost more money to generate business for you.
Direct Mail vs. Email
I’m willing to bet there isn’t an agent who will read this that hasn’t tried to mail some sort of postcard, flyer, recipe card, sports schedule, etc. to a neighborhood in their marketplace with the ardent hope of getting a phone call from a prospect looking to sell their home.
The unfortunate truth about direct mail is that you almost never get a legit selling opportunity after mailing once or twice to a neighborhood.
In fact, the numbers from our businesses show that you need to mail for a minimum of six months and for all intents and purposes, a full year, to get the brand recognition you need with a seller prospect for them to realize who you are, what you do, what your brand stands for, that you’re the real deal and that you’re not going anywhere.
A full year of direct mail marketing to a subdivision or two with printing and postage can run into the thousands.
Not only that, but if your message to your market doesn’t match, you could post a big, fat “bagel” on your return on investment (ROI), making it extremely costly for you.
With email, you can send out messages for pennies on the dollar, still impact your prospect and get better conversion results than you do with direct mail.
In addition to that, if your message misses the mark, you simply need to invest some of your time to craft a better message and send it out again.
Direct mail can work, but you need a huge budget and a lot of patience to see dividends from your efforts and investment.
TV vs Youtube
If you’ve been paying attention even a little bit, you’ve likely seen the spectacular rise of online video advertising, education and branding efforts.
Traditional media sources, such as print and analog media, don’t bring in significant revenue growth as they have in the past as consumers and providers of products and services shifted in favor of digital media.
This is illustrated by the fact that Inc. magazine believes video advertising will represent more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
Historically, television advertising has been reserved for real estate business owners who have deep pockets.
According to FitsSmallBusiness.com:
As with all marketing on analog media, you’ll want your prospects to consume your message multiple times so that you can capture enough mindshare in order to get them to take action and seek you out to do business.
The challenge here is that the more time your ad plays on television, the more expensive it gets for you.
What’s even tougher is that it’s hard to track the results you get from marketing and advertising on television.
Our experience from advertising on television was that most prospects weren’t able to clearly articulate that it was the television ad that prompted them to either call us or work with us. Certainly, it had an impact, but we couldn’t identify a directly correlation between the advertisement and business we were doing.
The omnipresence of Youtube, combined with the fact that it’s inexpensive to use and keeps your content on the Internet for anyone to see in perpetude, makes it an amazing medium to get in front of - and stay in front of - your subscribers to build relationships and convert them to consumers on a consistent basis.
Radio vs. Podcasts
Like television, radio can get very expensive.
And for the most part, the same principles apply: you need to produce your ad and then make sure it gets heard on a consistent basis so that you can generate some brand recognition in your prospect’s mind.
In the past, we’ve had great success with radio, but the cost per lead acquisition is pretty stiff - somewhere between $700 and $900 a pop.
Plus, if you don’t have an Inside Sales Agent ( ISA ) in place to handle the calls in a timely manner as they come into your office, you can end up spending a whole lot more money and getting little to no return on it.
Conversely, podcasts give you the opportunity to connect with people in the same manner you would with radio, but for a fraction of the cost.
The great news is that the number of people consuming podcasts is skyrocketing on a year-over-year basis.
In addition to that, your podcasts will stay on the Internet as long as you leave them there, they can be listened to as often as the listener wants to consume them and they can be shared.
In addition to the lower cost, all of these features of podcasts make podcasts a far and away better choice for marketing to your subscribers.
Newspaper vs. Blogs
For the purposes of this post, we’ll just consider all print media in our discussion.
There was a time, not even 20 years ago, when it was mandatory for you to advertise your company’s listings - and even your face - in the newspaper and other real-estate-related media.
Unfortunately, newspaper circulation has shrunk down to the numbers we saw back around World War II.
To make matters worse, the National Association of Realtors® tells us that less than 3% of real estate consumers looking to buy and/or sell a home use the newspaper.
Despite that, the cost to advertise in the newspaper is still expensive...even if you live in a market where the circulation of the newspaper is a little smaller.
Overall, it just makes no economic sense.
As we discussed in a prior post, blogs provide you the opportunity to reach a huge subscription base and build mind share with them for pennies on the dollar.
Plus, blogs allow you the opportunity to have interaction with your subscribers and really cement a relationship with them that a newspaper could never help you do.
There’s really no decision to make here. Blogs beat newspapers in virtually every way...hands down.
New school marketing strategies are available to anyone, no matter what size budget they have.
And, despite the fact that they cost you less money than most old school marketing approaches, they are often way more effective in helping you create and maintain relationships that you can turn in to sales.