Matthew Ferrara, Philosopher
 

The Newspaper Ad is Dead

Everyone stand up and CHEER!

In an industry marked by “we’ve always done it that way” insanity – not to mention dozens of people on my blog telling me recently that their calendar and magnet mailings still paid off – there is HOPE for the future!

I just received an email and it contained a copy of a – gasp! – newspaper ad from a real estate company that is about to enter “Real Estate, the Next Generation.” Find out how this company is boldly going where few of their competitors will ever dare go themselves…

I’d like to award my first WELCOME TO THE FUTURE AWARD (I just made that up) to Shorewest Realtors of Winsconsin!

First, some disclaimers: I have never worked for their company (yet!!) and I received a copy of their ad from a friend at Coldwell Banker United in North Carolina (which means top competing companies are keeping an eye on each other nationwide). But no matter – as a member of the slowest evolving business industry in the history of mankind – you should all be just as excited as I am to see it.

I wonder if this is what it felt like when the first caveman stood up on two legs?

Other than discovering life on Mars, this copy of the “last” newspaper ad for open houses from Shorewest Realtors is clear evidence that the wheel wasn’t just an accident and we can learn from our mistakes.

Unfortunately, for some readers, this news may come too late to be of any help; continued weekly research in my local newspaper indicates that there are many more brokerage-strategy-cul-de-sacs yet to fall off the Fittest Grapevine.

I wonder what Shorewest Realty is going to do with all of the MONEY it is about to save? I can think of a few suggestions:

  1. Hire me to do a seminar for their agents on even MORE ways to use technology to sell homes.
  2. Buy every one of their agents a Blackberry so they can get all of the buyer inquiries from the online traffic they are about to generate for their listings.
  3. Hire a professional photographer to take 20 photos of every one of their listings to increase the “pull” of their online open house advertising (and get some of those agents’ elbows out of the bathroom mirror shots…)
  4. Hire their next three recruits on salaries and demonstrate how the profit-margin of future brokerages will work for everyone.
  5. Hire me to do a seminar for their agents…. Oh, did I say that already?? Grin!

Whatever they do with the money – heck, throw one hell of a “We have arrived in the future!” party – this ad just makes my day! This is the right step for any brokerage, in so many ways: Cutting costs, marketing effectiveness, taking control of the marketing plan away from sellers, tapping into the Gen X/Y purchase preferences, and so many more ways this action represents the right approach for the future.

I’m sure Shorewest isn’t the only one out there doing this, but I have to admit I admire their bold approach: Running a big, black-and-white ad highlighting the stark contrast between the old and new business models of the next generation of real estate. Taking a stand on a full page; raising the bar on the competition; and setting the standards of performance for marketing in their area.

I only wish I could have seen the face of the advertising manager at the newspaper when they submitted the copy. It would have been priceless!

As you can see – it’s going to be a great 2009 in Wisconsin real estate!

  • I’m a Realtor who holds open houses, advertises them online, in the paper and with signs. I ask all of the people who come how they heard about the open house. About half say they read it in the paper and the other half say they saw the signs. So far, no one has come because they saw the online ad. Maybe the newspaper ad isn’t dead yet.

  • I’m a Realtor who holds open houses, advertises them online, in the paper and with signs. I ask all of the people who come how they heard about the open house. About half say they read it in the paper and the other half say they saw the signs. So far, no one has come because they saw the online ad. Maybe the newspaper ad isn’t dead yet.

  • I’m a Realtor who holds open houses, advertises them online, in the paper and with signs. I ask all of the people who come how they heard about the open house. About half say they read it in the paper and the other half say they saw the signs. So far, no one has come because they saw the online ad. Maybe the newspaper ad isn’t dead yet.

  • Matthew Ferrara

    Colleen:
    Anything’s possible! Perhaps your particular market area or property type (like vacation homes) is still heavily oriented towards buyers who frequent the papers (like Baby Boomers). However, I would encourage you to remember the law of commodities performance:

    “Past performance is no indicator of future returns” So keep up your good work but be ready when your particular marketplace is prepared to drop newspapers entirely and be the FIRST. And do your research: Track every call, email and walk-in (to office and open house) so you can monitor the trends of how people are really finding you.

    One more thought: Try an Open House without marketing it in the paper; then ask people how they found you. Maybe all you need is SIGNS! And the newspaper ad could still be dead for you….

  • Matthew Ferrara

    Colleen:
    Anything’s possible! Perhaps your particular market area or property type (like vacation homes) is still heavily oriented towards buyers who frequent the papers (like Baby Boomers). However, I would encourage you to remember the law of commodities performance:

    “Past performance is no indicator of future returns” So keep up your good work but be ready when your particular marketplace is prepared to drop newspapers entirely and be the FIRST. And do your research: Track every call, email and walk-in (to office and open house) so you can monitor the trends of how people are really finding you.

    One more thought: Try an Open House without marketing it in the paper; then ask people how they found you. Maybe all you need is SIGNS! And the newspaper ad could still be dead for you….

  • Matthew Ferrara

    Colleen:
    Anything’s possible! Perhaps your particular market area or property type (like vacation homes) is still heavily oriented towards buyers who frequent the papers (like Baby Boomers). However, I would encourage you to remember the law of commodities performance:

    “Past performance is no indicator of future returns” So keep up your good work but be ready when your particular marketplace is prepared to drop newspapers entirely and be the FIRST. And do your research: Track every call, email and walk-in (to office and open house) so you can monitor the trends of how people are really finding you.

    One more thought: Try an Open House without marketing it in the paper; then ask people how they found you. Maybe all you need is SIGNS! And the newspaper ad could still be dead for you….

  • Hi Matt,

    I loved your article and also Shorewest Realtors for taking their progressive stance. I have said for many years that the newspapers should erect a statue to the world’s most gullible marketer…the real estate industry.

    We have been tracking where our Open House leads originate and close to 80% are from online sources…such as OpenHouse.com and others.

    Now, if we could only get agents to embrace IM technology (applications like those provided by DriveBuy Technolgy and others) we could also do away with brochure boxes and the wasted paper and drive time invloved in keeping them full and up to date.

    Thanks for sharing this article…I’ll be passing it along to my superiors.

    Regards,

    Jay Burnham
    Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    Beverly, MA

  • Hi Matt,

    I loved your article and also Shorewest Realtors for taking their progressive stance. I have said for many years that the newspapers should erect a statue to the world’s most gullible marketer…the real estate industry.

    We have been tracking where our Open House leads originate and close to 80% are from online sources…such as OpenHouse.com and others.

    Now, if we could only get agents to embrace IM technology (applications like those provided by DriveBuy Technolgy and others) we could also do away with brochure boxes and the wasted paper and drive time invloved in keeping them full and up to date.

    Thanks for sharing this article…I’ll be passing it along to my superiors.

    Regards,

    Jay Burnham
    Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    Beverly, MA

  • Hi Matt,

    I loved your article and also Shorewest Realtors for taking their progressive stance. I have said for many years that the newspapers should erect a statue to the world’s most gullible marketer…the real estate industry.

    We have been tracking where our Open House leads originate and close to 80% are from online sources…such as OpenHouse.com and others.

    Now, if we could only get agents to embrace IM technology (applications like those provided by DriveBuy Technolgy and others) we could also do away with brochure boxes and the wasted paper and drive time invloved in keeping them full and up to date.

    Thanks for sharing this article…I’ll be passing it along to my superiors.

    Regards,

    Jay Burnham
    Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    Beverly, MA

  • Cheers to you Matthew, the newpaper ad is dead. Heck I advertised my Open House on my Facebook page this week and got more response than I ever have from a newspaper ad. My Open House this past Sunday (shameless pitch at 20 Carl Rd in Walpole, MA http://www.20carlrd.com) did not have one single visitor from the newspaper. The attendees came from online sources and from personal invitations I sent to neighbors. Agents sell homes not newspaper ads. Take your money and invest in it other places. Its time to think out of the box and show our value as professional Realtors who truly know how to market our selves and our properties.

    I sent my Sellers out to a bar to watch the football game with mini business cards to advertise their property and they handed them out there and I have already recived a call LOL!

    I could list ten ideas that are FREE instead of a newspaper ad that would get more people in the door.

  • Cheers to you Matthew, the newpaper ad is dead. Heck I advertised my Open House on my Facebook page this week and got more response than I ever have from a newspaper ad. My Open House this past Sunday (shameless pitch at 20 Carl Rd in Walpole, MA http://www.20carlrd.com) did not have one single visitor from the newspaper. The attendees came from online sources and from personal invitations I sent to neighbors. Agents sell homes not newspaper ads. Take your money and invest in it other places. Its time to think out of the box and show our value as professional Realtors who truly know how to market our selves and our properties.

    I sent my Sellers out to a bar to watch the football game with mini business cards to advertise their property and they handed them out there and I have already recived a call LOL!

    I could list ten ideas that are FREE instead of a newspaper ad that would get more people in the door.

  • Cheers to you Matthew, the newpaper ad is dead. Heck I advertised my Open House on my Facebook page this week and got more response than I ever have from a newspaper ad. My Open House this past Sunday (shameless pitch at 20 Carl Rd in Walpole, MA http://www.20carlrd.com) did not have one single visitor from the newspaper. The attendees came from online sources and from personal invitations I sent to neighbors. Agents sell homes not newspaper ads. Take your money and invest in it other places. Its time to think out of the box and show our value as professional Realtors who truly know how to market our selves and our properties.

    I sent my Sellers out to a bar to watch the football game with mini business cards to advertise their property and they handed them out there and I have already recived a call LOL!

    I could list ten ideas that are FREE instead of a newspaper ad that would get more people in the door.

  • Thank you for this article Matthew. My company has brought in many an expert (one pair named Matthew and Amy) who have preached the same message, that print advertising is ineffective. Yet we continue to pay for these ads (albeit fewer ads per month now) in newspapers that are losing circulation for a litany of reasons (probably not enough clever real estate ads for one.)

    In my own unscientific surveys of how open house visitors learned about the open house, the results were split 50/50 between signs and the internet.

    Keep preaching it Matthew.

    Doug Wolfe
    Long and Foster Real Estate
    Phoenix, MD

  • Thank you for this article Matthew. My company has brought in many an expert (one pair named Matthew and Amy) who have preached the same message, that print advertising is ineffective. Yet we continue to pay for these ads (albeit fewer ads per month now) in newspapers that are losing circulation for a litany of reasons (probably not enough clever real estate ads for one.)

    In my own unscientific surveys of how open house visitors learned about the open house, the results were split 50/50 between signs and the internet.

    Keep preaching it Matthew.

    Doug Wolfe
    Long and Foster Real Estate
    Phoenix, MD

  • Thank you for this article Matthew. My company has brought in many an expert (one pair named Matthew and Amy) who have preached the same message, that print advertising is ineffective. Yet we continue to pay for these ads (albeit fewer ads per month now) in newspapers that are losing circulation for a litany of reasons (probably not enough clever real estate ads for one.)

    In my own unscientific surveys of how open house visitors learned about the open house, the results were split 50/50 between signs and the internet.

    Keep preaching it Matthew.

    Doug Wolfe
    Long and Foster Real Estate
    Phoenix, MD

  • I haven’t advertised in a newspaper in over 2 years. We generate all our business from the Internet. I have noticed the real estate classified section growing smaller and smaller every month. The real estate section of the Newspaper used to have a full section every Saturday and Sunday but now they only print on Saturday and it’s smaller than ever. I concur, The Newspaper Ad is Dead!!!

  • I haven’t advertised in a newspaper in over 2 years. We generate all our business from the Internet. I have noticed the real estate classified section growing smaller and smaller every month. The real estate section of the Newspaper used to have a full section every Saturday and Sunday but now they only print on Saturday and it’s smaller than ever. I concur, The Newspaper Ad is Dead!!!

  • I haven’t advertised in a newspaper in over 2 years. We generate all our business from the Internet. I have noticed the real estate classified section growing smaller and smaller every month. The real estate section of the Newspaper used to have a full section every Saturday and Sunday but now they only print on Saturday and it’s smaller than ever. I concur, The Newspaper Ad is Dead!!!

  • I agree with Matthew regarding buyers; however, in my small town, folks still read the paper, and it is the sellers who are shopping for listing agents that still measure by ads in the paper (not the buyers). Just a thought.
    Kitty Stockton, Prudential YSU, Chapel HIll, NC

  • I agree with Matthew regarding buyers; however, in my small town, folks still read the paper, and it is the sellers who are shopping for listing agents that still measure by ads in the paper (not the buyers). Just a thought.
    Kitty Stockton, Prudential YSU, Chapel HIll, NC

  • I agree with Matthew regarding buyers; however, in my small town, folks still read the paper, and it is the sellers who are shopping for listing agents that still measure by ads in the paper (not the buyers). Just a thought.
    Kitty Stockton, Prudential YSU, Chapel HIll, NC

  • Matthew Ferrara

    Hi Kitty:
    Thanks for the comment – I appreciate it. I have a suggestion for you may help, I bet you’d agree that what sellers really want is to shop for agents who SELL more homes, not advertise them. So the next time you’re talking to a seller and they say, “Well, you don’t run as many ads as some-other-REALTOR,” just remind them who sells more (hopefully it’s you) and that since you can do it without running all those useless ads, you must be more effective than those other agents.

    Then simply ask the seller if THEY are using the newspaper to find THEIR next home, and they’ll quickly understand how buyers (because sellers are really buyers) don’t bother with the paper at all.

    Best of luck for 2009!
    Matthew

  • Matthew Ferrara

    Hi Kitty:
    Thanks for the comment – I appreciate it. I have a suggestion for you may help, I bet you’d agree that what sellers really want is to shop for agents who SELL more homes, not advertise them. So the next time you’re talking to a seller and they say, “Well, you don’t run as many ads as some-other-REALTOR,” just remind them who sells more (hopefully it’s you) and that since you can do it without running all those useless ads, you must be more effective than those other agents.

    Then simply ask the seller if THEY are using the newspaper to find THEIR next home, and they’ll quickly understand how buyers (because sellers are really buyers) don’t bother with the paper at all.

    Best of luck for 2009!
    Matthew

  • Matthew Ferrara

    Hi Kitty:
    Thanks for the comment – I appreciate it. I have a suggestion for you may help, I bet you’d agree that what sellers really want is to shop for agents who SELL more homes, not advertise them. So the next time you’re talking to a seller and they say, “Well, you don’t run as many ads as some-other-REALTOR,” just remind them who sells more (hopefully it’s you) and that since you can do it without running all those useless ads, you must be more effective than those other agents.

    Then simply ask the seller if THEY are using the newspaper to find THEIR next home, and they’ll quickly understand how buyers (because sellers are really buyers) don’t bother with the paper at all.

    Best of luck for 2009!
    Matthew

  • We are a small “boutique” firm who opened our doors 3 1/2 years ago and immediately started adveritising in our local paper along side every one else. It didn’t take us long to figure out that our marketing dollars were better spent elsewhere. We now tell our prospective Sellers in our listing presentation that we would rather give the money to their favorite charity (where it will actually dosome good) than advertise in the newspaper. They usually get thepoint!

  • We are a small “boutique” firm who opened our doors 3 1/2 years ago and immediately started adveritising in our local paper along side every one else. It didn’t take us long to figure out that our marketing dollars were better spent elsewhere. We now tell our prospective Sellers in our listing presentation that we would rather give the money to their favorite charity (where it will actually dosome good) than advertise in the newspaper. They usually get thepoint!

  • We are a small “boutique” firm who opened our doors 3 1/2 years ago and immediately started adveritising in our local paper along side every one else. It didn’t take us long to figure out that our marketing dollars were better spent elsewhere. We now tell our prospective Sellers in our listing presentation that we would rather give the money to their favorite charity (where it will actually dosome good) than advertise in the newspaper. They usually get thepoint!