Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Promos Still Hot as Real Estate Chills

Real estate was the place to be for a lot longer than many expected. Unfortunately, due to the subprime mortgage meltdown and other economic factors, the industry has taken a hit. However, this hasn’t stopped the major players from advertising. For the first three months of 2008, real estate brokers and developers spent $566,457 on measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Re/Max, Prudential and Apollo Management’s Coldwell Banker and Century 21 invested the heaviest, even among the market downturn. Unlike many other ad categories, print proved to be the favorite medium with nearly $1 billion spent on print ads. TV was a distant second at $300 million.
“My vote has been and will be with print,” says Bill Golden of Re/Max Metro Atlanta Cityside. “I don’t have an ongoing ad campaign, but I run print ads sporadically, geared to specific audiences featuring specific properties. TV and radio are generally not a practical solution for my real estate practice, in terms of cost-efficiency.”

For many Realtors like Golden, promotional products are a favorite tool even in the current climate. “I think logoed products are more valuable in a down market, when there’s so much competition for business, and other agents are less likely to spend the money on such things,” Golden says. “I’ve been in real estate long enough to know that it will rebound and that it is just as crucial, if not more so, to reinvest in my business during the slower periods.”

Brian Coeste, president of Coester Appraisal Group, a real estate appraisal company agrees. “We use logo-based items for all of our marketing. We give away pens, sticky note pads, calendars, calculators and all kinds of things with our logo on them to our clients. We have found them very effective and well worth the money and set-up costs. We use them when we go into a new client’s office as a drop off and also to visit existing clients as a reason to stop by.”

Denny Grimes, president of Denny Grimes and Company, which boasts more than 6,000 real estate agents within its brokerage, says a little creativity goes a long way. “I have received a lot of reaction to rubber jar openers because of their shelf life and usability,” he says. “I give a dozen mugs that say ‘You’ve Been Mugged by Denny’ to the local florist, and for $15 I am able to send the mugs with a floral arrangement inside to my clients and colleagues. People love that! I promote my business every way possible. My staff wears logo shirts, my coffee is served in logo glass mugs and my napkins also have my logo on them. It really only costs pennies more to help reinforce your brand and image.”

Golden, who has found success with chip clips and sticky note pads, doesn’t plan on stopping. “For me, more than anything, it’s about keeping my name in front of folks, so I’ll come immediately to mind when they have real estate needs. This is particularly important to me because I encourage my clients to call me not just when they are buying or selling, but also when they are considering a renovation or have other real estate-related questions.”

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