May 23, 2018

Show What It's Like to Live in a Home

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Show What It's Like to Live in a Home

It's a bold move, but one that may pay off: Include current home owners and their pets in advertising photos to show what makes a house a home.

As established in my last article, photos and headlines should work together, always keeping “HOODOO” — who you’re trying to reach and what you want them to do — in mind.  Sometimes that means choosing a photo that is not of the front of the house as the main photograph in your ad in order to attract buyers. Once you have your headline and text in place telling them about "living there," then match your main photo to the headline and other photos to the text, in sequence. The results can be quite amazing.

Living in a home is what property ads should be selling. So now I suggest taking the next bold step and include current home owners and even pets in your photos. What better way to show potential buyers what it would be like to live in a home than by putting people in the photos, enjoying themselves?

Check with your MLS rules on including people in photos, as it’s not always allowed. But in other online and print advertising, this is a great way appeal to the emotions of potential buyers as it shows what they will be able to do when they live there.

As I mentioned in my previous article, I included a photo of myself and my wife in our advertising. When the buyer phoned me on the fourth day of our advertising campaign, he had only two questions for me: “Do you get any noise from the highway?” and “Is that you and your wife in the spa?” It was! As you can see, I practice what I preach.

Let’s say you’re listing a property that has a phenomenal view from a balcony or deck. Try shooting a photo that includes the view with the seller gazing off at the scenery, enjoying the tranquillity, catching some sun, or making use of the outdoor space. This can work especially well if you’re targeting investors and second-home buyers, or if the seller is including furniture or other amenities in the sale price.

In my article, “Write Ads That Sell,” I mentioned John McKenna, a REALTOR® from Pennsylvania who picked up the listing for a property that had been on the market almost three years. The previous agent couldn’t sell the property for $259,000, but McKenna sold it in just a few weeks for $289,000. Yes, that’s right, $30,000 more than the previous real estate practitioner couldn’t sell it for. How did he do it? McKenna demonstrated a great ad campaign with a headline that said, “Ron and Janet recall the many family barbecues and get-togethers enjoyed on this patio.” And the photo? I’m sure you’ve guessed it — Ron and Janet smiling on their patio, next to the barbecue.

Imagine how McKenna’s ad stood out amongst all the other usual boring real estate ads showing nothing but the front of houses. It gives life to a property for sale, allowing the prospective buyers to match the picture to what it will be like living in a home.

This article is part 4 in a 10-part series on writing great real estate ads. Read more here:

Part 1: Effective Advertising: It’s All About ‘HOODOO’
Part 2: Write Ads That Sell
Part 3: Match Powerful Photos With Powerful Headlines to Get Ads Noticed
Part 4: Show What It's Like to Live in a Home
Part 5: Humanizing Your Ads
Part 6: Different Ads for Different Markets
Part 7: Media Match: Make all Your Ad Media Work Together
Part 8: Keep the Same (Good) Ad Running
Part 9: Pricing: Take Your Sellers for a Ride
Part 10: Getting Your Sellers to Pay for Advertising
Bonus Tip 11: Research Your Advertising to Guarantee its Effectiveness

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