2018 Annual Meeting

Under contract: Closing the deal on real estate ads


Borrell Associates’ Jim Brown, leaning on marketing statistics, and Pamplin Media’s Brian Monihan, relating real-life success stories, and The Blinder Group’s Mike Blinder, bringing his sales acumen, all had one message for newspapers at the Annual Meeting: Real estate agents need you.

They need newspapers because the great majority of them—58% in a Borrell survey—acknowledge they are novices at marketing and advertising. Only 20% assert they are “masters” at marketing.

At the same time, these novices have got a lot of cash to spend on their marketing and ad campaigns, Brown said. The average small real estate brokerage spends $52,969 a year on advertising, according to Borrell research.

And real estate agents have some definite opinions about which media work. They like a mix of print and digital, but also have a list of media they find ineffective, including classified ads, web display, printed directories and radio.

Newspapers should approach real estate agencies as they would any other local small business. Newspapers should also realize that agents match media to satisfy the seller.

Where should newspapers seek new real estate revenue? Blinder had a quick answer: “Take it out of direct mail and turn it into email marketing. You should be stealing some of that money that’s going to mail.”

Pamplin Media, the Portland, Oregon-based publisher of 20 weeklies, is a good example of what can be done to grow a newspaper’s share of real estate advertising.

Using Weeha, the papers get all new real estate listings, and build them into website ads and Facebook for the agent, who gets a display. These “Just Listed Near You” ads and alerts—targeted to active buyers—get big engagement rates, Monihan said.

A typical result of advertising by just one associate for just two weeks: 39 appointments and 25 qualified appointments, based on ability to spend.