Less is more – why newspaper ads can still beat the internet
Estate agent Daryll Digpal reveals whynewspaper property adverts have anadvantage over the internet.
THE property marketing revolution that brought us internet Goliath Rightmove seems to indicate that sellers have turned their back on newspaper advertising.
Some have, but while website adverts are now a highly important part of selling a home, newspapers still have an integral part to play in producing enquiries, viewings and house sales.
Although internet advertising provides 24/7 access to properties, it can also have a negative effect as some buyers think they have actually seen all the home has to offer – such is the volume of detail available online.
But having fully illustrated sales brochures, floor plans, virtual tours and an unending supply of images can, in fact, provide too much information for home buyers.
In some cases sellers are their own worst enemy forever wanting more and more information on their homes on the sites, believing that the more they show the more people will want to view.
However, the opposite can happen. The viewer sees the layout, photographs, page after page of descriptive text and then they Google Earth street scenes and the plot upon which the property sits.
In many cases, buyers actually discount a property without physically viewing it as they feel they know all there is to know about it.
In contrast, a newspaper advertisement gives only a brief outline of the property, a tantalising taster to encourage viewings, ie, giving important details such as “detached, three bedroom family home with an acre and views across the adjoining river”, etc.
The shortcomings of the internet are proven by many property portals, which experience tens of thousands of hits but only coax about five per cent of browsers to click for further information.
This figure is further reduced when viewers do an advanced search. If estate agents are asked how many viewings they arrange directly as a result of buyers looking online, the figure is minimal because buyers talk themselves out of seeing for themselves, believing they have seen all there is to see on their virtual tour.
Newspaper advertisements make house buyers call the agent and at that point the quality of the agent comes to the fore. Many times when speaking with buyers about a specific property we think will suit them, we hear the same phrase, “Oh I’ve seen that before. I saw it online. Why did I discount it?” We explain why they should see it.
Viewing properties online allows buyers to be anonymous and prevents trained sales personnel from doing the job they are being paid to do by sellers.
At our three award-winning offices we invest heavily in high calibre staff who are trained to pursue every lead from wherever the enquiry may come and by talking, are able to persuade buyers to view properties they had not previously considered.
At the same time, this allows staff to collate as much information from callers as possible for future contact. As such, our conversion rate for arranging viewings is far greater from one to one contact than from website enquiries.
Fortunately, the weekend newspapers with property pull outs are still avidly read.
Throughout this year we have used newspapers and our websites to market seven highly successful Multi-Viewing Open Weekends.
Interestingly, the largest proportion of viewings were made as a result of the newspaper advertisements.
When talking to the would-be buyers our staff were able to book viewings at other properties and not just at the ones the callers had made the enquiry about.
Another example of newspaper power was a recent Saturday open viewing. Fourteen wouldbe buyers turned up at the property at 2pm as a result of an advertisement they had seen the previous evening in the local newspaper and that morning within these pages.
Of course, website advertising has an enormous part to play and this will only increase in coming years.
We know this as much as anybody and are currently spending many thousands of pounds on upgrading our website.
Only this week I received a letter from a buyer: “We have the Beadnall Copley website as a bookmark and it is reassuring to know that when new property comes on the market we are kept informed by your frequent mailings. As purchasers relocating to Yorkshire we have been very impressed by your company and only wish our local Estate Agents offered the same level of service.”
What better way to sign off as this encapsulates all I have tried to say in this comment piece. A newspaper will often drive a buyer to our door, where the quality of staff and marketing works wonders – and is far more satisfactory than any virtual house hunting experience.
Daryll J Digpal is Associate Partner, Beadnall Copley. Beadnall Copley have offices in Wetherby, Harrogate and Ripon. www.beadnallcopley.co.uk, daryll.digpal@beadnallcopley. co.uk
CONVENIENCE: Property websites attract thousands of hits but lead to a small percentage of actual further inquiries.
HOT OFF THE PRESS: The internet is only part of successful marketing.