Advertising: Is TV the Right Medium for Your Message?

As you consider more affordable and effective ad platforms, new deals in broadcasting make TV a viable option.

December 1, 2006

From direct marketing flyers and personal Web sites to faces on billboards, the real estate industry is exploring every possible way to get in front of prospects and convert them to clients.

As such, you’re probably finding that choosing the right advertising medium is much more confusing and expensive than ever before.

Indeed, real estate practitioners will spend nearly $11.5 billion in advertising by the end of 2006 in an effort to reach home buyers, sellers, and apartment renters. About 11 percent of that money will be spent online, while about 40 percent will go to newspapers, according to a survey conducted this year by Classified Intelligence and Realty Times.

However, there may be a medium that you’re overlooking — TV. You may think that this platform is out of your financial reach, but there are a number of new ways to be seen and heard on television for a reasonable price.

Where Your Ad Dollars Are Going Now

The Classified Intelligence and Realty Times survey took a look at where your ad dollars are being spent. Real estate practitioners who participated in the survey proved that TV is not a common choice. Their most popular methods for getting their message out are flyers, yard signs, billboards, and Web sites. They also use:

  • Print advertising. Thirty-six percent say newspaper ads account for up to 10 percent of their advertising dollars — a relatively modest portion of the pie.
  • Web sites. The largest chunk of advertising money is spent on maintaining a personal Web site, where 67 percent of respondents spend up to 30 percent of their total marketing budget.
  • Direct marketing. This can include telemarketing and direct mail. About thirty-one percent of respondents spend up to 10 percent of their advertising budget on direct marketing, while 24 percent spend up to 20 percent.
  • Online Ads. A lot of real estate advertising on the Web can’t be counted as spending because practitioners are using free classified Web sites. Slightly more than half of respondents report promoting their services for no charge on Craigslist and Google Base.

Jim Townsend, editor in chief of Classified Intelligence, says real estate professionals are seeking more trackable results and better leads from all ad publishers — “principally from print where they feel circulation numbers are no longer adequate to making ad purchasing decisions."

That could make them more receptive to TV, a medium that's largely shut them out due to high costs. Until recently, that is.

Tune in to TV Marketing

New deals in broadcasting are making TV a viable and affordable choice for individual practitioners to place their ads. Here are just a few options:

  • Spotrunner. With Spotrunner, you can browse an online library of professionally created real estate commercials, then personalize spots with your logo, images, voice-overs, and titles. Finally, select TV networks and times for your ad to appear.
  • Realty Times TV. Our very own Realty Times introduced a nationally broadcast television show last year with a combination of news, advice, and a homes showcase. When you advertise on the show, you get a link to your ad that you can use on your personal Web site. You also can use the ad to your advantage in listing appointments. You’ll be able to say, "I'll put your home on TV."
  • HouseValues. HouseValues went the cable TV route, using its advertising relationship with Comcast to buy spots on numerous cable TV channels. While HouseValues offers generic commercials in certain key markets, you can overlay personal information or listing information. Spots run for three months. You pay for production costs plus the cost of the media time.

Television ads offer a mix of personal marketing and property marketing, and now that prices are affordable, it’s worth looking into.

Many online real estate ads have a long shelf-life — the ads run for as long as you have the listing — which means print media is going to continue to be challenged to produce stronger, more trackable results.

Meanwhile, television has a wide-open horizon. It’s hard to get any better than having a prospect walk up to you and say: "I saw you on TV."

(c) Copyright 2006 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.