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By Renwick Congdon

RISMEDIA, Dec. 20, 2007-2007 has been another banner year for new methods to market real estate services and listings. With ActiveRain, YouTube, Facebook and others, agents have dozens of new “must use” advertising venues, each of which uses a different medium and delivers a message to an audience.

These publishing channels provide access to unique markets, and therefore, have value. But the medium and the channel are only as effective as the message being communicated. Have you seen the Comcast commercial where Roger has been tattooed with tiger stripes and believes that the outcome of his call to the Asian tattoo artist to have the tattoos removed will change because he has a new phone service? Sound familiar?

The new technology does not change the message. Roger’s expectation may look silly, but plenty of agents apply new technology to old messages and expect different results. And as with Roger (“Sorry Roger, you tiger now”), the results they get are usually less than they hoped for.

To make the most of any marketing effort, you need to begin with the message. To craft an effective message, you need to start with “who” and “what.” First, identify “who” your client is. If you say anyone buying or selling real estate, you need to refine your target group. Specializing makes it easier for clients to find you. People buying high-rise condos, lakefront properties, second homes, or high-tech clients, retirees, first-time home buyers-you get the picture.

The second item you need for your message is to identify “what” your client is buying. Again, there is more to the question than you might think. The obvious answer is “a house.” However, they really need to buy “you” before they can buy the house. So, the “what” they are buying is your service.

Your message will be a subset of your overall business statement, a one-page document that concisely describes all the aspects of your business. This statement typically includes a title and subtitle. The title describes your unique value in a few words; the subtitle is a sentence that supports the title.

The next section is the target statement that says what will happen if a prospect chooses you. You can list secondary targets as well. Next comes the rationale, where you clearly communicate why the prospect should select you. Next, include the financial benefits of your service.

Finally, include a call to action that includes a very specific benefit to your audience for taking the action (learn more about the one-page document next month).

With the business statement in hand, you can craft marketing messages for specific audiences. No reason to try to sell hockey sticks to basketball players. If you know who buys your services, and what they are buying (not what you are selling) you can craft consistent, effective marketing messages using any technology. And unlike Roger, you will get the results you want.

Renwick Congdon is the president and CEO of Imprev.

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