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By Margaret Kelly

RISMEDIA, June 10, 2008-Considering the news media’s intense coverage of housing markets, subprime mortgages, foreclosures, real estate legislation and interest rates, it’s clear why buyers and sellers are cautious.

They’re wondering, “What does this all mean for me?” And they’re not entirely sure where to turn for answers.

It’s time to reassess whether advertisements that feature your winning smile and a phone number say enough to assuage their apprehensions about entering the market.

Many consumers probably aren’t fully aware of the scope of a highly trained and knowledgeable agent’s responsibilities. It would be a serious misstep to assume they understand all the benefits of working with you.

The best personal promotion you can invest in-and the most helpful for prospective clients-is marketing that spotlights your specific services and specialties.

One Ad Does Not Fit All

As consumers, aren’t we drawn to ads that speak to our unique needs?

An ad that has proven effective for you on grocery carts in one neighborhood store may be a waste of resources on a bus stop bench in another area. Know your market and customize messages for your farm areas.

If you’re a short-sales or foreclosures specialist, then communicate that outright. E-mail Web commercials to your loyal referral clients, who can forward them easily to family members and acquaintances needing support through a difficult financial situation.

Draw in new sellers by marketing your home-staging services in a targeted mailing to FSBOs, rather than waiting to reveal these benefits during your listing presentations.

Perhaps you have a knack for helping first-time home buyers. Appeal to that group on a designated page on your website, and include the URL in your print and electronic communications.

Show Multi-Dimensionality

Without crowding your ads, feature one of your specialties and then pinpoint two or three other services you provide.

You’ve already made a positive impression if would-be buyers or sellers see the ads and get a sense of the comprehensive services you offer.

Make sure the ads communicate clearly, concisely and visibly that you’re the agent of choice, whether you specialize in one niche or serve clients in various situations. You’ll make it easy for new clients to choose you from the crowd.

Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX International.

For more information, visit