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RISMEDIA, Nov. 15, 2008-What more important time than now to reach out to consumers and show them why they should come back to real estate. It seems only natural that a broad approach may be an important point to consider. To do this, a merged and integrated print and online marketing approach is vital-especially to the three marketing pros we’ve talked with here in this month’s Viewpoints series.

The Print and Online Mix

Dan Barnett
SVP of Marketing

Integrating print and online is more important now than it ever has been. Business today in the real estate industry is too lean to not have our marketing efforts-and dollars-working together as best as possible.

It seems that almost everyone in real estate now understands the revolutionary shift in how homes are marketed. Gone are the days of page after page of print display ads in the Sunday newspaper. The ubiquitous presence of NAR (National Association of Realtors) and CAR (California Association of Realtors) statistics over the last several years has helped cement the industry’s understanding that the Internet is now the dominant resource in a home buyer’s search.

This has been a timely revelation. As the market turned, brokers and agents could maintain their marketing coverage for their sellers by pursuing less expensive national online listing distribution arrangements and pull back on the more expensive print advertising. Even better, powerful Internet reporting creates a new accountability for money spent as marketers finally begin to get some view on the effectiveness of their efforts.

However, as dominant as the Internet has become, NAR research shows that newspaper advertisements are still used by roughly one out of every two buyers-and this is as true for Gen-Xers and Millennials as it is for the Baby Boomers. While greatly diminished in the role that it plays, print is not dead-and this is great news for real estate marketers.

Newspapers are still an effective channel for generating and maintaining brand awareness. Getting your brand differentiated on national listing sites is challenging, given the crowd of competitors that show up there. But a recent Google-commissioned study indicated that a brand or product showing up both online and in the newspaper increased buyer credibility and trial by up to 50%. An integrated, multi-channel approach amplifies your credibility factor significantly in your marketplace.

What’s critical to remember is that your marketing must play to the strengths of the medium. Listing inventories should be kept online as this best meets the needs of buyers searching for their unique criteria while also providing access to a wealth of supporting content. Costly newspaper advertising should be focused on keeping your brand top of mind, followed with a strong call to action to visit your own branded website. Strong local public relations will also help underscore your brand in print.

The relative dominance of Internet and print in real estate marketing has changed, but the need to keep them tightly integrated has not. Smart marketers will maximize their presence and their dollar by pursuing an integrated strategy that plays to the strengths of each of their marketing channels.