Last Updated on April 7, 2017
ANSWER: It depends on when the product was created…Have you ever been faced with these questions in your own business?
- “How do I increase my sales?”
- “What do I say in my ad that will make people call right away?”
What do cars and computers have in common?Not much if you approach things in an ordinary fashion. An obvious difference would be price: computers cost hundreds of dollars, while a car costs tens of thousands. One product sits on your desk…the other on your driveway. The first two ads on the left were used by each company in its early years, and the second set are current examples. Even though the two “products” appear to have nothing in common, note how similar the first two ads are. The layouts are similar and each is copy-dominant. But look what happens in the second set of ads—they both rely on photos and graphics and there is almost no written information. At first blush, this seems a little confusing because one set of ads uses words to do the selling, but then it gets reversed and the entire pitch is communicated with pictures. However, it all makes sense if you consider the ads in terms of life-cycle of a brand. Long ads—ones with lots of copy—are needed when a company or product is unknown. Long ads are helpful because information can be used to educate the consumers about what sets the product APART from the competition. This is branding’s sole purpose—it tells consumers what makes you different. Dell was the first company to sell computers direct, and Mercedes was first to introduce a super luxury brand to the American market (when launched in this country, a Benz was twice the price of a Cadillac). The question is not as simple as, “Does a long ad work better than a short ad?” The better question is whether you’re selling a new product or a well-known one. What do these examples have to do with selling homes? A lot. As you’ll soon see. Remember: Branding is nothing you do to the product…it is a perception that exists in the mind of the consumer. For example, if you stopped the average person on the street, he knows that “Blockbuster” means video rentals…that “Dominoes” delivers pizza…and that “eBay” stands for online auctions. Long ads are well suited when you are building a brand. Short ads are fine for maintaining an established brand. At this point, Dell and Mercedes-Benz are household names so long ads are not needed.
What’s best for selling a house… LONG or SHORT ads?Because homesellers are too close to their situation, they often make a misstep when they put their homes on the market. They know all about their home and what makes it special, and they assume prospective buyers will easily recognize its positive attributes. But the consumer has never seen any of the homes that are on the market. Buyers start with a blank slate. They will form an opinion about a home based on the marketing material they see. Unfortunately, most houses end up being promoted with “me-too” real estate flyers that simply list boring statistical data such as:
- Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 3, Year Built: 1994, etc.
(click the image to open the ad in a PDF)This ad is an example of the type of message needed to bring a beautiful home to the forefront in a glut of inventory… When the seller called me, this house in the Lakeway area of Austin had already been on the market for a year, and there were about 90 other “for sale” houses in the immediate area. This home really was the best house in the neighborhood, and there was not a thing wrong with the seller’s price.