Many traditional printed publications are now losing money and many businesses, including estate agents, divert a significant portion of their budgets to digital marketing, reflecting market changes, driven by the way consumers behave.
Research shows that around 90 per cent of property searches now start online, with the main property portals, most notably Rightmove and Zoopla, attracting a major share of this audience.
Perhaps a further decline in the volume of people reading in print is inevitable, as we now live in a digital age with ever evolving technology; driving change in the way people communicate with one another. But despite this, reports of the ‘death of print’ have been greatly exaggerated.
Regardless of some high-profile print closures in recent years, and the sharp rise in the number of people who own smartphones and tablets, research shows that the majority of people still prefer to read in print – so perhaps print advertising for estate agents isn’t quite all dead.
“It’s not always possible for agents to meet all the decision makers at a valuation, so printed materials are an indispensable reference point.” Sarah Kemp Ravensworth
A study from City University last year, which examined reading patterns of 12 national newspapers’ between 2007 and 2011, found that at least 96.7 per cent of newspaper reading was in their physical form rather than online.
While newspapers remain influential in shaping public opinion and adding credibility to a brand, other print mediums also work well as part of an estate agents wider marketing strategy, as some continue to offer qualities that the mass information provided by digital mediums simply cannot match.
James Wyatt of Barton Wyatt commented, “Whilst online material has an important place in our marketing strategy, the printed brochure can enable us to show many other aspects of the property – the look and feel of the product. Is it classy, funky, youthful or traditional? All of these can be built into something that can be felt.”
The media mix
Given that print media still remains one of the most popular sources from which individuals obtain their information, there can be no doubt that from simple leaflets to lifestyle magazines, print remains vital components of any advertising campaign, and should continue to form a crucial part of any estate agent’s media mix.
“Print products still have a very prominent role to play in estate agency marketing and can offer value with targeted messaging through leaflets, brochures, lifestyle magazines, newspaper advertising, signboards and stationery,” said Andrew Tomlinson, Creative Director, Crucial Projects.
“Print products still have a very prominent role to play in estate agency marketing and can offer value with targeted messaging.” Andrew Tomlinson Crucial Projects
Because print still has the ability to capture attention, it continues to offer the reader, according to Tomlinson, “an exploration and learning opportunity”, making it essential to an agent’s brand awareness, providing “longevity” as it literally has a “shelf life”.
No junk mail please
It is essential that an estate agent finds ways of getting their brand in front of as many local consumer’s eyes as frequently as possible, and there are many ways in which print can offer competitive advantages over digital.
Andrew Tomlinson reports that his firm is finding that many people no longer wish to be contacted by agents electronically and have actually developed an aversion to ‘junk email’ campaigns.
So it seems that this form of marketing, unlike print, may actually have a greater chance of adversely impacting on an agent’s brand and reputation, rather than actually enhancing it.
“Print methods are more tactile, they can show a warmer and more human approach which, after all, is what good agents should be mindful of and look to foster,” he added.
“As print is used less frequently, it tends to stand out more, so you find that a recipient will take time to pick it up and read it whereas an email flyer can easily be deleted from an in-box without the message being registered.”