Featured Columns

Traditional media and the law of singular focus


David AllisonExamine results from all the traditional media and you’ll find a pattern. Things just aren’t working the way they used to.

So how do we make better use of traditional media?

New home purchases begin online. So if we all know that, and agree with it, why are we surprised at the dismal response to traditional offline mediums? The role of newspapers, magazines, radio, direct mail and signage has changed.

We can no longer call these primary mediums. They can be very powerful support mediums. But, except in rare circumstances, they’ve had their day in the sun.

Traditional media still necessary

Don’t get me wrong. Traditional media is still necessary. It must be included in your communication plan, as always. But today, the best use for traditional media is to direct traffic online.

Traditional media should be thought of as a teaser and an opportunity to dangle just enough information to get prospects to do what they really want to do anyway: go online for more substantial information.

While this sounds simple, it has drastic ramifications. It means offline media doesn’t need to sell the property. It just needs to convince prospects they must go online for more information.

An ad isn’t a salesperson

A line we repeat over and over is: “An ad isn’t a salesperson.” No one in the history of advertising has ever bought a home based solely on what they read in an advertisement or a postcard that arrives in the mailbox.

So if that’s the case, why do real estate advertisements insist on including maps, renderings, floor plans, price points, lifestyle photos, paragraphs of “sales” language and headlines, followed by sub-heads and callout boxes urging people to “visit our show home today?”

The law of singular focus

Once you realize an ad is merely directional signage pointing to online information, you can focus on this objective alone. Get people’s attention. Tell them one startling fact. Then send them online for the rest. We call this the law of singular focus.

If you can create an advertisement that gets people to visit your website, you’ve designed a great ad. That’s all we can expect a great ad to do. So remove anything from your ad that gets in the way of this objective. Less is more.

Your job is to find a way for all your support media and traditional offline messaging tools to be focused, singular and motivating. How simple and compelling can you make it?

How much information can you leave out? Do this with direct mail, newspapers, magazines and radio.

As a tool to drive website traffic, traditional media can still be incredibly effective. As a salesperson, it’s not effective at all.

 

David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting version of any story for early stakeholder engagement, internal audiences, regulatory approvals, consultant briefings and investor recruitment. His award-winning work in the real estate sector alone spans decades and continents. His most recent book, The Stackable Boomer, examines the movement of baby boomers to multi-family homes, and includes research results from a 1,000-boomer survey. He can be reached at david@davidallisoninc.com

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David Allison

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David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting version of any story for early stakeholder engagement, internal audiences, regulatory approvals, consultant briefings, and investor recruitment. His award-winning work in the real estate sector alone spans decades and continents. His most recent book, The Stackable Boomer, examines the movement of Baby Boomers to Multi-Family homes, and includes research results from a 1000-Boomer survey. He can be reached at david@davidallisoninc.com

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