An ad is not a salesperson. The Law of Singular Focus in real estate advertising.

Principal Consultant , David Allison Inc.
  • Feb. 6, 2012

No one in the history of advertising has ever bought a home based solely on what they read in an advertisement, or in a postcard that arrives in the mailbox. So if that’s the case, why do so many real estate advertisements insist on including maps, renderings, floor plans, price points, lifestyle photos, paragraphs of “sales” language, and headlines followed by subheads followed by callout boxes urging people to “visit our show suite today”? Instead of jam-packing a page full of information, why not start people down the road towards a single truth about your property offering with one singular focus instead. It’s far more effective.

Tell them one startling fact. Then send them online or to your sales centre for the rest. Use what I like to call, the “Law of Singular Focus.”

Below is a great example of a singular focus ad print ad. While it’s not an example from the real estate arena, I decided to use it as an illustration of the Law of Singular Focus, done in an extreme and beautiful way.

Here, without a single word, or even a headline, the ad has told me volumes about the product.

There is no question this ad is about selling the briefcase. There is no question that the person who owns this object is a person of great taste, who is intelligent, and who has time for family and being at home. This ad makes me want to learn more about Delvaux.

Of course, this example is an extreme one, chosen to make a point. Your ad could have a phone number. It could definitely have a price point. I’m simply advocating for simplicity. You don’t need to use precious print advertising space to say everything, just the right thing. Print is an invitation to learn more. Use the same thought process, and make it applicable to your real estate offering.

Image: Delvaux Magazine, 2010

Your job is to find a way for all your support mediums and all of your traditional offline messaging tools to be this focused, this singular and this motivating. How simple and compelling can you make it? How much information can you leave out? Do this with direct mail. With newspaper. With magazines. Your focus may change as you push different truths about your project. Just remember, as a tool to direct people to find more information, 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…

Read more

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…

Read more





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