2 Advanced Ways to Cut Real Estate Advertising Costs and Increase Exposure

The founder of Century 21 Canada is now in the doggie day care business — and maybe you

How to Get Ahead in Advertising

How to Get Ahead in Advertising (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

should be, too.   And possibly in the mobile phone, supermarket and oil industries.

Or at least, you can learn  from — and borrow — the marketing strategies of these and other businesses that seem to have little or nothing to do with real estate.

Your marketing dollars are precious and to get the most value from them, it pays to think outside the box (or property line) when deciding how to spend them.

Top-earning real estate agents — those who make $100,000 or more annually — spend 5 to 10 times as much on marketing as their less successful peers, according to an Active Rain infographic cited in Real Estate.com.  Those who realize the greatest returns on their advertising budgets find creative ways to stretch their budgets — and their exposure — at the same time.

Sharing marketing expenses is one way to accomplish this goal.  Here are two ways to share marketing costs and benefits with local companies:

1.  Mini-Offices

Samsung announced this month that it would open 500 stores-within-stores at Best Buy outlet across the nation.  The marketing move is aimed at increasing Samsung’s share of the mobile phone market against chief rival Apple and improving the cachet (and profits) of the troubled electronics store.

The partnership, says, Forbes, may make Best Buy the Home Depot of its industry.  Home Depot’s reputation for providing a superior user experience has helped it garner double-digit returns.

Similarly, PayPal is setting up “shop” at convenience stores and gas stations, making it possible for customers to use their PayPal accounts for purchases even if they do not have PayPal debit cards.  The partnership adds a superior user experience for people who do not like to use credit cards or debit cards (or who forgot their wallets at home.)

You could capitalize on the “superior user experience” approach in your town.

What if you set up a mini real estate office in your local bank or credit union?  Or mortgage office?  Or builder?  Or hardware store?

This idea may not prove feasible at a federally-regulated financial institution, but you could approach all manner of private institutions about setting up shop in their establishments.

You could hire a minimum-wage host to create a presence at the shop or simply create a display in a prominent location, perhaps a kiosk at which people could search online for homes after signing it to your website.  If people connect your real estate business to places they normally frequent, you are essentially getting an endorsement from the company.

2.  Loyalty Campaigns

Retail stores spend a lot of money on loyalty campaigns.  CVS, for example, gives out discounts and cash rewards to people who regularly shop at the drugstore chain.  And special deals and promotions are routinely given to frequent shoppers and diners.

Such discounts are expensive — and unwise unless they really do garner loyalty.  A recent CVS offer gave $5 to any loyalty program member who spent $15 on Jergen’s lotion, already on sale for Buy One, Get One  Half Off.  So a customer could buy $20 worth of lotion for $15 and get a $5 coupon for a future purchase, essentially  reducing the cost of the initial purchase to $10.  But the $5 coupon would hold up even if the customer returns the lotion.  CVS could take a $5 loss instead of making a $15 sale.

CVS is a major chain and can afford the risk.  They find value in the rewards program or wouldn’t have continued it for more than a decade.    But some large companies are sharing both the risks and rewards of loyalty programs.  On the U.S west coast, for example, Von’s (a division of Safeway supermarkets) gives rewards of up to 20 cents a gallon to its customers who buy gas at Chevron stations.

Consider partnering up with a local business.  Perhaps a popular coffee shop offers customers a free latte for every 10 they purchase.  What if you offered to pay for a portion of the free drinks in exchange for having your name on logo on the loyalty cards?  Or what if you partnered with a local dry cleaners — shared the cost of mailing their coupons to customers in exchange for including an ad for your real estate business on the flyers?

You could also capitalize on  Peter H. Thomas’s newest venture:  Thomas, who created a Century 21 franchise in Canada, is now pursuing other franchise opportunities, including a chain of doggie day care businesses.

Thomas sees money in dog care.  You could find money in aligning your business with local dog care facilities.   You could promote the business on your site and flyers in exchange for establishing a presence at the facility.  Or co-sponsor a pet adoption event.  Or  co-advertise with pet-friendly hotels and restaurants.

The possibilities are endless.  Your marketing dollars are not.  Creative spending will stretch them further and give you more value in return.

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