21 May 2009

Newspaper vs. Internet

In real estate we have already seen the value of newspapers virtually disappear in terms their power to attract buyers. The following chart is one that I recommend every agent have on hand during a listing appointment. It clearly shows where buyers are finding the homes they buy, and it’s not the newspaper.

Newspapers vs. InternetSo agents, if you haven’t already, please consider stop spending your money on the wrong marketing vehicle. If you don’t believe me, your broker, NAR stats, and maybe Seth Godin’s input will help influence you.

“Prediction: there will be no significant newspapers printed on newsprint in the US by 2012. So, you’ve got two and a half years before the newspaper industry is going to be doing something else with the news and the ads, or not be there at all. Does that change what you do today if you work in this business?

Insight! The newspaper industry is in trouble, but news is not going to go away, just the paper part. Those who are working hard to preserve the paper part are asking the wrong questions and are doomed to fail.

Prediction: 90{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} of your sales will come from word of mouth or digital promotion by 2011. How do you change what you’re doing today to be ready for that?”

An excerpt from Seth Godin's blog.

27 thoughts on “Newspaper vs. Internet

  1. Wendy, this is a great post and I completely agree that print marketing/advertising in our industry will be extinct by 2012. But haven't we known this for years? Hasn't print had one foot out the door since 2004.

    By stating the "Newspapers are in trouble" this is a fact, we know this, similar to saying the Steelers won the SuperBowl last year. I would be interested in a blog post regarding social media/networking and the impact it is having on our industry (if any) This would be more relevant/useful in my opinion.

    1. Hi, all: WE would agree that we now as a company no longer advertise in the main print newspapers for sales/rentals. But we do advertise in local and regional print media and find them to be effective.

      And I will say that we try very hard for event and propeerty coverage in the paper (house of the week, articles about grand openings, etc.).

      For significant properties, the WSJ seems to be an effective platform judging from the number of RE ads it has.

      And, we should all look at the full page ad in the WSJ today (Saturday) with stats about readership/viewership for print newspaper (including their internet editions). It is still very powerful medium with a very large readership.

      Quesstion is, how best use this reach and readership these days.

  2. I have always known that this would come along. It just does not make sense to advertise somewhere that people don't look for homes. It also does not make sense to keep printing paper when it is wasteful and expensive as well as less convenient than a digital device in order to get my news. Not to mention, even when I did read the daily paper I skipped right over the ads and never once glanced at anything other than comics and article content.

  3. Wendy, I like it not only because it’s true, but because I know you’re trying to help. This can’t be made more clear often enough. Agents we surveyed claimed these were the top two reasons why they still advertise in the newspaper:

    1. I advertise in print, but only because my sellers want me to (is that why they hired a licensed real estate agent?)

    2. I advertise in print, but only to advertise myself, not necessarily the listing (could hold true, but isn’t there more value in leads, and eventual sales? Much more valuable IMO)

    Thanks for the great post.

  4. Trust me, the brokers don’t get it either. A local BH & G franchise cut back their newspaper advertising from a full back page to a 2/3 inside page ad in Sunday? Why? Because they couldn’t AFFORD the back page any longer!

    NOT because it makes no SENSE to advertise in the newspaper… but because they could no longer afford it!

    Typical backwards thinking by brokers. They’re no smarter than the agents sometimes.

  5. I removed newspaper advertising from my listing presentation a year ago and haven’t run a print ad since. Colleagues insisted that my sellers would have a fit but I haven’t heard a major objection yet. If I ever get one I’ll have to whip out your graph. We will be reinvesting the money we’ve saved into website enhancements in the coming months.

  6. I just finalized my decision last week to stop subscribing to the weekly paper. As a matter of fact, I had been receiving weekend only editions for the past year. I actually love the local paper for it’s local articles and, if local paper can remain sustainable it will be for those inside reasons because national news is so easy to find anywhere. In time, even local news will be easier to find online. Though I’ve seen signs of consumers locally tapping into the social media, there is still news to be found and made to reach the generations of people still interested in reading the paper though I’m not certain how a paper will be able to afford to keep going as they are unless they are also maximizing their online options, and I believe the Keene Sentinel has begun.
    Diane Rehms on NPR had a show about this and below is the related blog I’d written in Dec.08:



  7. paper and trees are a managable resource now, do ya’ll have any idea what goes into your little handheld devices and laptops? whole villages in africa have been destroyed to get at small amounts of rare metals. rivers and ecosytems killed. don’t think you’re saving the planet with your cell phone – that’s a joke.

    my newspaper will be around in 2012 – i’ll come back and remind ya’ll of it in a couple years.

  8. Interesting and timely information. My local association is currently debating the future of our local free weekly through which many Realtors advertise homes.

    Killing something that is no longer viable takes strength and courage … and foresight.

  9. Saying I’m on the Internet is like saying “I live on Earth.” Where? Your listings may be on many sites, but how are you going to help someone find you?

    And, while only a small percentage of the newspaper readers are actually interested in real estate. (some might be interested in the news) — I wouldn’t lump all print advertising into the newspaper category. Advertising in a targeted real estate publication means that 100% of readers are actually interested in real estate. That’s different.

    How many times have you seen a website in a magazine, or a billboard, or some other offline source and went to it online? You may attribute the lead to your website, but should consider the roadmap they used to find you there.

    1. I agree with that. The unknown number is how many people see an ad and then go online. I also think that brokerages are making a mistake by at least not advertising the brokerage in print media these days. People only go online if they are actively looking. But when you are in front of their faces all the time, you are the one they are thinking about when they are ready to either buy or sell. The brokerages are making themselves out of sight and out of mind to their own regions.

  10. One addition here, I seem to have a lot of thoughts around this topic; if we are to reconsider what we place in newspaper ads, wouldn’t it make sense to ask the readers what they would like to see in the paper? Take real estate for example, what are the demographics of people reading the RE section, what are they looking for, and what information keeps them coming back to one particular company’s ad over another? Is it really the pictures? I would argue not. For me, when I look at the real estate secttion (actually, I don’t) I want more information I don’t know, like current events or current news about real estate, I can find listings anywhere.

  11. Wendy, i keep coming back to this post…you have a lot to learn about the newspaper business, and about selling homes. Everything you make note of is dead wrong. I personally don't like the idea of spending money on advertising, but if I don't then my homes will take longer to sell and they'll sell for less.

    If you really believe that listing your home on the mls and then letting a few other free sites post your listings as well, is the best and most effective way to market homes then you're not understand buyers.

    As someone above me commented, the only reason realtors have it in their head that print is dead is because they're to cheap to spend the money. The true test of value is if someone would pay for something and how much they would pay. If realtors had to pay for trulia or zillow listings, then the sites wouldn't exist. The only reason those sites and other are being used is because they're free.

    If they really worked like you believe they do then they could easily charge for listings. Free listings are free for a reason….they're not worth paying for. But brokerage wants to believe they bare, because they're free.

    The problem is, brokerage and agents need to be everywhere with their advertising, ut consumers suffer because they're to cheap to do it.

    One day you should meet with a few successful print media companies and ask them about their business and demographics, and you'll learn something new.

    Newspapers aren't the only ones in trouble…look no further than your own industry

  12. Everyone has their own opinion but you and I see eye to eye on this one. The amount of exposure is phenomenal. Add to that the ability to place your listing in front of your targeted demographics and you're rolling. However, it does take a bit more than just throwing your listing up on the MLS to be effective. If newspaper is working for any of you, great, like the old saying goes "never quit a winner".

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