Well, apparently it’s not the newspaper anymore. As a culture we have completely shifted away from something we once thought was essential to our way of life. It was our window into the world. Newspapers held our leaders accountable by reporting of their plans and actions. Conversations around town centered on articles that appeared there. One of the most iconic images of the American way of life is the picture of dad sitting in his chair with the dog laying beside him on the floor, while he smoked his pipe, warmed himself by the fire, and read the newspaper. Responsible citizens had to read the newspaper. Socialites needed to read the newspaper. Businesses loved to use the newspaper…which brings me around to my point. “Finally!”, you say, “Robert, I agree with you but what in the world does that have to do with land?!?”. I’m glad you asked. I’m tired of wasting hard earned money advertising your property in the newspaper to make you feel better. It ain’t gonna work no more!
The way we consume information has changed dramatically. We have more and more individual control over what information we choose to ingest. People simply are not choosing the newspaper as their source of information any longer. When it comes to information about land, the land market, and what’s for sale, the Internet is King. Newspapers are simply a jester in his court today. “Now Robert, What have you got against newspapers?”. Nothing. I like them. I’m a bit antiquated and like reading them. They are comfortable to me. I understand and like that the editor will throw his particular bent into the facts and pass it off as unbiased. Come to think of it, that’s probably much worse in the way we consume info today. I’m biased. You should go out and buy land. Right Now!
Back to the subject at hand. Newspaper ads don’t sell your property anymore. I’ve been in this business long enough to know that the classified ad in the major metropolitan newspaper nearest to the property was once the standard-bearer for most brokers. If you wanted to make the telephone ring at the office, you simply placed an ad in the classifieds, and thousands upon thousands of people saw the ad. The phone would ring non-stop with a well-worded few lines and a toll-free number for them to call. It was the way business was done. Brokers have always known this was better for prospecting than selling a particular property, but sellers demanded it anyway. Brokers provided it, and that was that. Today sellers still ask for it, because that’s what they are “supposed” to ask their agent to do for them. The results are dramatically different. I’ve known this for quite some time, as has anyone else in the business, but the listing public still does not collectively “know” this. As an example, our company recently began marketing a major landholding in Alabama. The seller asked that we provide newspaper advertising in addition to all of our other marketing efforts. We wanted the listing, and agreed to do so. So we ramped up on the opening week of college football…the one time of year when newspaper sales is the highest in the South. We ran ads that weekend in several metro-areas in the Southeast. Thousands of dollars spent, thousands of newspapers printed. Not One Call!…even with the toll-free number. Not one. This type of campaign would have generated a hundred calls or more at one time. The world is different today.
Our world is filled with advertisements. People are largely either oblivious or completely resistant to it now. Numb might be a good word. Until someone is ready to consume your particular advertisement, or they independently recognize their need for your product, it’s very hard to squeeze into their consciousness. They have to choose to let you in. If they let in a tenth of the information they are hit with a day, they feel is if they will explode. But they crave information that they deem important. They will search it out. They value information from people they have deemed important to them. Think Google and Facebook. You came to this blog because you value land information. How many other opportunities to take in advertisements and information are all around you, as you read this, that you have chosen to block out in favor of land-related information? Newspapers are part of the old world of information that was given to us in broad strokes. People are looking for a fine-point pen. The Internet allows that. People can search out the particular information that they want to consume. That information is highly valuable to them. They read it, study it, validate it, use it, and believe it. Newspapers no longer have that power. This is the strength of property listing sites such as LANDFLIP.com. The people that are there have a desire to consume the information they find there. They have the potential to reach literally billions of people…not the thousands of a major metro newspaper. That’s why I want to invest my money to promote your property there. Every dollar I spend there is worth at least $1,000 spent in newspaper advertising. It’s that much more valuable to you too, Mr. Seller.
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