One of my favorite assignments at Content Equals Money is when we get a client looking for real estate copy. I love writing something that showcases the best of what a property or a building has to offer customers. I feel like the best properties deserve the best copy, so realtors and sellers have an easier time getting potential buyers in their door and on-site.
Writing real estate copy isn’t something I can just pull out of thin air, though. I grew up in the housing and real estate industry: my father has built townhomes and light commercial properties since he was 16, and I spent every summer off of school helping on the job since I was 14. Not only did I learn about the fundamentals of construction, contracting and selling properties, I would realize more and more about the industry as I got older, and I still have a fairly active role as the third generation in the business, but as a marketing and technology advisor more than anything else.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m any sort of expert just because I worked on-site as a kid. I do, however, understand the value of quality and attention to detail when it comes to selling a home. Copywriting for real estate sales isn’t just about presenting the basics. Even in limited-space text ads, you have to highlight features that make each and every property stand out. Effective real estate copy invites potential buyers to learn more about the property, and that’s no easy task.
Copywriting for Industry Success: Self-Management versus Real Estate Agents
Many high-volume contractors prefer to sell through realty agents: it’s less work on the contractor’s office, and it leaves the details to professionals that know how it’s done. That hands-off approach costs money, though: you might move property with a realtor, but how much of a cut are they taking out of the price? Do your prices adjust to include realty fees? Are your properties potentially losing money? Real estate agents can move property faster, but at the expense of greater control over your property.
Self-managing builders do their own advertising and often have the necessary paperwork and sales material handled through their own offices. Builders that manage their own property retain a greater amount of control in the sales process. They can cut better deals for potential buyers, and they can target their listings so that they meet with more qualified, ideal homeowners. Having that sense of freedom and self-sufficiency is ideal, but fewer and fewer contractors have the patience and willingness to maintain total independence.
It’s true that real estate agents know how to sell a property, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that contractors don’t. Knowing your product inside and out is the best way to sell someone on a piece of property, and who knows a property better than the contractor that built it? Contractors are often in a better position to sell their own real estate, but often believe that they don’t have the time or the convenience of managing that kind of desk work while there’s construction to supervise.
Online Marketing and Real Estate Sales Go Hand-In-Hand
Many of the practices that content marketers and online advertising specialists use are the same practices realtors and real estate agents employ in their property listings. Understanding your local and regional demographics is a must for any online marketer that keeps an eye on their web traffic, and that’s absolutely essential to selling real estate as well. The data comes from different sources, whether you’re referencing your own website analytics or the local county clerk’s real estate data, but the approaches are the same.
Another big concept online marketers know well is speaking directly to your audience. You don’t want to talk over your readers’ heads with lingo and terminology they won’t understand, and you don’t want to oversimplify what you write to the point that it’s offensively dumbed-down. Real estate copy hinges on that same balance. Your copy needs balance: plenty of factual information, but also enough colorful language to make the property pop in your customers’ heads. Paint a pretty picture in your copy, but make sure there’s some concrete dimensions thrown in for a sense of scale.
Experience Helps You Fill In Holes
Having a working familiarity with the real estate business will make sure that you don’t have any questions going into your copywriting when you have a client you’ve got to write for. Clients seeking real estate copy are often in a rush to get things done, and important details can get lost in the transmission of essential information. If you look at your data sheet for the property you’re writing copy for and don’t see a square footage, for instance, that’s probably something you’ll need to ask about to give readers a sense of scale.
This sounds like it’s hard to screw up, and many professionals in all levels of real estate and property work often say “well, I wouldn’t forget something that basic.” You’d be surprised at just how easy it is to forget or misplace a detail. Copywriters are trained to take a bare-bones data sheet and turn it into attractive advertising content by fleshing it out. If they aren’t familiar with real estate copy, they’ll simply work with what’s on the data sheet, meaning an essential piece of information may be left out in your final copy.
There’s a difference between someone giving it their first try, and someone with years of writing and marketing experience turning the same copywriting project into an excellent piece of material that attracts potential buyers. Whether you need real estate copywriting, or copywriting for any other industry, if your own efforts aren’t producing the results you want, it’s time to call in the professionals. The difference in quality and response may surprise you!
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