Stephanie's Blog


Still advertising in the paper? Ok, just choose your demographics more carefully!

Today I received a call from a sweet man looking to buy a home of his own after 60+ years of marriage to his wife.  A real do-it-yourselfer who was unwilling to give me his name, quickly opened up to me and asked me if I'd be the one getting paid if he bought a particular property.  I explained about the choices buyers have for representation and he went on to inform me he'd sold his own home recently without an agent. I congratulated him and agreed to answer questions if he had any, after he asked for some help.

Again he asked about my getting paid and immediately told me over the phone that he wanted to work with me.  It warmed my heart because I know the do-it-yourselfer type and I also know that he was in over his head, and to be told he wanted to work with me without first meeting assured me I'd taken that conversation in the right direction.  We spoke a bit more and closed with an appointment for the next day. I actually can't wait to meet him and know we'll already have an interesting, rich conversation in the car.

When people call in during my floortime it's always a question of "how can I best help them."  Most people want quick information and expect a quick answer.  It's very infrequent anymore that someone calls in on a paper advertisement, which he did.  This person did not use the internet.  He did not have access to an agent because he hadn't bought or sold through an agent in several decades.  He also wanted quick answers but the type of questions he asked were no longer the types of questions one receives while working at the front desk of a real estate office.

"Can you mail me the property disclosures?  How much are the taxes?  Is it near a grocery store?"

Today's buyers who have access to the internet know how to do an internet search for anything from zip codes to maps and directions to MLS listing information to town/city data on properties.  I think it's important to use the paper ads to advertise the types of property generally being sought after by those still reading the paper.

Do a demographic study!

We had this conversation in my office the other day, and the other week, and the other tends to repeat itself, as it should.  What should we put in the papers now?  I still believe we should advertise those mobile homes in coops and parks as well as the downsizer retirement homes.  It may not look like your company lists the "big stuff" but are those readers really looking for that anyway?  My observation is, maybe not the majority.


Comment balloon 4 commentsStephanie Jacques • September 12 2009 07:57PM


I agree that there are some demographics involved, however, for the most part, people who don't have the internet are people who probably can't afford homes.  You'll get your exception every so often, but overall, I think print advertising would not give the ROI needed to make it worth it to capture the exception.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 11 years ago

Hi Stephanie,

There are plenty of people still reading the paper - believe me if I still lived in Keene I'd be getting the Sentinel (and driving all around town looking for a Boston Globe as I used to do). In fact, in my area the high end (multi-millions) is absolutely reading the paper and a good portion aren't using the internet.  What's nice about the Sentinel is that you can still do affordable, decent-sized photographs in your ads.  I *know* there are plenty of people who look forward to skimming through the real esate ads to see what's up.  It's easy for all of us who spend a good deal of time online to assume that everyone is likewise glued to a monitor - but it's just not so for a good portion of the public.


Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) about 11 years ago


I am saving 30K - 50K per year and did not lose any percentage of market share when I decided to drop newspaper advertising after evaluating its ROI. 

Open house ads or classified ads might be an occasional exception but most papers are online as well and that is where I would see their value.  I have a market presence and don't just need to see my name in the paper. 

Posted by Julie Chapman, New Homes Sales Ormond, New Smyrna, Daytona Be (DR Horton ) about 11 years ago

Thanks for your comments. I agree paper ads are extremely costly and not reaching a large pool of potential buyers. The numbers Julie Chapman gave she was saving is enormous and I don't doubt the ROI is high with paper ads.

To better state what I was trying to communicate was, in our area the paper has dwindled in size, yes. A neighboring city recently shut down their paper operations, even. However, there should still be a small presense in the paper for that certain demographic. Maybe it's to provide them real estate news, editorial style articles from local Realtors or Brokers, and maybe it's to list a few properties or open houses.

However, I know for sure internet has by now replaced the paper for the major source of news and that's where the majority of our presense should be. I just hate to leave out the people who are still trailing behind and still prospects as sellers or buyers, though I do see this as mostly the older generations and probably mostly those who are long retired and ready to say goodbye to home ownership forever as they make advanced life decisions. (This is generally speaking and I don't want to discriminate, just observations).

Posted by Stephanie Jacques about 11 years ago

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