I have a confession to make.  My wife and I are hooked on the show, “Million Dollar Listing.”  It’s completely mindless, but I just love to see the inside of $4MM+ penthouses in New York City, and the three main characters (the realtors) are so over the top.  It’s hilarious and if you haven’t watched it yet, then tune in to the next episode on Bravo.  There’s no plot so you can jump right in.

On many of the episodes you’ll see the sellers make the same two mistakes over and over again.  First, they think they are in control of how much their apartment is worth so they want to list it way above comparable apartments.  And each time that happens, the realtor has to explain that the buyer is actually in control.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before… The market determines the price of real estate.   Sure, you can list the apartment at your dream price, but that doesn’t mean anyone will actually pay that much.  In the end, the buyers determine the value of your apartment.

The second mistake is when the seller believes buyers will appreciate and place a high value on all of the decorations and “improvements” they made.  Sorry, but the buyer has his or her own tastes and they often don’t match yours.  This is why the realtors often recommend a “staged” apartment where they redecorate and refurnish the rooms to make it more appealing to the target buyers.

Image by: bravotv.com

What Does Real Estate Teach You About Advertising?

So what the heck can real estate teach you about online advertising?  A lot actually.

New and experienced advertisers make these same two mistakes over and over again setting up ad campaigns.  Both mistakes stem from the same flawed thought process, which starts with the product and then the market.  Instead, successful advertisers start with their target market first, and then find ways to package the product or service to fit the needs of the market.

In real estate, the product is the apartment.  So what does a smart realtor do when the apartment looks and smells like a ’60s retirement home?  She “stages” it to look and smell the way that’s most appealing to potential buyers.

The same “staging” process can and should be done for your product or service.  Don’t just send everyone to the same generic offer.  If you’re a plumber advertising when prospects search in Google for “how to unclog a toilet” then doesn’t it make sense to display an offer specific to that particular problem?  Instead, when I do that search, I see a bunch of amateurs advertising generic solutions.  That’s like trying to sell your old smelly apartment without “staging” it.  Fredrik, Luis, and Ryan certainly would not let that happen and neither should you if you want your campaigns to be profitable.

Same is true when you advertise on the Display network.  Again, if you’re a plumber advertising on a webpage about how to unclog a bathtub, then “stage” your service to match that exact problem.  Don’t be lazy.  Take the time to package your product or service to match the needs of the market.