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The quote came from an Aussie via a cultured business friend of mine. The staple of any budding business is successful advertising and hard work. You can’t buy something if you don’t know it exists….right?

Communication 101 “Know your audience” – If one can identify who they are advertising to then one can shape the medium in which it is presented, understood and acted upon with success. Here is the dilemma; within the Internet, there are millions of places to advertise. A dictator will tell you that if you control the message you control the masses. Yesteryear  an old advertisement (say it like “add-vert-is-mint”, it sounds older that way) in the local paper could reach everyone you needed to reach. You could find everything you need in one place. The opposite stands true today, limitless things in limitless places.

Unless you have secured a domain name that points directly to your product or service, you have to rely on name branding and search engines. You can spend thousands on branding your name on tangible objects like billboards, business cards, newspapers, buildings, etc. for your limited exposure to limited audience. When it comes to branding on-line you have so many choices. The best search engine charges “per click” for each person who clicks on a link within their website. The advertisers pay for a top position on the page and set the premium price for words and phrases that are popular and get the most hits. There is a science to knowing how to do this effectively. There is always the chance that some competitor or someone on a payroll somewhere just clicks on your ad over and over again so you pay through the nose for all the clicks. Like a casino slot machine I have a healthy scepticism that something is at work against you in this scenario.

Now to get industry specific and since it is in the name of this Blog at the top of your screen (if you clicked on the appropriate links to get here….), I will attempt to connect the title of this post to something relevant.

Joe & Sally consumer want to buy a home. Being traditional and slightly old fashion they contact their friend the Real Estate Agent. Everybody has a Real Estate Agent as a friend of family member. They (we) are everywhere. The agent punches a few buttons based on what Joe and Sally want and out comes a list of properties that fit their criteria. They all jump in a car and off they go to buy a home.

Well, those days and that process has changed. Joe & Sally now “research” on-line and check probably 50-500 websites looking for the perfect home before they set foot in one. Here is the problem. I have always said that “flyers don’t sell homes”, they can get you information pertinent to the process, but a buyer has to step foot inside a house and feel the character or lack their of, smell the smells, feel the walls and look at the rooms from their own height to really find that connection to that place.

When you saturate yourself with images and ideas of what perfect is, you lose sight of what reality is. Any sales training will tell you to only give three options or the consumer will get lost and defer to “I need to talk to my ______ about it first”

Blind Cave Fish are blind because their environment has taken something away from them, namely light. They exist in a place that is limited and depend on the senses to navigate their reality. Studies have shown that if you transplant these fish to an environment filled with light they will adapt and survive. Thank goodness for evolution.

The seller of a house is given the daunting task of giving a sensory experience to a limited medium. You just can’t make the dang computer smell like Chocolate Chip Cookies (or Chip Chocolate Cookies in our house). The most effective tool in selling a home has now been reduced to a few grainy photos and poorly designed websites. Buyers are now more educated about the process, now aware that all loans are not good, and have the web to thank for endless images of “little boxes made of ticky tacky…and they all look just the same” after endless hours of searching.

Virtual tours help bring dimension to the on-line experience but buying a home is not like buying a car. Well I suppose some homes these days in the outlying regions look as if they came straight off the assembly line, so in fairness there are some exceptions. As I write this I can hear a Monty Python character say to me “get on with it”, so hear is the sinker.

All advertising is not good advertising, invoking the desire to move away from the computer and into a home is the key to the message. Although you can find everything on the Internet, most info is not readily available and accurate as the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) made available by a real estate professional (subtle plug). Spending too much money on expensive flyers and websites only increase the cost of the services. Too many options leads to indecision, confusion and deferring statements. Every home has a story, feel and character of its own, spend more time walking into doorways to do your research. All in all bringing light to the Cave fish is not always the best answer. They are doing just fine using their senses to survive, try using yours in tangible ways to find your home or target your audience.