Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Practice of Advertising by Norman Hart -3rd and final part


In chapter 16, the author discusses at length what he refers to as "Directory Advertising" by which he means things like the Yellow Pages. Although the importance of these paper directories has diminished, there are online and app equivalents that are useful sources of referral for estate agents. Having a presence there for the times when a potential vendor looks for an agent to use I would say is essential.

Paper directories are still delivered, although not in the format or number they used to be. The very nature of the directory is that they are kept by the recipients, usually for a year until the next volume appears. This makes it a far more "sticky" type of marketing than television advertising (gone in 30 seconds) or newspaper advertising (kept usually only for a day.) This gets me thinking about other attempts that have been made to deliver marketing to potential customers of estate agency services that are more "sticky" than newsprint or leaflets. I've seen-

*Postcards with contact details of local taxi firms, emergency plumbers, etc.

*Estate agency branded fridge magnets, especially those with calendars on.

*More traditional attempts such as pens, mugs and drink mats.

*More inventive attempts such as cards with football fixtures on (especially at World Cup time.)

These can all work in different ways, but the principle is the same - getting your marketing material to stay in the recipients home for as long as possible.

One of the attractions of the Yellow Pages of the past was the fact that it was both a national institution and a local point of reference at the same time. The book itself has been superseded by the internet, but the principle can still be the same. Search Google for estate agent in your town and you've got the modern day equivalent of putting AAAAA before your company name, to be at the front of the searches. It's called Search Engine Optimisation, and it's big business. It's what the winner of this year's The Apprentice is building his shared business with Lord Sugar on.

On a more local level, I've often thought that local businesses should have a local directory page in their website where they can share their local contacts. Local businesses should look after each other and cross-refer. In my eyes, they also have a duty to explain to their customers and promote the benefits of shopping with small local providers over large chains.

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