If you are reading this, my headline and accompanying image did their job…
After writing and editing, at an educated guess, over 3,000 property ads (and many for other types of business marketing), I can say that the art of the headline is generally ignored, as is the impact it can have on its intended reader.
For those of you looking to sell your own property – and Agents – here is a piece of advertising advice that can make all the difference to your marketing;
“Unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money.”
This comes from one of the most successful and insightful Advertising minds of the 20th Century, David Ogilvy, who’s career and philosophies can be read in his book – “Ogilvy on Advertising”.
Ogilvy’s, and the man he looked up to, Claude Hopkin’s, research, campaigns and successes for some of the biggest names in business, are still the primary drivers for what works in advertising today.
“Those headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit.”
It is this statement alone that has been the cornerstone of creation of the vast majority of the headlines, and copy, I have written.
You need to make it your cornerstone as well.
For me every great piece of copy – and by great, I mean it invokes the right emotion in the right reader, so that reader (potential buyer/client) takes more than a passing interest in what is being said and sold – to the point of taking an action.
In today’s “I want it all and I want it now” environment, most buyers look at just a few things on any property advertisement, The Big Rocks; and they are;
- Main Picture
- # of Beds, Baths, Cars
- Price guide
Let’s face it, so many of us are time poor (or so we think) or maybe we’re just getting lazier, so the main copy (description) in a property ad might not even get read – especially if the BIG ROCKS don’t add up or the headline is weak.
And when I say weak, it doesn’t offer a hook (benefit) that makes the buyer/client want to read on.
In my experience owners selling a house and some agents place too much emphasis on crafting copy that is as long as War and Peace (an epic Russian novel), describing and listing everything, I mean EVERYTHING, the property has to offer – yawn!
And that’s what buyers do – start nodding off by the time they reach the third paragraph describing the strategically placed birdbath in the backyard.
To prevent this, they almost need to have an idea of what the main benefit is of buying this property as opposed to another.
Here, I have to digress for a moment.
To understand the difference between a benefit and a feature when promoting anything is critical and I’ll cover this in more detail in another post, but in brief:
A Feature is something the product/property has; e.g. Double Garage, Ensuite, Outdoor area
A Benefit is what the product/property will do for you, how it will make your life easier/better, how it will make you feel.
People like to think they buy with logic, but almost all buy with their emotions.
My experience tells me that features become important when the benefits are clear to the buyer and they invoke an emotion.
Here is an example of two headlines – each promoting the same property.
- Amazing Value – Five Minute Walk to Cafes and Transport
- Spacious Three Bed Home in Great Location
Which one expresses a clear benefit (or two)?
If you said ‘1’, you get a gold star!
Two clear benefits: This home could be a bargain, and who doesn’t love a bargain? And a clearly stated benefit of how close you are to important amenities.
Sometimes its not JUST about the property, its what is in store for the buyer when they buy it.
Always take a little more time crafting your headline with a buyer targeted benefit, then your description will be much easier to write with the buyers’ emotions and needs in mind.