Marketing Q & A
Marketing Q&A
By Al Jabaly


Al Jabaly is a certified marketing and business consultant with over 20 years of small business experience. Email your questions to al@FloridaBA.org. All questions will be answered via e-mail. Some of the most interesting questions will be posted in this weekly column. For further information, Al can be reached at 1-888-899-3190

“AL. I AM A REALTOR AND I WANT TO PUBLISH A NEWSLETTER. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST I DO!?"

Newsletters get you credibility, recognition, build your image and keep your name in front of the homeowners. Here is my advice on what to do.

A) MAKE YOUR NEWSLETTER YOUR VERY OWN! Stay away from “canned newsletters” offered by some companies to realtors nationwide. All they do is stick your name, photo and contact info somewhere on this generic newsletter. It has some puzzles, recipes, cartoons and very scant or useful real estate information. If you will publish a newsletter, put a serious effort it to personalize & customize it for your area or I recommend you do not do it.

B) SPECIALIZE IN AN AREA. Get to know that area very well: stay abreast of the problems they have, be in touch with the local authorities, inform the homeowners of important regulations & news that will affect their property, list the recent sales of area homes and lots (address & sale price), announce your listings, etc. You want to show the recipients of the newsletter that you are the realty expert in that area and that you care about them. Give them substance and not fluff, and make the newsletter something that they will really look forward to receive.

C) BE READY FOR THE LONG HAUL! I would not recommend launching a newsletter if you are not able to sustain it, financially, for at least 12 consecutive months. The real estate market, as you well know, is in the doldrums now. An average home listed on the MLS easily takes 6 months before it sells. There is a large inventory of homes for sale. The newsletter you are launching should be mainly to establish your name and build your reputation as the realtor to call when they need one in the future. Of course, it does not mean you may not get a listing or a sale as a result of your newsletter within a month or two of launching it. But do not count on that.

D) INVOLVE A NETWORK OF LIKE-MINDED BUSINESSES! Get 5-10 businesses (ex. plumber, electrician, pest control, water treatment, etc.), one per trade, and tell them that you are going to be mailing a monthly newsletter to that area and offer them exclusive exposure (the only plumber, for example), by placing a little ad on the newsletter and by including them in a listing titled MY REFERRALS. In return, ask each to contribute a bit to the costs of publishing and mailing the newsletter. $50 a month each is a reasonable figure to ask for.

E) TRY TO INVOLVE YOUR FUTURE CLIENTS IN THE NEWSLETTER! In the newsletter, announce that you welcome all homeowners’ opinions, suggestions, ideas, etc. on how to make the newsletter more useful, informative and interesting to them. Allow them to put up notices for their neighbors to read. Ex. “Our 16 yr old reliable daughter can baby sit for you. Call XX”. Let the recipients use your newsletter to vent their frustrations with the city, county, etc. by writing you about it and you possibly could make their expressed concerns be heard with the appropriate authorities. In short, think of ways to let the homeowners feel that your newsletter is their own.

F) MAKE THE NEWSLETTER UNFORM! Keep the layout, style, color, etc. uniform so that everyone will know it is your newsletter when they receive it in the mail. Take the example of the national newspaper USA TODAY. With its blue color, flashy photos, layout, etc. it is recognizable a mile away! Always keep your name, photo and phone very visible, but not overwhelming. Always put three contact numbers: office, cell phone & fax and also include your email address. You want to be accessible at all times. Lastly, promote the newsletter on your website, business card, flyers, etc. Offer to mail it if someone did not receive it or is new to the area.

G) HAVE FUN PUBLISHING IT! If you consider the newsletter a “chore that you have to do” then I suggest that you do not start it, otherwise its life span will be very short! Do not just think of it as an advertising vehicle. You do not enjoy placing an ad in the newspaper! With the newsletter, make it a part of you. Consider it a hobby and only then will it be fun!