Get your head around the basics of print advertising to maximise its impact
In a recent post, we talked about how a property sales campaign can benefit from using newspaper advertising — in addition to online advertising — because properties that do, sell for more money and in a shorter period of time. But in order to get the most out of your newspaper advertising campaign, you first need to understand how it works.
The first thing you need to understand is how newspaper deadlines work, but to do so requires an understanding of how a newspaper is printed, which is from the centre outwards, leaving the front (and back) page to print last, in case of breaking news. Real estate sections, along with the careers section, cars guide and other lifestyle sections and supplements, generally fall somewhere in the middle of a newspaper. So they’re the first sections to be printed and, usually, that occurs days before the paper’s publication date.
Typically, the real estate section of a weekend newspaper is already physically printed by the Friday prior. To book space, then, you need to do so on the Monday, and, depending on your agent, ensure your material is ready to be supplied to the paper the very next day, which gives the paper time to check the material conforms to their specifications (i.e., that is has been supplied in the correct press-ready format, does not contain any TIFF or PNG images, and does not use any RGB colours).
Very few newspapers offer an ad-makeup service. Fairfax never has, and the News Corporation newspapers has a very limited service that’s not typically used for real estate. The majority of Australia’s largest real estate franchises — LJ Hooker, McGrath, Raine & Horne, Elders, Belle Property — and a lot of the larger independents use a service called Campaign Track, to have their newspaper advertisements booked, designed and delivered to the publication.
Campaign Track developed, initially in conjunction with News Corporation, their own proprietary software, which has subsequently been rolled out to other publications across Australia and New Zealand, and which allows their agents to book, design and approve artwork for newspaper advertisements, signboards, DL cards, and all other printed marketing materials quickly and easily.
Because of the specificity involved in newspaper and magazine advertisements, which varies publication-to-publication, often even within the same publisher, and because of the cost involved in creating another similar service, Campaign Track’s software is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
What makes Campaign Track so unique is that, once an advertisement is approved for print by the agent, it automatically goes through a process that converts the advertisement into a press-ready file and delivers it directly to the publication, eliminating the need for any other person from having contact with the file, which vastly reduces the potential for error. Just how many ways an advertisement can go wrong due to human intervention are too numerous to list here, but the most common involved ads appearing twice, printing without bleed, or appearing at the wrong size, none of which is possible using the Campaign Track system.
Print advertising requires a great deal of forethought. With little more than 24 hours between the booking deadline and the deadline for complete, press-ready material, newspaper advertising gives you little time to organise much more than the ad designer you’ll use to make up your advertisement, although there’s not even much time for that, which is why most agents use Campaign Track. There certainly isn’t enough time to organise any photography, so you must ensure you have this done well in advance.
You also need to ensure that you’ve organised other things, like the open times for each inspection, the auction date if you’re having one, and any other relevant details. Make sure you’re available to proof your advertisement with your agent before it goes to print, otherwise your agent will run with it as is. Check and double check your advertisement before approving it for print, giving special attention to details such as the bed/bath/car icons and auction dates, where most mistakes occur.
Newspaper advertising may involve a fair amount of work, but it does make a difference to a property’s sale price and the time it spend on the market, making it an incredibly efficient marketing option. Marketing is discussed in detail in our educational guide, called Selling Your Property: What You Really Need to Know and can be downloaded for free when you subscribe to our website.
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