“To bus bench, or not to bus bench? That is the question.” – Ted Greenhough
OK, it’s not quite as profound as Hamlet’s soliloquy. But it’s massively more important from a Realtor perspective. Are bus benches worth the expense, or not?
It depends. Let’s look at two extreme scenarios.
You plunk down a single bus bench in a part of town where nobody has ever heard of you, and you don’t do any other marketing in the area.
In this case, you’re better to gather up your money and burn it. At least then, you won’t have the painful experience of paying for that bench ad every single month and getting zero return on your investment.
You place three or four benches in high-traffic locations within your geo farm area. People recognize you from your open house signs, for sale signs and other marketing you do in the neighbourhood.
In this case, your bus bench ads serve as a constant reminder of your status as the area expert. It’s just one component of your overall marketing plan, but it’s a critical piece. Here’s how it works in practice:
Sammy drives by your bus bench every day, but he never pays it any attention. Why? Because he’s not in the market.
Until he is. Now, Sammy can’t help but notice your bus bench ad, every day. This is the way our brains work. We see things that our brains are attuned to seeing. (That’s why you notice everyone else’s bus bench ad.)
So, Sammy starts noticing your bench. Then he realizes he’s seen your name all over the neighbourhood on your for sale signs, open house signs – and aren’t you the agent who sends that flyer every month?
Sammy calls you, you list and sell the house, help him buy another home and get three referrals.
That’s how it’s supposed to work. And it does if it’s part of your overall marketing strategy.
Remember that bus bench ads must be clearly legible and it should be easy to read all the information in two seconds. That’s all the time you get as someone is driving by.
Here’s everything you should have on your bus bench ad:
- Your smiling face. Never forget that real estate is a relationship-based business. People don’t develop relationships with words.
- Your name, obviously. But again, make sure it is a large, easy-to-read font. Do NOT use any weird or fine fonts that are hard to read.
- Your regulatory body probably requires your brokerage (in all your advertising), but nobody cares (sorry brokers), so make your brokerage name as small as is allowable, without being ridiculous.
- Your cell number (NOT your office number!)
- Your website URL
- A SHORT tagline. “Your Pleasantville Area Expert” is excellent. Short, sweet and it means something.
“Call (first name) for honest, professional advice and amazeballs customer service!” – Better to burn your money. The worst mistake you can make on a bus bench ad is to clutter it up with useless banter that means nothing.