For the last few years we have routinely espoused the virtues of high quality digital media. Through my work as an Atlanta Real Estate Photographer I have experienced first hand what well produced and compelling images can not only do for a listing, but for an agent's personal brand as well. As the industry continues to move toward a web-centric market place, we have found less and less value in spending money on print media. Being that this trending is likely to persist, 2011 will likely see even less of our marketing dollars going toward newspaper ads and real estate books.
But we haven't completely ruled out print media just yet. In fact one of our most effective listing tools is a Photobook I created at Shutterfly.com. For less than the price of a two week ad in big city paper, I was able to compile some of the best images from our listings and other projects in 2010 to create a hard bound, full color, 50+ page portfolio that we are able to put in the hands of our prospective clients on listing appointments.
Even though I am fully vested in online marketing there are several things this photobook does better than what my online images do. For starters, it doesn't require electricity or a wi-fi connection. Ya, I know just about everyone has these two things, but despite this there have been several occasions where I was unable to get a connection or my laptop battery was petering out. Being that professional photography is a big part of our unique value proposition, this can easily turn into a problem. Another benefit is that you don't have to go through the trouble of pulling out the laptop, waiting for the computer to boot up and then clicking around to get to where you want. You simply pull the book out and place it in their hands.
Another aspect I like about these books is it allows the reader to see a definite beginning and end to the "presentation". They control the speed at which they view the pictures and if they choose they can skip around and spend as much time as they like looking at the images that interest them most. It lets them know that we are able to deliver this standard to everyone of our listings. The beautiful photos they see in the book and online are not just "teaser" images but what they can expect to see in the marketing of their home as well. And then there is the simplicity of it. Everyone knows how to use a book and it requires no special equipment save a pair of glasses for those that need them.
The best part, the quality is phenomenal. Being able to show a high resolution, full page color photo on heavy stock semi-gloss paper removes any doubt that you are able to produce a quality product. We aren't talking three color flyers from the broker's 4 year old, over-worked printer. This is every bit as good as, if not better, than the print quality of any shelter magazine out there.
While these photobooks work great for the purpose I mentioned above they also work very well in other situations. I love to fill these books with family photos and give as gifts at Christmas and they work just as well as closing gifts for those that had a special attachment to the home or property. Really any occasion in which you care for high quality photos to be professionally bound and presented can work.
So while the days of newspaper ads and home listing books may be drawing to an end, there is still a case to be made for high quality print media. These books are easy to create, they are relatively cheap and it shows that you are not only resourceful but you understand how to diversify your marketing.
(Ok Shutterfly.com, how was that? Do I get my free Photobooks now...? ) Just kidding, I stand to gain nothing from promoting their product. I really do like it that much!