It's a Home, not 3 Bedrooms and a Bathroom

I was talking with a client this week about the advertising on their property. There were plenty of online visitors but buyers were not ringing or emailing questions, nor were they physically viewing the property.

We were getting online traffic, so the headline and main photo were doing their job. People were taking an initial glance at the property, but not going any further. We were not converting traffic into interest.

Which likely means we were losing people with the content - our proposition was not compelling enough for buyers to take action. Normally this is because we have simply written down the features of the house and forgotten the benefits. Pretty much describes most real estate advertising to be honest. How many adverts have you seen with the property description being some variation on 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 2 car garage, lounge and a kitchen? The buyer websites (www.realestate.co.nz, trademe) have icons that provide that information faster and more effectively.

So, if our content should be benefit based how do we do that?

It can be pretty simple to translate features into benefits. Benefits are the result or outcome you receive from using the feature. One trick is to ask yourself “so what” and think about how the feature is used:

The house has a deck off the family room.
“So what?”
Well in the summer we open the double doors onto the deck and move some chairs out.
“So what?”
The sun sets over there and means the deck gets some nice afternoon shade - we can watch the kids out the back and chill with friends
“Typical NZ summer weekend evening”
Yeah, we have the barbecue at the far end, there’s a window there that opens into the kitchen so we pass plates and food and stuff through there - it works pretty well actually. Saves carrying stuff around.
“Ok”
And 2 years ago I added the canopy - means even if it’s raining we can enjoy it.
“Now we’re getting somewhere”
Oh yeah, it’s awesome - some pretty good nights have been had out here!

So, the feature is a deck off the living room. The benefits:
  • Extended living space
  • Centre piece for entertaining on warm summer evenings
  • Usable rain or shine
  • Direct access to the kitchen
  • Fun times with friends and family
If you wanted to get picky ‘direct access to the kitchen’ is a feature - the benefit being people don’t mess up the nice carpet in the family room! But you get the point.

We reviewed our clients advertising description - yep there were features that needed to be turned into benefits. The proposition could be more compelling.

It’s one of the reasons we get our clients to write the property description first - we ask them to tell us what it’s like to live there, how they live in the home, how they use it. That way we hope to capture the real and genuine emotional warmth and benefits of living there. After all that’s what the buyer is buying isn’t it - a home, not 3 bedrooms and a bathroom?

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