Potential clients come in contact with advertising from all types of media. Internet paid ads, magazines, newsletters, search engine results, etc., all compete for your target market’s attention. How many paid ads have you done at conventions, search engines, online newsletters, or magazines that have seemingly had little effect? Probably, most of them. Here are a few tips to help your advertising not suck.

1) Identify your “unique selling proposition”. I know you’ve heard of this before. It’s not just marketing jargon – your unique selling proposition is what you do better than everyone else. Dig deep and really think about it. The less generic your ad, the more likely it will attract clients.

Ads like the one below are the ones I see all the time. There’s no explanation of who these people are or what they do…maybe they’re experts at making up impressive-sounding words like Barney Stinson.

Don’t assume your word play and thesaurus-heavy mission statement will be clear to potential clients.


]2) Avoid too much information. Even if you provide tons of different services, in your ad, focus on one. This example is attempting to advertise their residential, commercial and property management services. As a consumer, I assume they won’t have time for my listing, since they’ve got a lot going on.

If this brokerage would split this ad up into 3 different ads (residential, commercial and property management), the message would be clearer and they’d have space to give bullet points of services offered for each specialty.


3) Generic content says nothing. First of all, street signs are so played out it hurts my eyes. Second, this is an ad for ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers). While it has “retail” in the small paragraph, maybe they should have used a shopping center image to better hit home. Also, the tag line “WHERE OPPORTUNITY AND…” would be more impactful if it was something ICSC attendees would be interested in like, “FIND YOUR NEXT RETAIL CENTER” or whatever services they’re actually offering this particular consumer.


4) Tell me what you can do for me. Whether you bring expertise in a certain industry, have a great process, or have years in experience, tell me why that’s important. Here is a great ad focusing on one message “we have experience”. It’s difficult for a small brokerage to advertise one unique selling proposition, but I think they did this extremely well. The only thing I would have added was each of their specialties (like “industrial”) under each of their number of years.


5) Say it with images. A picture is worth a thousand words. CoStar does it perfectly with their apocalyptic train and cityscape. With only the image and headline you can easily understand the ad’s message. Your ad can be tested for effectiveness in this area if you remove all your descriptive text and see if someone can still figure out the message.