Real estate advertising in the language of benefits

Too often, real estate advertisers focus on features or claims of superiority.

“We’re the best.”

“We’re #1.”

“We lead the industry.”

Accomplishments worthy of praise. But from the prospective customer’s perspective, what of them? If you want to own your customer you need to connect the feature dot to the benefit dot.

In theory, this isn’t too hard to do. Finish these sentences:

Because we’re the best you ________________.

We’re #1 so you can be confident that _________________.

As the industry leader we can give you __________________.

What you place in those blanks, folks, will not only allow you to create more powerful advertisements, it will help the marketplace understand what your true value is.

What RE/MAX does

I watch Lost every Tuesday night. During this week’s episode, two interesting commercials aired almost back-to-back. The first, a RE/MAX commercial. The second, from H&R Block.

The RE/MAX commercial was well done and keyed in on the familiar statement, “nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX.”

I like how they boil their value proposition down to one simple nugget – sales.  The problem I have is that this nugget is a feature. The benefit – the reason why that features matters – would be realized if the commercial filled in the blank for the viewer, tying that feature into something meaningful. In other words: “Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX so when you list with us ________________________.”

Without that final component, the statement hovers. Floats as a claim. One expressed with no meaningful payoff that would motivate me to go and do something now. Or even later.

What H&R Block does

I wish I could find the commercial in YouTube. I can’t. So trust me that I am being faithful to my memory. It began this way: “In 2010, 1,700 new tax laws were added to the books. At H&R Block we provided 10 million hours of education to our tax accountants to make sure they understand those new laws. This way, your taxes get done right.”

Feature. Benefit. Bingo.

Last night’s commercial is one in a long line of great H&R Block ads that are memorable whether you’re a student of copy writing and production or just an anxious taxpayer. The proof is in the pudding. One out of every seven tax returns in the United States last year was prepared by H&R Block – a “sides” stat any real estate company, national or otherwise, would love to claim.

Are H&R Block tax accountants any more knowledgeable about taxes than RE/MAX agents are about real estate? I doubt it. RE/MAX is a company with lots of great people. Their ad just pulled up short in communicating their value in the language of benefits.


My point is simple: Real estate marketers need to step back. Do some recon on what it is their companies deliver beyond the features and claims. And light a torch around the benefits.

People don’t buy Apple products because of the features. That’s what all you iPad detractors don’t get as you harp on what it can’t do. Apple customers don’t care about what it can’t do. Because neither does Apple. Their ad focuses on what it can do: deliver to the customer a feeling of wonderment and a palpable experience of the future.

I submit that if RE/MAX went one step further and extended the power of “selling more real estate than anyone else” to an expression of the benefits that delivers to the customer, its commercials would be better. Their value proposition clearer.

Want to create a powerful ad? Want to stimulate an immediate reaction? And long term action? Fill in the blank. If you can’t, you’ll be compelled to undertake an even deeper exercise.

If you can, an entirely lost audience will be found.