Case Study: How Michael Used Local Media to Market His Book and Win Listings
Branding yourself in your community requires some strategy, and in this post, we learn from member Michael Colucci how he fared promoting his business on local media outlets.
While many of our Authorify members work in major metropolitan areas, others become the trusted agent in cozier communities. Michael Colucci, a member who lives in a small town near Las Vegas called Pahrump, has found success since he got his real estate license four years ago — and even more so since he joined Authorify and began using his books in his marketing plan.
How the book helps Michael stand out from other agents
Having worked in the sales field since his early 20s, Michael, now in his early 60s, understands how prospects sometimes need a little nudge to realize who they actually want to work with. He says his membership with Authorify has given him a tool that lends credibility in today’s extremely competitive market. Though he might initially be “in the running,” so to speak, with a few other agents vying for the same listing, a free copy of his Authorify book is often just the right touch to help Michael beat out the competition.
“The main reason I invested in the product is because it lended some credibility — actually, a lot of credibility — to me and who I am and what I do,” he says. “I've had a lot of people call me, and they're searching for a Realtor, and I go out there with my book, and I give them a copy of the book. That same situation has happened three or four times where I'll go out, and I'll present the book and they'll say, ‘Wow, this is amazing!’ And I'll get the listing.”
How a print ad in a local paper promotes Michael and his book
Michael uses a variety of tactics to get the word out about his book. One of his strategies is to advertise in his area’s local newspaper. Because it’s a twice-weekly paper that reaches much of his local market, Michael has had great results with this campaign. He does note, however, that a print ad in, say, The New York Times, might not have quite the same ROI.
“In a small market, it’s easy to do this, but in a large market, it’s not necessarily very easy to do this because it’s expensive,” he points out. “But what I’ve had the most results with is a quarter-page ad in our local newspaper. We’ve got a local newspaper here that comes out on Wednesdays and Fridays. And so, I put in a good size ad, and it cost me $350. It basically says, ‘Please don’t list your home for sale until you’ve read my book.’”
The ad works quite well — Michael says leads will take the bait and call him, seeking their own copy of the book. He has a voicemail message set up so anyone calling in response to the newspaper ad will leave pertinent information, making it simple for Michael to get back in touch.
“I put a number on the ad so that people could call. And I have a nice message — ‘Hey, this is Mike, and if you're calling about the free book, please leave me your name and your telephone number and the address of the property that you're thinking about selling,’” he explains.
“Then they call and leave their information. I call them back, and I say, ‘Hey, would you like to meet at my office so that you can pick up your book? Or you can give me your office address and I'll drop it off."
Agents who wonder whether their leads have the time and patience to read the book cover to cover prior to calling back shouldn’t worry, Michael says. Whether the book is read or not, the credibility is there.
“With a lot of the people, I don't even think they've read the books,” he muses. “I mean, you can read it in an hour, right? But I don't think a lot of people have read them. Still, the fact that I hand them a book with me as the author and my profile, you know, it lends credibility.”
See full interview with Michael:
Local television works, too
It’s not just local newspapers that can work well for promoting a book. Particularly in smaller, more affordable media markets, looking into local television is also a great option. Michael tried it out and found it to be successful.
“The whole year of 2018, I actually did — and again, we have a small town and we have a local television station — a segment on the news once a week. The segment was called Pahrump Home Matters. Basically, what I would do is, I would either interview people in the real estate business — whether it was a lender, a title company, a home inspector, somebody like that — I would interview them and ask them questions, and I would mention that I've published a book. I’d say, ‘If you're interested in either buying or selling a property, contact me, and I'd be happy to either mail you or meet with you to give you a free book.’ It definitely helped and it gave me a bunch of credibility. So, that's another way to get them out.”
Books lead to business; business leads to referrals
Michael also says that the business he gleans from his books often manifests in more business — one of the great secrets of sales. His reputation as a credible source and an authority on selling real estate means that one happy customer will tell their family, friends and colleagues.
“I had one lady that said, ‘Well, I'm looking at three agents, but I really want to look at your book,’” he says. “And she came into my office. She came in to get the book, we met, we talked, and she said, ‘You know what, I don't need to talk to those other two people. You're my guy.’ And just from her listing, I sold her listing to another real estate agent who bought her house, but sold her listing, then listed the house next door to her, sold it, got a referral from her. I've got a deal that's closing actually before the end of the month. So, just from that one contact, I sold three houses and I've gotten three more referrals.”
This is just one example, of course — Michael says using the books has repeatedly resulted in this kind of success.
“That's just the one contact. It panned out. I'd say, overall, I've probably sold, in the last year, a dozen properties because of the books.
Buyers will still appreciate that you work with sellers
If you’re reading this and wondering about whether marketing with a book can work with buyers as well as sellers, the answer is yes — even if you’re using a book that caters more to sellers, Michael says.
“I've done the same thing with buyers,” he says. “When a buyer comes in, I'll give the books to the buyers, even though, you know, the market is just changed in the last recent few years. Most of the buyers are still uneducated about that, especially if they're first-time buyers, and also about how to go look for a house.
“With the majority of the people, they look for properties before they even talk to a lender. And so, you know, I'll grill him when I get a call. I'll grill them and ask them, ‘Have you talked to a lender?’ Then I say, ‘You know what? I have a book that'll give you step-by-step instructions on how to make the selling procedure as simple and quick as possible. Would you like a book?’ And they say, ‘Yeah, sure.’ So, I'll either give them a book or I'll mail them a book, and the book usually seals the deal with a buyer as well as a seller because of the credibility aspect.”
Interested in buying print advertising space for your business?
While national newspapers and magazines can cost more than any small marketing budget can manage, following in Michael Colucci’s footsteps and buying an ad in your community publication can be a great move.
According to a 2019 article in FitSmallBusiness.com, these are the factors that affect the cost of an ad:
- Circulation of the newspaper: The higher the circulation, the more you will pay for an ad.
- Size and color of the ad: Obviously, the larger and more colorful your ad is, the more expensive it will be to run.
- Number of times your ad runs: You will pay more money for an ad that runs more than once.
- Day of the week/section of the paper: Mondays and Tuesdays are often cheaper for running an ad, and since fewer advertisers opt for those days, they can be great for visibility.
Figure out what you can afford, and ask the newspaper what they charge per inch (which is how most newspapers charge for an ad that isn’t a full page) to determine the size of your ad. Enteprenuer.com also suggests the following for making the most of an ad:
- Put a coupon or some kind of incentive in your ad. This is a perfect opportunity to offer a free copy of your book. You can add a date and some way to track how many people respond, and that way, you’ll see how your ad is working.
- Don’t forget to include your website address so traffic migrates from print to web.
- Fact check all contact information carefully. Get someone else to check, too.
- For branding purposes, make sure your print ad corresponds with all your other marketing materials, including your book cover. Think color scheme, logo, etc.