These Marketing Terms Are Officially Cliched. Here’s What To Write Instead

Marketing a property is all about drawing the right kind of attention to your listing and encouraging potential clients to pick up their phones and take the next step.

Although images create the first impression, text can help paint an even more beautiful picture. When writing listing descriptions, postcards, email campaigns, social media copy and more to promote a listing, it’s important to capture the reader’s attention and have them engaged until the very end of your piece.

When writing, we can slip into the pattern of using phrases and terms that are cliche and overused. It’s important to stand out in the crowd, so below, I have outlined marketing terms that tend to be overused when it comes to listing promotion and provided some alternatives and best practices.

Renowned  

How many times have you seen the word “renowned” in front of a designer, architect, builder, landscaper, etc., and had never heard of that individual or company?

Although not knowing them doesn’t make them not renowned it would be hard to know everyone in the business it’s the overuse that certainly lessens the impact.

Also to keep in mind, as more buyers are seeking homes around the world in different destinations, someone who is locally renowned may not be internationally known.

Try quantifying why that individual or company is renowned and adding that to the copy instead.

For example: The landscaping was designed by renowned landscaper, Laura Stace.

Instead try: The landscaping was envisioned by Laura Stace, who has an extensive background in creating drought-resistant designs.    

Top-of-the-line

Top-of-the-line does alert a reader that we are talking about the very best of something, but this can be a little subjective and also can leave the audience wanting to know a little more detail.

After all, the reader has seen the images of the home and is now reviewing the copy to discover more. Try being a little more descriptive than simply saying “top-of-the-line.”

For example: The kitchen features top-of-the-line appliances.

Instead try: The kitchen features brand new Wolf and Sub Zero appliances for creating gourmet meals and keeping your favorite bottle of bubbles cool. 

Will not last

Sure, we know that homes in desirable locations that are priced appropriately and check a lot of boxes will likely not last long in some markets.

However, this is changing as we experience a transition period in the market where the pace of bidding wars and over-ask offers are starting to slow. Phrases like “will not last,” “too good to miss,” “act fast,” etc., are overused, only really serve as filler words and take up the limited space that you have to describe an entire property.

Try taking these types of filler phrases out, and get specific on details. You can also create some urgency with the details without spelling out that they better act fast.

For example: This home will not last, so you better act fast.

Instead try: Move in before the new school year starts this home is located close to great primary and secondary schools and is a short distance to the local university. 

Once-in-a-lifetime 

In the same vein as “will not last,” “too good to miss,” and “act fast,” the phrase “once-in-a-lifetime” is something that takes up useful space in your copy.

However, if it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, then be sure to spell out exactly what that opportunity is. One of the best and most useful pieces of writing advice is shared in the book, The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B White.

That advice omit needless words. When you sit down to write real estate copy, keep that in mind, and you will find how streamlined your writing becomes.

Making this part of your real estate marketing practice will ensure every word packs a punch and there are no fluff and filler words that waste the readers’ time — and the limited space you have to grab their attention. 

Try this: This home presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a home where they filmed XYZ movie.

Or: This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the largest home in the Hollywood Hills.

Bonus terms

“Great” neighborhood, neighbors, schools: Anything people-related and not housing-related can land you in hot water with fair housing.

Try this instead- Focus on what any person could enjoy at the property, not who is at or near the property. Stick with features, upgrades, amenities, parks, and local attractions. Review fair housing guidelines regularly.

There are many dated phrases in listing descriptions (such as “Master Bedroom”) that are now offensive or frowned upon. Switch to “Primary Suite or Bedroom.” Make sure to have experienced agents or your broker help proof your descriptions to avoid potential pitfalls.

“Good bones”: Often, agents will use this term to gloss over the fact that the property is in need of serious repairs. This can be a turn-off and even misleading.

Try this instead-Be honest. Make sure that the condition of the property is properly disclosed, and if it needs serious repairs, make sure the seller knows their responsibility and potential expenses of not being forthcoming.

“As-is” can always help clarify if the seller is unable to research, unwilling, or just doesn’t know about how serious the damage is at the home and the buyer will be responsible to figure out if they can handle the project.

“Vacation-living”: This popular term is overused in 55+ and gated communities. “Resort-Style” is also a common alternative.

Try this instead- Once again, stay honest and do not fluff up tacky community rooms and super small pool areas. Amenities are incentives, but the home will be the place they will be spending the most time.

Provide resources, ask the community to provide true measurements for you to have on hand to provide clients. They will be impressed with your transparency, and you will be able to focus on what is most important in their homebuying experience.

Wrapping up

When creating marketing content for a listing, be sure to avoid cliches that will not only take up the limited space that you have to describe the property but may also deter a potential buyer or client from taking that important next step.

While it can be tricky to give a detailed overview of a home within the parameters given for listing copy and other mediums, avoiding cliches and filler wordsyou will be freeing up space to be able to add more impactful information in.

Try and keep in mind Strunk and White’s key piece of adviceomit needless words. This will automatically have you rethinking cliches if they sneak into your copy.

Also, a good rule of thumb to avoid using cliches is to focus on all the details and specifics that you want to include in your marketing pieces and to be as descriptive as you can. 

Laura Stace is vice president of luxury marketing for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.



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