Having bought and sold six properties over the past 28 years, I would deem myself pretty much on the ball when it comes to viewing houses.
Like most active home buyers, when in the market for a new property, I search online first, have a good old mooch through the property listings and scroll through the images and floorplans before I bother turning my attention to the full descriptions.
I am a sucker for a beautiful image. Done well, they draw me in and of course help me decide whether to enquire about and then physically view a property. So, with this in mind, my first impression of a property, which is of course online, must tempt me to take it further.
Personally, I’m wise to and have come to expect a little artistic licence when it comes to the images I see of properties for sale online. I’m aware of the power of the wide-angle lens, photo editing software and strategic angles. These all play a part in ensuring every online property listing is as enticing as possible. I’m acutely aware, as I’m sure many other home buyers are, that in fact, the camera, on this occasion does very much lie!
This is marketing and it’s how potential buyers are drawn in.
So, a question. As an estate agent, if you were given the option to add pictures to your listings that were taken with a smartphone, or alternatively captured with a quality digital camera and then edited to include blue sky and rich, opulent colours, I would guess you would be totally in favour of the enhanced, filtered images. In fact, I would go so far as to say that ensuring picture-perfect images are added to every one of your listings is a top priority for you.
Deliciously tempting images that sell the dream and draw home buyers in help you fill your diary with viewings and ultimately, sell properties.
Now, imagine if you didn’t ensure your images are top-notch, or didn’t bother adding any images of your properties for sale to listings at all, or you consistently included poor quality images, even images that are irrelevant to the property for sale. It would be a constant hard uphill slog for your business!
So, it’s clear that you undoubtedly make it a priority to take massive care and attention to detail when it comes to your property listings to ensure you attract your target audience.
So, here’s another question. Why then do you not take such care and attention over your content (or lack of it) on your blog or news page to attract clients?
Every day I see blogs and news pages filled with either precisely nothing, so you may as well add a note that shouts ‘we don’t know anything about anything’ or, at the other end of the scale, filled with totally unnecessary fluff and jargon.
Data, statistics, facts, figures, fluff, jargon, blah, blah…
These all amount to an uninteresting page, saturated with information that to most home movers, is irrelevant, typically hard to decipher and is certainly not engaging.
Fluff and jargon are your worst enemy when it comes to blog content. If you are under pressure, aren’t hugely creative (you can admit it – not everyone is blessed with good writing genes) or you simply have writers’ block, you can end up adding ‘content, for content’s sake’ and this is usually when the fluff and jargon muscles in.
I’m talking about you only adding content to your blog or news page because you know you should, and you want to complete this annoying task and tick it off your (long) to-do list.
Whilst it’s commendable that you’re actually adding content, you may as well not bother if you are only adding data, statistics and figures, because your content most likely contains details, information, and is written in industry language that is of no value whatsoever to your target audience.
It’s not just you! The struggle to create valuable, engaging content rather than regurgitating whatever data you can glean from your latest company report, is real.
Unfortunately, whilst you are smugly patting yourself on the back and congratulating yourself for spewing out 400 words to your blog, thinking that this is enough to make it look like you’ve spent loads of time creating an informative article, in reality, your content is more likely to be horrifically boring for your readers.
Here’s an example:
“Welcome to our blog.
Recent data has revealed that new properties listed on the market increased by 64% this month compared with last month, increasing from 30,000 to 49,200. In London new residential stock increased by 70%.
Contact us today and let us list your property!”
Those stats might be interesting to you, as an estate agent, involved with the industry. Of course you are interested in stats and facts. But I’m afraid most of your target audience is not.
Adding a lame ‘contact us’ sentence to close the post and try and make it personal does not cut it either.
This type of fluff and jargon will suffocate any real message and purpose you are hoping to achieve with your content and turn your reader off. It will certainly not help you achieve clear communication or lead your reader to the conclusion that you are knowledgeable.
Using jargon and industry terms when speaking directly to your target audience is a super-fast way not only to confuse them, but give them the impression that you are an overly pompous robot.
If you are inclined to argue that using industry terms is professional rather than pompous, then think about this. A study on ‘truth from language’ and published in the ‘Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin’ found that buzzwords and jargon are often perceived as untruths!
Yes, lies, pure lies!
This is definitely not going to paint a great picture when you are trying to gain the trust of potential clients!
Putting your clients’ needs first shows professionalism, and will help you strengthen relationships, not to mention your reputation, so don’t talk about data, facts and figures, spliced with industry jargon your potential clients don’t understand. It alienates them.
Instead, speak to your target audience on their level, in their language.
Technical jargon does not make you look smarter! Or in the words of Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Want to know more? I’ll be posting a new ‘Content Matters’ video later this week in which I’ll explain exactly how you can cut the fluff and jargon in five simple steps.