Mistake 12 of 29: Overlooking the use of fish!​

In your quest for increased instruction numbers, have you ever considered the use of fish in your estate agency marketing?

I’m going to use the case of the Vietnamese Catfish to show you why hard copy print marketing is still 100% relevant in the digital age – possibly even more so!

I recently travelled to Manchester to attend a meeting with the MD of an estate agency. I was a little early and was asked to wait in the company’s foyer. On the coffee table was a copy of the local newspaper which I picked up to pass the time. One of the headlines on the front page related to a court case where a local fish and chip shop owner had been prosecuted for passing off cheap Vietnamese catfish as Cod. Wow! I never realized that practice happened – until of course I read the article!

Such an issue would never have been on my radar, had I not stumbled across what appeared to be a vaguely interesting article about something about which I had no pre-existing interest. Believe me, if I had not picked up that newspaper, I would certainly not have been Googling “Has anyone ever been prosecuted for selling dodgy fish?” to pass the time! The story was effectively “forced upon me”, but I didn’t complain, because it was interesting enough to hold my attention, albeit outside my usual field of interest.

That’s the point of hard copy editorial style marketing, as opposed to blatant advertising. Estate agents spend a lot of time and money trying to attract the interest of people keen to sell, which, in some ways, is too late, and their guard is up; nobody wants to be sold to. The moment you try to sell them something, they’ll avoid your advances unless you already have some form of relationship with them (which in respect of 90% of local homeowners, you probably do not!) Far better to waft (force) something that might be of interest in front of them, even though they may not have requested it.

And what better way to do this than via the local newspaper, or better still, your own advice sheet/newsletter, hand delivered to local residents? Maybe, just maybe, on its way to the bin, your headline might attract their attention.

A client of mine actually pulled out of the local newspaper in favour of his own newsletter (A3 folded to A4), which he fastidiously hand-delivered to 10,000 homes in his area every month for five years! It contained an advisory article on the front page, a promotional one on the back page, and various homes for sale in the centre-spread. He described it as his nuclear weapon for gaining instructions!

So while your competitors are ploughing everything into digital, how's your marketing looking - fishy enough?

Key point for today:

“Make your marketing material unavoidable and engaging, by wafting unexpected but interesting hard copy content in front of your target audience”

Have a great day,


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