Radio Ink: How did you get introduced to Rod Schwartz and radio industry?
Chris: I don’t remember exactly how I first met Rod but he sold me on the idea. He is a fantastic salesman who has fantastic ideas. He is a genius and can come up with really good stuff. Radio advertising is super-expensive compared to everything else that we do. At the time, I recognized that print was a dying medium and so much was going to Internet. Without the pay-to-play for leads, I was looking for something to build a stronger brand and personal recognition.
Radio Ink: Everyone told me when I was calling on realtors that you had to have pictures, so how are you able to paint a picture on the radio?
Chris: Rod is brilliant. I am only good at a couple of things and coming up with ideas is not one of them. One of the most successful ads is breaking out my difference in service, will your realtor do this, will he do that etc. If you say “no,” there is a realtor who will. That kind of mind-catching thing. I have been advertising with Rod 8-plus years. It is that top-of-mind awareness when you start to differentiate yourself in the market — that campaign was catchy and it explained the difference in service.
Radio Ink: How are you using radio?
Chris: I am doing 30- to 60-second spots consistently. I am not sure how many but it is a lot. I am using it on the AM news and their FM site — a blanket coverage. In this small market, I am spending close to a grand a month and have for probably eight years. It is that continual awareness. People don’t realize they are hearing it a lot of times.
Radio Ink: How do you know it is working?
Chris: Radio is one of those weird things. Nobody usually calls you up and says, “I heard your ad on the radio and I want you to sell my house.” I do now actually get people who say they heard the ad and could you come and talk to me. I figured out that it was working when my competitors started complaining about it. When they are complaining you know the message is out there. I will go to the doctor’s office for a check-up and they ask what you do. I say I am in real estate, and they will say, “Oh, you are that Chris Clark guy.” It’s those comments that let you know it is having an affect and people are hearing it.
Radio Ink: Are you voicing your own ads?
Chris: No. I did 100 years ago. I have some guy out of Canada voicing them.
Radio Ink: What advice do you have for other advertisers who may be on the fence about using radio?
Chris: My advice would be to come up with a good idea/campaign and realize this is not like buying leads from Zillow. It is a long-term commitment that you have to stick with a while to see the results.
Radio Ink: What are some specific things Rod does that make him stand out.
Chris: He is brilliant. We will meet and talk about what is going on in my world in the industry and he is great about shooting out the ideas. We hit the highlights of what I want and within a few days he has an ad written which needs little modification. Rod has been doing this so long that he knows what it takes to connect with the radio audience/listener.
Radio Ink: Are you getting called on by a lot of salespeople in all industries?
Chris: I own this brokerage with a partner and we are in three different cities (Lewiston-Clarkston, Moscow-Pullman area). I am continually being barraged with people selling advertising. If you are selling a print ad, it is hard to get my attention, because I know it is pretty much dead in this industry. We will do some “just listed” stuff in the Sunday newspaper. I do a little bit in the home magazines for my agents working in the outlying areas. I keep that to a minimum. I have been pitched quite a bit by the radio people in the Lewiston-Clarkston area, but I am not personally selling in that market. As far as using for top-of-mind awareness for my brokerage as a whole, I just got into that market. I bought out one of my merger competitors. I am trying to scale back on what I am doing before I decide on anything else.
Radio Ink: Are you using a lot of digital? What role does digital and social media play in your marketing?
Chris: Huge. We are constantly paying for website updates and lead capture. We have decided as an ownership group is more, the industry has changed a lot. The brokerage used to take a bigger piece of the pie; now it is the agents making the money and not a lot left over for the brokerage. Ten years ago you could sit in the office and wait for the phone to ring and get four calls or people to walk in. That is not the industry anymore. Most of our buyers are first finding out about a property using Zillow, Trulia, so you have to have an online presence. If you are buying leads from those online providers, it has to be direct to the agent whose pocket it is coming out of and those agents need to be responding to those leads in 10 seconds or less. That is how the lead-capture generation works. We are trying to do it from a more 30,000 feet top of mind awareness using social media to make them aware we are donating money to the foundation or doing that good deed etc. for more awareness of the brokerage, but not so much lead generating for individual buyers.
Radio Ink: Any final thoughts?
Chris: I am totally happy with Rod. I would not be doing this so many years later if I wasn’t. Radio is a funny medium. It is one of the least measurable things we do. For me, personally, I can say it has worked.
Do you have a sales success story you’re proud of? Help us help the industry tell the story about the tremendous power of radio. We’d love to write about your success story in the next issue of Radio Ink magazine. Send all the details to [email protected].