Agent Resources

Local newspapers - are they worth the bother?

Sales of local newspapers are undoubtedly in decline and the formerly fat property supplements that are distributed inside them are now much slimmer. Does that mean you should ignore them as a marketing channel?

Not necessarily, but you do need to understand who is reading them. Many under 30s have never acquired the habit of buying the local newspaper each week. They get their local news digitally, if they are even interested in local news at all. It remains to be seen whether they develop the newspaper buying habit as they get older and have children in local schools.

Target the age group that reads the paper

Newspaper readership is therefore the province of an older age group. However, as long as you know the group that you are targeting, newspapers can be a very useful way to get your story across. The older age groups - let's say 40-year-olds and up, are more likely to own property, and as that group gets older, there could be a lot of downsizing, as people sell large family homes and seek smaller houses, flats or bungalows.

They will tend to read the local newspaper, and also to go for a more traditional style of agency business, with an office in town and people that can be spoken to in person. In fact, in smaller towns, those agents who are sole traders will be known personally to many people anyway. The key is to know the group you are aiming your marketing efforts at, and know whether or not they are reading the local paper.

Research the readership

One fairly pragmatic way is to look at the other agents in town and see who is consistently advertising in the paper. You'll know which of them has barely got a functioning website and which of them is advertising despite having a full internet presence. You’ll also know their business focus and this will help you to figure out who is getting results from targeting a newspaper readership.

More scientifically, you can also call the paper and ask them for readership profiles. Talk to the advertising team and ask them for background information on the demographics of the readership.

Take seasonal factors into account as well, particularly if your target buyers are older. They are less likely to be out and about in town during the winter and therefore less likely to see an office window display. Your only way of reaching them may be the board outside, the local paper and the local grapevine. Of these, the local grapevine is undoubtedly the most powerful, but as yet it doesn't accept adverts!

Source: Nethouseprices, 11/10/17

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