Creating a Custom Real Estate Publication has never been Easier or more Effective
For over 25 Years, Discover Publications has been streamlining its custom publication process to produce a finished product that appears complex to create, but with all the work done by us, for you. Reaching thousands (or tens of thousands) of homeowners, generating leads and listings, and ultimately dominating your market is what a custom “hyper-local” real estate publication is all about.
Farming can be a hassle
Our secret has always been to produce a finished piece that is tailor-made to be both effective and easy. We’ve constructed a process that enables us to do all the time-consuming work ourselves. Agents only need to be as involved as they want to be; agents spending ten minutes or ten hours on their publication both report that the end result is a very effective lead generator.
What is a Custom Publication?
A custom publication is a 12-page real estate paper printed on real newsprint, in full color. It contains articles and features designed to get engagement from families, boost brand awareness, and generate listings. Each publication is mailed “farming style” to all the homes in the entire geography an agent wants to dominate – excluding apartments and mobile homes (unless an agent chooses to include these properties). From writing and design, to mail list prep, to dealing with advertisers and collecting their payments, to sorting and delivery, here at Discover every aspect of the marketing process is handled by our team.
Discover provides ghost-written custom content, syndicated homeowner-focused articles, and custom features like Market Stats and Featured Homes. All of the content is high quality and geared toward listing prospects, and Discover has all 12 pages covered. Sometimes agents will bring articles they want featured in their paper, but they don’t have to. Readers can’t tell the difference between a ghost-written local story and one written by an agent, so most agents opt to let Discover do all the work for them.
Over the decades, we’ve learned to make the process as simple as a postcard mailing, so our top-producing clients can focus on more important business – like working their new leads.
Three easy steps to publishing your own publication
1. Select and Reserve your Market
Here at Discover, a custom publication can only be created for one real estate agent per Zip Code (although agents do not have to mail to the entire Zip). The first step is to find out if your territory is available. We take our total exclusivity policy very seriously; we’ve found that often when an agent begins a campaign in a Zip Code, many other agents start inquiring about doing a paper in the same area. If more than one local real estate paper is being delivered to homeowners, an agent’s effort at becoming a dominant local force will be challenged. Since 1993, we have never allowed any agent to farm in another agent’s territory.
After inquiring about the availability of your market, you will get a response within about one business hour. Once your questions have been answered and you’re ready to take the plunge, you can lock in up to five Zip Codes online with a $150 deposit. Your account manager will then conduct a 60-minute set up call with you, and you’ll be ready to begin your custom publication campaign.
2. Send Materials to your Designer
Next, Discover creates, assembles and designs your custom paper. Your designer and account manager understand the real estate business and geographic farming, and are well trained and experienced at branding you as the local expert. We just request a few materials from you to customize your paper effectively. It’s fast and easy.
The first publication takes a bit longer and requires more material from you (such as your logo, complete contact info, and the like), but after that it couldn’t be simpler. The materials we request for each edition includes:
- The addresses of any listings or solds you want to feature. This can be a simple MSL report, because we can pull the photos and listing descriptions offline.
- Any special statistics you want to include. This is optional, and would be in addition to or instead of the stats Discover can compile for you. Most agents do prefer to provide stats since Discover is only able to pull public data such as what is available on Zillow.
- Your preferences for the custom article topics. You receive two fully custom, ghost-written local articles in each edition. Topic suggestions are sent out every month to make your selections easy. Or, you can put this on auto-pilot with “ongoing” topics for each edition, such as a Market Update on the cover and Local Events inside.
Some agents don’t send a single thing to Discover – they empower their designers to pull their “best” listings online (according to the criteria they set), to create stats from public data, and to use running topics for the custom articles. The end result is a hyper-local, super-custom paper that took zero time for the agent to put together.
Once we have your materials (or your instructions about where to find the right material), your publication is created to ensure it is effective both in cementing you as the local expert and in generating listings. We keep brand awareness (generated through frequency and consistency) and thought leadership (generated through relevant content) forefront. A subtle but important distinction we often make is that Discover isn’t a publishing company; it’s a marketing company that publishes.
Some of our clients also choose to offset the cost of their paper by selling ads, which additionally helps forge and develop stronger partnerships with their vendors. Discover can work with you on this, if you choose.
Your custom publication is a phenomenal opportunity to engage the community by promoting seminars, special events and even local charities or volunteer organizations in the community. There are so many ways to benefit and make a difference when you become a local celebrity.
3. Dominate your Market
Once your paper is designed, simply approve the final proof and pay the bill. Discover then prints, sorts, and mails your custom publication according to your marketing calendar. During our set-up call, we’ll look at a map with you to determine where you want it to be mailed, and we handle it from there. In fact, while your paper was in the design process our mailing team was already at work purchasing, verifying, and scrubbing your list.
All that is left for you to do after you approve and pay is to receive, track, and respond to leads. Agents don’t usually see results on the very first mailing – like with any farming campaign, it does take time to build awareness and a generate a positive ROI. But the better your existing market presence is and the faster your particular market turns over, the better your results will be early on. But even if you are breaking into the market for the first time and it’s not a fast-turning one, with consistency your investment will eventually bear fruit.
Just like with postcards, early on many homeowners will indeed throw your publication right into the recycle bin as they sort through their mail. The power of a content-driven mailer over a one-liner postcard, however, is that once in a while an article about the housing market will grab their attention. Once in a while, your publication will earn a spot on the kitchen counter; and the first time a homeowner does this, you can bet they’ll pull aside all your future editions too.
Month after month, homeowners will come to read, enjoy, and then to look forward to your community real estate publication. It’s designed to look like you, our client, produced it from scratch – homeowners quickly begin to see you as a major, dominant outfit capable of publishing an entire local paper. And even if all you ever get from a homeowner is a flash across the eyes before your paper lands in the Green Bin, know that you are still making a lasting impression.
Publications are big and thick and look like little newspapers; they stand apart from from the many postcards and cheaper-looking mailers in the stack. The overwhelming response and results agents report underscores the effectiveness of marketing with a custom publication. True, it costs a little more than a postcard (although with one or two advertisers it could actually cost less); but the results are far better. Agents report an average ROI of 150% after one year, and 200-400% after two consecutive years of mailing (based on a 2017 survey).
Learn More Today
Curious if a custom publication is a fit for you, in your market? Or, do you have questions about the cost, process, or effectiveness? Give us a call at 877-872-3080 or contact us here, and we’ll be happy to assist.
Check your Territory
We love our community and we know you love yours. Check your territory and “Become a household name” in your part of the world.