Use Storytelling to Sell More Real Estate Online

The answer to an ongoing REALTOR® marketing struggle has been right under your nose for thousands of years.

How do you make people engaged with your marketing copy for longer or even long enough?

Let’s time travel back about 40,000 years.

Walking through the prehistoric forests of present-day Indonesia, you discover a small cave opening just as the sun is setting for the evening.

You climb into the cave. As you prepare for sleep, you have dozens of primitive thoughts running through your mind.

  • … “The sun was hiding behind clouds today.” …
  • … “I wish I had approached that group of cavemen to say hi.” …
  • … “That fish was yummy and really filling.” …

With nobody around to speak to – and feeling quite expressive – you get up and start drawing on the walls of the cave with your hands and whatever else you have with you.

You’re not the best artist, but you are able to express your “story” by doing this.

Hand outlines found on a cave wall in Indonesia are at least 39,900 years old

From our ancestors and their cave-wall canvases, to modern day authors, poets, directors AND MARKETERS – It’s human nature to communicate (and connect on a subconcsious level) via storytelling.

Storytelling is Marketing “Sugar”

The reason stories are exciting to marketers is simple. Here to help me explain it in as few words as possible, the legendary Mary Poppins:

“A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, in the most delightful way!”

A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down

Ms. Poppins’ point is clear: There are some things that we need – ie. medicine. We know it’s important, but taking medicine sucks. So why not soften the blow with a little somethin’ sweet?

Stories are the somethin’ sweet that will make the rest of your marketing medicine easy to swallow.


Applying Mary’s Quote to Real Estate Marketing

As a REALTOR®, you’re often tasked with publishing words – be it sales copy or creative writing.

Sometimes it’s on your website, sometimes it’s on a feature sheet. You could be writing words into a listing description or into a blog or social media post.

No matter where you’re publishing words, it’s time to look at how you can inject stories to keep people engaged and interested.

Example: Storytelling via Listing Description

In the screenshot below, I’ve taken a random listing description off the web (BEFORE) and have tweaked it to include story telling (AFTER.) 

Use storytelling to enhance real estate listings

I realize my version of the description on the right is unlike most real estate listing descriptions. That’s not because of any rules, it’s only because most agents don’t try to break he mold. You can and should!

Make Your Blogs More Readable & Interesting

The iconic copywriter, Joseph Sugarman, says in his book “Advertising Secrets of the Written Word“:

“The sole purpose of the first sentence in an advertisement is to get you to read the second sentence of the copy.”

He goes on to add that the purpose of the second line is to get you to read the third, the purpose of the third line is to get you to read the fourth.

So on and so forth until all your lines are finished and you’re asking people to take an action.

PS. Whether that action is to pick up the phone and call you, subscribe to your mailing list, or just share something to their social media, is up to you.

Keeping Mr. Sugarman and Ms. Poppins’ legendary marketing wisdom in mind, re-write one of your blog articles to include a story at the start.

When the good people at Buffer tried A/B testing one of their blog articles – one variation with a narrative story, the other variation without – they found some super awesome results:

The post with the narrative intro had nearly 300% more people scroll all the way to the bottom, and average time on page was more than five times higher! (Source)

So not only did their storytelling increase their post readership by an impressive margin, it also kept people on the page for much longer.

Buffer's Story vs No Story Test

Storytelling is not simply a guess, it is tried, tested and truly one of the best ways to increase your marketing power – and ultimately your sales.

Here are a few ways you can consider injecting stories into your real estate blog posts, no matter what they happen to be about:

  • Use Photos: use photos and imagery that help tell your story. For instance, in this blog post you’ve seen photos of cave drawings and Mary Poppins. Neither of those things have anything to do with the overall purpose of our blog (modern real estate marketing,) but they do help to get the message across to you, the reader!
  • Use Humans: If you’re writing a blog about why people should use a REALTOR®, start the article off with a brief anecdote that explains why person X should have worked with an agent. This paints a better picture than a bullet list of benefits and advantages.
  • Use Immersion: Is your blog article answering a question or a problem? Start the article by immersing readers in the story of WHY you decided to write it. Maybe you were sitting in your car at a red light when the answer to the question occurred to you. Place that mini-story at the start of your article, and lead on from there. You will surely hook more readers this way (with a spoon of sugar!)

These are three out of hundreds of unique and creative ways to inject storytelling into your real estate marketing.

Entire books and textbooks have been written on the topic, today’s Dojo article aims to open your eyes (and arms) to the possibilities.

I invite you to do your own research into the benefits of storytelling for marketing, and please share your own ideas and thoughts with us Ninjas.

if you found this Dojo post useful, please use the share buttons to pass it on to one REALTOR® you admire — and help spread the good Ninja name!

Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!

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