Luxury Home Marketing Tips

Have you met the HENRYs?

If not, let us introduce you. The HENRYs are High-Earners-Not-Yet-Rich households who represent an increasingly important consumer group with strong spending power today and the potential of becoming wealthy. Not defined by age or occupation, they are identified by income. HENRY’s represent a growing group of homebuyers who, in many cases, can afford high-end homes.

Defined as consumers with combined household incomes between $100,000 and $250,000, HENRYs come in all age groups (no, they are not all young). They are excellent prospects for luxury home purchases, beginning at the entry level of luxury and moving up. About 25 million U. S. households fall into this category. That’s about 20% of total households. More important, HENRYs make up about 90% of the affluent consumer market.


HENRY’s are also a key market segment for luxury Realtors. In almost any spending category, the affluent top 20 percent account for about 40 percent of total consumer spending, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this group may not be buyers and sellers of homes in the double digit millions, they are often buying in the top 10% of the market. And – they may get richer!

Here are a few characteristics of HENRYs which Unity Marketing has identified:

  • They appreciate a high level of service and want to work with pleasant people
  • They respond to stories. What stories are you telling about your listings?
  • They are executives and managers and they don’t leave their smarts at the office. They are careful buyers and their bragging rights come from making a good deal. So, think VALUE and remember that a good deal isn’t always lowest price. 
  • They buy premium products. Is your service premium or standard?

How do you find them? How about using one of your Institute for Luxury Home Marketing member benefits to acquire target lists of HENRYs in the geographic areas you serve. You can select by income, education level, family size and other criteria. Then, farm the list with a market update report, and other information rich materials. HENRYs represent great potential in the high-end market for SLREPs (Successful Luxury Real Estate Professionals)!

Losing buyers due to poor headlines?

NowhereCreating a compelling headline requires more thought than using the street address as your property marketing headline. In fact, using the street address as the headline is one of the biggest mistakes real estate professionals make. It’s also ineffective. Unless the address is the most important thing about the home (1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for instance), use the street address elsewhere in your copy and begin to tell the home’s unique story in your headline. For instance, which headline is more likely to generate interest?

“7432 Johnson Drive”
“Just featured in Architectural Digest...yet only $750,000.”

Will a reader be more likely to want to know more about,

“1030 Edgewood”
“Small house, small price, BIG yard!”

Don’t be afraid of long headlines or long copy. If it’s good copy, it will be more effective than short copy. Yes, really. Advertising research backs this up, especially if you are writing about a product – like a property listing - that not everyone is familiar with. We’ve been taught in real estate to keep copy short, when in fact, we’d be creating more effective marketing pieces if we’d work to tell a compelling story about the home with plenty of descriptive copy. Here’s a combination headline and sub-headline that illustrates these principles. 

Your offer to buy must come with this promise:

  • I will appreciate the sweeping lake views, 
  • I will open the master bedroom wall and sleep under the stars, 
  • I promise not to gloat too much over the $445,000 price reduction!

This is likely to be more effective at attracting a buyer than, “1657 Hill Crest Lane.”

As you write your copy, do break long copy into short paragraphs and use some bold paragraph headings to help tell the story and create visual interest. Also, be sure there is plenty of white space between the lines. You can even use long copy online, if you format it so that it is reader friendly. Obviously your MLS descriptions have to be short. But don’t use MLS blurbs elsewhere, instead use good selling copy.

You should be getting the idea. In summary, headlines should begin to tell the story of your listing and should create curiosity. One advertising text book says that your headline should capture the reader and make them want to read the subhead and the subhead should pull the reader in to read the body copy.

Think about it this way: every home has a story and it’s your job to tell it in a compelling way. The headline is how you grab the reader’s attention by sharing something important about your listing. And once you’ve captured attention, don’t be afraid to use enough copy to weave your home’s story. After all, stories sell.

A mini-movie for Valentine's Day

Romancing your listings is something we teach in our Institute for Luxury Home Marketing two-day training class. Other purveyors of luxury products and services strive to romance their products, too.

Since today is Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d share a marketing mini-movie with you, one that’s all about romance. Here is uber- jeweler Cartier’s latest mini-movie (actually, it is a composite of three mini-movies which you can also view individually):

(View video on YouTube)

In our opinion, Cartier knows how to tell an effective story that ties emotion and their jewelry together with a big red bow.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Benchmark your real estate marketing against North America’s award winners

Each year in advance of our ILHM Leaders in Luxury (LIL) event -- for members who have achieved Million Dollar Guild status by working successfully at the million dollar and above price point -- we invite attendees to submit their best marketing efforts. Last year in Seattle over one hundred and twenty North American professionals specializing in luxury real estate gathered for networking, educational sessions and to see how their marketing techniques compare to the best in the business.

Here’s our list of award winners from last year– those we think are setting the benchmark for outstanding marketing. 

  • Best Property Marketing
    Ed Kaminsky of Shorewood Realtors, Manhattan Beach (CA)

  • Best Personal Marketing with Emphasis on Agent Branding (a tie)
    Collette Gerber of RE/MAX Select Properties, Vancouver (BC)
    Raziel Ungar of Burlingame Properties, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Burlingame (CA)

  • Best Market Update Report
    Friley Saucier of Premier Sotheby’s International Real Estate, Naples (FL)

  • Outstanding Personal Achievement (a tie)
    Mike Brodie of Keller Williams Realty, Plano (TX)
    Diane Kink of The Kink Team, Keller Williams, the Woodlands (TX)

If you are planning to attend Leaders in Luxury this October 28-30 in Denver, be sure to submit your Marketing Awards entry so that we receive it by Tuesday, September 30th. You may be this year’s winner!

MarketingAwardsColette Gerber’s property marketing cards
are oversized and feature outstanding copy.  
Mailing them in an envelope adds perceived value.

ILHM members who’d like to take a close look at the winning entries should tune into our end-of-summer webinar on Thursday, September 4, 2014 when Laurie Moore-Moore will review the winners’ entries. Watch our email for the webinar invitation and register.

Tune into the webinar for more details.

Every home has a story

It’s your job to tell it well.


Luxury residences come in a variety of styles and sizes, from a fantasy forest castle to a home with its own observatory. Take a look at these six homes and think about how you would tell the story of each of these unique properties, if you were tasked with marketing them. Remember, marketing is story telling and the listing agent’s job is to tell a home’s story in a compelling way, to best prospect groups, in the right media.

These six homes may have obvious stories to tell, but look closely at your listings. List the positives, list the negatives, and ask yourself, “What can I say about this home that can’t be said about competing properties?” Do this and you’ll be well on your way to finding the marketing story that will result in a successful sale. You may also want to take a peek at this NYC penthouse condo. Note how the captions under the photos help reinforce the story and how curiosity (A room for dirt?) is used to make you want to know more. Practice your story telling and live happily ever after.

50 Outdoor Living Ideas to Help You Stage Your Listings

PoolhouseAs warm weather arrives, home buyers focus on the outdoor lifestyle a home offers.  Just as you work to make the indoor areas appealing, take some tips from this House Beautiful online feature.  

You’ll find ideas for staging patios, garden rooms, pools and other outdoor areas so effectively that buyers may say, “I want to make an offer!” 

Are Your Listing Photos Swipeable?

If you don't have professional quality photos that tell the lifestyle story of every home you are marketing, you are doing yourself and your sellers a disservice.  End of story.

Have you looked at the key role that GOOD photographs play in connecting with buyers on's new Doorsteps Swipe app?  You should.  Especially if you are looking to connect with Gen X, Gen Y, or Millennial buyers. 

Doorsteps Swipe is a good example of the changing ways in which buyers and sellers are being exposed to and interacting with your marketing information. 


Delivering Good Service: What are your affluent clients' expectations?

As luxury real estate professionals, we strive to provide our clients with outstanding service. Understanding a client's values and expectations is essential to meeting and exceeding their expectations, as is knowing the measures they will use to evaluate the service they receive.

What do the affluent expect?

Based on a new report by Vanguard and the Spectrem Group, it would appear that they expect communication & competence.

If you've completed our CLHMS Training this should sound very familiar!  

While the report looks at the affluent and their relationships with investment advisors, their expectations for real estate professionals are very similar.  

Communication & Competence

As we can see, the two most important criteria are:

  1. Returning phone calls in a timely manner (Communication!)
  2. Providing good ideas and advice (Competence!)

What does "in a timely manner" really mean?


Pretty darn quick.  As we can see in the chart above, among the Ultra-High-Net-Worth, almost a third of them expect a return call or email within two hours.  In almost all cases, a response two days later is a losing proposition.

The takeaways?  

Discuss and know your clients' expectations on communication.  As you begin to work with a buyer or seller, they will have expectations and preferences about communication. Ask, “How would you like me to communicate with you and how frequently?”  Also establish their expectations as to response time.

They may ask for a weekly phone call and an additional call when something important occurs. Or, they prefer that the principal form of contact be a weekly email with a phone call as necessary. Whatever their preference, it is important for you to be aware of it. If you have a specific communication schedule, share that with them. “I call my sellers every Monday night between 6:00 and 8:00. Will that work for you?” If they tell you that’s when they play bridge at the club, you’ll need to agree on another communication schedule. In short, agree as to when and how you’ll stay in touch. The relationship will benefit and they’ll feel more positive about you and
your service.

 Communicate your knowledge and expertise.  When working with the affluent, success comes not from who you know, but WHAT you know.  Be an expert.  Advise your clients from a position of knowledge and expertise, and you will be rewarded with their trust and loyalty. 

It's a Shark Tank out there...will your property pitch get the home sold?

Here's a short radio interview with Jules Peiri, founder and CEO of The Grommet and business pitch expert:  


In a nutshell: Jules Peiri has heard more pitches than any of us.  She knows what makes a good one.

She visits Harvard twice a month to hear pitches from MBAs.  According to her, 90% of them make the same mistake: Not getting the basic point across quickly or clearly enough

Guess what?  
Most real estate agents are making this same mistake!

Her advice in a nutshell: Find a simple analogy that communicates the essence of your business and, "Use it right up front and repeat it many times."

Selling a home is very much like pitching a business idea.  
The key is to effectively communicate:

  • What you're offering
  • How it is unique and better
  • How it benefits your targeted audience (and you need to know your targeted audience!)

While real estate professionals may not  be "'pitching" the home to venture capitalists or reality TV show panels, an agent's marketing materials are essentially a pitch.  

Your HEADLINE is often the first and best opportunity to get your point across quickly.  Whatever you do, DO NOT waste it on the address.  

The only exception to this would be an address that itself tells a compelling story, like "1600 Pennsylvania Ave." or "15 Central Park West."  

 Use your headline to provide as much information to your targeted prospects as you can.  For example, how about an amazing home that is "too much" for the neighborhood?


 "Central Austin: Sexiest home in town. Priced Accordingly" tells a potential buyer a lot more about the property than, "1105 W. 31st St." doesn't it? It also begins to position the property effectively too.  Let's look at what's communicated with this headline:

  • "Central Austin" - The location/neighborhood. Obviously key criteria for a prospect.  It is not as specific as the address, but it doesn't have to be to be meaningful.  Remember, the full address can be provided anywhere in the piece. Don't waste the headline opportunity on it!  
  • "Sexiest home in town." - This is a real attention getter, and a strong claim to be making. With a headline like this, you know that there will be nothing average or typical about this property.  The property is likely to be an over-the-top, "show" home.  This statement WILL alienate some folks--those who are not likely to be real buyers of a home like this--and that's actually part of the reason for using it.  They are not prospects.  You don't want to waste their time or yours.  You want to reach the targeted prospects whose lifestyles match the property and will respond positively to this language.
  • "Priced Accordingly" - It's the sexiest and it has a price to match.  This tells us that this is an expensive home, probably more expensive than most or all of the other homes in the neighborhood.  If you like sexy and expensive, this will have your attention for sure.  If you don't like sexy and expensive, move along,  you are not going to buy this house anyway, regardless of price.   

8 words.  Look at how much has been communicated.  With this simple headline, we have a real sense of the home's "personality" and the personality of the likely buyer!  

Remember Pieri's advice? 
Find a simple analogy that communicates the essence of your business and, "Use it right up front and repeat it many times." 

This headline does exactly that.