The high cost of advertising with traditional media such as print and radio advertising has forced one startup real estate agency in Western Sydney to think out of the box.
Out of frustration, the newly set-up Penrith Mooney Real Estate agency has come up with a clever approach in promoting their business through a community-based program known as the “Schools Matter” campaign.
“As a new company (the business started just seven months ago), we wanted to create a marketing campaign that would not only revolve around our target market but also something that is community focused. Something that aligns with our core business values while giving us a huge amount of brand awareness,” Peggy Willcox, the agency’s founder, told Elite Agent in an interview.
“This [idea] came about after several months of looking into every and any type of local advertising including radio, billboards, toilet doors. Literally, everything that was available. The main turning point was when I received a $35,000 quote for three months worth of radio advertising on Triple M. Being a very feminine brand Triple M didn’t meet our criteria and felt too risky for us.
“I came up with the “Schools Matter” campaign, and it just felt like it worked straight away,” she said.
The promotion began on the first of February (when local schools went back after Christmas) asking for parents and community members to nominate a Penrith LGA school who needed extra funding. Within 24 hours, says Willcox, they had almost 200 nominations asking for assistance in funding air-conditioning in classrooms and libraries. “Penrith has been reaching temperatures of 45 degrees over the last month, so the heat is a huge concern for parents at the moment,” say Willcox.
The next phase of the competition will be the voting period, in which all nominated schools will receive a marketing pack including flyers, banners and pictures for inclusion in school newsletters and online.
Willcox said the campaign was still in its infancy but up to this point their social media posts had been shared 93 times and reached over 13,300 people.
“Our whole agency has been created with the tagline “Real Estate As it Should be”. In my past real estate experience, I couldn’t help but feel like there was always a disconnection between our clients and the agents. I would see property managers hiding behind desks to avoid seeing tenants and landlords, I would have urgent property management calls coming to my mobile over Christmas after a roof caved in and the tenants couldn’t reach anyone other than me.
“Our whole philosophy of business has grown out from that one simple idea, we are transparent, we offer what we believe to be fairer fees, and we try to relate to our clients as much as possible.
“We have also branded ourselves in a very feminine direction, our name itself is in tribute to Elizabeth Mooney who was the first licensed female real estate agent in NSW,” she said.
Willcox said at the moment, the majority of her referrals came from mums groups on Facebook which meant all her campaigns had to appeal to mothers. As such it made sense for to give a prize to schools instead of individuals as this approached wouldn’t have created much reach.
“Going into business for myself it also gave me the ability to outlaw cold calling and door knocking, I know it works for some, but I have honestly never heard a single community member be happy that they received a cold call or agent knock on their door. Instead, I watch them post warnings on community pages cautioning residents that a door knocker is in the area! So why do we still do it? I can proudly say I have gone seven months without using these techniques and hope to be able never to use them again.
“People are more likely to get on board when they can see that it is a community initiative and ultimately we get to make a small difference in our community which is amazing,” she said.
Willcox said the campaign would be a yearly affair going forward, and if business continues at the trend that it is currently going, she plans to increase the prize offering for next year.
For this year, the school with the most votes will win $10,000 with a second prize of $3,000 and a third prize of $2,000.
“Again, this will create an enormous amount of traffic to our website with each able to vote once per day per IP address,” she said.
Willcox’s “Schools Matter” will end on March 31 while prizes will be given on July 1.
To find out more about the campaign visit mooneyre.com.au.