There’s always something to howl about

Custom signs, week two . . .

Okay, now we have the full treatment, a big sign at 24×36″ plus the two smaller signs. The two custom signs were made at one-sixth scale in QuarkXPress, then scaled up in Illustrator, then rasterized at 300 DPI in PhotoShop. I want to do it differently the next time, because I think I’m losing too much saturation in these steps. I think if I save the photos as PhotoShop CMYK EPS files, then scale and rasterize in the same pass when I come back to PhotoShop, I can retain all the color from the original photos. The finished raster for the big sign is 449 megabytes. These had to move on CD-ROM by sneakernet. It would have been too slow to FTP them — and I have a 3MBS broadband connection. Turnaround at the sign printer: 28 hours. Color is spot-on, so if I get it right on my end, I’ll have it right on theirs.

The ‘For Sale!’ snipe is Richard Riccelli, who argues that you can’t be too clear about your objectives. I think the headline and body copy are too small. (You’re seeing this at about 21.67% scale.) I can stretch the headline, but I’ll have to cut the word count on the body copy. You have to be able to read it when you’re sitting in your car near the sign, and I think I’m just a little too small for that right now.

But: It does what I want it to do: It stops traffic. I sat up the street and watched people. Most slow down to check it out, and many stop to read it and pull the flyer. This is good for our seller and good for us.

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10 Comments so far

  1. Nathan Hughes August 19th, 2006 11:28 am

    My gut reaction was to be concerned with the amount of information on the sign and how readable it would be.

    The concern with having too much info is only real if the target customers are not able or willing to take in the information. But, if people are stopping to read it, then that demonstrates how effective the sign is.

    Congrats on a successful field test!

  2. Greg Swann August 19th, 2006 12:16 pm

    Thanks. Follow this link to our underlying sign philosophy. Another advantage we pick up by working this way: We can try different things with each sign. In a year, we’ll know what works and what doesn’t — for the first time in the history of real estate signs!

  3. Nathan Hughes August 19th, 2006 1:07 pm

    Nice. I like it. That’s what the industry needs, more well-thought out alternatives to the traditional approach.

  4. Greg Swann August 19th, 2006 1:16 pm

    Bingo! We may not always be right, but we have good maps to lead us into and out of error. A year from now, I want for us to be the last word on residential real estate marketing in Phoenix. Not the biggest — there are only two of us so far — just the best.

  5. Richard Riccelli August 19th, 2006 2:26 pm

    I should be careful with my free advice … is it just me, but does the FOR SALE snipe have the unfortunate effect of making it look like Odysseus is what’s being offered? A bargain I’m sure at $270,000…

  6. Greg Swann August 19th, 2006 2:36 pm

    I want to test the middle sign without the dog. I want more house, and the house is behind the dog. It’s a trade-off, because we know the dog pulls eyes, but I think the house could, too. In any case, I’m out there as a correspondence course student from the Riccelli School of Market Research, spying on the passersby from two blocks away. I end up making calls and doing paperwork from the car so I can see what’s happening with the signs. The gross idea works. We’ll need a lot more granularity to judge the particulars, and I may yet end up with a frolicking clipboard, so I can compare apples to apples.

  7. […] Greg shows off his custom signs. I think these are brilliant marketing moves and every agent should look for ways to market themselves through their listings. Beautiful stuff… […]

  8. […] Yes, deciding against the practice of dual agency creates new problems, but they’re problems for us rather than for our clients. We now refer out sign calls, and we try to have another agent from a different brokerage with us when we hold open houses. We know we’ll never gross more than half the commission on any home we represent, and we probably lose buyer clients by not becoming a buyer’s rep when we get a sign call or meet an open house prospect (which by the way, are two of the very reasons, from an agent’s typical point of view, to hold open houses and to promote themselves as compared to the house on their For Sale signs). But the law of agency calls for putting our clients’ interests before our own, and this is core to our business — in action as well as words. […]

  9. […] My own thoughts on real estate signs are well-documented by now, but I just can’t get enough of making fun of these little riders. Everything sells something: Not just dumb, but palpably cheap… […]

  10. […] I am taking of course about Bloodhound Realty’s Sign Philosophy. Mr. Swann has blogged about the evolution of his signing philosophy and related marketing efforts, more than once during the past year. I was driving around my neighborhood this week, looking at the homes on the market, and it really hit home. I almost felt like howling at the houses on my block “Where is Greg when you need him?” The vast majority of the “for sale” signs in my neighborhood, are the usual boring rectangular shape and size. It’s sad because the most interesting yard signs in my neighborhood are from Redfin (memorable because of its non-rectangular shape and the BUY ME “button” on the sign) and from Plateau Real Estate, a small & local company down the street from me, (memorable because it’s logo has gradient greens and a unique font). It’s not like Redfin’s logo and Plateau’s signs are that great, but at least they stand out amidst an ocean of boring, rectangular, monochromatic signs from most of the big and independent brokers in the area. […]