Why You Need to Market Your Home Like a Hamburger

 A really bad picture of a hamburger. Don't market your home like this.

A really bad picture of a hamburger. Don't market your home like this.

Homeowners: you want to sell your home, right?

Let's talk about the place of professional real estate photography in that process.

But first—a story about food.

Food Fauxtography

Not long ago I took one of my boys to a hamburger franchise for lunch. He ordered a bacon-double-something-or-other and before he could destroy it, I said, "Hey wait, bud—I need to take a picture of that." 

I opened the wrapper and set the sandwich on the table near a window (lots of light), then took a couple quick snaps with my iPhone. That's my "art" at the top of this article and in the, um, fake promotion below.

If I saw a picture like that featured in a restaurant window, I'd keep driving. You would, too.

Now take a look at the food photography featured on some popular fast food restaurant websites: herehere, and here. Go ahead.

You'll quickly notice that the food in those pictures doesn't look like mine.

No, the food on those sites looks enticing and appetizing—like things you'd want to pay your hard-earned money to eat.

When those sandwiches were photographed, you can bet the marketing teams hired chefs, food stylists, and professional food photographers. After the photographs were made, they finished the job with professional copywriters and web designers.

McDonald's alone spent over $830 million on advertising and marketing in 2015.

No one at McDonald's corporate said, "Hey—let's save a few bucks and let the restaurants handle their own marketing. Every manager has an iPhone, right? They can take their own pictures and make their own websites."

Why?

Because they know great photography sells.

They also know cheap photography and bad marketing will hurt their business and damage their brand.

Photography Sells... Everything

Of course, fast food executives aren't the only ones who know that great photography sells.

Think about the kinds of pictures you see when you shop. Any store you walk into and any site you shop from probably uses great photography.

Virtually every retailer or brand—whether they're selling luxury goods or household necessities—uses professional photography: Wal-Mart, Harley-Davidson, Amazon, Macy's, A&F, IKEA, Rolex, Coca-Cola, Nike, Tiffany, Kroger.

Why?

You guessed it: they know great photography sells

And they also know cheap photography and bad marketing will hurt their business and damage their brand.

Even when you're selling your own stuff, you want great photography. Online auction site eBay has a guide to help sellers make better listing photos. eBay has run the numbers and they know auctions with good photos sell.

Bringing It Home

Here's the truth: successful businesses use great photography to attract buyers.

And that brings us back to our topic, real estate photography.

Browse through the listings in your area on Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia, and you're likely to see a lot of homes listed with... not very good photography.

In fact, there are entire websites dedicated to bad MLS photos.

Some of these bad photos are taken by agents with cell phones. Some of these bad photos are taken by agents with Really Nice Cameras. But the bottom line is that they're just bad photos, no matter what kind of camera was used.

And that's a shame.

Market Like McDonald's

When buyers are looking at homes online, they start by looking at pictures.

 Interior kitchen photograph for real estate marketing :: Illinois Home Photography, Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Interior kitchen photograph for real estate marketing :: Illinois Home Photography, Michael Gowin, Lincoln, IL

Getting your home to stand out in a sea of houses is a lot easier when the photos are clean, uncluttered, well lit, and well composed.

In other words, great photography can get your home noticed. The shortest path between you and great pictures of your home is a professional real estate photographer.

 Exterior home photograph for real estate marketing :: Illinois Home Photography, Lincoln, IL, Michael Gowin

Exterior home photograph for real estate marketing :: Illinois Home Photography, Lincoln, IL, Michael Gowin

If you're in central Illinois, drop me a line and let's get some great pictures for you.

Posted on June 20, 2016 .