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The Power Of Having A Tour URL/QR Code on a For Sale Sign Rider

November 21st, 2011

One of the big lessons I learned at from being an agent at JohnLScott.com  for 10 years in Issaquah, WA is that the marketing power of a simple rider sign with a direct link to a listing site is huge. Since about 1999 JohnLScott.com listings have had a simple 5 digit number for every listing. For example  the URL johnlscott.com/58639 takes you directly to a listing site for that listing. John L Scott supplies it’s agents with rider signs that have everything but the 5 digit number. Agents can then simply use sticky numbers to create a custom rider sign for each listing. This means agents can easily put the simple URLs on flyers and rider signs. This is a huge marketing advantage! Neighbors use the URL as well as potential buyers cruising through the neighborhood .

Today’s QR codes are simply and extendsion to  the general concept of having a simple URL that prospective buyers can write down or agents could put on flyers. My tracking of statistics of traffic from our listing pages indicates the benefits are huge. Nowadays anyone can get this same benefit by using a tour or property site that has a simple URL. And anyone can create a QR code from ANY URL with a site like createqrcode.appspot.com or other similar sites. Then just print the QR code and attach it to the rider sign.

I’ve recently had several exchanges with Realtors/Photographers that don’t understand the basics of how to use real estate for sale sign riders. I’d like to list some principles:

  1. Every listing should have a rider (24″x 6″ sign below the main For Sale sign) that gives both a simple URL and QR code that will take you directly to a tour/property site for the listing. I say both QR code and URL because why exclude anyone. Some will know what to do with the QR code and some won’t so a simple URL only expands the effectiveness of the rider.
  2. If you are a Realtor and your broker doesn’t have a way of providing a simple URL for you to use on a rider you need to be using a tour provider that does. For example pfretour.com/19 . There are many other tour providors that do the same thing. The main idea is you have to have a simple URL that prospective buyers can jot down if they don’t have a smart phone that can read the QR code.
  3. If you are a real estate photographer have part of your product a way to provide this kind of tour/rider sign to your client and be able explain why it’s important.
  4. For both Realtors and real estate photographers, creating a simple rider sign that has both the tour URL and the QR code is easy and inexpensive. Use a site like Supercheapsigns.com to create rider signs. They will create 100 signs for $1.25 USD each. Don’t have the number part of the URL or the QR code printed on the sign. Put it on afterwards so signs can be reused. Use transparent packing tape to attach numbers and QR codes. I used this approach for years in wet Seattle winters and it works great.
  5. Use electrical zip ties (available at any hardware store) to attach riders to the main for sale sign. Carry a power drill to make wholes for the zip ties.
You could use a “topper” signs as shown in the photo above but I find the rider approach works better because it’s easier to attach to any for sale sign. Based on my personal experience seeing how well these rider signs work any Realtor that isn’t using a URL rider sign is not marketing effectively. Real estate photographers can build this into their product and use it as an opportunity to help their clients market more effectively.
Update 11/22: John in the discussion below made me realize there is an angle that I didn’t mention. This is the URL shortener sites. If you’r not familiar with them you can take any long ugly URL ( like the URL for this post ) and shorten it to something like  bit.ly/vzoD2G.  This was done at the site bitly.com. This could work nicely on a sign rider although there are brand benefits to have the tour in your own domain (agent or photographer).
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10 Responses to “The Power Of Having A Tour URL/QR Code on a For Sale Sign Rider”

  • Another couple of good QR code creation sites are http://www.beqrious.com and http://www.qrstuff.com (you can create in different colors).

  • Great Post…get it “post” =D
    I think there can be a lot of synergy between agent/photographer advertising. If you have your photography domain on these signs its great advertising for you, the listing, the agent, and imho worth the price of making it for your agents ($20 here for an aluminum printed sign that can match their sign colors) as long as they use it. Where else can you stick a sign with your website on it for 2-8 months for @ $20…and thats just the first time they use it…

  • A much needed marketing tool, thanks for posting this – I’m already getting the word out to realtors/brokers!

  • It would be interesting to actually have some quantifiable data / analytics behind the adoption and usage rates of qr codes by both the realtors and potential home buyers. I’m willing to bet that the average person in a car is not going to drive next to the sign and pull out their smartphone to capture the qr code, or park their car and get up close enough to capture the qr code successfully. They are however, more likely to remember http://www.realtyco.com/5420, pull out their smartphone or a pad and paper and note the adress. This is why they work well together, and having a simple qr code is not enough. Not only does it alienate those without smartphones, I’d bet they are actually allot less effective, especially when used alone. Another thing to consider is to list the direct link to the “full quality pictures / tour” on the mobile site, that way potential home buyers that are seriously interested in the home aren’t just limited / subjected to seeing only the mobile version when they capture the qr code etc – they’ll be able to also check out the “full quality pictures / tour” when they get home on their PC.

  • We have seen agents that have their tours on Youtube include a rider that says “Enter Address in YouTube to See Tour”.

  • @John- Thanks for bringing that up. Yes you could do that but to me even the shortened the .be YouTube addresses are a bit long for my taste. A very simple solution that I’d not thought of until you suggested YouTube. Is one could easily use on of the URL shortening services that all Twitter users are familiar with like bitly.com or goo.gl or others to get VERY short URLs for ANY page. For example the URL for the post is http://bit.ly/vzoD2G Pretty clean a useable for a rider or topper sign!

  • I agree with Dtsilver that the use of a QR code on a yard sign would not be usefull. But, I feel it could be beneficial using it on home sales flyers and brouchures. I do like the the idea on using a rider or topper sign with direct URL on it. I may be wrong, but, didn’t I read a post here not too long ago that indicated that QR codes was just a fad and is dying?

  • I had tried a qr code along with a sign rider a few years ago, and nobody scanned the code. it was too new then. But it should be fairly recognizable now.

    As far as the riders, I have been using steel riders and magnetic numbers for about 4 years now. It works great.

  • One huge issue with Realtors is many use QR Codes incorrectly. They are designed to bridge PRINT with MOBILE. They’re not effective used on a website (what’s the point? – just click on a link). They’re NOT effective if they don’t take the viewer to a MOBILE optimized site. Many just link to their regular old, huge, wide website. That’s a waste.

    I see many agents putting QR Codes in the square on their newspaper classified ad… fits perfectly!

    Perfect for flyers and listing sheets left in the home for buyers to take with them. I have two video samples on the back of my business card with QR codes.

    A source I’ve used for a couple of years is “StickerScan.com”… started by a former (or maybe current) RE/MAX agent. It’s all things QR and prices are very reasonable.

    Adding a QR code to marketing costs absolutely nothing. Why not do it? They’re being used more and more. I just read that some major airports in the US are putting up a wall with merchandise for sale and QR codes where people can buy a Xmas gift just by scanning the QR code on the wall – instantly! Best Buy has them on every price tag in every store. There is a QR code on almost every page of any car magazine publlshed out there… They’re becoming more and more prevalent in the real world in the US (finally),

  • Just today I was looking at a local real estate publication and came across an ad with QR codes. Unfortunately, the codes were pasted over the already too small picture of the property being advertised. It doesn’t seem very useful if applied like that. Is optimizing photos and advertising for mobile devices a good idea? Tablets have a small but reasonable viewing area for some things, but I’ve never found the screen on a phone very good for presenting anything more than a closeup shot. I recall a friend showing me the photo he took on his iPhone of the view from the top of Mt. Whitney. All I could say was “Wow, what a useless picture.”

    I would really want to drive people to viewing real estate photos I took to a desktop PC with a good sized monitor or at least a laptop.

    I do like the idea of creating a page for properties as an add on service. I already have plenty of web space and with a good template, it wouldn’t take very long.

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