C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Eye Candy Plus ActiveRain = New Business


My friend Chris was kind eough to make this post availalbe for a re-blog. Enjoy!


Eye Candy Plus ActiveRain = New Business

Long Story Short: The resources that exist on the ActiveRain platform are second to none and are there for the taking, for those who look.

Eye Candy. Wikipedia’s answer is short and simple: Attractiveness.

A few other definitions include:

  • Emotional interest in someone or something
  • Any object or sight with considerable visual appeal
  • A graphic element that is used for design purposes and does not reinforce any content
  • Aesthetically pleasing web sites.

Olsen Ziegler Realty Just Sold Card Designed and Printed by ha media group

I first heard the term eye candy when I worked as a software engineer back in the early 1990s when a fellow software engineer and I were designing a user interface for a software product we were developing.

I have since thought of this phrase in many different aspects:

  • When I am preparing food for a nice dinner – Why just take a big spoon and slop vegetables down on the plate that may run into the sauce from another side dish instead of carefully presenting it for maximum desire?
  • Why wash and wax the car but not detail the inside of the car?
  • Why cut the grass and leave the lawn cuttings on the sidewalk as opposed to leaf-blowing them back onto the grass?
  • And a ton of other examples.
As it relates to real estate: I think eye candy matters, and I think it matters a lot. 

If it didn’t, I’m not sure Madison Avenue would be as powerful as it is. I am not undermining the value of content, that is equally as important.  But you can have the best product out there but if it either doesn’t catch someone’s attention, or causes someone a double-take to actually want to read the content, an opportunity is lost, plain and simple. 

My premise is simple:

If I am going to spend my own dollars creating something (usually having someone else create it as I will be the first to admit that I don’t have real creative juices to create eye candy), the visual appeal better look just as good as the message it conveys

Various HA Media Group Designs

ha media group designed and printed: just sold, just listed, business cards, animated gif for a website ad, and a 4'x4' marketing banner

  • If there is a disconnect between eye candy and content, I have failed.
  • If the eye candy pops but the content stinks, I’ve failed.
  • If the content rocks but the eye candy isn’t there, I’ve missed potential opportunities.
  • If the eye candy and the content rock, then I can't ask for anything more from this piece, the rest is up to me.  I would much rather be the cause of failure than having some other artificial barrier exist that causes my dollars to be wasted and lose a potential opportunity when this can be easily remedied by hiring a professional.

To me, another similar analogy is: You get a fantastic new listing. The seller is very realistic, it is priced to sell. The seller is very accommodating. The home is in great condition in a in-demand area.  A sale is just around the corner. You are licking your chops.  The home has great furnishings and is staged well.  And then, the listing agent takes crappy photos.  Aims their point-and-shoot or DSLR at the window and underexposes the shot.  Or, it's blurry, or doesn't understand resolutions, DPI, brightness/contrast, shadows/highlights, levels, focal points, focal lengths, and/or puts all thumbnail size photos in the MLS (just saw this from a top agent for million dollar plus listing (we're in Cleveland after all, 1m+ is HUGE), and just flat out creates mediocre or substandard photos at best.  Because I see this on a regular basis, I know and you know this seller's best interest is not being served.  Because I have sat with buyers who have bypassed these properties because of bad photos, because I know the impact substandard marketing can have on a property, most agents would not dispute this premise. 

So...if that is true, wouldn't by extension, the same logic hold true regarding your own personal marketing that is attempting to yet garner more business?

What prompted this post?

I just got a new listing for a property that came about this way:

•    I read an AR post by Tanya Nouwens on a design of a postcard done by Jon and Inna Hardison of ha media group.  That post caused quite the conversation, and I instantly connected with the “eye candy” of this postcard.  See…to me…if the design didn’t capture my attention, I probably would have just quickly commented, and clicked onto the next post.  Because it captured my attention, I explored it further.
•    I just sold the home of an NFL Football player on the Cleveland Browns and thought I wanted to do something more than the typical boring Just Sold card I designed myself (or used equally boring templates from past brokerages) that seemed to seethe mediocrity – I mean, come on, how exciting can a Just Sold card be…
•    So I asked Jon and Inna Hardison to design a Just Sold for this property and the design was simply amazing, I thought it would really capture someone’s attention.
•    I mail out the Just Sold cards to the neighborhood where this home just sold.  
•    One of the neighborhood owners gives it to a friend of theirs.
•    This friend views the card, my website, and calls me.
•    Her daughter has a home to sell which just expired off the market.
•    I chat with the mom, who gets to pick the REALTOR this time.
•    Everyone meets at the subject property and I get the listing.

I can hear the refrain already: Big deal, a listing from a Just Sold card, it’s a #s game, and eventually, business results as a direct result of our marketing efforts.  While that logic is sound, I wonder if the above sequence of events would have occurred if it were a basic design and flimsy, matte card stock with generic, call me type of text? 

While anyone can argue both sides of this issue, my question is:

If you have the ability to cost-effectively create a professional, high-quality marketing piece with an award-winning graphic designer, versus rolling your own, and the cost difference is inconsequential (after all, you aren’t designing a custom website with 200 hours of labor), why in the world would you not want to increase your quality of your presentation and/or personal marketing materials? 

Presentation Matters...Presentation Matters...Presentation Matters...

Whether it’s a Just Sold, For Sale Flier, Company Profile, etc., the brokerage that you work for has probably spent big bucks designing their corporate logo, etc., to help make you look good, branded, official, etc. being part of this brokerage, why wouldn’t you then extend it into the realm of your personal marketing?

As an aside, I was having an open house today at a new listing of mine, and one of the main reasons I obtained this listing was because the seller found me on StagedHomes.com as a staging professional and was impressed with our staging capabilities -- another reinforcement that presentation matters.

I had this Just Sold at the open house in case a potential neighbor stopped by and decided to check out the quality of my marketing materials, etc., and a buyer happened to pick it up, and he said, and I quote:

“This postcard is awesome, thick, shiny and professional, this thing is incredible.  I’m thinking of selling my home.  I’ve never seen anything look this good.  I’m impressed  with the quality of your marketing, can you please stop by my house this week?”

(ps. I haven't even talked about ha media group's printing prices and quality -- also 2nd to none -- and I have used many printers).

So I ask again: If this were some cheesy, flimsy, matte, home printer type of quality, I wonder if I would have this new listing and also this new listing appointment scheduled? 

Maybe yes, maybe no, but in this market:

Every bit helps...

and anything I can cost-effectively do to up my game, I'm there!

Best of all:

All this came about because of a featured post on ActiveRain and the subsequent networking which ensued.



Disclaimer: I receive no financial benefit from this post or recommending other ActiveRain service providers.

Chris Olsen, Broker, Owner, REALTOR
Olsen Ziegler Realty
Cell: 216.702.0537
Serving the Greater Cleveland, Ohio Residential Real Estate Marketplace

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Comment balloon 5 commentsC Tann-Starr • August 02 2010 10:33AM


C..... Amen to presentation counts!  The first thing that hits people is the visual impact.  If it is visually appealing then they read the content and the content better measure up to the eye candy!

Posted by Carra & Shae Riley, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 9 years ago

Carra, I second that. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

Hi C. I missed this post of his and would not have  noticed if it you didn't reblog it. Thanks.

Posted by Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker, Florida and Washington Real Estate (Aloha Kai Real Estate) almost 9 years ago
Great testimonial from Chris. Too many agents fall into the do-it-yourself trap, not realizing that small increases in marketing production costs can lead to exponential returns.
Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) almost 9 years ago

Lana, Chris did a wonderful job. :-)

John, this is very true. Sometimes you just need to hire the right marketing and printing firm to do your graphics and help make your firm shine. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 9 years ago