We are all looking for free or very cheap advertising ideas. I, especially, like those advertising ideas that are cheap, effective, and multipurposed. So, here's one I felt like I had to share with you…
Have 25 t-shirts printed with your name, your company name and logo, and a catchy slogan on them. The next time you need to put up a directional sign in someone's yard along the street, knock on their door and say something like this, " Hi, my name is Jane Listing Agent with My Company Rocks Realty. I'd like to offer you a bribe! [You've got their attention now] I just listed your neighbor's house around the corner at 123 Oak Street, and I really need to put a directional sign somewhere close to here so that my house will be easier for people to find when they are looking for it. I'd really appreciate your permission to put this sign in your yard near the street, and I have a 'Thank You' gift for you, if you will allow me to put my sign up in your yard." When you are through talking, hold up your t-shirt so they can see the front of it, and wait for a reply.
If they agree, and they likely will, hand them the shirt and ask if your ideal spot for the sign is acceptable to them. If they agree you are in business. If they don't then ask where an acceptable place for your sign would be.
I like this idea for several reasons. First and foremost, you just met someone, who is either a homeowner or tenant, who lives in the neighborhood where you have a house listed for sale. This is never a bad thing and it can lead to future business – who knows, maybe the tenant of this house on the corner would be interested in buying the house you just listed in his neighborhood. Second, you aren't asking for something for nothing. Third, that neighbor is going to wear your shirt around town and be a walking billboard for you. Your shirt will be worn to the local garden center, ballparks, and hardware store on the weekends giving you tons of cheap advertising (about $10 per shirt). Let's be honest for a second – That Rocks! Fourth, you have a directional sign body guard who will watch over your sign like it is a family member because it now "belongs" to both of you. That directional sign will not disappear if your neighbor can help it. Fifth, when you get the house sold, you now have another opportunity to establish contact and develop a relationship with that neighbor when you come by to take the sign up from their yard. Before you leave, don't forget to thank them again, give them a card, and tell them that if they or anyone they knows could ever use a good Realtor to please give you a call.
So, the next time you need permission to put up a sign, ask for it, but ask with the bribe of a free t-shirt. You'll get more "Yes" answers, you'll increase your brand awareness, and sell or list more houses because of it.