ANGELA SMITH – ‘Enhanced’ program

In an effort to capture a larger share of the luxury market and offer a service to specifically target high-end buyers, one in-state real estate firm has launched a new, targeted marketing strategy.

New Haven-based The Beazley Co. began its marketing program for the luxury homes market in the spring, and it has been gradually attracting attention.

“The ‘Signature Properties’ program is designed to offer high-end sellers attractive, professional marketing materials for their property combined with an effective direct mail and advertising plan that reaches qualified prospective buyers,” explained Greg Scott, company president.

Homeowners that enroll in Signature Properties receive enhanced marketing that includes custom brochures and direct-mail literature, an exclusive Signature Properties section of the company’s Web site and advertising in traditionally upscale publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Connecticut Magazine. The Signature Properties program was developed in cooperation with the company’s advertising agency, Mascola.

“We chose publications that target specific market areas to attract a broad range of potential buyers,” added Angela Smith, director of business development.

‘Strategic’ Plan

As to why Beazley decided to offer the service, Smith said that the firm wanted to offer something above and beyond its typical services to higher-end homes.

“We felt that we wanted to enhance the services that we provide the customers, and this is really an enhanced marketing program for our higher-end homes. Each property is going to be different and there are certain properties that require a little different attention, and now we offer that,” she said.

Homes entered into the program have to fit certain criteria in order to be eligible. According to the company’s Web site, a property “may be exceptionally high dollar value, interior appointments or a stunning water view. It could be a large amount of acreage, special historical significance or exquisite architecture. There are many ways of interpreting what a Signature Property is.”

Smith did not reveal the actual price range that a house must fit, but the properties currently listed in the program range from $695,000 to $2.3 million.

“There is a strategic advertising plan,” she said. “We want to target those buyers who we feel are going to be most interested in the property. A lot of properties are marketed locally, but this is taken to the next level. Brochures are sent out, postcards are distributed and there’s no cost to the seller until the property actually sells. This is an added feature.”

She added, “Really, this is more of an enhancement to our services. It’s not that you can’t offer these same services to another home, but this is specically designed to fit these properties and sellers.”

The program rolled out in April and has been slowly building over the last several months. Smith said that no statistics have been kept to determine whether the program has been taking the homes off the market faster or earning higher prices.

“The program is still new and the market is changing, so it’s too early to tell,” she said. However, she noted that high-end home sales have been somewhat slow throughout the region during the last year. Currently, the program has two homes on deposit.

“Obviously we’re working to always improve and try new things with the program,” said Smith. “It’s definitely something that we are proud to offer, and like every service that we have, whether it’s insurance or mortgage, we always provide it for the seller at their choice.”

While the program is an effort to increase the number of higher-end homes in Beazley’s portfolio, the company has been doing business in the area previously.

“It is important to note that this is not a separate luxury homes division of Beazley,” said Scott. He remarked that any Beazley Realtor can offer the program to his sellers. It is an optional program sellers in which may choose to enroll should they desire marketing that goes to the next level. There is no single price point for homes to qualify as a Signature Property. What is considered to be “high end” varies across local markets, so Beazley has established price ranges by town to use as a guideline.

Beazley also gives sellers the option to upgrade to the Signature Properties program at a later date. “Homeowners may not be interested when they first list their home,” Scott explained. “But the high-end market is beginning to stabilize, so we leave the door open and allow sellers to enroll in the program later on if they change their mind.”

“This consumer-oriented approach is exactly what we mean by our ‘just turn the key’ tagline,” said Smith. “‘Just turn the key’ is about providing an umbrella of homeownership services – such as mortgages, relocation, insurance, home warranty or the enhanced marketing of our Signature Properties program – and letting our clients select the services they need.”

Beazley also offers training for all associates that explains the marketing and advertising elements so associates are knowledgeable about the program and can present it to prospective sellers so that they can make the best decision about the marketing for their home. Beazley’s Signature Properties are featured in a special section of the company’s Web site.