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  • | 9:57 a.m. December 27, 2013
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Tony Spano's publication has a circulation of 180,000, but he doesn't sell any advertising.

The Naples publisher produces custom magazines for Realtors and lets them sell their own ads to help defray the costs. It's a formula that's working as Spano now has 165 Realtors who buy and customize Your Home, a 32-page glossy magazine. That's up from 100,000 copies and 92 Realtors in May.

Realtors use Your Home magazine to market their services to the communities they serve. Spano's company creates content and sells the magazines for $2 each to Realtors who can customize and sell ads on the covers. Realtors agree to a one-year contract for six issues a year and a minimum press run of 500 copies.

With coverage all over Florida, Spano is expanding to Texas and California. “I'll be out in Beverly Hills in January for a couple of weeks,” he says. “It should be a flagship book.”

Spano is the longtime the publisher of Home & Design magazine in Naples, and that publication has been recovering smartly from the downturn with 348 pages in the winter edition. He's publishing a Sarasota edition in January, too, that will be 198 pages. “On the luxury side, everybody's busy,” Spano says, noting the construction boom in upscale neighborhoods. “The dirt trucks are back on the roads.”

But when the real estate market collapsed in Southwest Florida and advertising for Home & Design shrank, Spano came up with the idea for creating custom publications for Realtors. That's because even through the downturn Realtors spent as much as 30% of their marketing budgets on direct mail.

Spano grants exclusive magazine-distribution territories to Realtors so that they can differentiate themselves from their competitors with Your Home. In some cases, entire brokerage offices are signing up for the magazine, such as Premier Properties in Marco Island.

Eventually, Spano hopes to boost circulation of Your Home to the point where national advertisers want to buy space. He estimates circulation would need to rise to 500,000, but he notes that it's not a magic number.

To grow circulation, Spano has been busy promoting Your Home to Realtors across the country. “We went to both the California and the national [Realtor] show and things keep popping up from that,” Spano says. “We gave out over 1,000 samples at the national show.”

Spano says he'll be visiting with the Altman Brothers in January, a Los Angeles-based real estate firm with a reality show on television. “Everybody in real estate knows those guys,” Spano says.

In addition, Spano is establishing himself as the expert in residential real estate direct marketing. In conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service, Spano plans a series of seminars on effective direct-marketing strategies to Realtor boards.


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