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Realtors using video may not have a competitive advantage

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For years, we’ve been writing about real estate video techniques, videographers and trends and long ago, tech writers agreed that it was the next “big thing” but we’ve all been waiting for the day to come that it really mattered. Some people have been putting a tremendous amount of effort into video for years while some are waiting to jump in until there is evidence that there is consumer demand.

The day is here! But why doesn’t everyone using video have a competitive advantage? Let’s break it down- new data from comScore on web video engagement reveals that the total American audience engaged in over 5.6 billion viewing sessions in May and 83% of all Americans watched an online video in May.

Users averaged 15.9 hours of video in the month with Google sites (aka YouTube) remaining the top video site with 147.2 million unique viewers, 2.17 billion viewing sessions, averaging five hours spent per view in May alone. This statistic is astonishing. The increase is not only because of smartphones now coming with YouTube apps built in, but better speeds on phones, both of which increase the mainstream adoption of web video.

VEVO followed with 60.4 million viewers (and 309 million viewing sessions), with Yahoo (55.5 million viewers) and Facebook (48.2 million viewers) taking the third and fourth spots, respectively. Viacom Digital came in fifth with 46.5 million viewers.

The concept that videos over two minutes fail to resonate with consumers is not true despite previously held notions as comScore reports the average web video watches is currently just over five minutes long.

Video and real estate

While a rise in consumer demand of video does not directly imply a rise in demand for real estate video, it is our belief that current data shows that the day has come that video is the next “big thing” and Realtors should be involved. The problem with real estate involvement in video is that it is impossible not to create a video that is an advertisement- for your listing, your team, your brokerage, your personal brand or otherwise, and the data does not necessarily support that consumers are demanding commercial video.

That said, Realtors using video do have a competitive advantage (with a caveat in the next paragraph) because of the amount of video being consumed putting them in the right place at the right time. Think of it as an online store opening a retail front as akin to a standard Realtor opening a web video channel. People know about the online store (or the concept of a Realtor) and are into it, they accept it, but they may not know or care yet about the new retail front (or web video channel) because they’re content with what they have, but as they go to more and more retail fronts (or web video channels), the likelihood of a connection rises over time.

Also, because of this rise of video demand, a shaky cell phone video of a dark walk through of a property with heavy breathing as a Realtor walks up the stairs won’t cut it anymore (unless it’s humor, of course). Bad video is becoming akin to a 1997 template website as consumers are more experienced with quality video, and the “oh he’s new to it, it’s okay” mentality is now gone and consumers are becoming less forgiving. The true advantage only goes to the agents who are implementing quality video.

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68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. David Pylyp

    June 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Very poor advise
    I have over a hundred videos that are real estate Toronto topical and searchable
    Have a look at YouTube. Search David Pylyp
    Video permits my prospect clients to look at me before I ever meet them.

    OOPs you are right. Agents should never use video to display their unique selling proposition or value for Homes west Toronto.

    Thank you. I will keep doing it myself.

    David Pylyp
    Accredited Senior Agent Working in Toronto

  2. BawldGuy

    June 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Hey Lani — I'm inches away from incorporating video in my business. I'm basing it on the same thing that has proven so predictably effective with the written word: Content that isn't laughable.

    If the typical agent is able to generate videos containing a couple levels above 'not laughable', I predict they'll be measurably successful. People are searching for expertise that will propel them towards the attainment of their own agendas. Most blogs and/or videos simply aren't gettin' that done, as measured by what I read here and elsewhere from agents themselves.

    Content still trumps pretty much everything else — in my opinion.

    I'd love to hear what others have to say, including you, AustinLady.

    • Matthew Leone

      June 20, 2011 at 11:32 am

      With over 900 videos since our debut of our video channel called Halstead ProperTV on our website halstead.com, we have experienced over 4.5 million total views to our video content that we syndicate to other sites and show on ours. We have sold properties from it, it is a virtual open house for a property tour. It is a 'get to know the agent before meeting them' with our agent video biographies. It is understanding the state of the market with our market report shows, and learning about a neighborhood with our neighborhood tours. Video is endless and provides us a clear return. It works and was the way of the future five years ago…it is the way you have to do business now. Check us out at halsteadproperTV.com.

  3. Artur | Phoenix Real Estate

    June 18, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    "The true advantage only goes to the agents who are implementing quality video." Replace video with anything and you can call it a true advantage: blogs, facebook, twitter, mailers, phone conversations, marketing plan, photos of properties, website…

  4. Ben Fisher

    June 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Been considering going into video marketing a bit more. Once I find a viable option that will make it quick and easy and not expensive I may give it a shot.

    • Artur | Phoenix Real Estate

      June 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      I've been using imovie on the mac. It's easy and quick and the quality is as good as you want: low or high – up to you.

  5. Christian Sterner

    June 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Great post Lani! I agree with Artur's comment as well: quality is the differentiator in real estate marketing overall. There's a lot happening with video at the top end, brand-level of the real estate industry, all leading into the direction of quality content.

    Where I would add a new element to the quality conversation going on here is that YouTube is not a video platform to be relied upon by professionals. It's statistically proven that YouTube itself accounts for very, very little of the views that occur on its site (for example, 60% of video views come directly from Google).

    YouTube does not find video content on people's websites and send traffic. YouTube is an aggregator where viewers come (mostly from elsewhere) and stay.

    WHERE videos are viewed matters a lot! When the real estate industry comes to realize the fact that videos properly indexed on their site is how conversions happen, we're going to see a lot more people using quality (and supported) video platforms.

  6. hermanchan.com

    June 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    u gotta truly enjoy doing video, or else the clips will fail. the camera don't lie!

    • stephanie crawford

      June 22, 2011 at 12:48 am

      I agree Herman. I've dipped my toe in with video, but I'm far more comfortable with screencasts than I am with the camera on yours truly. Scary stuff. And it totally comes across.

  7. Fred Light

    June 20, 2011 at 4:51 am

    It's always been about quality – but just as most Realtors are comfortable marketing a $500K property with dark, murky cell phone photos, they are just has comfortable marketing with shaky, nauseating, hand held "flip cam" videos. Sorry, the but the argument that consumers WANT raw, "real', footage is just B.S., but that's always the excuse I hear. Talk to the buyers – they'll tell you a very different story.

    Regarding the length of videos, the 2-3 minute rule may be applicable for cats in the dryer, but real estate property videos are not the same. If people are INTERESTED in potentially buying a property, they WILL watch a longer video. Many times more than once. It's like a first showing. Our videos are watched almost entirely through most of the time, and all are 4-7 minutes in length. Why? Because it's being watched by people seriously interested in BUYING the home, not by people looking for entertainment or decorating ideas.

  8. Greg Lyles

    June 20, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Agents can learn a lot about making videos from two sources: the pfre video for real estate group on Flickr and on vimeo.com where there are excellent tutorials on all aspects of making videos. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the Vimeo home page, you'll see the video school link.

    One agent who's doing it really well is Charlie Dresen. You can see his work at steamboatsmyhome.com.

  9. Corri Corey

    June 21, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Video is an interesting beast to tackle. When we moved our blog to primarily video, we didn't know what to expect. But, the feedback has been great and we are continuing to grow in viewership, it's just a matter of proper execution.

  10. Chris Stamey

    June 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Interesting article, I'm a professional videographer looking to possible get started in real estate video. I think everyone's right about quality, now days people want to see polished professional looking video. I also think video sharing sites like vimeo or exposureroom express quality. Youtube is an amazing search engine, but an embedded youtube video on a professional website screams low quality. Just my perspective.

    From an actually production side, I see a "real estate video" as a small feature film for the home. Use music and film tools like; dolly's, jib arms and camera stabilization to convey a "feeling" or story about the house. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think good creative visuals are far more powerful than some yapping voice-over. Here is an example I found, high production value & a nice watchable length vimeo.com/20696959

  11. Andrew Mooers

    October 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Consider your buyer is many states away for recreational land, waterfront vacation home, a victorian or farm property. Gas, time mean they are not so sure about the trip, new area and all. So the videos start with area, local community information. Then progress to the properties once you have the hailing frequency open, a channel found on their wavelength. The biggest critics of real estate video are not doing it. Or have one, two for their most expensive properties and that is all. Video, real video with 30 frames per second, natural sound and one on one friendliness is not death by Power Point and Kenny G or tinkling ivories only in the background. The audio is 40% of the video. Eyes AND ears more powerful, more remembered. They get better the more you shoot, edit, render, upload.

  12. Video Marketing Ideas For Real Estate Agents

    February 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Attracting homebuyers and home sellers to look and buy your properties, and to list their homes for sale with you is becoming harder and harder. Video marketing helps the agents and real estate companies to stand out most in their industry.

  13. Mooersrealty

    August 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    They don’t have to win Emmies. They have to be helpful, consistent, predictable and available round the clock. Not just 9-5 hours is what makes these on line “open houses” so powerful.

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.

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offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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