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Ten tips for hiring a professional real estate videographer

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Photo of videographer byBairdPhotos.com

Quality real estate video

We recently shared with you five tips for hiring a real estate videographer from the mouths of WellcomeMat video professionals. Today, we turn our sights on Halstead Property on the East Coast who we approached because of their innovative use of high quality real estate video.

One brokerage’s approach

We asked Matthew J. Leone, Halstead Property’s Director of Web Marketing and Social Media about their approach and their results. Leone said that collectively, their videos have over 4.7 million views and that “it is imperative to have two key things: quality and syndication. Before you get to syndication, you must first accomplish the ‘quality.'”

One of our pet peeves and a problem for consumers is poor quality videos, mostly produced by agents opting to do their own videos. Leone said, “If you, as a real estate agent or agency, are presenting a narrated picture slideshow or a Blair Witch inspired handheld video tour, that is no benefit to the Seller, the Buyer, the property or your brand.”

Leone noted, “Video, like good photography, is an art form and should be performed by a professional to obtain the best possible results. Like a colleague of ours, Phil DiGiulio, once said, “should you cut your own hair because you can?”  Probably not, you hire the best.”

Top 10 tips

Leone outlined ten tips on getting started in achieving high quality video:

1.      Get Your House In Order – It is essential to have trusted sources that are managing, promoting, and hand holding throughout the process – from creating the video to editing to then promoting the video as much as possible.  If you don’t have someone driving the boat and constantly pushing the benefits of video, it will be dead in the water.  Halstead Property has dedicated personnel from the start to the finish – all resulting in success and increased brand recognition both within the company and throughout the real estate industry.

2.       Find A Partner – It is the best idea to partner with a quality videographer or production company.  Small production companies or skilled professionals right out of college with film production degrees know how to shoot clean web video.  The key is get someone affordable and hungry for work, but they must have proper equipment (will get to that part in a minute).   Reach out to the career services of local colleges, the yellow pages, or craigslist to post your request.  When choosing your video vendor, make sure you see samples of their work.  At Halstead, after much thought and research, we selected someone who was NOT in the real estate video business in order to have more input on what and how the filming was done.  We chose to go with one exclusive vendor for our company so we can get the price down in exchange for consistent business.  We also utilize the company for additional videos such as corporate items, neighborhood tours, agent biographies, state of the market videos, etc.

3.      The Video Is Only As Good As Your Equipment – Ask your vendor if they film with a high definition camera and use an additional stand alone lighting kit – these items are crucial.  Ask for the specific name or brand of camera they use and then do a search to determine what reviews the camera received – just be sure to get it from reliable sources. Filming in an HD format is important because most video players now present in higher quality widescreen and if you present in 4×3, you look as though you are behind in the times.  Lighting is also crucial so that proper depth and color are shown…and it translates professionalism.

4.       Hello Dolly – Ask your vendor if they will include portable tracks/dollies in their production.  These are gold.  There are portable versions that look as good as the professional versions that are affordable and effective.  The final product looks like it belongs on HGTV with free flowing camera movements that can’t be matched.

5.       Think Big – Ask your vendor if they will include a wide angle lens.  Just like when your photographer comes in and shoots your property, a wide angle lens will make your property look true to size instead of standard lens that make everything look compact smaller than it actually is.  Size in real estate make the phones ring.

6.       Voice Must Be Heard – Ask your vendor to have the agent do the voiceover and appear on camera giving the tour. I understand that professional voiceovers sound impressive, but the agent is selling the home – not the voiceover artist.   If camera-shy, the agent (at the very least) should be on camera during the beginning and end.  The more the agent is on camera, the more indirect personal agent promotion takes place.  Good vendors will make anyone look good and work with them.  I have countless Halstead agents who have told me success stories on getting more business from someone seeing them in a video.

7.       Track It – Ask your vendor if they will include a Soundtrack in the background. A mellow music in the background is essential to the flow of a quality video.  However, any sampling of popular music as a background track for any commercial purpose like using Diddy’s “Coming Home” or Michael Buble’s “Home” may sound great but is also illegal so be cognizant of that.  Make sure your vendor is taking from royalty free music sites like royaltyfreemusic.com or the dozen others out there.

8.       Polish It Off – Ask your vendor if they do post production visual effects or graphics.  If they do, you should have them work with your marketing dept or marketing head to properly brand all your content consistently in accordance with your company’s style guide.  If they don’t do graphics, then you can outsource the raw file at a small cost to a vendor like vscreen.com that will brand your content with an intro, outro, and lower third graphics to look polished.  If you have the volume, you can hire a more junior video graphics person in house full time or part time who understands the programs you will need to manage the graphics workload.

9.       Timing is Everything –  Make sure your vendor understands the consumption patterns of web video.  Editing content down to tell a good story is imperative because viewers start to turn off video content at the 2 minute mark. As a result, at Halstead, we try and be as quick as possible in the editing.

10.   Hosting The Party – You have to figure out how to host the content.   You can go two routes: you can own your own content and own the search experience by building a video channel for your content with a company like WellcomeMat.com.  Alternatively, you can also create a YouTube or Vimeo channel and host your content there for free.  YouTube is currently the second largest search engine behind Google so it is imperative to have your content on this site.  The only downfall that we have found is that we have watermarks on our video and unfortunately, on YouTube, it doesn’t appear.  We have found that as far as hosting, we do both our own (halsteadpropertv.com) and on YouTube (youtube.com/halsteadproperTV).

Leone closes by noting that “next to personal one-on-one interaction, video is the second best form of communicating the value of a product and having them embrace that produce.  We cannot ignore that in the real estate arena.”

What tips do you have to share with us? Tell us in the comments below:

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. Chase Thompson

    July 13, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Love the dolly tip. Super important to have a dolly, tripod or stability harness. Shaky video is hard to watch, reminds me of the Blair Witch Project.

    But I don't know if I agree with your consumption numbers. Many of my most watched videos are well over 2 mins.

    • Matthew Leone

      July 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

      Chase,
      Certain video if produced correctly can certainly go passed 2 minutes. We have just found that viewers have started to drift off after that point. In the end you want to properly get your message across, if engaging, over 2 minutes is still effective. Thanks for the feedback
      Matt

  2. Bella Longia

    August 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I've seen some videos which just show pictures of individual rooms – and maybe the camera is moving a bit on a skateboard or something. Others which are far more informative which actually walk you through the house as if you were really there. The skateboard videos don't seem much more valuable than stills and they're kind of boring. Sometimes they show water running out of a faucet and a vase of flowers. Yay.

    I want to see where the kids bedrooms are in relationship to mine – hopefully FAR down the end of the hallway!

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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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