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Should your business be spending money on virtual reality OR on augmented reality?

There’s a lot of hype surround the concepts of augmented reality and virtual reality marketing. So what’s the difference, and which one should you be spending money on?

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virtual reality

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the concepts of augmented reality and virtual reality marketing. Even as recently as South by Southwest, people were clamoring for a view of the latest virtual reality technology.

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However, hype doesn’t help you understand how it will help your business. That’s why the fine folks at eConsultancy put together a comparison of the two formats. The winner? Well, it depends.

Non-answers are no fun. However, the article does offer key facts to help you answer the question as it pertains to your business. So, let’s dive in!

Augmented reality

Augmented reality enhances your view of the real world using computer-generated information. For example, IKEA knows that after taking 2 profanity-laced hours to put together one of their nightstands, consumers want to know it will look just right in the corner of their living room, so they built an app for that. Other augmented reality apps, like Yelp’s Monocle, superimpose information and reviews about your surroundings onto your surroundings.

If you’re in the business of eCommerce space, this type of marketing tool is invaluable for your consumers. It’s also a boon for businesses that can collect and utilize lots of data, such as web communities and social media sites.

Augmented reality marketing has a few other logistical benefits. For one, many campaigns can integrate into an app format.

With everybody glued to their smartphones, you can tap into a captive audience. Plus, 84 percent of that audience uses their phones at the point of decision. Score!

Second, augmented reality marketing is a bit older, which means there are more best practice resources, like this one from Catchoom, to help you get started. This can come in handy if you’re working an early-stage startup where you have to wear many hats.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality creates a new reality through computer-generated sensory experiences. It also creates demand for some sweet new head gear.

vr sony gif

Because it can create these experiences, it’s a great tool for businesses trying to sell something that a consumer can’t fully experience before they buy it.

While you could test-drive a Volvo, your experience with their VR test-drive can be even more enriching! Most importantly, many businesses use virtual reality marketing to create an experience for their current or potential customers. Qantas Airlines helps airplane travelers survive long-distance flights using virtual reality simulations. Marriott allows you to travel to exotic destinations from the comfort of the hotel bed. Any business selling an experience as a way to augment or sell their service will eventually be invested in virtual reality marketing.

I say eventually because, for the moment, virtual reality marketing costs a lot of money. The camera equipment needed to produce 3D content can cost over 10,000 dollars, according to Wired. Plus, being the burgeoning trend that it is, consumers and businesses are just beginning to adopt the technology.

As much as we all love the challenge of navigating uncharted territory, the journey into virtual reality marketing is a costly one.

If you’re a startup looking to dip into these marketing channels, your best bet for the moment seems to be augmented reality. Still, as price becomes less of an obstacle for virtual reality marketing, you’ll have to carefully consider which technology better communicates the values of your product and your brand.

#VRvsAugmented

Born in Boston and raised in California, Connor arrived in Texas for college and was (lovingly) ensnared by southern hospitality and copious helpings of queso. As an SEO professional, he lives and breathes online marketing and its impact on businesses. His loves include disc-related sports, a pint of a top-notch craft beer, historical non-fiction novels, and Austin's live music scene.

Real Estate Marketing

Do you need a squeeze page instead of a landing page?

(MARKETING) You already know you should have a landing page, but squeeze pages have merit in the industry, too – let’s discuss what they are and how they can boost your lead gen efforts.

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squeeze page example

If you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy way to generate leads, consider testing out a “squeeze page” on your website.

A “squeeze page” is a specialized type of landing page that appears when a user first visits a website. This type of page is designed to “squeeze” an email address out of the user.

This is usually achieved by offering a perk in exchange for the email address. This could be anything from a coupon or free service, to access to exclusive content such as videos, newsletters, a podcast, or some other downloadable tool.

Squeeze pages are highly effective for generating leads, producing some of the highest conversion rates compared to other kinds of landing pages. They don’t come off as annoying like a SPAM email, because the user is being offered something in exchange for their information, and because the user is already interested enough in your product or service to be visiting your site in the first place.

Getting as many of those visitors as possible to stay connected to you through email just makes sense. While a squeeze page can be a detailed, full-length webpage, it’s usually better to keep it short and simple.

The page should have a headline that announces the special gift the user will receive, a sentence or two explaining why this is valuable, and an embedded form for the user to fill in their name and email without leaving the main page. If you plan to follow up with further emails (and that’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it?) you’re legally required to disclose this fact before someone provides their address.

Once your squeeze page starts generating email addresses, be sure to follow up. Automate your systems to confirm the person’s email immediately and be sure to deliver the prize or coupon you promised, without delay.

Sync your squeeze page with Salesforce or any other marketing software you are using so that new email addresses are added to your database. And make sure that when a user provides an email address, they are taken to another page just to say thank you, and to offer any additional information about what happens next.

Other than that, your squeeze page could have endless variations. You can also make providing an email address optional after offering a coupon or some other benefit/service. This is a less aggressive tactic that still generates a lot of leads because the user sees that you are already offering something valuable and becomes curious about what other deals they might get if they sign up for your email list.

Because squeeze pages are easy to make (here’s a guide and template), you can quickly test many variations to optimize results for your user base.

squeeze page template

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Real Estate Marketing

All brokers should require agents to shadow their clients for a day

(MARKETING) Knowing what your client wants is essential to make the sale and improving relations, and the best way to do that may be shadowing them.

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shadowing your clients

When it comes to moving, the phrase “the devil’s in the details” can take on a whole new meaning. Most people have adjusted to their current living situations in ways they might not even notice – and some of those aspects of their living space might be more crucial than they realize.

This could be anything from power outlet locations to kitchen cabinet sizes to a doorway free of steps. These small details can easily be lost during a hectic house hunt.

So, how can you, as a Realtor, keep track of details that the clients don’t even think to bring up? One potential solution is to shadow them for a day before offering housing options.

Okay, yes, at first glance “shadowing a client” sounds an awful lot like the awkward career shadowing we were put through in high school and college, but hear me out.

Spending an average day with your clients can give you better insight into how they operate and what they prioritize. Maybe they take more advantage of the kitchen bar than they’ve let on. Maybe they’re utilizing doorways to set up child barriers – something that might not work as well in a more open floor plan. Maybe their kids like to read in window nooks. Sure, a client might be able to live without things they’ve gotten used to, but think of how great it could be if they didn’t have to compromise.

Point is, with a cheerful attitude and a perceptive eye, you might be able to gain more insights into your clients.

Not only could shadowing help you understand how a client operates, though, it can help deepen your bonds with them. Getting to know each other can help establish a level of trust that could make the upcoming house-hunt easier on both of you. After all, it helps make it clear that you are looking out for your client.

Plus, creating good relationships with clients will make them more likely to use your services again – and recommend you to others!

Did you know that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) requires everyone on their staff (and we mean everyone) to shadow a Realtor for a day so they understand their members’ needs? If they take this meaningful step, why don’t you?!

Shadowing clients might seem unorthodox, but it could also be a great way to get to know individuals and their unique needs.

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Real Estate Marketing

Begin your branding process with free, (mostly) non-cheesy name generator

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Naming your company, brand, product, or service can be incredibly difficult and intimidating. Luckily, there’s a new tool that can help.

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Bright colored alphabet on dark background, a starting place for branding and naming a company.

There’s an entire episode in HBO’s wonderful Silicon Valley that focuses solely on naming their fledgling company. The founder is adamant about keeping his original choice in spite of literally everyone around him hating it, and there’s a scene involving a white board and dozens of terrible new monikers. It’s a masterful send up of startup culture.

Branding, marketing, and publicity all follow from a name, and it is essential that these all work in tandem harmoniously (I’m not advocating either way here – it’s simply that this is a modern and fascinating issue). It helps if the name fulfills all its intended requirements as well – memorable, unique, implies what the product is or the service provided, and noticeable. It is a critical piece of any company and must be approached with care.

The gravity of this step cannot be understated, and as such, it can be paralyzing to know where to begin. There are a number of strategies out there, and there is a lot of sound advice to help guide your approach in a sensible way. But even with all of this at your disposal, the act of picking a name is still vital and daunting.

This is where NameSnack comes in – a free business name generator that can help jump start the branding process. Simply put, it takes words or phrases and then generates several potential business names in seconds. Writing in “teapot” (I do not have aspirations to take on the teapot industry) will return results such as “Hello There Tea,” “Empire Teapot,” and “O’Cool Uncle Polly” (which isn’t even the most nonsensical option I found). It can even tell you if a URL is available (another area of controversy), and take you straight to BigCommerce to set this up (though this would just be one choice of many).

Further, NameSnack links up to Zarla, which is a service that can generate a logo for you. You’re even given the ability to customize the text, add a slogan, change the colors, or add your own icons.

In a matter of moments, you could have a brand new company name, register a website for it, and have a logo created that helps drive your business.

Having spent some time in this space, I was curious to see the true flexibility of NameSnack’s service. As I put in different words and phrases, I found that there were a number of repeat patterns emerging. For example, you might always see “(Random Name)’s (Your Input)” appear, or “Big Ten (Your Input).” There were also results that were only remotely related, or completely and surprisingly unique.

While I cannot say for sure, this would suggest that the algorithm behind the service does a few different things. There’s almost assuredly some level of procedural generation going on (i.e., the system makes something up unprompted via the use of some level of artificial intelligence), but there’s also clearly a number of premade templates that have the user’s input dropped in without further assessment. There doesn’t seem to be many ways to guide the process, and certainly no way to alter after-the-fact results.

To be clear, this is not a bad thing, and I don’t want to diminish the utility of the service. At the very least, it’s a wonderful brainstorming tool for branding. I would consider it incredibly valuable with giving a person, committee, or other group a lot of viable starting points that would ultimately help arrive at a fantastic name. And in that sense, it works remarkably well, and cannot be discounted as at least another avenue to a solution.

Likewise, Zarla is similar, and would unlikely provide a final product, but something to draw from. I have to assume that there’s no legal issues in either service if you take their results as-is with no alteration, but will note that NameSnack specifically mentions it doesn’t check against registered trademark databases.

Naming is essential and difficult work – the story behind the Ford Edsel is a good example of poor name becoming a gargantuan problem. While this was not the sole contributor to its failure, it’s worth noting that substantial correspondence with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Marianne Moore resulted in a back-and-forth for years, and was ultimately rejected for (in some ways) nepotism.

At the very least, exploring every available option is worthwhile, and NameSnack will absolutely give someone several considerations for branding, and even more potential possibilities.

Lastly: If you have any interest in the tech world or laughter then I cannot recommend Silicon Valley enough.

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