Tech@Work: Digital Video Brings Your Marketing to Life

Thought a digital camera would cap off your electronic marketing repertoire? Welcome to the next generation.

December 1, 2000

Until recently, streaming video was too expensive, floppy disk storage capacity too small, and Internet connections too slow to accommodate the large file sizes that digital video technology creates.

But today more and more consumers access the Internet through high-speed networks, such as cable and digital subscriber line. And with the decrease in prices for both DV cameras and CD-ROM burners, which let you record your video onto CD-ROMs, you have the opportunity to take the technological lead in real estate marketing.

DV cameras, which used to sell for $1,500, now start between $700 and $800. Even less expensive is the Dazzle Multimedia Creator, which sells for slightly more than $200.With it, you can use any standard camcorder to create full-motion digital video on your computer. Plug your camcorder and computer into Dazzle to convert the analog video stream into a digital format.

Most DV editing software--a version comes with Dazzle--lets you convert your DV into the real video format, which is widely supported on the Internet.If it isn’t already built into your browser, download RealPlayer 8 Basic free at www.realplayer.com.

The ideal use for video is playing it at your Web site. But not all customers and clients will have high-speed access yet, and you’ll most likely have to pay your Web host an extra fee--typically $25 a month--for this capability. So your best bet for distributing your videos is CD-ROM.

CDs hold 650MB of data--about the same as 451 floppy disks--and cost about 50 cents each. If you distribute video on CDs, buy a good label-making package so that you can affix your contact information to each CD.

Here are five ways to market using digital video:

  1. Impress sellers with your new marketing technique. A virtual tour lets you pan a room or view it in a circle, whereas DV lets you pan and zoom in on the view outside the bay windows and then “walk” into the next room. Guide the tour with your voice or background music.
  2. Promote your area of specialization. If you sell in one neighborhood or condo complex, take prospects on a DV tour of your stomping grounds.
  3. Create tours of builder models as well as builders’ previous work. You give peace of mind to buyers who’d otherwise have to depend on blueprints alone.
  4. Service out-of-town buyers. The next time you e-mail a list of 30 properties to relocating prospects--and they want to see 29 of them--tape the properties or ask your assistant to do it. Post the digital tour to your Web site or send it on CD and let the buyers narrow the list.
  5. Use DV as a personal promotional tool. Create video interviews with buyers and sellers who’ve had great experiences with you. Also, showcase homes you’ve sold, and hand out your CDs like business cards. I guarantee your business will grow.

In addition to instructing GRI programs, Stephen Canale has spoken at hundreds of seminars in 45 states, covering subjects relating to real estate sales and technology. For more information on his products, newsletter, and seminars, visit www.canale.com.

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