Mark Walser is Kodak’s real estate business development manager and real estate blogger. A veteran of the real estate technology industry, Mark has worked for some of the largest real estate Web site, lead generation, and technology firms providing real estate agents and companies with internet marketing solutions, wireless technology, and media. Connect with Mark on Kodak’s Real Estate YouTube Channel, on Twitter @kodakrealestate, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org , or at ActiveRain at www.activerain.com/kodak for additional informational articles. Real estate practitioners can purchase Kodak products at a discount on www.kodak.com/go/redeal.
Increase Sales Opportunities With Simple, Effective Videos
If you want to present yourself as an authority on your area and make yourself accessible to consumers, you should consider producing videos. And even if you aren't a technical expert, it's easier than you think.
March 1, 2011
In 2010, you may have heard that video was supplanting social media as the “next big thing” you have to do to stand out to potential clients. But what does that mean, exactly? When we think about video in real estate, virtual tours often come to mind. While these are important, simple videos distributed through YouTube and social media sites allow real estate professionals to expand their reach not only to their sphere of influence, but also hyperlocally in the markets they serve every day.
If you’re looking for a way to optimize your search marketing efforts, video can help you become one of the dominant search results. As Google adds YouTube videos to online searches, your videos could be the ones that pull up on the front page when users search for real estate if they are indexed properly and have great content.
This is one of the true virgin opportunities available to nearly every agent to enable them to become the dominant player in their area’s Web searches. The window of opportunity probably won’t last very long, so the sooner you get started, the stronger your chances.
This article will cover three highly effective, simple types of videos you can produce relatively easily in order to get started your journey. But first, let’s get some equipment basics out of the way.
The Basic Set-up
There are many types of cameras, but most of you will be just fine with a high-quality, high-definition pocket video camera. Full high-definition (1080p) cameras are generally available in the $175–$250 range. Also, make sure you have the following features and equipment:
- Ability to add an external lavalier microphone. Great audio is essential for Internet videos, so this is a “must have” feature.
- Wide-angle lenses for home tours: Virtually no pocket video cameras have this feature, but some have the ability to add a wide-angle lens kit.
- Full HD (1080p) with the ability to shoot different resolution levels, such as 720p. A still-capture mode is desirable but not necessary.
- 4X or greater zoom: This is very helpful for flexibility in shooting. Note that most PVCs have digital zooms, so high resolution like 1080p helps with maintaining quality when you zoom out.
- Memory: SDHC memory card or at least 8 GB of internal memory.
- Tripod: Avoid shaky shots by mounting your camera on a tripod.
3 Kinds of Marketing Videos
Once you have the basic tools, here are three types of marketing videos that you can start producing immediately:
1. Client Testimonials: These are a powerful way to bring out the emotional aspect of the consumer experience. Many of your clients would be more than happy to get in front of the camera and say a few words about their experience working with you. Production tips: Make sure you are in a well-lit area, and the light is shining toward the subject being shot on video. Outdoor settings with lots of natural light are excellent, as are illuminated indoor areas. Use a high-quality lavalier microphone and clip it to yourself or the subjects as they’re being recorded. Check the audio beforehand so you know the right settings and volumes before you record. Use a tripod for best results. Recommended video quality is 720p.
2. Agent Introductions/Agent Biography: This is probably the easiest video to make, and I recommend that all practitioners create one. Talk about yourself, your expertise, and your knowledge of and love for the areas you serve and invite viewers to tour your Web site. Also, encourage them to contact you to get more information or find out about the area: Tips: It can be funny, informal, or 100 percent professional. It does not have to be perfect, nor do you; just be engaging and genuine. Try to make it two minutes or less. You should record in a well-lit, pleasing setting and be properly miked. Use a tripod. Also, you can be creative with the background. For example, you could record your video in front of a nice historic building downtown, a popular beach setting, or a famous landmark your area is known for. This lends geographic credibility to your video and humanizes you. (Remember that if the background is too bright, you’ll be too dark.) Shoot this type of video in 1080p or 720p. Upload it to YouTube and embed the video link code into your e-mail signature, your blog, and your Web site’s home page and About Me section. If you are using Facebook fan pages or other sites that let you upload video, consider putting the finished video directly on those sites as well.
3. Neighborhood Show and Tell: Just as we write about different neighborhoods in our blogs, we can also use video to introduce clients to a community to give them a feel for the area. Imagine taking 15 or 20 two-minute vignettes of different features, activities, landmarks, and restaurants in your core neighborhoods, and putting them online for consumers searching in your area to see. In addition to making you a neighborhood expert, it will also help your ranking in search engines. Tips: Create a free YouTube channel and Facebook fan page for your business. When you upload the videos to these sites, tag them with keywords related to real estate and your area. Make the description and title short but relevant. Below is a video example from my YouTube Channel with tags.
Use free sites like TubeMogul to syndicate videos quickly to multiple sites. Introduce yourself briefly on each clip, mention your real estate company, and caption the video at the end to direct them to your Web site to learn more about the area. YouTube also gives you the links to easily share your videos on traffic-generating sites like your blog, ActiveRain, and Facebook. Make sure you do this with all your videos for maximum effect. Shoot the videos in 720p resolution.
See the sample “neighborhood exposé” below for a simple example of how you can shoot lifestyle videos that showcase your area to potential clients and help them make a personal connection to you and the community.