Real Estate Consumers Want Photos and Visuals
By Chris Newell
I think about my business from top to bottom, from the type of people we work with and all the different types of services we offer, how we track our business and what makes us different. I give a lot of thought to how the time of each of my team members is spent, both licensed and administrative people.
In terms of what we offer people that is a differentiator against our competition, we are stepping it up a few notches this year. One of the things we will be doing is having several different virtual tours for each listing. I am quite thrilled to see that Point2 Agent now offers a virtual tour that is created automatically from the listing pictures that are uploaded, but I don't think we will be using that tour. We will be using the virtual tour created at The Real Estate Home Show (REHS), for a number of reasons.
One of the reasons is the ability to have that tour automatically placed on a number of different web portals. This will give us some links back to our site and will help in our rankings. Another reason is the "Wow" factor of having our clients' listings appear on numerous online video sites -- sellers love it, in the limited testing I have done. I used the fact that their home would be on all these web portals on a listing appointment recently, and got the listing at 2.5% more commission than the agent I was competing against!
Another thing I like about the tours by REHS is the page that pops up when the tour is opened. The page has a link to a short commercial, About Me', my web site, and several other things.
Now, I know that the tours are not huge tours with tons of pictures and lots of bells and whistles, but I'm going to use them as something to differentiate us and they sure do that!
The other virtual tour I will use is very basic, created for free in 10 minutes using lots of pictures and assembled with the freebie Microsoft Photo Story 3. I then host these tours in my account at InternetCrusade and link to them from there. These tours typically have about 60 pictures in them.
So, I am going to use the REHS tours as the tour link on all the MLS's I belong to and MLS.ca and then post the Photo Story tour as a link on my web site.
Another differentiator is the guy who walks onto the bottom of my web site and talks for a few seconds -- that is huge, and I have had calls from a number of site visitors telling me that mine is the only site they have seen something like that on, how techno-advanced I must be, how they'll call me when ready to sell (which I'll believe when it happens), etc. The key point is that they are noticing me and I am being seen as someone different from the herd.
Someone pointed out that cartoon avatars have been available for some time now, for a very low cost -- true, but doncha think they are kinda dorky and unprofessional? A part of my business plan calls for me to get a custom site, complete with guide videos to really kick it up a notch with this.
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