How Video Marketing Can Rocket Your Real Estate Business Ahead

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I started using video in my real estate business about 4 years ago, and I have no shame in saying that I was addicted, and that my first videos were horrible!  I knew instantly that this was a great way to get my messaging across and that it would set my families’ company apart from others in the niche. I also recognized that video was a great marketing platform to really let your personality attract the types of clients we wanted to surround ourselves with in business.  I was reminded this weekend when I met with a true pioneer in real estate video marketing, Kenn Renner, that video is an absolute essential for anyone who wants to be taken seriously by the real estate world.

Biggest Advantage of Video Marketing

I first started learning about video marketing when I met Than Merrill at my offices in Memphis.  He was in town to check out our company because he and his partners were looking at purchasing some properties from us.  He had a Flip Cam with him and kept shooting video of everything he was seeing.  Then he asked me to hold it and shoot a video of him as he walked through our offices, introducing himself to everyone, and wanted me to record them introducing themselves to the camera and telling what they did at the company.

Than took the video back to his partners and sent me a copy about a week later.  We sit back and laugh at that first video, but it taught me a very valuable lesson.  We spend a lot of effort and time creating the perfect piece of marketing material, and most of them have very little impact.  Nothing can match the power of meeting someone in person and introducing them to your staff.  It allows people to get a real sense of who you are and the roles of all of your employees.  If you are an agent or a house renovator, these are opportunities to showcase all of your support staff.  No piece of marketing material or brochure is ever going to be able to match that.  But video . . . well, it comes close!

A well-shot video that really captures the true identity of you or your company can be very powerful and, in an online world, can often replace the need for face-to-face meetings.  In fact, many videos DO replace the one-on-one meetings.  Videos allow our potential clients to connect with us by seeing who we are and it allows them to get a good sense of the kind of people we are. 

If we are being totally up front with our first impressions, many of us are attracted to reality T.V. shows about Flipping Houses because of the antics and eccentric personalities of the stars of the show.  I could never see myself doing business with any of the people I have watched on T.V. mostly because I get a pretty good idea after watching them that I don’t “like” them.  Granted, much of that is staged for T.V., but it works well for my point.  Video gives you a wonderful opportunity to help a prospective client decide they “like” you and your personality long before they ever meet you and that is the biggest advantage of video marketing.

Video Is Low Cost, Highly Effective Marketing Solution For Real Estate

The great thing about video marketing is how inexpensive it can be.  Years ago, real estate agents, investors and other real estate professionals may have shied away from video because of the cost.  I learned first hand early on, how much it costs to hire a video production company and it was well worth it, but not always necessary. 

Today, every smart phone, digital camera and even tablets come with built in cameras and auto-downloading programs, so video can be as easy as turning on your hardware, pointing and clicking.  For those who still prefer video recorders to make video and not calls, there are very inexpensive options and with a video tripod or stand, you are off to the races.

Once the video is shot, there are great programs from Quick-time, Flip-video, i-movie, Smoke, Camtasia, Final Cut, Animoto, Snagit just to name a few for video editing.  Even YouTube has a video editor.  Some of this software is more robust than others, but that is beside the point.  None of it is difficult, some of the programs are free and the ones that cost money are usually less expensive than a set of 500 business cards.  If you can shoot it, you can edit it and you can do all of it for very little out of pocket expense.

Now the real savings come in the form of how you use the video; the actual marketing part.  I am quite sure that everyone has heard of YouTube at this point and many real estate professionals have been loathe using it.  It is estimated that only 2 out of every 10 real estate professionals has an actual presence on YouTube with their own channel.  That decision is strictly up to you, but YouTube is only the #3 ranked website on the planet so if you want to be seen,, this is the place to be seen!  Currently YouTube does not charge for hosting your videos and each video creates a hassle free solution for sharing and even embedding video, so sharing and distributing your video can be low cost as well.

Using Your Video to be “Seen”

I mentioned earlier that being “Liked” was important.  Now I do not mean collecting a bunch of button clicks on Facebook.  I mean actually connecting with a potential client where they decide you are someone they could do business with.  The buying process clearly shows that people are not going to do business with someone until they like them and they trust them.  Video is a great way to achieve both.

Website

I love using video on my website.  I have a video that automatically plays as soon as a visitor lands on our home page.  It is a simple, yet highly effective video.  I am talking directly to the camera and trying to establish “eye contact” with the viewer.  I really try to let my personality come out in the video so it is not flashy, but informative and inviting the viewer to take their time and really inform themselves on the ins and outs of doing business with our company.  This video introduction should set the tone for what a prospective client can expect from our company going forward.

Blogs

Using video on your real estate blog is a great way to establish consistent “eye contact” with quality, informative and educational information.  A great tip is to use a tripod and film yourself giving multiple tips on your related topics.  If you are a realtor, you may want to share tips on your favorite staging strategies or your experience hosting successful open houses.  If you are a home renovator, maybe you share tips on introducing great “show” pieces into your homes that help you attract buyers.

Film an entire series of tips and you can pause between each one.  Then take one long video and edit it into several short videos.  Then you can share those tips one at a time as videos on your blog.

Emails

After watching Than shoot a video of our staff to show to his partners, I came back through the office a few weeks later and shot a video of our staff to show to our prospective clients.  When someone registers at our website, we will send them a series of emails all meant to be non-intrusive and educational.  Since we have already established a need to build trust, I include a video in one of the emails with an introduction to the whole team.  This is designed to bring the viewer a little closer to our company and help them understand all of the moving parts of our investment company.   When we do meet investors either at our offices or at events near their homes, they always walk up with a smile and no real introduction is needed.  They already know everyone and almost always comment on how they recognize us from the videos.

Video is a powerful tool for building and maintaining trust with your clients.  It is also a medium that you can really experiment with and try to add your own flavor.  The days of stuffy videos where you hold a camera and walk through a house are over.  Get out and try something different.  Get in front of the camera and give your prospective clients a reason to want to do business with you.  Earn their trust, earn their respect and earn their business by using video to introduce your business to the world.  The results just may rocket you ahead of your peers!

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About Author

In 2005, Chris Clothier (G+) began working with other investors and has since helped hundreds of investors purchase over 2,300 properties in Memphis, Dallas and Houston through the Memphis Invest family of companies.

20 Comments

  1. For the love of all that is good in this world, please stop playing video automatically when someone visits your page. That is one of the greatest sins one can commit in web design. Making noise automatically upon page load is an atrocity and is punishable by an automatic closing of the tab that commits such a sin more often than not. (After I find which tab is responsible, which is irritating.)

    I agree that video is a powerful tool, but it can be abused in so many ways that I would caution potential abusers to be very careful. If all you are presenting is a talking head, you are almost always better off to put it in writing, and maybe include some photos. Video should be used to take advantage of visual communication, showing and demonstrating things.

    One thing I have noticed some agents using are video slideshows for presenting property- a terrible idea. If all it consists of are photos (maybe with some lame background music), allow the viewer to flip through the photos at their own pace. If you use video, do it to demonstrate interaction with the elements of the property. Interaction and visualization are the keys to using video successfully.

    • Chris Clothier

      James –

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read and, more importantly, for throwing in some additional tips. But, I am a big believer in data and I have some data that is completely counter to one point you made. You may not personally like it when a video plays automatically upon visiting a site, but that does not mean it is “greatest sin in website design”. If it is an appropriate message, delivered in the proper way and placed in the right spot on the site – there is nothing wrong with having an auto play introduction video.

      Since redesigning our website late last year, we have tracked data and closely monitor not just unique daily traffic but also the time spent on the site by each visitor, which pages they visit and the bounce rate. The first video we used as an introduction above the fold did not auto play. It also featured myself and one of our staff, a female. About 4 months ago we changed the video out – AND that was the only change we made at the time. We shot a new video with just myself, made it auto-play and left it, of-course, above the fold.

      After 60 days our bounce rate had been reduced by 46%, time spent on the site increased just shy of 4 minutes (the video is 1 minute 1 second) and average number of pages viewed increased by 3 (rounded up). Those numbers have held true and fluctuated only slightly up or down give or take each day. Prospective clients are becoming much more engaged now and spending more time on the site. The biggest increase – and the only one that matters – has occurred in action taken on the home page. Our click rate on the action items on our homepage has nearly doubled.

      Again, thanks for reading the article and sharing your thoughts.

      All the best – Chris

      • My reaction may have been a bit exaggerated, and personally motivated- it sounds like you are doing the right things by tracking your data- something you might try is implementing A/B testing. This helps to reduce outside variables by allowing you to test different designs (Or different videos) over the same period of time. Every site is a bit different, with a different audience. Test and measure is a critical component of marketing.

        • Chris Clothier

          I agree and those are very good points as well.

          I want to make sure that I don’t get too far away from the original intent of the article and that is to encourage people to not be scared of video. It is not too expensive. It is not too difficult. None of us is too young or too old to learn to do it. And, I think I have clearly demonstrated, that you do not have to be particularly talented in front of the camera. You just have to be sincere and allow video to assist you in your business.

          From that point, all of your other advice is excellent and readers should absolutely pay attention to your points. They may save them some headache later after they start using video more.

      • Being a fellow tech geek, James’ initial response to video auto playing on load/visit was the same one I had too. Glad to hear you qualified your presentation on your website w/real data – nothing beats the feedback from data to confirm you’re on the right track.

        thanks for sharing your insight on use of video!

        -Kelv!n

        • Chris Clothier

          Kelvin –

          Thanks for the comments.

          We test auto-play on all of our pages where we host video and each of them converts better with auto-play as opposed to push play. With Bigger Pockets traffic our landing pages have a conversion rate of nearly double when we make videos auto-play.

          As you probably know, the key to all of this is testing and being willing to do what the data tells you to do.

          All the best – Chris

  2. Great article Chris! I use Video all the time to promote my Turn-Key Investment Properties here in Rochester NY. I know they work for you because I watch yours all the time. TJ Harrington Roc Investments, Inc

    • Chris Clothier

      TJ –

      Thanks for taking time to read and comment on the article. There are certain niches, and turn-key certainly fits this category, where it is of utmost importance that a prospective client has a comfort level very quickly. Video is a great way to expose a prospective client (and lets not forget about existing clients either) to your company, your product, your process and begin to earn their trust and establish a likeability factor.

      Good luck with your business in Rochester.

      All the best – Chris

  3. James, interesting take on visitor reaction to video, care to speculate how your projected reaction compares to the reaction to a page with only text and no other popups does in regards to time on page/site and leaving the site?

    Given that most real estate sites probably have terrible numbers for time on site etc. I find your clear sense of being violated by an autoplay video to be splitting some very small hairs–folks dont hang around the majority of sites, giving someone your best multimedia shot is probably the best odds in my mind to try and complete the marketing objective. From my perspective most folks dont read, especially younger types.

    jeffrey

    • Chris Clothier

      Jeffrey –

      Thanks for reading and writing a comment on the article. I think you will see from my response above that I agree with you. The great thing about James’ response is that by posting his opinion, we get to hear from viewers who may really be turned off by something, but that does not mean it is the wrong decision. As business owners (and this applies to when we are designing our web sites or our use of video) we need to make decisions that have the greatest impact on our company. This is all about just that. Create something, test it, change it, test again and if you have to, change it and test one more time. In the end, in my opinion, video is essential and real estate pros need to be using it in their businesses and they need to use it in whatever way benefits them the greatest.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting –

      All the best – Chris

  4. Larry Robinson on

    Chris: very good article. one suggestion: hold or mount your camera/smartphone horizontally. will look better and fill the whole frame (and look more like “TV”). keep up the good work.

  5. Chris, Great article. We are husband and wife relators and we don’t know where to start from. My husband graduated as an actor but I am more on the shy side. Do we both need to be in it at all the times? Shane thinks that we should hire a professional. Please let me know what you think. Thanks..

  6. “If we are being totally up front with our first impressions, many of us are attracted to reality T.V. shows about Flipping Houses because of the antics and eccentric personalities of the stars of the show. I could never see myself doing business with any of the people I have watched on T.V. mostly because I get a pretty good idea after watching them that I don’t “like” them. ”

    *Than Merrill wipes a tear from his eye*
    :)

    • Chris Clothier

      HAHAHA! Shaun, I was wondering if anyone was going to get that!

      I am actually great friends with Than, Paul, JD and Konrad. But, I am not much of a fan of and haven’t gotten to know too many of the other stars on today’s reality shows. I did meet the stars of a Canadian show and they were nice enough guys, but I think you get my point. I have a hard time liking some of the people today especially with all of the yelling and drama that makes for good T.V.

      Have a good one!

      Thanks – Chris

      • Hahaha… Yeah that jumped out at me right away. :)

        I’ve met all those guys are several events over the years. They are all good guys and you can tell they enjoy what they do and enjoy teaching people at their events.

        Some of the guys you can tell are jerks. Maybe some of it is made up TV drama but some of them you can tell the TV people are telling them to try to be less of an A-hole and it is forced whenever they pretend to care about anyone else.

        I will throw out there that I recently had the chance to meet the guys from Flipping Boston and they were awesome. Really nice guys and they gave hands down the best talk at a REIA meeting I have ever heard. At points I was literally LOL!

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