December 19, 2019

As 2020 quickly approaches, so too does the appearance of that list of 2020 goals.  One of my goals here at WellcomeMat in the coming year is to help as many agents, brokers, and brands reach their full potential in regards to video marketing.  To do so, I am setting out to educate as many as possible on the benefits of email marketing, the various kinds of videos that can be useful to you, and where to publish those videos to get the most bang for your buck.  As you likely know from previous posts, we are huge proponents of being your best creative self when it comes to the videos you produce, and we hope 2020 is the year when we will really see our customers, current and future, bust out of the mold and take video marketing to the next level.  Throughout this post, I will be highlighting information from and linking to previous WellcomeMat blog posts. If you haven’t read them, now would be a great time to take a few minutes and check them out.

In today’s post, we will consider the following marketing categories:

     -Email Marketing:  Why it is important and how to set yourself apart from the competition.

     -Agent/Brand Bio Videos:  Seizing an opportunity to establish yourself as an integral part of your community and an expert on all things local.

     -Listing Videos:  Thinking outside the norm of showcasing each room and the surrounding environment.

     -Community Videos:  Accessing local characters and flavors to tell a story and play on the senses of your audience.

     -Event Videos:  Giving a behind-the-scenes look into your business or community.

     -Aerial Shorts:  Creating excitement through short videos that introduce a property or community asset without going into detail.

     -Client Testimonials:  Wrapping up the transaction with an explanation of all of those things that you do to go above-and-beyond what is expected in your day-to-day business dealings.

     -Distribution Best Practices:  Hosting your videos in the right places to maximize your ROI and your inbound traffic.

So, as we prepare to leave 2019 behind and embrace all that 2020 will have to offer, let’s jump right in.  

Email Marketing

As a video platform specific to real estate, we see great potential in email marketing.  For us, the idea is to set yourself apart from the crowd by adding animated GIFs to your emails.  I’ll highlight a few things here, but you can check out this blog post that was just published a few days ago.  The basic idea is this: there are literally billions of email users, billions of emails being sent and received each day, and the numbers are only growing.  Check out these two images for a clearer idea:

(Source for images)

Taking into consideration the above statistics, it is clear that you can reach a huge audience by implementing an effective email marketing plan.  Oberlo reports that the ROI from email marketing is $32 per dollar spent.  That said, knowing a few tricks can really push your plan over the top.  For instance, the same article cited above reports that emails containing some sort of personalization benefit from a 50% greater open rate than those that do not.  Finally, MarTechAdvisor reports that “interactive email content increases the open rate by 73%” and that “[v]ideos in emails have shown increased click-through rates up to 300%.” 

Email marketing checks off a lot of the boxes for an effective marketing strategy:  the audience is huge and ever growing; the ROI is proven; a simple move to personalize a message can go a long way; and finally, adding interactive content (think GIFs) can really set you apart from your competitors.  For more information, visit the blog that is linked at the beginning of this section.  

Agent/Brand Bio Videos

When WellcomeMat was first starting out, the vision was to have a video for every home for sale in the country.  While that vision lives on, video marketing in the real estate world has taken off, and we couldn’t be happier about that.  One underused (in our opinion) video tool is the agent and/or brand bio video. When we break it down, producing and publishing such videos makes perfect sense.  First of all, buying or selling a house is an emotional experience. As such, a buyer or seller wants to work with someone s/he trusts. In a time when more people look online for homes before even calling an agent, having a video about yourself can be huge.  This is your chance, as an agent, to introduce yourself, telling your prospective clients what you stand for and why they should work with you. It is your opportunity to be a local expert and to show your passion for and involvement in your community. After all, establishing trust is the name of the game.  The same goes for brand-level videos. Questions to answer in these videos, among others, are as follows: Who are you?; What do you stand for?; What role do you play in your community?; Why do you live where you live?; Why did you get into the real estate business in the first place?; What, in a nutshell, is your story?  By briefly answering these questions, you can establish a sense of trust before even meeting a buyer or seller. With so few of these videos out there, this is a great way to be unique. The key: make the video something to remember. Film your video out in your community while eating at your favorite restaurant, talking to a friend, playing a sport, or enjoying time in a local park, for example.

Listing Videos

The proverbial cornerstone of video marketing for real estate, the listing video has gone from innovative to pretty much necessary.  Inman reports that 85% of both buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video.  Also, in that same report, they report that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words:

Video gives you, the agent, the opportunity to tell a story about the property, so seize that opportunity.  Embrace your creativity as you approach a listing video; after all, as this is the most common category of videos in real estate, you need to stand out.  Consider employing one or more of the following: real people simulating a day in the life at the property; live musicians providing a soundtrack; a staged get-together, with actors and potentially musicians; including pets; actually using the rooms, such as showing someone in the act of cooking a meal; showing kids and/or adults enjoying the exterior of the house by playing sports or games; and the list goes on.

Also, remember that the length of your video matters.  Much of your audience will be watching these videos on a mobile device while multi-tasking.  Because of this, consider including short and informative captions in your video, and pay attention to what the experience of watching your video without sound will be like.  Finally, keep it short. If you can keep your video under one minute, you will have a great chance of people watching all the way to the end. 

Community Videos

The beauty about community videos is that you can create them even if you don’t have any listings (this is a great opportunity for you, new agents).  Broader videos of the communities you serve are valuable, and provide you with evergreen content that you can then insert into listing videos when the time is right. Highlight the unique features of your town or the distinct neighborhoods that make it up.  Involve everyone. Consider interviewing friends, family, clients, and local personalities. What activities are there for kids? Where do people gather after school, after work, or on the weekend? What are the preferred activities of the local residents. Here, you are giving potential clients a reason to fit in and feel at home in your community.

As you think about your video marketing strategy, ask yourself one essential question:  What is the story I want to tell? The answer: use your video platform(s) to share with potential clients what you believe in, what your role is in your community, and ways that you participate in that community.  You will be establishing trust with these viewers while telling your story, all while introducing them to fun and meaningful opportunities in their future town.

Event Videos

There are two categories of event videos that immediately come to mind:  first, what events do you and your brokerage participate in, either business-related, leisure-related, or community/service-related?; and second, what events in your community make it what it is (think festivals, cook-offs, parades, etc.)?  

Let’s begin with the business-related events.  These could be an annual meeting, a conference you attend, an awards ceremony, market updates, company culture videos, etc.  Seeing the behind-the-scenes workings of your business can put a potential client at ease, as you can make a human connection.  Sure, you are a business, but why are you doing what you do? These events can show your passion for real estate, the atmosphere you create for your team, and the overall philosophy of your business model.  For these videos, consider creating a series of shorter videos or employing chaptering technology (learn more here).  

Next, let’s consider events that occur in your community.  We have all probably seen the mailers from real estate agents that include a calendar of events for the year.  Why not take that idea and modernize it? Start with one video setting out a list of events, and follow up with footage and/or a recap of each event.  Now you have a yearly video series that will help you establish connections with clients. Once you gain those clients, and sell them a house, this is a great opportunity to showcase them and combine a community event with a client testimonial.  Be creative and use your resources wisely.

Aerial Shorts

As drones become more common and arguably lead the way in real estate video (see here for more information), one exciting video trend we are seeing is the short video containing only exterior footage shot by drones.  These beautifully-shot videos, coming in typically at only 45 seconds to a minute in length, are a great introduction to a property, a community, or both.  Further, if you are publishing drone videos, this will suggest to your audience that you are serious about video, which translates to your being serious about marketing and going above and beyond for your clients.  

Client Testimonials

Still an underused category of video, the client testimonial can go a long way in telling a story, establishing trust, and showing off your successes.  Remember, buying or selling a house is an emotional experience, and having your clients explain their experience can be very effective in putting future clients at ease.  Don’t be shy: celebrate your successes. Potential clients want to hear success stories.  

Distribution Best Practices

This recent blog post goes into a lot of detail regarding video distribution, and I highly recommend spending a few minutes to read it.  I’ll give a quick summary here and leave you to read the full post at your convenience. In short, the name of the game when it comes to distribution is variety.  Using a blended strategy will allow you to reach the largest audience. Take a look at this graphic:

(Image Source)  

Though similar, each of these platforms has a slightly different audience.  With distribution being the key, and a wide range of audience the goal, we recommend using each of these platforms in your marketing plan.  When targeting clients on social sites, there are a few things to remember. For instance, many of your viewers will be visiting on mobile devices, and that often means watching in public and/or while multitasking.  This can bring on its own set of challenges. Have a look here for an article discussing video optimization for mobile and here for a more general article dealing with optimizing your video for social media platforms.  Finally, for a more Instagram-specific article, check this out.  In the social realm, are you paying for ads?  If so, how are you measuring their effectiveness?  Are you keeping track of ad spend and calculating your ROI on that ad spend?  It is ok to answer yes to any or all of those questions. If you did answer yes, though, it is key to make sure that you are getting the value you are paying for.  It may seem like a no-brainer to pay for ads on the sites where your videos are featured, but it is also likely that there could be more financially-beneficial alternatives.

As a last note on distribution, let’s consider what we consider to be the most important thing to consider:  where is your audience watching your content? Sure, having videos on YouTube and various social sites is a necessity at this point, but is this effective for winning new clients?  I would suggest that the way to win new business is to divert traffic away from all of these sites and toward your website. With videos on your site, you can captivate your audience and keep them on your site.  At WellcomeMat, we’ve had two findings that are relevant here: first, users who find videos on your site will visit 450% more pages while there; and second, video increases website visit session times by 579%. Knowing that, it seems obvious that hosting videos on your website is a must.

As 2019 comes to a close and 2020 stares us in the face, now is the time to celebrate this year’s successes and to look ahead to things that can be done better.  Video is here to stay, and we are here to help when you are ready. For many more ideas on how you can use video in your marketing plan, among other things, head over to The Neighborhood and feel free to join in the conversation should you have any questions, comments, or ideas.  I hope you all had a wonderful year, and that the year ahead is the best one yet.

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