Our funny Friday this week is a house for sale. I am always one for making the most out of a bad situation and if “making the most” is turning it into humor then all the better. My Facebook profile is a long line of silly thoughts, ideas and observations, my personal Twitter account is much the same. I’m thinking this sense of humor should be imprinted onto the TribalYell brand a bit more.
For Sale. Price Reduced. Some Assembly Required.
Still on a video kick from the last post. Video has become popular in marketing real estate and so has the confusion around all the different offerings popping up all over the place. I thought it was about time I wrote a post about it - 3 Ways Video Tours Kill Business.
I follow a number of Youtube channels so I get the real estate home tour video updates as they are uploaded, if they are uploaded. Sometimes I go to the listing agent’s website to see how that same latest video is posted there. I visit the property details page, click on the Video Tour Tab and BOOM – Only an external link is offered to the video!!! Holy lost traffic Marketing Man! This blows me away!
Curiously, like a cat smelling it’s own hairball, I click the video link to see where it goes. As expected it opens a new window away from their website. I am now on some butt-ugly video company’s website looking at their listing! Why? What kind of nincompoopish reasoning is behind taking me away from the website? We all know a video can be displayed right in the listing’s details without sending people away from the site – right?
I know what’s happened. They were sold the full java script enabled video package complete with galleries, mortgage calculators, map views and more. But a deal like that is useless when those tools already exist on every real estate website! Why pay for it twice?
Look, simply embed the video into your website. And here are 3 reasons why…
1. Water Down your SEO Juice:
If you link to another site with your listing then there are now two website domains with that listing dividing up the Search Engine Optimization. Your website and the Butt-Ugly Video Company’s website and I am sure Butt-Ugly Ltd is very happy about all that traffic. Without you, they would have no traffic. Don’t let them sell this the other way. I bet they said something like “we’ll link it to your website so you’ll get more traffic”. No, not the case. I have also seen these sites without a link back.
2. Allow Your Customers to Drift away:
Many times I notice that the Butt-Ugly Video Company’s website offers all the same tools that your website has. Let your buyers discover the tools on your site so they can keep searching there. Don’t let your website visitors think (even for an instant) that your site doesn’t offer these tools. It looks like they are selling the listing and you are their assistant contact person.
3. Let them Mess up Your Visual Branding:
Your visual branding is completely different on the Butt-Ugly Video company’s website that you just sent your buyers to. Oh sure they add your name and throw up (pun intended) your mugshot but it’s their brand they are wrapping you around and it never works.
A couple of other things to consider
Aside from the 3 ways video tours kill business there are a couple of things to consider. When a customer comes to a website and clicks the video tour tab, they really expect to see the video. They expect that because every site can have video – including yours. If Butt Ugly Videos Ltd tells you their video tours can not be embedded, end the conversation.
Using something like Youtube to serve your video from is terrific because it is a strong social sharing website that is linking into your website. The video can remain after the listing is gone. Also, savvy users and newbies alike expect to see your videos on Youtube in your own channel. The ability for them to comment, “like” and subscribe is very powerful and goes a long way to creating a tribe of followers.
How to solve this
Some video companies have different packages and perhaps they have a cheaper price for not offering the separate Butt-Ugly website. I know that there are scripts needed to display some of these 360 degree tours that can not be embedded. My answer to that is don’t bother with it because nothing is going to replace seeing the home in person. All that’s needed is a video so buyers will want to schedule a viewing in person and make an offer. I’m not seeing “Buy Now” buttons beside listings yet is more for looky-loos than serious buyers.
The best thing to do is save yourself some money and find a person who has a camera and some video editing skills. They make a video – you uploaded it to Youtube and simply embed the video into your website. Award winning music videos have been shot with less. I wrote a how-to post called the Easiest Listing Video Ever.
If you need help with any website administration please let me know. We do Web administration also becoming known as Virtual Website Assisting and used to be called Web Mastering. Our name for it is FASTweb Assist.
Comments are appreciated!
Back in the old days of the internet If you wanted video embedded into your website you had to have special server side software installed behind your site to help the video stream. Yea, I just used the phrase “Server Side Software.” Is this post already getting complicated? OK, let’s just fast forward toward today where things are simpler and better. Stick with using YouTube for Video.
YouTube, (and Vimeo and a handful of others) stream video for you and not just on their site—they’ll let you stream it from your website. Technically, streaming is the wrong term. Embedding is the correct term and it’s what you should be doing when spending any time on creating video content.
- Use your Gmail address to create a YouTube Channel
- Click the upload button to add your video and fill out the description. Don’t forget to add your website and contact info here too. Whoever creates your video must supply it in the format for uploading to YouTube. Try and avoid letting these 3rd party video content creators from uploading the video to their own channel for your use. YouTube is one of the largest social media sites and your content on your channel is important.
- After your video has uploaded and published visit the video.
- Click on Share below the video.
- Choose “embed.” Here you can adjust the size of your video to match the area available on your website.
- Copy the line of code and paste it into the video embed area of your website and the video will play from within your website.
- Yes you do have an embed area on you website—just ask your website provider or administration person where it is.
If the company you are using only provides a video link to a page that takes people away from your website then move on. There is no good reason to leave your site for a video.
There are so many free and inexpensive technologies working together in a multitude of ways that anyone can get a marketing message out to any audience with nary a skill. There is no need for small businesses to hire expensive software engineers and programmers, they’ll only be re-inventing the wheel of what’s already available online. Not only do we have readily available cheap and easy marketing, small business owners now have total control of their brand to a much wider and targeted audience than ever before…
…and maybe this is where it all falls down.
Most cheap and easy marketing is crappy because much of the time little regard is given to the brand. Brand management is not common knowledge especially when it comes to marketing online. Business owners of yesterday understood the printed medium—how to order letterhead shells for imprinting any number of messages. There are many examples today where people are simply not using the online version of the “letterhead” or allowing in-appropriate uses of their logo, name, font and colours to be tacked on to an online marketing piece as an after thought. One example is that not many think to have a Youtube intro made. They can re-use the same intro to all their videos by adding it with the free video creator in Youtube.
Design, branding and layout help identify your differentiating factors. They are the most important part of your message. They tell a prospect what kind of business you run and the kind of person you are in relationship to all other businesses and business owners around you. Online marketing is becoming common-place. The website is not cutting edge anymore—it’s part of traditional marketing. Some would even argue that it’s not marketing but rather a marketing vehicle. The more accustomed our eyes become to poor uses of technology the more those who do it right will leap forward
This is a sign on the high rent shopping district of Vancouver’s Robson Street. Cheap, easy marketing is easy to spot here and it’s getting easier to spot online.
I love how the plastic was put over the “Hurry” addition to avoid its ruin from the rain, like they couldn’t have slapped another one up.
Just because it’s cheap and easy doesn’t mean it has to be crappy.
Every listing can have a video as part of any real estate agent’s regular marketing arsenal. No excuses now. The easiest listing video ever is a Youtube slide show creator right at the Youtube upload area. For the purpose of this post I created one in 3 minutes complete with the music.
Here’s what I did.
- I went to Youtube.com and logged in. This is the same account as my gmail account so if I am logged into gmail then clicking the sign in on Youtube will perform an auto sign in.
- An Upload button appeared on the right of the Youtube search bar at the top of the page. I clicked it.
- The next page had the usual “Select Files to Upload” front and centre but just to the right are 4 ways to create a video. I clicked on Photo slideshow.
- The most convenient thing happened because I use Google to store images and photo albums; All my photo albums showed up. At this point I selected an entire album. (I chose my “Portfolio” album in case you’re wondering). I could upload photos too, which I did to add the cover slide.
- Clicking next offered up more ability to add photos, upload video and rearrange the order by sliding them all around.
- Clicking next took me to the final edit page where I see a preview, music choices, transition choices, speed and so on.
- It looked great as is so I adjusted nothing at all and clicked upload and I was done. Easiest listing video ever.
One thing I noticed when doing it again in order to write the steps down for this post was that the music choices were not the same the next time around. One irritating feature about other automated slide show producers is the music always seems to be the same few choices.
Now that you know how to make the easiest listing video ever, go make one and embed it into your website. Click here to see how we can do all this for you. Embedding video: Should that be our next post?
Imagine if a Just Listed, Just Sold advertising postcard only got delivered to people who are actively looking for real estate. And now imagine that you are only charged for the delivery of that mailer if the recipient used it to go to the website address on that mailer. This is the reality of online display advertising and although a lot of disparaging comments have been going around about online display advertising there is not enough research to back up the comparative effectiveness of un-adressed admail – especially when factoring in the cost of both.
The just listed and just sold message has been a mainstay in the advertising world of real estate for a long time. It might be in the form of a mailer such as a postcard or flier. It can be seen in the pages of periodicals, advertising how busy they are with their active listings and sold listings all together in a grid-like display. Even the website of a real estate agent display their own “Featured Listings” and usually contains a page of sold listings.
It’s all in the name of the client they say.
The home owner expects to see their home’s image, address, price and description plastered around the neighborhood and online. The consensus (to those in the know) is that just listed and just sold advertising isn’t truly what sells a home and that it is the Multiple Listing Service’s ability to distribute active listings via email to potential buyers based on their personal criteria – price being a big one. If certain homes are selling between this sum and that sum of money then pricing the home within that category will deliver it to more potential buyer’s email inboxes.
But we’re talking about so much more than just selling. We’re talking website traffic (traditionally known as foot traffic) and over-all lead generation.
Buyers don’t just sit around waiting for emails to show up.
They are actively looking too. They tell their friends about it on Facebook or Google+ or twitter. It’s kind of fun. Let’s face it, even when they’re not looking for a home it’s fun to browse through the photos of an interesting property once in a while. Even if it’s to get ideas for their own home people generally want to see the inside of a other properties. Put this together with how well product advertising works and the Just Listed and Just Sold advertising starts to make a lot of sense.
So why is there no real estate advertising being delivered to the consumer online? Especially since it is so easy to try out, why hasn’t Just Listed, Just Sold Advertising translated online? I think it’s because small businesses don’t advertise online – if at all. What do you think?
Content, Design and Development, And that’s it, the 3 main parts of a website. You can stop reading now.
OK, fine. It’s not really that simple. But for the purpose of this post and a very clear understanding of what the difference is between a web designer, web developer and web publisher let’s boil it down to that.
Almost always the most important part of a website and usually needs to be updated continually. Content can be anything from text to video and a lot of stuff in between. Real estate agents might have pre-defined listing results, restaurants will have menus and almost everyone seems to have a blog of some kind. Content is the reason people visit. A website without content might be called a web application A web publisher or online publisher is usually only dealing with content.
This is how your website is going to look and if done correctly, it is usually one of the longest lasting parts of a website. It is possible to have a website without design but I haven’t seen one since the 90′s. The design is the first thing people notice and this visual is very much saying a lot to a visitor before they begin reading the first headline. Site design can offer the most bang for your buck.
This is how your website is going to act or function. It’s often called the platform or content management system [CMS]. Development can encompass anything from a rotating banner on the home page to the newletter signup form. Many platforms handle a suite of functionality and additional plugins can augment the development further by adding things like booking calendars and more. It is entirely possible to have a webpage without development but not very common. Development needs ongoing support and updating.
Website development is usually the cause of a website breaking when something in the programming goes wrong. For those do-it-youreslf website owners hosting your own WordPress install you probably have run across this from time to time. You may have noticed that the more plugins you have the slower your site can become. There are ways of fixing this but without an IT person at your disposal it’s probably you that has to learn to do it.
And that’s it, the 3 main parts of a website. Questions? Please ask and we’ll try to answer.
Are you sure you want a WordPress real estate website?
In Canada there are a lot of very solid real estate website platforms that work extraordinarily well with our real estate boards. They have all the reciprocity paperwork in place, they are following all the local boards’ rules, they have taken a lot of time to feed the listings properly. Most of these real estate website platforms are keeping up with today’s technology changes and update their development on a regular basis. Sure some are faster at this than others and at different levels of elegance and grace but they are all chalk full of various abilities at relatively the same cost per month.
So why would anyone choose to have a WordPress real estate website?
We hear a lot of good things about WordPress in general. It’s your own site on your own hosting account; It’s got great SEO potential right out of the box; You can download all your content; You can design it the way you want or choose from tens of thousands of pre-designed themes by 3rd party designers.
But WordPress is a very Do-It-Yourself website platform. There are some things to think about if you are going to take this route…
It’s your own site on your own hosting account and this means you are the IT person. Site goes down? Better hope your hosting provider has a great customer service track record. Find out more about our WordPress Hosting with excellent 24/7 support.Who’s going to keep your website up-to-date? Here is a list of the release dates of the WordPress platform. It seems to be about every 6 months – and don’t forget the plugins. They need updating continually. There is also a need to keep your database safe and backed up in case of a catastrophic failure. We offer all this type of support.
There are some real estate specific WordPress themes that have real estate plugins but these are geared to the American MLS / IDX. I’ve seen cases of them working here in Canada but they are cagey. You’re going to need to find a 3rd party Canadian IDX provider that will plug in to your WordPress website. We can help with this too.The best Search Engine Optimized WordPress sites are the free themes that come with the platform but no one ever uses those. Once you start editing and altering your website you begin to negatively effect that great “out-of-the-box” SEO. It turns out that no matter what platform you use you’re going to want to perform SEO. It’s not a set-it-and-forget type of thing. Of course, you guessed it, we offer this SEO support as well. Although there are a tonne of designs to choose from be aware that not all will be compatible with the latest WordPress versions and just as you need to update the WordPress platform this can sometimes break the chosen theme until that theme supplier comes up with a fix. Maybe take a look at our WordPress Real Estate Website offering.
So these are just some of the things to think about when deciding to use a WordPress Real Estate Website. As you can see we have you covered if you’re not a do-it-yourself type. We’re happy to help you either way.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if all websites were the same and everyone hired the same SEO company to do the same SEO work on each website?
Who would show up in search engines first?
Some invest heavily in Search Engine Optimization [SEO] and they generate an adequate return on investment. This is dependent on what your competition is doing and how many are going after the exact same market as you and how active the particular target audience is and and and… Whatever you do – how you spend your money in this type of marketing is still dependent on facts.
Be mindful that search engines are not paid for organic search traffic. They use programming known as “algorithms” to find, index and list websites. Many of these algorithms are trade secrets and are known to change from time to time. According to Google’s CEO, Erick Schmidt, in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes – almost 1.5 per day. With this lack of guarantee and certainty, do you really want a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic to keep sending visitors? Seomoz.org, a highly regarded SEO software company completed a study where they suggest that even “search marketers, in a twist of irony, receive a very small share of their traffic from search engines.”
Before closing let’s be clear that analytics and SEO are not the same thing. Gathering analytics is all about gathering facts. These facts are important to performing good marketing in general. This marketing might include SEO and/or traditional advertising.
Avoid suffering major losses due to search engine uncertainty. Of course SEO is good but be aware. Where ever you spend most of your marketing dollars consider business practices that leave you liberated from dependence on search engine traffic.