Video now considered a “must-have” for real estate marketingAugust 5, 2014
This post was submitted by Rob Leroy, co-founder of The Real Estate Video Guys. Rob is a former Realtor and has spent the past several years doing digital marketing for real estate agents, focusing on everything from website design, to social media marketing and content creation.
I’m going to make what will probably sound like a very bold prediction: Video content is about to be the new Internet. Here’s why:
Remember about 10 years ago, when real estate companies were just starting to have halfway-decent websites? Very few individual agents had them. And the ones that did had little more than a landing page with an IDX link. At the time, I was a rookie agent, working for a small team at Keller Williams Realty up in Bellingham, Washington. We had a site that would be embarrassing by today’s standards. It looked awful. It was boxy and boring and had zero character. The thing was, though, it didn’t matter. Because we were there. Our basic little site sat up at, or near, the top of just about any real estate related Google search, largely because there just wasn’t much competition. Buyers found us easily, and assumed, largely by virtue of just having a website, that we were great agents. We had instant credibility.
It sounds crazy, by today’s standards, but back then, we had so many new, active buyer leads, every day, that we didn’t even bother replying to anyone who wasn’t ready to start shopping that week. We just didn’t have the time for anything else. I sold 7 homes in my first 3 months in real estate. I had no idea what I was even doing. But there I was, doing it.
As time passed, more and more brokerages and agents started throwing up newer and better websites. The lead flow weakened, as did the quality of the leads. By around 2009, during the major downward slide of what was to become the Great Recession, it was obvious that we needed something new. A basic site, even with some of the industry’s savviest SEO experts boosting its ranking, just wasn’t enough. So we started blogging. Soon, the whole team was putting out new, fresh content every week. I wrote posts about everything from the escrow process to lists of my favorite bars, trying to lure in potential buyers who were posing real estate or community-related questions in Google. For a while, that worked great. People loved my writing, and I generated a lot of leads from it. Thanks to a growing understanding of SEO, and minimal competition, my posts started ranking well for lots of juicy keywords and phrases. The high search engine rankings were great for attracting leads, but they were also powerful as components of listing presentations. Sellers were impressed when told them that our site was ranked #1 and that we could get them more exposure than the other guys. We had a real competitive advantage over the brokerages and agents that were still relying on increasingly-antiquated marketing plans. Life was good…for a while.
Within a couple of years, everybody and their dog had a website and a blog and fancy IDX platforms and social media and all of that modern stuff that marketing guys like me are always insisting that you master. Lead flow dropped again. My posts got fewer and fewer hits as my rankings fell. And then came Zillow and Trulia and other huge corporate websites with national reach. Suddenly, it became virtually impossible to rank in the top 5 for anything. Things have gotten bleak. These days, just about the only way to reliably generate any kind of Internet leads is to pay one of the big dogs who have monopolized the search rankings. Blogging still works for agents who are talented, diligent and savvy about going after more niche-based keywords, but it’s an uphill battle. Things aren’t much better on the listing side. Given the nearly universal adoption of every angle of social media and Internet-based marketing, agents are all offering pretty much the same suite of services, making them harder and harder to distinguish from each other. It’s time for something new. Something big and bold. Something revolutionary, even. And that something is video.
At this point, only a very small percentage of agents are using video content. In fact, according to the NAR, less than 5% of agents are using video content to market themselves or their listings. That’s pretty shocking, given that roughly 75% of sellers say they’d hire the agent that included video in their marketing plan. It seems like a no-brainer. If you walk into a listing presentation and show them examples of homes you’ve marketed with video, that’s it. You’re in. Your competition will be blown away. So why aren’t agents using video? Great question. The even greater question is: why aren’t you using video? There is still time to get out in front of the curve. Just like that basic website in 2004, and the blog in 2009, and social media in the past few years, there is a huge opportunity for early adopters to create a significant advantage over their competition. There’s really no excuse not to get started right away.