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Add Internet Marketing To Your Services?

June 4th, 2009

I had several conversations this past week with real estate photographers that re-affirmed my belief that real estate photographers can create more opportunities for themselves if they don’t define their job as just a still photographer or just a videographer. Yes, this requires a broader set of skills but, what’s new? Success in any field requires a broad set of skills.

What Realtors need is help and expertise in real estate marketing. Still photos are the central piece of real estate marketing but other major parts are video, property flyers, property brochures and web marketing. Think of your real estate photography business as a real estate marketing business where you create the the central ingredient (Photos) AND you create the actual products that the Realtors do the marketing with (Flyers, Brochures, Tours, web sites). As a Realtor, here is a significant time savings if you minimize the number of vendors you have to deal with. If Realtors can get everything they need for their marketing from one company, they will.

I’ve done articles before on doing flyers, brochures, tours and web sites but I want to talk about Internet marketing services. Most Realtors don’t even understand how much Internet marketing services help sell their listings let alone know how to do it (just like Realtor understanding of Photography). Here are some ideas for internet marketing products to add your service offerings:

  1. Integrating flyers, brochures, tours, hangman signs and web sites: The simple act of having the home tour URL on the for sale sign, on the brochure or flyer is incredibly important. This allows a buyer to stand in from of the home, pickup a flyer that has the tour URL on it and tour the home later or on the spot if they have a smart-phone. This seems like a no-brainer but hardly anyone does it. Offer a service of putting a rider sign on the for sale sign that has the URL of the home tour you provide.
  2. Craigslist.org has effectively replaced newspapers in the US. As a result, agents need to be putting all their listings and open houses on craigslist.org. Real estate ads on craigslist only last 7 days so they have to be reposted every week. I’ve heard of quite a few RE photographers that provide a service to create enhanced postings with vflyer.com or postlets.com keep listings posted on craigslist. I know, this may sound tedious but it increases the exposure of the listing enormously.
  3. Listing syndication: There are a bunch of sites available where you put all the listing information and photos on a web site and that web site automatically spreads the photos and listing info to a whole syndicate of real estate search sites. I use vflyer.com for this but there are may other sites that do the same thing (note that tourbuzz.com recently added syndication features to their tours). I enter all the listing data an photos once on vflyer.com and it creates an enhanced craigslist posting and automatically posts the listing to Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo! Real Estate, FrontDoor, Cyberhomes, AOL Real Estate, Oodle, Vast, Google Base, hotpads, Backpage , Kijiji and others. Some of these sites are more important than others. In the Northwest US Zillow.com and craigslist are very important.

Sure a Realtor assistant could do all of these but the fact is that most Realtors don’t have assistants. Over the last several years all our home sellers have been savvy enough to ask for listings on Craigslist and Zillow.

Adding Internet marketing to your services may not make sense for everyone. If you are doing 6 or 8 shoots a day and have an large client base there may not be time in your life to add Internet marketing as a service. However, if you have a modest client base these kind of services can increase the amount that each clients spends with you.

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8 Responses to “Add Internet Marketing To Your Services?”

  • We are all paid for what we know, not what we do. In this economic climate diversification is more important than ever.

  • Larry-

    You’re right-on with this advice. As you mention in your article we’ve recently added syndication at TourBuzz through our new Neybor.com product, which is a full-fledged marketing automation suite for real estate listings. We’re still in beta at this time but quickly approaching release status.

    We will be offering affiliate programs with Neybor that allow photographers to earn commissions or simply directly mark-up our pricing.

    Alan

  • If you aren’t using all the free tools to market online, you are getting left behind. Too many people use the internet to find stuff, and yes that includes property!

    I appreciate this post.

  • This is something I’ve been struggling with lately as I try and put together a list of service offerings.

    Hi Larry, please indulge me while I play devil’s advocate…

    The problem I’m running into is that web marketing and listing syndication is already pretty firmly established in RE, at least with the high end agents I’ve spoken with. So they already subscribe to services like Homes.com and the like. Also, MLS listings are auto-magically syndicated to sites like Trulia and Zillow too.

    Why invest the money and time to build a service offering that someone else is doing cheaper and better already? I think that offering listing syndication is basically repackaging someone else’s free service and generally not going to earn you a lot of business unless you’re competing at the low end of the market. You mentioned postlets.com and vflyer.com, let me also add that hotpads.com offers this service free as well. If you’re marketing to major agencies, they have marketing assistants that do this stuff every day. I suspect that if we look at it by the numbers, the target population for this offering will be smaller than we expect in many large markets.

    Any thoughts?

    Luis

  • Luis- You raise good points. What you say is I’m sure true in some markets in large metro areas. However, its very dependent on location. Everyone needs to understand and track what is happening in their local area. This is not for everyone in all locations.

    I’m most familiar with the Seattle area. As recent as a few months ago listings from the NWMLS, used in Seattle, were not propagating to Zillow. But as of right now all NWMLS listings and photos are propagating to Zillow. This all depends on arrangements with MLSs. I’m reasonably sure that in less populated areas Internet marketing is much less.

    A second data point I have is my wife’s office in Issaquah, WA has 80+ agents in it and she is the only agent in her office that gets pays any attention to Internet marketing.

  • How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
    I am having the busiest year in the last three years. However, I am now offering websites, DVD and internet video, coffee table books and brochures. Its one thing to provide the content, now clients are looking for the wrapper as well. Diversifying into various content presentations has been the ticket to opening a lot of doors. It’s also a big learning curve, but in my mind it has to be done to succeed in this market.
    Best Regards,
    Ron

  • Agreeing with Larry and Ron Rosenzweig.

    I shoot the most expensive upmarket listings at the moment and working with an agency that markets really only to millionaires. So 2 weeks ago I started spending more time at the one office only to realise that the way they present to customers are so old(MS Powerpoint) and quite honestly amateur.

    I asked if I could work on some stuff for them and they loved it. What then developed from autorun cd/web presentations lead to online newsletters that I am busy with. All of a sudden my turnover with them increased by 50% cause I am getting a really good fee for started doing the “xtra stuff”. what makes it also so easy is that the main content ie. photography comes from myself so it is really easy slotting in the details

    Regards
    Chris Cloete, Cape town

  • Internet marketing is a great way to generate leads. So Realtors better have your own website to advertise your properties!This is a great post!

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