October 20th, 2009
Today, because I used to be a agent or have used Tourfactory products in the past, I got a promotional piece of “bacon” from TourFactory. Bacon is not to be confused with Spam because it’s much tastier than Spam. Anyway, here is the whole piece.
Because I think it is valuable to analyze and learn from good marketing pieces of your competitors I’d like to point out some things that will be useful to independent real estate photographers in marketing:
- In many markets in the US you are competing against TourFactory photographers or agents that load their own photos on Tourfactory.
- The copy in the opening paragraph is memorable. It says: “A Real Estate agent who expects to sell homes without marketing is like a surgeon who expects to operate without a scalpel. Having a first-class personal brand and exposure of your brand isn’t a luxury… it’s a necessity. In times like these, the real question is, Where can you get that killer image for the least amount of money? Look no further.” Whoa, give this marketing person a raise Herb! This is great copy!
- Notice the term “killer image”. What this is saying is that great presentation (their tours) of killer images gives the agent a killer image. This is true. They are appealing to agents’ egos here. Listing agents, particularly upper-end listing agents try and build their image. One way to do that is with elegant presentation of great images. You can make use of this approach with your marketing too. Agents will eat it up. Tourfactory’s goal with this piece is more about enhancing agent image than about great images.
- What this also demonstrates is that if you are competing against Tourfactory in your market you want to have a great looking tour to present your images with. It will be difficult to compete with just images or great images and a weak tour.
- So how does an independent photographer compete? I think Tourfactory’s weakness is image quality. This is obvious when the agent is shooting the images. Here’s an example: This is their example tour they link to in the marketing piece. I don’t know if this was shot by an agent or a Tourfactory photographer but either way, these are not what anyone could call great images. Almost all verticals are way off! However, the majority of agents will not see this. This is why part of your marketing job is to educate agents about what great photography looks like and then sell it to them.
- Another big part of Tourfactory’s promotion is that they syndicate tours to 17 different sites. The biggest benefit to a long list of sites that an agent’s listing is syndicated on is that it makes the agent look good to the home seller so syndication is a factor. The fact is, when it comes to getting buyers some sites are important and many don’t make any difference. I’ve found that in the Seattle area Zillow is important and craigslist important but almost all of the buyer traffic comes from the broker sites that are popular in the area. So syndication is mostly a gimmick to make the listing agent look good… but that’s what Tourfactory is promoting, agent image.
In summary, Tourfactory is a powerful and successful competitor. Many top agents that I know sign up buy the year and have an assistant provide the images. I think there is a lot to be learned about marketing your services by studying what Tourfactory doing.