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How To Use Video To Help Sell A Home?

November 3rd, 2011

I had two different people from opposite sides of the US ask almost the identical question about using video recently. The question was roughly, “How do I sell video to agents when they can’t post video or YouTube links on my local MLS.., agents don’t have a clue what to do with the video“.

One of the key things about being successful with video, I think, is educating your agent clients in how to use video to market their listings and structuring your video product so that it solves your clients marketing problems. My experience is that agents understand very little about online marketing of their listings with new technology. The younger agents understand it more than the old timers. You need to educate them and sell them a solution to their needs.

There are some basics on this subject (my apologies to those outside the US 1, 2 & 3 apply to the US only):

  1. MLSs are restrictive about what can put in a tour. MLSs typically don’t allow branding and some don’t even allow links. But that’s OK, usually only agents have access to the MLSs and while it would be nice to have them be able to see video on the MLS, the video is really for prospective buyers. The agents I know never take the time to watch videos or slow loading tours on the MLS.
  2. You want to get a real estate video on most of the large national, and local broker sites. Typically agents can put the link to video on their broker’s site, but you can get the video link to all the national sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, craigslist etc through sites like vflyer.com or postlets.com. Many real estate offices do this for their agents, you just get the link to the video to them.
  3. It’s also useful to upload the video to some of the major video hosting sites that feature real estate video. Fred Light is a model of how to market real estate video. He uploads his video to several sites. Check here to see Fred description of what he does to market his videos.
  4. Even though YouTube is not the prettiest video hosting site around, it is the number 2 search engine on the Internet and the 3rd most visited site on the net. So you want to have your real estate video on YouTube just because it will get your client traffic to their main site (property site, personal site or page on their broker’s site) they are using to promote a listing. Note: be sure to fill out the YouTube description field and put a link in the first line of the description to the site you want people to go to for more info. Again look at Fred’s YouTube channel  and one of his YouTube videos to see what he is doing with all of his YouTube videos.

Another thing you can do is find a tour vendor that allows you to embed YouTube video in a traditional type of tour or property site. If you provide a tour or property site that embeds YouTube video you kill two birds with one stone. You get the traffic benefits of having the video on YouTube and you can provide a tour or property site product that has video in it along with stills, maps and other standard tour features. This is a feature that’s starting to spread and I think will be standard soon. Here’s an example of what a tour with embedded YouTube video looks like. pfretour.com and My single property Websites allow embedded YouTube video and they syndicate to many national real estate sites as described in #2 above.

Real estate marketing with video is an area where to be successful you need to do more than shoot the video. You need to understand online real estate marketing and show agents how to use the product you are selling them.

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6 Responses to “How To Use Video To Help Sell A Home?”

  • Excellent discussion and Fred, nicely done.

    Wednesday I sent to a seminar for Realtors, and the second half of the day was related to Internet marketing and the use of video. It focused on DIY video, but has application at the professional level for educating Realtors. Intentionally not identifying the speaker as not certain want to trigger a google alerts (recommended during seminar) bringing them here – but Larry, expect a more detailed email.

    Based on that seminar, a couple things I would add to educate Realtors on the use of video.
    1) QR codes go to video, not a static web page. People will start a player and watch a movie much sooner than they will navigate a shrunken web page on a smartphone. The one shown was an agent bio/intro video but would be equally applicable for specific property video. Essentially, you need several videos to target based on where the QR code is being read.

    2) The importance to have it on YouTube even if you have it hosted elsewhere. With Google owning YouTube, increasingly, searches with YouTube videos are rising to the front page. It is important to use good SEO key searchwords in the YouTube title and metatags. While important to embed so competing property videos are blocked and not thumbnail pushed while your video is playing, it is also good to be one of those thumbnail pushes in the more traditional YouTube search format if not the #1 hit. This was presented in the context of Realtor “farming” a neighborhood as they create a website/blog (marketed during the seminar) to become known as the expert in that neighborhood.

    3) Another was the use of video testimonials on their website. You have far more control than buyer/seller submitting a written one, both in the fact that it is done, but also content. Again DIY oriented – iphone on mini-tripod with deadtime during closing. Short and sweet, limited to a couple of things they felt strongly about. For variety, reserve other areas for praise to other testimonials so you have variety. Obviously, the quality will be limited in that setup and as professionals, we can do better, however, it is a starting point that at least gets them to thinking about it.

  • Nice video! I’m curious as to what equipment was used to get the smooth transitions through the house. I can set my camera on a tripod and get the pans but I’ve been unable to get a smooth walk through. Any suggestions?

  • Excellent article Larry, thanks for the heads up!

  • Apologies accepted :p though the basics can still apply in general. Very true. Old school agents will never use videos.

  • Thanks for the excellent info as this is a problem I run into all the time. And great idea using a QR code to go directly to video.

    I am a frequent and satisfied user of the PFRE tours, but how come we can’t link iplayer videos to PFRE tours? Why just YouTube?

  • I find that one of the best ways to get people to view the video (and all the other marketing for that matter) is to have at least one single property site for each listing. Although some MLSes will not allow a link to these sites, just about every other real estate portal, including the one’s Larry mentioned, will. Drive traffic to these sites where you can get the prospective buyer’s undivided attention (for a few seconds amyway) and hopefully they will be more inclined to take a closer look at the unique info provided.

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