SEM and VTs, sounds a little more than conspicuous. Its code for using some Internet strategies to do a little more with online marketing. There is a gaping area of unexploited territory available to cleaver brokers who understand how to leverage unbranded virtual tours in real estate. As WAV Group has discussed before, the unbranded virtual tour allows a broker to publish a Virtual Tour to other broker and agent websites. If done correctly, that virtual tour provides a link back to the broker’s website. It is not a link that the consumer sees or can even touch, but search engine spiders follow the link. It has long been known that link backs are a big benefit in Search Engine Optimization. However, like every exploit – this strategy wanes in effectiveness as more brokers adopt the strategy and as search engines change their ranking algorithms. Moving on, some WAV Group clients have begun to try some new strategies that are proving to be pretty effective. The unbranded Virtual Tour can place a cookie on the consumer’s browser that can be used to target search engine marketing and online banner advertising to the consumer across the Internet. Obviously you cannot advertise to a consumer on a competing broker’s website, but you can track that consumer when they leave the competitor’s website and hit them with all kinds of advertising all over the web. This practice is commonly referred to as retargeting. Don’t get too excited. Many browsers are beginning to block cookies that do this sort of thing – making the strategy more difficult and the reach less effective. But when it works, it works really well. The cookie acts like a beacon that shines a light on consumers who are on broker or agent websites looking at IDX listings. That is a target rich audience for advertising. There is a little more to this story. It involves recruiting. As we learned in our 2013 Broker Website Effectiveness study, few brokers are deploying search engine marketing strategies. Remember that many of the visitors to agent and broker websites who are looking at virtual tours are agents. It may seem unprofitable to advertise to agents, but that is far from the truth. When an agent sees a broker’s online advertising they get the impression that the broker is doing more than their current broker to market online. That is a powerful recruiting […]
Does Your Website Capture Leads or Let Them Get Away? Getting visitors to your site is only half the battle of online advertising. If your website does not convert even the highest quality visitors to leads, your online lead generation efforts are doomed to failure. Your website needs to both engage your visitors with the information they are looking for and ask for their contact information so you can reach out and turn them into clients. 5 Reasons to Use a Virtual Tour In conversation with Tim Denbo of VirtualTourCafe, we asked a simple question: “Why should agents create a virtual tour for heir listings?” Tim obliged with a compelling list of substantive reasons. If you’re not using a virtual tour solution, here are five reasons you may want to reconsider. PPC – Overlooked and Underrated When you talk to real estate professionals or business owners who have been unsuccessful with PPC, they usually say something like “it cost a lot of money and I didn’t have good results or generate leads.” They’re not inaccurate, just uneducated in how to do PPC right, and one other very important bit of information. They’re not aware of Google’s Ad Quality Scoring and how it changes everything. E-Marketing 101 If you asked agents a decade or so ago, most would likely say e-marketing meant somehow placing your listing on a silly thing called the Internet. Just five short years ago, many agents wouldn’t know what a text message was. Yet now, we can’t imagine leaving the house without our smartphone. Checklist: Are You Using These Tools for Customer Service? Our business is all about referrals, and gaining referrals is all about providing optimal customer service. I’ve talked to David Lester of Sequent Systems, an efficiency expert of sorts to get his top tools for customer service – and I’ve compiled them into a checklist so you can see how well your practice measures up.
Doing research like our 2013 Broker Website Effectiveness Study (BWES) helps WAV Group identify and measure a multitude of strategies that brokers may deploy to improve their online performance. One key trend today that is working very well is video. I am not sure how long video will help brokers gain an edge, but today it works. Some of the facts we gathered in the BWES included that Google is the #1 search engine by a significant margin, capturing 75% of all search traffic (see image) If you combine the predominance Google with an understanding of how search results are displayed, you recognize that for every keyword search, Google attempts to display a video search result above the page on the first page of results (see image insert). This has been a keynote strategy that we have long appreciated with virtual tours. Today, virtual tours by most vendors are automated. They rely on data feeds from the MLS or Listhub to acquire the data ingredients, including photos that are stitched together, price, description, etc. In many ways, the information found on a virtual tour webpage today is a comprehensive IDX display. Turn every virtual tour into a video and leverage it! Here are 4 tips for your virtual tour solution. Dynamically publish the tours to Facebook, Twitter, and to YouTube. Do not let your virtual tour provider syndicate Include the virtual tour link in your Listhub, Point2, or other broker listing feed to portals. Make sure that the URL of the virtual tour (both branded and unbranded) resolves on your domain name e.g.virtualtour.brokerdomain.com/brokername/agentname/property address rather than on the virtual tour provider’s domain name e.g.:realbiz360.com/MLSnumber (By the way, realbiz360 constructs the domain names correctly – do not infer anything from the example). New thinking: 1 plus 1 equals video If consumers like video and google indexes video, why aren’t brokers converting every MLS listing to video? A progressive IDX solution should display video rather than images – or both. Here is another hidden benefit. Video cannot be scraped. That means that a broker’s data would be protected. About the Author Victor Lund is a founding partner of WAV Group Consulting along with Marilyn Wilson and Mike Audet. WAV Group provides strategic business consulting services to enterprise real estate brokerages, Multiple Listing Service providers, REALTOR® Associations, and real estate technology companies. Victor Lund is also the Chief Executive Officer of RETechnology.com, the […]