One of the most important trends over the next few years will be the "videoization" of the Web. Agents and brokers are already incorporating video into their Web sites. They are broadcasting their virtual tours on places like YouTube, Google Video and Yahoo Video. Here is a list of 10 smart ways to incorporate video in your business:

1. Live like a local
Professionally produce a video about the specific geographical area(s) that you serve. In the video, act as a tour guide showing what makes your area unique.

One of the most important trends over the next few years will be the "videoization" of the Web. Agents and brokers are already incorporating video into their Web sites. They are broadcasting their virtual tours on places like YouTube, Google Video and Yahoo Video. Here is a list of 10 smart ways to incorporate video in your business:

1. Live like a local
Professionally produce a video about the specific geographical area(s) that you serve. In the video, act as a tour guide showing what makes your area unique. Avoid doing an infomercial about you. Your goal is to give viewers a sense of the local lifestyle.

2. Video testimonials
This is one of the most important uses for video. Video testimonials increase your credibility. More importantly, they are an extremely powerful risk-management tool. If you are ever involved in litigation, there’s nothing better than having the person who is suing you saying how wonderful you were in handling their transaction.

3. Save gas with video caravans
For years, agents have jumped in their cars every week to view their company’s new listings. A great alternative is to have each listing agent take a video of their new listings and then put them into a "show" for the office meeting.

4. Preview neighborhoods and houses for relocation clients
One of the most time-intensive activities in the real estate business is driving relocation buyers around to help them become acquainted with various neighborhoods. You can greatly reduce this process by taking videos of the various areas where they are looking. Video the traffic at rush hour as well as what it’s like on a weekend morning or afternoon. You can also video the inside of the houses that they would like to see (provided you have the seller’s permission). Post the video on a passcode-protected part of your site.

5. Go mobile
In the very near future, our mobile phones will be our connection point for virtually everything that we do. You’ll watch your favorite TV shows, receive video messages from vendors about specials as you walk past their stores, and experience a wide array of other applications. To take advantage of this trend, obtain a "dot-mobi" address in addition to your "dot-com" address. On your dot-mobi site, provide a series of links to your listing videos plus any other high-interest videos about local restaurants, theaters or other recreational activities.

6. Get a jump on the competition
Whether you’re at an open house or are previewing properties for clients, if you find a terrific piece of property, make a quick video using your PDA or iPhone and send it to your clients. If the property is one where there may be multiple offers, you greatly increase the odds that your clients will be first in line with their offer.

7. Architectural tour
Most areas have historical homes as well as certain architectural styles that are unique to the area. Make a video of five to 10 of the best examples of the various architectural styles that are prevalent in your area. You could also conduct your own guided tour of the major historical homes as well. If you are in a resort area, use video to show the different types of second homes or vacation rentals as well as nearby amenities.

8. Before-and-after staging videos
One of the most important steps that you can take to sell any property is to stage it properly. Sometimes sellers are reluctant to do this. Showing them a video of past properties that were staged and successfully sold can motivate them to take this important step.

9. Inspection videos
At Real Estate Connect, Kelly Roark of FrontDoor.com suggested that you video the home inspection. Rather than having to rely on a verbal description of a particular problem, having it on video is much smarter. You can also use video to illustrate how to operate the appliances, sprinklers, air conditioning, and other systems as well.

10. Syndicate and/or distribute your videos
Once you shoot a video, use TubeMogul.com to syndicate your video to YouTube, Google Video and Yahoo Video, plus 12 other video sites, all at no charge.

As our current bandwidth continues to expand, video will become increasingly important in both our personal and our business communication. Static pictures and text messaging will no longer be satisfactory to the next generation of Web users. Instead, they will expect a full range of video applications that create the experience of "being there." In fact, we already have the technology to create three dimensional virtual tours. Once the bandwidth is in place, it may not be long before we are doing our showings from our mobile phones and a set of 3-D goggles. Now that would be a true revolution in how we conduct our business.

Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of "Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters" and "Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?" Both are available online. She can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com or visit her blog at LuxuryClues.com.

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