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I found out all I needed to know about video content marketing while leading a trip in the Grand Canyon a few years ago.
Camped at Indian Garden, a one-time farming settlement for the Havasupai tribe 4.5 miles below what is now the tourist-saturated Grand Canyon Village, a college-aged guest remarked, “I had no idea there would be this many trees and greenery down here. I looked for video of our campsites on your company’s website and didn’t find anything.”
While I don’t guide for that particular company anymore, I walked away understanding that if you want to gain traction in the rocky world of real estate Web marketing, you better use video. (If a 20-year-old makes a remark about business and the Internet, it’s wise to listen.)
I’m not sure if it took a tech-savvy college sophomore or a trip to a mile-deep crack in the Earth, but Fast Forward Stories understands very well the power video marketing has on curious consumers. And it applies that knowledge directly to the real estate industry.
Fast Forward Stories employs a practical but proven methodology in creating its video library.
The offerings aren’t overly produced bus bench commercials. Rather, they are clinical and direct — and thus highly effective.
Each video leverages a “whiteboard” tactic to quickly address its subject question; such as, “Is An Older Home A Better Value Than A New One?” or “How Do I Choose The Best Loan Program For Me?”
If your office doesn’t have a whiteboard in its conference room, get one. It’s the simplest form of communication for group messaging and throughout the world’s technology companies, it’s even become a verb: “We need to whiteboard this.” “Let’s do some whiteboarding to capture these ideas.”
A whiteboard is essentially a big Post-it note, but the beauty of those little yellow sticky notes is their intrinsic mandate of brevity, not the reusable strip of tacky backing. Fast Forward Stories answers real estate challenges in this way.
Fast Forward Stories subscribers are awarded such an array of video content that I find it hard to believe they would ever exhaust even a fraction of the selection. However, the point to the depth of its library isn’t to overpopulate or inundate — it’s to ensure content specificity.
You see, content marketing isn’t just about providing a lot of content. It’s about providing quality content. Inherent to that quality is the ability to answer a website visitor’s question in under than a few clicks.
The stick figure characters and absence of dynamic color schemes that characterize Fast Forward Stories’ explainers is a deliberate tactic to put substance over style, to whiteboard the solution.
If your website can answer a prospective homebuyer’s question in under two minutes while keeping them at arm’s length, you’ll win the Internet. That’s what these videos can help you do.
Fast Forward Stories supplies a large number of videos that address an ever-narrowing number of topics under the following industry categories: Starting, Finding, Selecting, Going to Market, Sales Process, Financing, Mortgages, New Homes, Credit, Federal Programs, VA Loans, and Title and Closing.
The prevailing sense of simplicity in the content is carried over into its technical application. Embedding your videos into websites, social media sharing and emailing them can be done in a minimal number of steps.
WordPress integration is made simple with common embed features that anyone who’s used Microsoft Word could manage, as is sending videos via email. You don’t need a WordPress site to use Fast Forward Stories because good code is good code; it can be inserted into just about any content management system.
Fast Forward Stories has partnerships with a number of the major email marketing clients, generating quick code snippets that can be easily pasted into your templates.
Agents can brand each video with some custom language and logos to appear at the beginning and end of a video, along with a call-to-action screen. Basic and effective.
You can also apply a grayscale silhouette of your city to a video, provided you’re in or associated with one of the 50 major markets currently offered.
Content marketing is highly valuable in that it’s clearly measurable; it allows content managers to know exactly what interests website users.
Fast Forward Stories supplies a robust metrics tool that allows users insight into what’s compelling buyers and sellers to click, share, and download.
Measurement is key. With it, you can justify marketing decisions, better target prospects, and generate audience profiles. Maybe your Fast Forward Stories video traffic will show you get a large number of first-time buyers to your site, or people wanting new homes.
Using that Web-generated wisdom, you can alter the homes you seek for listing or consider offering first-time buyer courses.
As video grows into a tentpole Web marketing asset, expect more measurement capabilities to emerge. You’ll want to be in front of this trend.
Normally, I have a hard time getting behind visually ordinary content production.
The direct, answer-first strategy of Fast Forward Stories has given me reason to reconsider. You can do what they do only if you do it right.
The stock, sometimes too-serious soundtracks can be distracting when backing certain subject matter, but not to such an extent as to hamper the efficacy of the message.
In the era of competition for smartphone screen space, which demands from software developers an extreme focus on interface and visual ergonomics, often to a fault, this product stands out for its practicality.
If you’re seeking a technically simple and industry-knowledgeable way to build website traffic and increase the value of what’s in your CRM, I think Fast Forward Stories is one of the industry’s better video content options.
Do you use Fast Forward Stories — and what do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!
Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.