In a conversation at Connect Now, industry leaders discuss why virtual open houses and video tours should be a key part of any 2021 marketing plan and advise on how to maximize their mileage.

Have you already given some thought about how you’re going to market your real estate company in 2021?

For both agents and clients, any planning for the year ahead has been set back by pandemic-related delays that started in the spring. Given the inventory delay and pent-up demand, many are now so knee-deep in work that they are not thinking about 2021 at all.

Jeff Lobb

“You’re trying to balance business planning for the next year with just doing the business of 2020 since things were delayed,” Anne Jones, owner of Windermere Abode, told Connect Now attendees at a panel sponsored by BoomTown and titled, “Creating Your Sales And Marketing Plan For 2021,” on Tuesday.

One option is, according to Jones, for agents who have not already done so to amp up their video tours and virtual open houses. That way, you’re not waiting for a better time to tap into clients who are looking online but may not be able to commit to a sale right now.

“We all know the statistics about buyers starting their search online and we understand that they’re there,” Jones said. “This is about us meeting them there and pivoting.”

Jeff Lobb, CEO and foudner of SparkTank Media, recommends repurposing virtual open houses — using technology to host a one-hour tour with an interested buyer but then saving the video to stream on your Facebook or post online directly with the listing.

“If I’m in my office Tuesday night at seven o’clock and can show four homes in virtually and then stream it to Facebook, where it is shareable and lives on — why wouldn’t I try to get that exposure?” Lobb said.

This is something that you will have to pre-clear with the sellers but, as Lobb pointed out, most see it as an extra effort that the agent is putting in on their behalf.

Anne Jones

While most agents have by now at least experimented with virtual tours, many are not giving much thought to the quality of what they’re putting out there. Jones suggests investing in technology and doing a few practice tours before you publish one or do live one.

“This is not something that you want to wing entirely,” Jones said. “The content should feel a little casual and candid but if you read into YouTube and start looking around at what bloggers are doing, you’ll find that the field is very casual, but the production quality is actually pretty high.”

At the same time, agents should not be so afraid of putting out a bad tour to not do it at all since this is definitely something that clients are looking for. But along with video tours, agents should not forget the old-fashioned, personal touch that can mean so much to clients: snail-mail, post-cards and small gifts for the holidays can help clients remember you and bring you their business at unexpected times.

“It’s not just cookie-cuttering stuff out,” Lobb said. “It’s unique messaging, a unique call to action, a community-driven piece of information, something very unique to that market. That will get more attention than just ‘hey, we sold another house.'”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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