A guest perspective from Kurt Weinsheimer, General Manager of Local Marketing Services at SpotRunner.com.
With the economic crisis continuing to cripple Wall Street, real estate agents are now forced to develop new ways to grow their business and attract buyers. As consumer spending and confidence in the market plummets, people will buy real estate and services with more discretion and in a more competitive business environment.
For years now, agents have been using search advertising as a way to generate leads and sales. However, with keyword pricing on the rise, online video has quickly become a preferred method of marketing. Search engines like Google, MSN, AOL and Yahoo! have begun to index video higher up in search results, increasing visibility for their campaigns.
In addition, the number of people watching videos online is on the rise. Roughly 129.5 million people watched online video ads at least once a month, according to an August 2008 study by eMarketer, and that figure is estimated to increase more than 40 percent to 183.3 million in 2013.
Here are six simple rules to help you develop your own online video, and capitalize on this growing opportunity.
Rule Number One: Ensure the content resonates with your target audience.
Unlike TV viewers who are primarily watching for general entertainment or news in a passive way, Internet users are usually task-driven and actively looking for very specific content. Find out how Internet users got to your company home page. Look at the keywords they used and create a video that speaks them.
While they are looking for quality content, people who watch online video don’t usually demand the highest production values or high-definition quality. The important thing is to have relevant content that resonates with your target buyer.
Rule Number Two: Place your video on your Web site and across multiple sharing sites.
Now that you know what the video should include, find a place on your Web site to host these videos. Choose a noticeable, but unobtrusive place on your site’s first page or “home” page, and make sure the video doesn’t launch as soon as someone accesses the page. When a viewer first visits your site, they typically want to have control.
In addition to hosting your video on your own Web site, distribute it across the major video destinations, like YouTube, MySpace TV, Metacafe, and others. Your goal is to be anywhere your target buyer may be, and ensure they are able to find your agency when they’re looking for the services you offer.
Rule Number Three: Make sure people find your videos.
Now that you know what the content should be and where to place it, the next step is helping people find it on the Web. The lesson here is putting in the right “metadata,” or keywords in the title fields, description and “tags” with which search engines use to match search queries.
When writing a headline, keep it short and simple. Some easy things to keep in mind are to include your company name, basic product description and any brand names associated with your business. When conducting basic searches for real estate, most prospects will include their location to narrow results, so include that as well.
Rule Number Four: Keep it short.
While more and more people have broadband connections and fast computers, online videos may still take some time to download and slow down other applications. Think about conveying your message in short videos, or risk losing the attention of your target customer.
Rule Number Five: Track your viewers and measure response.
The goal of tracking your viewers is to understand them better, and turn them into potential buyers. Video hosting sites like YouTube now provide sophisticated reporting tools that yield deeper insight into the origin, geography, demographic and viewing behavior of your video. This type of data can help you determine what types of videos to produce in the future, which takes us to the next rule.
Rule Number Six: Refresh your videos
Many of the sharing sites allow users to subscribe to your videos, so updating them is a good way to keep your company top-of-mind for customers that follow you. Even without a new product/service, you can use different testimonials, or show how your company is connected or relevant to news trends. And again, using customer feedback to develop new types of videos is important.
Sound like a daunting task? Actually, developing and launching an online video ad campaign can be fairly painless and very affordable. The result can not only provide a higher level of engagement and connection with your core customers, but can also lead to a wave of new business. So in short, jumping on the online video “brandwagon” could give the competitive edge you need for survival during this tough economic time.
Interested in contributing a guest perspective to FOREM? Please send your submissions to futureofrealestate [at] gmail.com.
Photo by David A G Wilson