Realtors are trying to adjust their approach to buying and selling in the midst of this unprecedented crisis. For commercial real estate, property tours are nearly impossible to organize. While there is nothing like experiencing a home or an office space in person, virtual real estate tours offer a close equivalent to open houses and showings. Thriving in the age of social distancing translates to relying on technology including virtual tours or drones to show off the property.
What is a virtual tour?
Virtual tours are digital recreations of any existing space - using a specialized camera that can shoot still and 360 videos or tools that allow architectural drawings to come to life. These virtual tours can be experienced on your client’s phone, desktop, or a VR headset. As a part of your real estate marketing plans, the ability to share professional photos, easy-to-use interactive floor plans, immersive 3D tours, and other visual tools - ensures that you are a top choice of the buyers. From hybrid floor plan tours that allow potential buyers to experience every room with dimensions and images that are brought to life or a walkthrough video with a steady room-to-room true video tour - there are a number of options to choose from.
How to organise virtual tours?
Utilize one of the easily available websites to create experiences like nothing your client has seen before. You can add these links with embedded tours directly on to your site. You can choose to have a link for a widget or provide a link for a pop up window. There are a number of customized Do It Yourself (DIY) full-service options that you can choose from.
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Create trust and encourage repeat visitors and prospective buyers by utilizing great features on your site that keep interest high. Following are some great ways to do just that - as well as personalizing your website and online presence with great features visitors are sure to love:
- Mobile Ready or Responsive Website - of the 7 billion people on earth, 4.2 billion possess a toothbrush while 6.8 billion have a cell phone. Mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop internet usage. This means more users will be searching for new homes on their smart phones more than ever. Your website should only involve scrolling, not zooming and scrolling. Your site should show mostly text and search and not look like a mini version of your desktop version. Mobile Ready sites load quicker and are optimized for easier reading on a phone screen.
- Walk Score - Include the option for folks to check out the Walk Score of homes they are interested in. Here they can find what's local to walk to (cafes, restaurants, parks, etc) or check their commute time via car, bus or foot.
- CMA form - Allow sellers to fill out a form on your site that emails their information directly to you. This is a great way to get leads from your site.
- Personality, fun & color - show your personality by sharing photos of the fun you are having with clients or friends in local cafes, restaurants or events. Share these on your social media sites as well as on your "About me", Blog or other page on your site. This builds trust with prospects and let's them see you as a real person they can identify with when making one of the largest purchases of their life. Adding online games to your site (soduku anyone?) can also add to the return rates and increase length of time visitors stay on your site.
- Action! - Upload or link videos showcasing your area. Often your local visitors bureau or Chamber will have videos that highlight many great features of your area. Upload video introducing yourself or to display the great features of hard to sell or unique home you have listed. Including video or a slideshow will add movement and interest to otherwise static two-dimensional websites.
- Photos - photo posts on social sites receive 84% more clicks than text and link posts. Include a picture to support your post and keep in mind a picture really can be worth a thousand words! Each article on your website should include a photo so folks can pin and share it.
- Reviews - build trust and credibility on your website with prospects by displaying prior customers testimonials. Feel free to copy and paste them from off your Zillow, Yelp, LinkedIn or other website
- Social Bookmarking - Be sure to include on your pages the option for visitors to tweet, like or share your information. This gives your website information "legs" and can be a great source of free advertising for you.
- Search - the most popular feature visitors want on Real Estate websites is the ability to search for their perfect home. Make sure the search tool is quick and easy to use with basic elements home hunters want and need without being too complicated or too many required fields. "84% of smart phone users take action after performing local searches."
- Social Media links - Allow your visitors to easily find and connect with you on social sites. Be sure the links to Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc open in a NEW window so visitors aren't taken away from your site.
- Tools - such as mortgage calculator and interest rates are great to have featured on your listings and/or search pages.
- Blog - Blogging can help your website in a myriad of ways! Be creative in your blog posts, show your humorous side, share local news and events - be the "go to" website for all things happening in your area!
- Local Resources - show your visitors that you are an expert on your local area. This builds trust and confidence with potential clients and offers visitors information they are seeking prior to moving to your area. Include things like demographics, utility info, movers, storage facilities, things to do, etc.
- Weather - Include a weather widget so out of towners can get an idea of what type of weather to expect when living there or if they are going out house hunting they know how to dress.
- Education - link to education.com or create an article listing schools in your area including both public and private schools and higher education options.
- Subscribe Form - add an email subscribe form to your website and send out monthly or quarterly eblasts using a trusted provider (to ensure you don't get banned from your email provider for SPAM complaints). Keep in touch with former and prospective clients by sharing what's new in town, highlight how the town is growing, new developments/building, what new listings you have and more information readers will find useful.
- Buyer & Seller Tips - who doesn't love great tips? Buying or selling a home is a stressful event! For buyers, it's one of the most important and largest purchases of their lives. Give buyers and sellers the information they need to make the sale or purchase as smooth as possible. Create checklists for moving, staging a home tips and other items that they are looking for.
- Listing Perks - where do you promote your listings? Print? Online? Social Media? List all the places and perks that sellers will get when they list with YOU. List the incentives and your expertise.
- Logos - MLS & Fair Housing Logos as well as your Broker logo or name are essential.
- Your Listings, Office Listings and Visual Tours - keep everything on your website and allow your website to do all the work. This way buyers can read and see everything about a home so they are more prepared once they contact you.
Let us help create your custom website with MLS IDX integration.
Looking for fresh ideas to post on social media? We’ve rounded up some topics to get folks sharing, interacting and wanting to visit!
- Post a photo of your resort pool with a caption, “Who wants to play? MARCO!...”
- Post photos of local or your speciality food – everyone loves food pictures!
- Post photos of the lovely grounds, flowers, the view, sunrise, sunset with the caption, “who needs a vacation?”
- Photos of things to do… swim, scuba, kiteboarding, skiing, paddle boarding, etc and ask visitors what their favorite water sport is?
- Sinking your toes in the sand with a caption, “Wish you were here!”
- Post a beautiful photo of your resort or view and add the caption, “Tag yourself if you need a vacation.” You could even make this into a contest if you want and select someone who tagged themself as your winner.
- Post a photo of something unique visitors would see so they can almost envision themselves there - local street vendors, a unique artifact (totem pole, statue, pier, etc) or well known sign (Welcome to Las Vegas) that signifies your visit-worthy locale
- Post a photo of things going on nearby: a street player playing jazz, a surfing event, a race. You never know who’s looking and what they’re interested in - it just may be what you capture a photo of!
- If you offer excursions or travel related services, post photos of what they will see on the trip and post a caption like, “You’re invited” or “Here’s what you’re missing!”
- Who is your demographic? Older retired couples? Singles? Young adventurous types? Post something that would appeal to them - a bicycle built for 2 that they can rent? Excursions for solo travelers or maybe a wild and adventurous trek.
- Post how your business is contributing to sustainability, eco-tourism, protecting coral reef, wildlife conservation, low water usage, recycling, energy conservation, local sourcing of food, etc
- Ask people what their favorite thing to do when visiting is
- Post a screen capture of the current weather conditions and a caption saying, “it’s perfect here for you to come visit”
- Post photos of the various things to do when traveling with kids
- Share posts and photos from other nearby businesses that your demographic might be interested in. (IE: if you’re a resort, you might want to post photos of a travel excursion that went on a trip to XYZ and shared it on their page)
- Ask visitors what their favorite beach is, favorite snorkeling spot, favorite place to eat
- Take a photo of some “off the beaten path” place and ask if folks can identify where it is or what the photo is of
- Iguanas? Tropical Fish? Birds? Share photos of sights and sounds of nature around you.
- Stage a photo of cervezas under a palm tree on the sand, a surfboard at the beach on top of a jeep, guests getting on gear to go on an excursion, etc - anything that makes visitors wish they were there living in that moment!
- Take photos of guest having fun, enjoying their time or relaxing. Ask them if you can share it on your website blog (even better to get a model release signed) as well as on Facebook. Ask them to tag themselves or if you may.
When you find what your visitors interact with the most, do it often, but also don’t forget to still have a good mix that will appeal to your target demographic. Want to propel your business ahead of your competition? Check out our digital marketing services.
Do you know what it takes to get potential buyers TO your website? What types of things KEEP visitors there?
Many of these features serve multiple purposes. Besides providing fresh information, communication with your visitors, and allowing them to experience a "one stop shop" on your site these features keep prospects on your site longer and ensures return visits - ALL helping your search engine ranking!
Following are 10 great ways to do just that - as well as personalizing your website and online presence with great features visitors are sure to love:
- Social sharing icons (like, share, tweet, email, etc) on each listing and blog to encourage your articles are in front of more people - VERY important
- Inclusion of meta information - keywords, meta description, keyword rich titles
- Built in MLS - means visitors don't leave; they can search right on your site
- Inclusion of social media links to encourage higher interaction with prospects "Like us on Facebook"
- Mobile Ready/Responsive websites encourage more visits and searches while on the go - 85% of local searches happen on mobile devices.
- Listings are integrated into your website - again keeping the visitor at your site
- Listings automatically update right on your site - this makes everyone's life easier. You don't want to have to update your own site each time you get a new listing, nor do you want clients calling on a listing that's been on your website for weeks but has been sold. Frequent changes mean your website will be indexed and crawled more frequently.
- Option of a blog right on your site, rather than an external website - same rule here applies as mentioned in #6 above. Frequently update your site for the search engines and educating and sharing info for your potential clients.
- RSS Feed of your blog so visitors can subscribe to your blog.
- Contact form for visitors to easily contact you.
Want to increase leads and sales? Let us help.