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13 December 2013

10 Building Blocks to Amazing Real Estate Videos

“Videos will create competitive immunity for you and your team.”

That was one of the remarks from Raj Qsar, broker and founder of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, Calif., during our Beta Broker Google+ Hangout on Monday.

The hangout also included Jeff Gaffney, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate III in Central Virginia,  and host George Mercado, Senior Director of Interactive Development for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

The topic of our hangout was “Strategies for Effective Real Estate Videos.” Raj and Jeff each had solid advice to share based on their experiences and success with video in their own real estate businesses, while George provided a unique corporate brand perspective.

In case you missed it, we’ve gleaned 10 of the high-level takeaways from the discussion.

1. The story and emotional connection you create with your video is critical to its success.
Raj and Jeff each talked about the preparations they use before each video shoot, underlining the fact that the content is critical. It’s not enough to just grab a camera and start shooting. Focus on the story – particularly if you’re shooting a property video – in order to create a connection with the audience.

2. Keep your videos to about 2-3 minutes in length.
This is the sweet spot for video length online. Abandon rates escalate after that 3-minute mark. Remember, you want to keep your viewers’ attention and get them interested in your property and your service.

3. Production value is important.
Low-production value may not be an issue when it’s user-generated “blooper” style content you’re viewing on YouTube. But when it comes to your real estate business, you’re going to need to put the time and money into high-quality production for your videos to gain any sort of traction and give you a return on investment.

4. Have patience.
Raj and Jeff each stressed the importance of patience when taking on video for your business. Raj noted that each video often goes through 10-15 edits, which can take time.

Jeff also talked about the need for patience in seeing the general payoff in terms of building your brand equity. His team has been creating video for about a year and a half and are now starting to see the fruits of their labor. But it takes time and dedication along the way. You have to stay diligent and keep your eye on the strategy.

5. Build a team.
It’s impossible to create video and run a real estate business all on your own. Both Raj and Jeff agreed that it takes a strong team to continuously produce outstanding video and make it worthwhile.

Jeff’s bit of advice was to have someone on staff that can oversee video or at least hold you accountable to a calendar of regular shooting.

Each of the brokers has a professional team backing them up. While Raj has an in-house team on staff, Jeff partners with a local TV station to produce high-quality videos. For those tasks that you may not have a lot of budget for, Jeff suggested thinking about hiring local college interns. This can be a great way to get a young person in your court who’s passionate about the medium.

6. Strategy is as important as getting started.
Any type of marketing you do for your business benefits from a strong strategy that guides it. Video is no different. George cautions to always have a purpose to every video you produce and know exactly who the audience is that you’re targeting. You’re going to end up with a much better product if you plan for it.

However, that being said, both Raj and Jeff commented that video is a process and you won’t ever get better if you never start. So have a strategy, but get moving.

7. Consider purchasing your own equipment.
Raj owns all of the equipment for shooting and editing his team’s videos. His feeling is that you’re investing in the medium so you might as well have your own stuff.

This can be different for every broker, though. Jeff uses a television studio for his segments as they appear on TV. This works better for his strategy and his approach.

8. You will see ROI if you stick to it.
When asked about return on investment, Raj said without a doubt he sees a definite return for every video produced. When talking about success stories, he mentioned one time in particular when his crew created a 30-second trailer for a property video that was coming soon, and an unrepresented buyer saw it, visited the open house and ended up using one of their agents to buy the house.

Raj also was very clear when he said great video will set you apart from your competition. That’s because few brokers are doing it in a lot of markets and even fewer are doing it well. It’s not easy, but worth the time, effort and resources.

George reminds us that everything we put on the web can be tracked, so part of that ROI includes measurement and analytics.

9. It’s OK to think beyond the property.
Raj’s team focuses on marketing lifestyle through property videos and doing it well. Jeff’s team focuses on both properties and also short segments about different pieces of the transaction or market. He’ll interview a home builder, mortgage or title professional, for instance, and talk about the transaction itself or where things are headed in the market.

Jeff also mentioned focusing on neighborhoods. This is great lifestyle content that is always of interest to buyers.

10. Find your inner passion.
It sounds cliché, but passion can make all the difference in the world. If you have no passion for creating video, it will show up in the final product. At the very least, you’ll need to have someone on your team who has this passion and can be charged with overseeing the final product. Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult to break through the noise and grab people’s attention, which is the whole point.

If you’re interested in hearing more of the conversation, you can still view it online at our Google events page here.

Let us know what you thought of the discussion. And be sure to check out more about the Beta Brokerage Project!