We have two great updates regarding our virtual tours that were released in the last week regarding SSL and Brandkeepr. These two updates go hand in hand with each other:
SSL Secure Tours. Now, all tours are served using the SSL protocol, meaning they are served encrypted from end to end and the tour url uses https. While there really isn’t any personal info on the tour that required the switch, to get our Brandkeepr functionality to work on most of the top real estate search sites, we had to update our tours because most of those sites are using https, so to get our Brandkeepr magic to work, our tours also have to be SSL secured. Your company site, and your personal website may also use SSL, so when properly configured, we can automatically convert the unbranded tour to the branded version on about 95% of the top 10 sites, and more! Plus, it makes embedding a tour, like the example below, work if your own site or blog is secure.
New Tour Viewer. We released a new Tour Viewer design in addition to the Story format. So if you like the more classic tour look that has your logo persistent and buttons for content items, the new Tour Viewer is for you. All it takes is selecting the option and then selecting your start content, including a new “Dashboard” view (read more on that below). This new viewer, combined with the secure protocol change, means you can now embed our tour easily on your own website or a blog post using simple embed code, just like this example. It is a full functioning tour, embedded into your own website.
Try this embedded tour – all content works, including on any mobile device. Just start clicking!
Display Options for the Virtual Tour.
In order to embed a tour into a website page, all you need to use is our sample code like this (which is also shown on the Tour Links page within the marketing center for each tour):
Just change the tour ID (184056 in this example) to your tour ID and this code should work on most sites. You can also change the width and height size, in pixels, which will set the maximum display (it is responsive so it will shrink on smaller devices). If you would like to start with a particular content view, you can either change to the desired view under Edit Details, Content Display Options (see screen shot below), or you can click on the desired content button on the tour itself and then copy and paste the URL that has the content at the end. For example, to start with the Floor Plan view, just use this as the embed url: https://www.floorplanonline.com/tour/184056/b/floorplan or to start with the video, use https://www.floorplanonline.com/tour/184056/b/walkthru. These options give you ultimate flexibility on displaying your tour.
Note…you can also use both the Story or the Tour Viewer links on the same listing at the same time. The default is what you set on Manage Tours, under the Tour Frame Type section at the very top, but both links work to display the tour in a specific format, as follows:
The Tour View – https://www.floorplanonline.com/tour/184056/ The Story View – https://www.floorplanonline.com/story/184056/
The normal tour link, like https://www.floorplanonline.com/184056/ will open up the default selected view but these specific links override that, if you want to use them for a specific reason (like using the Story for MLS and distribution but using the Tour for embedding on your blog). Again, it provides extreme flexibility.
Note: our existing embedded tour content option on the Marketing Center is still coded for the old format, so please use the instructions here for embedding the new tour viewer on your website. An update will come in the future for the legacy option to provide even more flexibility, so if you only wanted to show the floor plan and the video on the embedded version, you could without disturbing the main virtual tour view.
How to configure BrandkeeprTM for maximum exposure.
On sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Homes.com and Redfin, we can now recognize the user is coming from one of these sites when they click on the virtual tour, and we therefore automatically convert the unbranded tour pulled in from the MLS to the branded version, so YOUR brand shows on 95.5% of the top 10 real estate oriented websites. The virtual tour is the ONLY content item for your listing that can lead people back to you on any number of sites. Leverage this bread crumb trail! It gives you more visibility that gets you more leads for free, just by people seeing the virtual tour on these sites! We can also do this for your company website, your personal website or blog or any other site YOU put into the BrandkeeprTM configuration.
To configure and edit your BrandkeeprTM profile, go to Edit Profile and then elect the Edit My Brandkeepr profile. From this page you can see what sites we automatically convert to the branded link, and you can add your own sites (we add your profile site by default), or turn off some if you do not want it branded for some reason. This tool gives you lots of flexibility. Note: do not put in your competitor websites as you could run afoul of the IDX rules that generally prohibit agent branding on content distributed from the MLS. It is ok on these major search portals, just don’t do it on your competitor’s websites…
The key to making all of this work is make sure to use the https link when you post the virtual tour. If you already have a tour linked, just change it in the mls – add the “s” at the end and it should get updated to other sites. That is it! going forward the links we provide you already has https in the link.
One final note. Leverage the Call2Action photo to also get more people to visit the virtual tour. Zillow does a good job of hiding the link below the fold (the user has to scroll), so get them to go to the tour that has all of this other great content, including floor plans, video, and more. Learn more on Call2Action here.
Introducing our new, Event-based Lead Capture system for your tours. This Lead Capture system allows you to capture leads based on various visitor actions on the branded tour, such as after 4 camera icon clicks on the floor plan, or when someone tries to download the printable flyer. When combined with our Brandkeepr technology that automatically converts unbranded tours pulled from the MLS to the branded version, we can help you get more leads from sites like Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo, Realtor.com, and even your own company/personal website – basically get a lead on any website that allows agent branding! This is over 90% of the real estate oriented website traffic. But you can only get the lead via the branded tour, and FloorPlanOnline (and our affiliates) is the only tour company that enabled this great functionality.
Best of all – It’s FREE. It is included as part of the standard tour price!
Set-up is Required.This new system is live on all accounts, but it is not ON by default. If you would like to enable lead capture on your tours, just login to your account, go to Edit Profile and then click on Edit Leads Profile. Click the toggle switch to turn it on and save. Note: if someone uses the Contact from on the tour, you will still get a “lead” for those messages, even if you have Lead Capture OFF.
It may sound silly, but the fact is, your branding and contact info is NOT displayed on any virtual tour on Zillow (and other sites) by default
But it can be displayed if you use the FloorPlanOnline or HomeDiary PRO platform.
Our patent-pending Brandkeepr process automatically converts the unbranded tour to branded on sites representing over 90% of the real estate-oriented website traffic. The Zillow Group alone makes up almost 50%! So be where the people are and get seen in more places
We automatically add you back, plus add a video too, for free!
Branded Tour – our patent-pending process re-brands the unbranded MLS tour to branded, automatically
Embedded Video – we add our automated slideshow video (or custom video) with your branding as an embedded video on the Zillow & Trulia listing page, automatically.
Why is this important to you? Just uploading photos to the MLS does not give YOU free advertising on sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Homes.com and more.
A virtual tour can…if it has your branding.
No other tour company can convert the unbranded tour to branded and have an automated video posted to your Zillow/Trulia listing, for free. This strategy puts your brand on websites that represent over 90% of the real estate oriented website traffic and leaves “bread crumbs” back to you so people can find you easily and the great marketing you do for listings.
FloorPlanOnline and HomeDiary PRO can.
This image shows an example of how the agent branding looks when a user clicks the video button on Zillow or Trulia. With HomeDiary PRO, it can be automated from your data feed for all of your agents and listings too.
Enhancing your listing doesn’t have to be that hard
With the FloorPlanOnline platform and the HomeDiary PRO subscription, it can be done automatically for you.
I have used FloorPlanOnline for close to 10 years now, and they keep getting better. The new Story format showcases the amazing photos, aerials and floor plan content they create and helps make my client’s home, and me, look professional. It also positions the property for a fast sale.
The HomeDiary integration is also cool, so the new buyer can claim the home and get a copy of the photos and 2D/3D floor plan copied into their private HomeDiary, compliments of me! Joel did an amazing job capturing the charm and space of this Mt Baker area Seattle home. Keep up the great work.
We are currently experiencing an inability to upload videos to the FloorPlanOnline YouTube channel. This stems from YouTube suspending our account for a “violation of their community guidelines” which is very frustrating given we have not changed anything and have had this channel active for years, and others are doing the exact same thing! So we are evaluating options and trying to get an explanation from a real person at YouTube, which is proving next to impossible.
The solution for you if you want the slideshow video on YouTube is simply upload the video to your own YouTube channel. This can be a company or personal channel. All you need to do is select the My Channel option under the Tour Linking & Distribution section of the Edit Profile options and authenticate using your google account info. Because of the personal nature of this info, we can’t do this for you. Check the box to Upload Video to My YouTube Channel and then select the allow button after you select which google account and corresponding YouTube channel you want to use.
Alternatively, we do provide a downloadable video file of the slideshow video. To access this file, just go to Manage Tours and then click the Photos & Marketing Tools link and download the video file. You can then upload the video file to the YouTube channel directly. You can also email the link to this Marketing Material page to someone else, like an office admin person, for them to do it on your behalf, or to post to the office YouTube Channel (if they do not want to provide you with the google account info).
We apologize for this inconvenience, but it is really out of our hands. We may just start over with a new channel!
We have spent the last month doing a major upgrade to the 3D floor plan tool. Major benefits include:
NO Flash – this means it works on iPhones, iPads, other mobile devices
Design, drag & drop in 3D
Built for the future
Coming soon, we will be adding the 3D Designer button on the 3D FloorPlan option of your virtual tours. This will allow prospective buyers to drag and drop furniture, change flooring (such as carpet or hardwoods), or even remove walls to see what that open concept might look like on your mid century modern ranch that needs a big makeover. When they buy the home, they can then Claim It and get all this content copied over to their own private HomeDiary account, compliments of you.
The new 3D space planner will allow editing in 3D mode, including dragging and dropping furniture, changing flooring or wall colors and more. I also has a roof tool so you can visualize different roofing patterns or even see the whole house in a stacked 3D view. NO other online tool has this robust functionality tied to an actual house’s floor plan created on the listing side of the transaction.
Use all of this as a key differentiator at your next listing appointment, and walk away with the listing.
According to an NAR research survey*, buyers think floor plans are very useful as part of a website’s listing content. We of course have always been big believers that floor plans help sell homes and provide a vital piece of the marketing puzzle for listings. After all, photos show how the seller lives in the home. A floor plan shows how the buyer can live in it! Well, we worked with the National Association of Realtors’ research team to get floor plans included in their annual survey for home buyers and sellers. And the results are in:
55% of Buyers stated floor plans were VERY Helpful as part of a website’s content features. Anecdotally, over 80% view floor plans as useful or very useful.
In fact, they were right behind photos and detailed property info (Exhibit 3-09). The top 5 items ranked for “Very Useful” (the highest choice possible):
How can floor plans help you get more listings or sell homes faster?
What is there to differentiate you and your listing on these websites from all of the other agents and listings? Nothing.
Think about it. The same photos are all pulled from the same source (the MLS), and while one site might display them a bit differently, there is nothing really different from the hundreds of sites that have your listing content. They all regurgitate the same (often small sized) photos. They also typically do not show your contact info, or if they do, you have 3 or 4 other agents competing with you, on your own listing.
The good news is our virtual tour can help! We help leave breadcrumbs back to you.
The virtual tour features HD sized photos that fill the screen, 2D and 3D floor plans, a 3D designer (our floor planning tool), the flyer with floor plans, a video and more. All of this can help differentiate you on the web that can help you get more buyers and sellers coming to you, because they can see a difference, and as the NAR research shows, they appreciate content that can help them make a better decision. After all, 62% of home buyers are under 52. They want digital content. They use the web to not only find homes (44% first went online to search for homes for sale and 51% found the home they bought on the Internet), but to find agents, or help validate their decision. We call this The Silent Interview – the way people are silently evaluating who they want to work with to help them either sell their home, or buy a new one, or both.
Another tip. We automatically create a Call2Action photo – a composite image that includes the floor plan and 4 photos with the text of the virtual tour link. We provide both a branded and unbranded version. The unbranded version can be included with most MLS systems as a listing photo. Since people will see the unbranded link, it complies with the MLS branding rules. But, you can login to Zillow and Realtor.com and replace that unbranded image with the branded one. This informs people viewing the listing that there is more content out there – go find it on the virtual tour! We strongly suggest AGAINST including images of the floor plans in the photo gallery – as that creates less of an incentive to click the tour link or type it in. The goal is to get the user to the branded tour, so YOU can have an opportunity to engage in lead capture. So leverage the fact a listing is on Zillow, just make sure you get the person coming to you, via the virtual tour.
There are also other creative ways to leverage the content we create for you. One of our customers in the Seattle area is not only leveraging the Call2Action photo on Zillow, but she is putting it right on the yard sign. She printed it out, laminated it, and stapled it to the sign, as you see here. A great idea! Saves paper, gives the browsers a link to the tour via the link or QR code, and teases them to go see more, including videos, floor plans and of course the 3D Designer.
Speaking of the 3D Designer. We are the only virtual tour company in the US with their own 3D floor plan tool. That gives us control and innovative options. With the click of a button, any potential buyer can open up their private version of the 3D Designer and experiment with changing flooring, wall colors or even seeing what an open concept might look like with the click of a few buttons. This tool brings those HGTV-like tools you see on TV, right to your listing. Plus, add our Enhanced 3D package to your floor plan to closely match what the house looks like, all virtually.
Finally, if someone buys the home, all of this great information can be claimed by the buyer via the virtual tour and the Claim Home button. This includes the listing photos and the 2D/3D FloorPlans and Designer! The seller can also claim the home and get a copy of the same content in their own private HomeDiary. No other tour platform has this capability. Look more at the NAR report. While the vast majority of people say they would use their agent again on another transaction, in reality, only 11% actually do. HomeDiary helps you stay connected over time.
Sellers and their agents.
So leverage all of this great information and features to win the listing appointment. Talk about it and incorporate screen shots into your listing presentation. Call it out on your flyer or at open houses, such as this home comes with a HomeDiary! This is a great way for you to differentiate yourself and your listings from the masses and get more and more people coming to you.
When you did into the data (Exhibit 7-1), the vast majority of sellers found their agent from referral first. I would advocate the web can be a referring source IF YOU differentiate yourself. That means you have to stand out. Doing the same thing everyone else is doing does not cut it. if you can stand out, chances are, you can be the ONE (in 72% of the time) agent people go with. Better yet, younger sellers (36 and under) go with one agent 82% of the time! And 55% of the time you can not only get the listing, but get the new home purchase too! However, while 85% of Sellers would use the agent again (or recommend the agent – Exhibit 7-10), in reality, only 25% used the same agent. So a huge drop off (this actually has gotten better compared to previous surveys). One of the main reasons is after one year, 70% of homeowners FORGOT their agent’s name. So, stay in touch and be relevant. Our free HomeDiary service can help – read how you can invite your clients for free.
In summary, we provide a lot of content, tools and ways to differentiate yourself. It takes a little bit of time, but your will reap the rewards with more listings and more buy-side opportunities.