Secure Tours & Brandkeeper.
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):
<iframe name=”tour” src=” https://www.floorplanonline.com/tour/184056/b ” frameborder=”1″ width=”100%” height=”800″></iframe>
<!– end –>
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.
My mom, a realtor with ReeceNichols in Kansas City (www.Kansascitylifestyles.com), just made the decision to cancel her Zillow Premier agent membership because her fees went from $500 a month to $1240 a month for the same zip code! Wow, talk about the power of a monopoly!
If you are in the same boat, or if you want to just try to get more leads from places like Zillow, here is a step by step guide on how to fight back, and get more leads without giving up an arm and a leg.
Step 1. Upload the Call2Action photo to your MLS, and place it in photo spot #3. Learn more about the Call2Action photo here
The Call2Action photo is a free composite image we create of the photos and the floorplan (or if photos only, just the photos). You can download this photo by going to Manage Tours, then click on the Photos & Marketing Tools link under Tour Details.
The idea is this image is used it as a “teaser” to let the viewer know there is more exclusive content on the tour – just go find the tour link (which is usually below the main content on the portals) and see more! It is NOT clickable…because it is an image, but it is used to highlight the floorplan and tour link. The unbranded version is generic so it can be uploaded to the MLS and distributed along with the other photos…and the tour. So for sites that show the tour link via IDX (like Redfin), at least people can view the virtual tour (and on certain sites we even convert the tour to branded automatically). If a site does not pull in virtual tour links, then it lets that user know there is more content out there…and they will find it on other places like Zillow or Realtor.com, which can lead them back to YOU! They may even just Google for the address, and if you have our Free YouTube video, then that typically comes up on page 1 of Google search….and it has the tour link there too!
Step 2. For Zillow, login as the agent (you can get a free Zillow account and claim your listings) and upload the Branded Call2Action photo to your listing, and delete the unbranded, if it got pulled in from the MLS. Move the branded Call2Action photo to position #3 by clicking and dragging it to the right spot. While you are there, you can add our tour link if it did not get distributed to Zillow. Then Save at the bottom. This is ALL FREE to do on Zillow.
This takes maybe 1-2 minutes to do…but it can benefit you tremendously!
See it on Zillow – Click here to check out one of Linda’s listing with the Call2Action photo in spot #3.
Step 3. Other sites. If you have access to other sites like Trulia you can do the same. We also use a version of this Call2Action photo for our Craigslist ad poster (it has a /cl/ tracker in the link) and provide the marketing text in copy and paste fashion. So if you post to Craigslist this is a great way to leverage this tool, for free. See the Craigslist ad poster on the Marketing Center page as well.
If you really want to get fancy, you can use our embed code to embed the whole tour on your website, in a blog post, etc. It works just like embedding a YouTube video. Click here to read more on our embeddable content.
– Happy posting
Looking for that competitive edge? Check out VR.
What is VR? It is an artificial, computer-generated environment that you experience as if you were inside the image, or in this case the home. Put on a virtual reality headset and you can go on a tour of a home without ever setting foot inside the door, not only making house hunting more efficient, but also helping to reduce stress in a relocation situation. As far as the selling process with VR, distance doesn’t matter. You can offer the same experience to a client in the United States and a client in Hong Kong, 24 hours a day.
One problem that has plagued real estate agents for decades is that an empty home is a difficult sell. Without furniture and all of the other little touches that turn a house into a home it can be very difficult for a potential buyer to imagine themselves living in a particular property. With technology, the virtual solution solves this dilemma and ‘staging’ a home, just got less expensive and easier than lugging in actual pieces of furniture to fill a home when it’s open for inspection. FloorPlanOnline’s 3D floor plan solution allows anyone to drag and drop furniture onto a “clean slate” floor plan model and virtually stage it with furniture. Better yet, they can virtually change wall colors, flooring, or even experiment with removing a wall to see what an open concept might look like. Click a button and see it in 3D from the top, or go all in with immersive First Person view. Our 3D plan enhances some of the other cool 3D tours like Matterport, which show all of the sellers’s stuff in the property, as well by converting any Matterport tour into a 3D model that allows you or the owner to do anything, all virtually and in real time.
But is this really what consumers want? According to Coldwell Banker’s 2018 Smart Home Marketplace survey (download PDF here), the answer is YES! Th CB study reveals insights on how smart home tech and VR (Virtual Reality) are set to benefit consumers in a myriad of ways. Their survey included responses from 3,000 adults revealing that:
- 77% of homebuyers would like virtual reality tours before seeing the listing in person.
- 84% agree they would love to see video footage of homes before visiting
- Another 68% would like to use technology to see how their current furniture would actually look in a new home.
- Further, 62% of Americans said they would be more apt to go with a real estate agent, that offered VR Tours over an agent who did not.
When it comes to Smart Home products that could make or break a sale, the table below shows a percentage of Americans who already own, or plan to purchase, Smart Home products.
The following Smart Home Products were picked by respondents to be the most important pre-install in a listing:
- Smart Thermostat – 77%
- Smart Fire Detector – 75%
- Smart Cardon Monodie Detector – 70%
- Smart Camera – 66%
- Smart Lock – 63%
- Smart Lighting System – 63%
While some of the changes expected to hit real estate technology may be a decade out to be fully felt, the movement is taking steps forward every day. Virtual Reality has proven its worth and it won’t be long before it transforms the property-buying experience for home buyers all over the world.
FloorPlanOnline’s HomeDiary PRO service is the perfect online tool to help showcase your listings, and well as provide a unique homeowner management tool to all of your clients for one low annual fee. With HomeDiary PRO, you can provide an HGTV-like 3D floor plan tool to all of your clients to they can Dream, Manage and Do more with their home. To learn more visit HomeDiary PRO. Existing FloorPlanOnline customers, please contact sales for special options.
We have received a lot of questions on how to add the Facebook app to people’s Facebook page. Here is a complete video guide on how to do this. It is also posted as a video in our Help Video page.
Note: The most important thing, and what trips people up – you need a Facebook Business page in order to install the app. If you get hung up on the installation, the likely reason is you are not installing it on a business page. If you do not have a Facebook Business page, click here to create one.
Once properly installed, it should look like this example of the Cone Team’s Facebook page in Kansas City.
Here is a great post I saw today of what Millennials want out of the real estate process. Why should you care? Zillow says they make up 55% of buyers!
Let me summarize it.
- They want to use technology to simplify things, like electronic documents and file sharing.
- They want to screen properties BEFORE they ever visit them. This means lots of photos, aerial images, virtual tours and we think floor plans to help people visualize how their family can live in the property, not how the seller currently is living in it. Lots of research out there that says 70% to 90% of buyers want to see floor plans when they search. Leverage this and market it at the listing appointment to get the listing every time!
- Be the expert on the process and help people understand it.
- Be creative.
Great advice. We can help.