Here is a great new article from RealtorMag about a study conducted by the WAV Group and Victor Lund that talks about how the portal sites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are not driving traffic back to broker’s websites….and that YouTube is one of the top referring sites, thanks to Google. See the full post from the WAV Group here. He further states there should be a driving force to get virtual tours on every listing.
Google was also a top referrer, and that has important implications for virtual tours on YouTube because “Google displays YouTube results in the search results above the fold,” Lund writes. “That means that the video gets great SEO — usually better than the broker’s listing detail page. This is the driving force behind the strategy of publishing virtual tours on every company listing.”
Luckily, as a FloorPlanOnline customer, we generate a free YouTube video for each listing, and we can post it either to our YouTube channel or yours. Just set it up under your Linking Profile. The video is all automatic, based on your settings under the Edit Photo/Video tab. You can even add text or video clips. Some of the other guys charge you $25, and it is a manual process. Plus, we are working on a cool new video update this winter…so stay tuned for that update. A preview of what it might look like is in this post.
This study highlights the importance of a new tool we have been working on for the last month, called our Call2Action Photo. The goal of the Call2Action Photo is to get more users to the virtual tour, where lead capture and engagement can happen. The photo is a composite image of the floor plan, a video screen shot and several other images, with the virtual tour link prominently displayed and text that says Get Exclusive Content. So now, leverage the traffic on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Craigslist or other websites and create an incentive for people to get the exclusive content, like floor plans, on the virtual tour!
When you think about it, the virtual tour is the ONLY piece of content that can live on all of these websites (as well as your competitor sites) and drive traffic back to the listing. If your tour features floor plans, the #2 requested item from buyers, and if you do not upload the floor plans as images with other photos (we think this is very important not to do), then the only place people will be able to see the floorplans is via the tour. This creates an opportunity for the potential buyer to find your tour, and you!
You get More Traffic, More Leads and More Results
But wait…it gets better! Introducing a new option for corporate accounts where we can actually rebrand our virtual tour link with your domain name. So, Zillow can actually drive traffic to the tour which is now considered your website! This means more visitors, more visits and more time on site, thanks to Zillow’s traffic! This custom tour rebranding can be easily done with a sub domain, like tours.kw.com/xxxxxx, or with a little work on the IT side, like kw.com/tours/xxxxxx where xxxxxx is our virtual tour ID. This feature is exclusive to corporate account customers. Please use the contact from below to discuss adding this feature to your account/sub accounts.
The bottom line, you need to provide something different than the same photos and text a user will find on Zillow, Realtor.com or your company website. The FloorPlanOnline virtual tour does that, with the clickable floor plans, the RoomPlanner tool, flyer and other marketing tools we provide exclusive to the listing. Buyers want to see floor plans….the virtual tour is the bait that will let you set the hook! Plus, we can embed it on your website and further keep the user engaged.
We released a new simplified way to either search/filter for accounts on the Manage Tour page, or when you are placing an order. In the past, there was a long list to select from. Now, if you are placing orders via a corporate account, just start typing the person’s name (first or last) or their customer ID and the list of filtered agents will appear. You can then quickly select from the list.
This is an example. Once the list appears just mouse over the desired name and click.
I recently read a post by a popular blogger named Andrew Spence regarding how important time on site is for your SEO rankings. Andrew states that the two biggest metrics Google looks at are “time” and “click throughs.” You can ready the full post here. http://www.andrewspenceonline.com/website-visitors/
This post touches on something I have been talking about for a long time now: Create a better user experience AND content than the other guy, and more and more visitors will come to your site.
Sure it might take some time and effort, but if you provide the same content as the other guys and you pull it from the same source (the MLS), then how in the world are you ever going to differentiate your website from anyone else. Last I heard, Zillow had $400 million in the bank…so you can’t compete there. Yet Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, your company website, and all of your competitors pull the same content from the MLS and regurgitate it in slightly different ways.
Where is the secret sauce?
I may be biased, but I think the Interactive Floor Plan Tours and some of the advanced things you can do with them are the secret sauce of the online real estate marketing world. One place you can compete on is a better user experience and content. We know from research buyers want to see floor plans. They rank right behind photos as the top 2 content items desired for a listing. They can also generate 30% more interest and even more commissions for agents. Use the valiable content created for your tours to lure people to your site and keep them longer.
Easily add embedded content on your website or blog
To help with the time on site issue, we offer embedded tour content for your site. Think of how you can embed a YouTube video on a blog….it is basically the same thing. We offer “embed code” via our Embeddable Tour tool and our WordPress Plugin where all you have to do is copy and paste the code into a page or a post to add the whole tour, or just parts of it, right into your website. We offer a pop-over tour, or an embedded in-line tour option. With both of these options, the user is technically still on your site. No clicking a link and taking the user away to another tab (which means they leave your site…hopefully to come back). While it is technically content not hosted by your site, the fact the user does not leave your site and stays longer is very good for your SEO, regardless.
If you just put a link or button to virtual tour, two things happen. 1. The user is LEAVING YOUR SITE. Bad. 2. Each click means you are losing 50% of your audience. Bad.
Give ’em the Sauce!
So show your website visitors the great content you created with FloorPlanOnline.com – the secret sauce – right on your pages….and don’t hide it so half of your audience, or more, never sees it. Click here to see our embedded tour content live in action and read more about how to set things up. Or just click on the floorplan image to pop our pop-over tour! You can use our Pop-up Tour widget and put it anywhere, just like I did in this blog post, or in a sidebar widget area, etc. This is a great option if the content area for your page is narrow (like 600 pixels or less). Just use our button (you can upload your own as well) and when clicked, it pops the larger window over your site so you can maximize the view based on the user’s screen, not limited by your website layout.
Plus, with our new lead capture system coming soon, you will be able to capture leads in more places throughout the web. Something you can’t do with any other marketing medium. Click here to read more on our upcoming Lead Capture enhancements.
We recently made an update to our photo uploader tool to add a new Flash upload option. The default uploader is a Java-based program that requires Java to run and work on your computer. While 98% of computers have Java installed, there are some recent issues due to security concerns, and users of Apple computers are periodically experiencing issues where they can’t upload with this version, because Apple blocks Java from running on the Mac, at times. In addition if you are a Mac user and use Chrome as your browser of choice, the Java based uploader does not work because Chrome is a 32 bit application, and Java is a 64 bit application for the Mac.
So…we added a new Flash uploader that uses Adobe’s Flash tools to upload photos. It works pretty good, you just do not see your file structure initially. You need to click the button to +Add More Files, navigate to where you have the photos stored on your computer, and then you can use the SHIFT key (start at the first photo and then hold the key down, and click on the last photo to select all photos in that folder) or the CTRL key (hold the CTRL key and then just click photos you want to upload to highlight them) to select various photos. You will then see them added into the upload window. Then just upload.
You can also use the Web Uploader where you select one photo at a time, if all else fails. This option does support the uploading of zip files too, so you can compress your images and upload.
I am really excited to announce some cool updates to the Single Property Website Tour. Click here to see a sample tour.
Centering of the tour on any web page (it used to be left justified)
Better fitting of the content to eliminate scrolling of the main content area
Cool wrap around styling of the content section headers
Ability to change the overall background color…so now you have two colors to showcase your brand and enhance the look of the tour. It makes the content really pop!
Ability to upload a background image – this could be the image of the property, a view of the area, or a custom branding image featuring your logo. For now, the custom background image only shows on the branded tour.
You can make these changes on a tour by tour basis, or in your profile to have them apply to all future tours.
A little tip. If you use Google’s Chrome browser, you can install a free “color picker” tool that allows you to get the color code for any color on any web page. Click here for a list of programs you can install for free to get the color code. Once you have the code, go to Edit Details on the Manage Tours page for a tour, or Edit Profile, and put the color either in the background 1 or background 2 spot. You can also do this for text. For example, this green is the color code #878f55
It is really simple to do and is another way you can really showcase your brand. The next training session will go over some advanced tour customization tricks. Click here to register…it is FREE!
We would love to hear feedback….please comment or post something in our support forum.