When you think of your real estate marketing strategy, what comes to mind? Word-of-Mouth referral? Print ads? Lawn signage with your visage (or that of an associate) emblazoned across it? Scaled up versions of the same in billboard form? Perhaps you’re focused on local television and radio spots? Or if you’re truly ahead of the curve, you probably steer your marketing spend towards digital (as opposed to traditional) marketing initiatives.
But at some point, what sets you apart from your competitors has less to do with advertising. It comes from the quality of service that you offer, as well as the distinct advantages offered by your nuanced approach. It’s part of your culture, a cornerstone of your professional branding and a perfect example of why so many realtors have jumped at the upgrade offered by the growing prevalence of virtual reality.
Whether residential or commercial, your clients come in all forms. That said, real estate acquisition is no different than any other kind of commerce when it comes to the role online searches play. Providing a means of researching realtor and property options on their own time and terms, most real estate searches begin online. And research has shown that 83% of online clientele arrive at a website with an expectation of comprehensive visual aids to inform their process. As a means of eliminating sight-unseen issues and providing greater assurance, its easy to understand why.
But two decades into a century defined by technological advancements, pedestrian photo galleries just aren’t cutting it anymore. In fact, they haven’t cut it for quite some time. Using creative angles to craft the illusion of space is so early ‘aught that it hurts. Even 3D photographs are limited in their ability to convey space in an appreciable manner. And with time a precious commodity in most everyone’s lives, VR tech offers the luxury of touring properties in real time with 360-degree visibility of even the finest details. Frankly, anything less is unacceptable.
And It’s No Surprise
Regardless of industry (and outside of professional use, entirely) virtual and augmented reality has been penetrating our culture for some time. From the carefree personal distraction offered by Snapchat filters to gaming headsets, the influx of VR technology reminds us that our enjoyment of an experience isn’t limited to what exists in our line of sight. If such technology exists for recreation, why shouldn’t we expect more innovative means of pursuing major financial investments for your real estate marketing?
Whether touring existing real estate, discussing proposed renovations, or reviewing construction plans on a property yet-to-come, VR software makes ‘the dream’ a tangible reality. And that’s what real estate has always been about, hasn’t it? Connecting qualified buyers with their dream home or commercial site. Consider their satisfaction and confidence in a realtor who can make that dream come true, right in front of their eyes, before they ever sign on the dotted line. If you’re not currently employing VR as part of your presentation model, consider for a moment what a game changer it could be in terms of offering brand-defining service.
Such technology also serves to improve the quality of communication between you and your clients, as it sidesteps technical literacy (the lack of which can complicate the review of 2D plans). Remember, even the most articulate of overhead drafts can prove susceptible to misinterpretation. By employing virtual reality software, you’re eliminating the risk of misinterpretation, potentially eliminating both small hiccups and major headaches down-the-road and growing your real estate marketing presence.
Setting aside the client-facing portion of your approach, let’s talk about you. As with any business, your goal is to generate both revenue and a stronger return on any investments made to do so. With that in mind, let’s explore the ROI value of including virtual reality as part of your online presence.
At the risk of reiterating a few points:
- According to the National Association of Realtors, 84% of first-time home buyers and 79% of repeat home buyers begin their search online.
- 83% of home buyers expect visual tools of some kind.
- 54% of buyers claim that they will not look at a property unless there’s a virtual tour available.
- It’s estimated that 6 million virtual tours are taken every day.
- More than half the adults in the U.S. have used the internet to take a virtual tour. Regardless of whether or not they are a serious buyer, this reiterates the evolution of expectations. One should assume this will neither stall or slow because…
- Listings that include a virtual tour enjoy 87% more views than listings that don’t.
- Virtual tours extend the length of visits to your website by 5-10x, creating more value in the eyes of Google which can improve your search result standings, making you more visible to more prospective buyers in search of a reputable realtor.
Your Online Presence
For many of you, discussion of VR integration might be aspirational, with the timeline for such a task being a separate discussion (albeit one well-worth having). But that said, it simply an extension of what your primary goal should be: to create the most comprehensive online presence possible.
In a world of do-it-yourself web design services, and self-managed social media profiles, it might seem that a personally-orchestrated online presence conveys a personal touch. While we’d certainly agree, one could argue that it equates to an athlete’s attempt to play every position on the field. No matter how gifted an athlete they might be, they’ll eventually find themselves exhausted, outplayed and defeated.
Web Design. Search Engine Optimization. Social Media. Reputation Management. Today’s companies employ full-time employees dedicated to any of these roles, crucial to running a successful business in today’s digital landscape. So how can your real estate business thrive with you trying to handle each of these tasks, with admitted limitations in your skillset, when your clients deserve to have you focused on them? Certainly something to think about.