Lights, Camera, Agent! Essential Real Estate Video Marketing Gear
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
A successful real estate video marketing strategy requires more than just smiling on camera, sounding approachable, and promoting your business. You also need to have the essential materials to shoot great-looking and -sounding clips, the resources to help you ideate, write, and record videos, and the right people to assist you. It may sound overwhelming, but if you know how to approach developing your real estate video marketing plan from the bottom up — which you can learn in detail below — you will be well on your way to becoming a video marketing superstar.
Stage #1: Creating Your Real Estate Video Marketing Plan and Goals
As with every marketing activity you partake in, crafting a concrete video marketing for real estate strategy starts with identifying what you want to achieve, and how you will go about accomplishing your goals.
Figure out which audience you want to reach.
Begin by revisiting your real estate buyer personas: Who are they? What types of content do they want to consume? How can you reach them with your videos? Base your brainstorming sessions around your audience so you ensure every idea generated for your video campaign is one they would watch and find valuable. Remember, though, that not every video you produce will appeal to every member of your audience, so consider videos that cover all your bases: in other words, ones that will attract each persona.
For instance, you may specialize in working mostly with Generation X (those born in the 1960s and 70s, essentially). However, perhaps a small portion of your business is starting to come from Millennials. Chances are you will need to create different videos geared toward both demographics to promote your brand and earn leads from each respective audience. That’s not to say there likely won’t be any overlap in video interests, but the two demographics are known to want different things when it comes to purchasing homes and have different approaches when it comes to searching the market.
Coming up with specific real estate videos for marketing that captivate each of your buyer personas may take time, but recording footage that doesn’t end up appealing to your core audience will be a waste of time and lead to wasted marketing efforts. If you can’t think of intriguing video ideas, talk to your audience directly to understand what they want in real estate videos. Use online survey tools to canvass contacts (perhaps cold leads and former clients) to get a notion of what type of videos they consume during the home search process.
Establish the goals you want to achieve.
Next up is defining your vision for your video efforts. Many real estate agents’ goals for their video marketing revolve around improving distinct metrics, including click-throughs to their websites and, in turn, lead conversion through those sites. Whatever you aim to achieve with your videos, be sure you outline your goals with a mission statement of sorts before you record — otherwise, you won’t know what metrics to gauge weeks and months into your video campaign or how your clips affect your site’s lead generating and nurturing capabilities based on the performance of your videos.
Determine what video marketing success looks like.
In the same vein as deciding on which metrics to improve upon with your real estate video marketing, it’s equally important to conclude what will let you know your marketing efforts are successful. Here’s another way to put it: A five-video series featuring home selling tips generated 1,000 views in the first two months it’s been published on your real estate YouTube channel. For your specific marketing needs, do you consider that to be a success? Did any of the people who watched those clips end up becoming a lead (or better yet a client)?
Without knowing what to make of your videos’ performance, you won’t have any clue as to whether or not your time was well-spent planning, recording, editing, and posting the recordings online.
Stage #2: Securing the Core Video Materials You Need to Succeed
After you’ve fleshed out all of the high-level plans for your real estate video marketing, it’s time to do some shopping. From the basic requirements to actually record video to the post-production components needed to make those videos look and sound incredible, there is a laundry list of necessary items to obtain to get your filmmaking career up and running.
Get software for editing, storyboarding, and writing.
Aside from the usual real estate software you use daily — everything from customer relationship management (CRM) databases and contact management systems to marketing automation platforms and listing presentation tools — video marketing software requires a more hands-on approach. That’s not to say it’s terribly difficult to master some of the more basic video software on the market. Rather, it’s simply a different animal and requires some time investment to learn.
Storyboarding and script-writing software often come packaged together since both are intertwined in the content creation process, so test drive any that offer free trials to see if it helps you streamline your storytelling (and yes, even 1-minute videos that provide a tour of a listing or a 30-second clip promoting your agency require storytelling). The best features any great storyboarding and screenwriting software offer are:
- Visualization tools: You don’t have to be an artist to draw visual representations of what you intend to film in each scene of your videos, especially when using intuitive resources that come with this type of software.
- Scene characteristics: Think of the script-writing process as if you are a Hollywood screenwriter — you need to label each scene (e.g. “Outdoors during sunny day, outside X listing”) and add notes to describe intricacies related to them (e.g. “Show my conversation with clients during the voice overlay in this scene”).
- Saved revisions: One of the worst things a writer can experience is losing that great idea because they deleted it a few drafts earlier. Thankfully, most screenwriting software allows users to revisit older versions of scripts.
Occasionally, you may film real estate videos during which you speak directly to a still camera and only need one take, meaning editing after the fact isn’t required … but these instances will likely be few and far between. For this reason, having the right software that allows for detailed adjustments to your recordings (like adding lower-third titles, text overlays, and calls to action, and cutting some recorded footage, for instance) means you can make your clips professional-looking, much like these real estate professionals have done with their videos.
Purchase a camera that records high-quality video.
Android and iOS devices are the go-to video recording equipment for most people today, and it’s easy to see why: these devices are portable, create high-quality clips, and even offer built-in editing features. Having said that, smartphones and tablets still pale in comparison to video cameras on the market. Image stabilization, indoor and outdoor filming capabilities, intricate editing tools, substantial battery life and memory, in-depth zoom features — these are just some of the top features you’ll find on many of the top-selling cameras that mobile devices simply lack.
This post from Business Insider, for instance, features 10 of the best video cameras any agent would be wise to use for their real estate video marketing. Your best bet is to head to online marketplaces like Amazon or brick-and-mortar retailers to conduct your research and find the best camera in your price range and that meets your preferences.
Buy highly reviewed external lighting equipment.
Many video cameras these days have integrated lights and microphones that help light your shoots and ensure only the sounds you want are picked up for each recording. As any professional in the video production field will tell you, though, investment in external lighting and mics will enhance your clips considerably and, in turn, enrich the quality of your videos.
Lighting is one of the trickier components of a film shoot. When arranged well, though, lighting helps position the video presenter center stage, ensuring any viewers will pay attention solely to them, not any other background noise. Some of the best practices for orchestrating the lighting for your real estate marketing videos include:
- Balance artificial and natural light: When filming indoors, be mindful of how much natural light from outside gets in. If you’re shooting next to a window during daytime hours, you likely won’t need to use artificial lights. Conversely, if you’re shooting at night or in a dark room, the artificial lights will be your primary light source. This requires playing with the brightness levels for your lighting apparatus.
- Check your camera’s “white balance” setting: All of the top video cameras have this feature, which often helps automatically balance the color of natural and artificial lighting displayed through the lens. However, not all cameras automatically adjust the color settings via the white balance function, so check yours to ensure it will film the scene in question with its actual colors.
- Avoid harsh and misdirected lighting: It takes some practice to get your lighting set up properly, but two things you need to avoid with your video shoots are overexposed lighting on your subject so you avoid making them look like a ghost and positioning your lights well to make sure the subject is seen clearly. For instance, low background lighting mixed with lighting on opposite sides of the camera facing the subject can more clearly highlight their features.
Mobile shoots, like those in which you walk through listings, neighborhoods, or busy commercial centers, are prime instances of when you likely won’t have the opportunity to use lighting stands, but they come in handy big-time for static productions. Assuming you dedicate a space in your office or home to record videos regularly, however, you can have equipment set up 24/7 so you don’t have to break it down every time you want to shoot.
Stage #3: Planning Out Your First Real Estate Marketing Videos
This is when the fun really begins — the time when you get to sit down and develop tactical plans for individual videos and make those plans come to fruition. The numerous ideas you (presumably) have for your real estate video marketing campaigns can now be brought to life … possibly even with some outside help, if you still don’t feel comfortable completing your production by your lonesome.
Find the right people to assist with your video production.
Whether it’s your life partner, a friend, a colleague, or a hired hand, chances are you will need some real estate video production assistance. Put these individuals to work on the more minute tasks associated with your production. For instance, if you schedule one day a week to shoot for an hour, employ someone to come to wherever your production set is located to do the dirty work for you: put up the lights, set up the camera, adjust the camera settings accordingly, and arrange the backdrop. If you already have a real estate marketing assistant, then you already have the help you need, but if you don’t have anyone in mind to take on these duties, post a listing online and find candidates who are willing to help part-time.
Develop a lengthy list of topics for your videos.
Regarding the actual content creation process, your initial main responsibility is really just to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Over time, you will be able to segment all of your ideas into different buckets and then break down those buckets into even more specific content divisions.
Here’s a thorough example of how you can break down broad, high-level real estate video ideas into more specific ones: If creating clips devoted to dispensing home buyer finance tips, think of specific ways in which buyers can better their personal finances, like improving their credit score, saving more money, and bolstering their existing income levels. Each of these three distinct tips can become its own video as part of a larger series of recordings intended to help your audience save for their home purchase.
Storyboard and produce scripts for the best video ideas.
“I’m not a writer” and “I’m not a creative person” are two of the more common phrases uttered among professionals in non-creative roles — and that includes many agents. Though you may not consider yourself to be an artist in any way, shape, or form, there are tons of resources that can help you learn to draft rough sketches and outlines for your real estate agent videos and write modest, conversational scripts in practically no time. For instance, this Academy post featuring countless blogging tips can be applied just as easily to your script-writing efforts.
All of your storyboarding and scripts should revolve around answering this one question: How can I provide clear and sufficient value for my audience in my videos? Regardless of whether you mostly produce how-to videos or promotional clips, keep this question top of mind and you’ll end up developing precisely what will get video viewers onto your website and into your CRM.
What real estate marketing tools do you use to shoot video? How do you develop real estate marketing ideas for your YouTube channel? Share your thoughts and processes with us in the comments below!
Published on June 12, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.