Real Estate Video Marketing Tips and Tricks: Optimizing Your YouTube Channel
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
YouTube has seen many challengers in the online video market in recent years, but despite the competition, it remains the premier real estate video marketing platform — after all, 1 billion users can’t be wrong. You don’t want to reach all one billion viewers, however. Rather, you need to reach a select, targeted niche. That requires a real estate video marketing plan and detailed knowledge about how to optimize your YouTube channel. In this post we’ll cover both topics.
Design: Make your channel page look as good as your website.
The visual aspects of your brand should be reinforced anywhere you have an online presence. Your real estate YouTube channel is no different. Atop your channel’s homepage you’re allowed to add a banner and profile image, so create ones that feature your headshot, company name, contact info, and a stylish photo of one of your best listings. Here are four stellar designs expert agents (from top to bottom: Broderick and Burke Sales Representatives, Gabe Fitzhugh, Bob Burke, and Megan Shaw Williams) used for their YouTube channels.
Company Details: Include all your agency information in the About section.
A great rule of thumb for your real estate marketing strategy: There’s no such thing as oversharing your company’s contact information. Never assume your audience knows where to find you on social media or even how to find your website. Provide links that allow them to easily locate you in the digiverse or contact you by email or phone — especially in your YouTube channel’s About section. Look at Shorewood Realtors’ about page to see a prime example of how to provide ample information for users and show them where you can be found online:
Content: Devise a real estate video marketing plan for the long term.
It’s important to have a long-term vision for what you want to achieve with your YouTube channel and be consistent with your production, video length, graphics, and value proposition. The best way to craft this plan is to first figure out what subject matter and angles will best inform your audience, then hone in on the intricacies of each type of video you plan to create:
- How-to videos: Explanatory clips highlighting tasks every home buyer and seller needs to know about (e.g. securing a home loan, setting an asking price) can position you as a convenient resource.
- Market updates: Buyers and sellers alike want to know if the market is likely to see growth in areas like home values and employment opportunities.
- Interviews: Those with interesting stories, backgrounds, or knowledge (e.g. local restaurateurs and business owners) are ideal people to chat with on camera to highlight your local market.
- Listing videos: This is probably the most common format in agents’ strategies for video marketing for real estate, but nonetheless very effective. Flaunt your listings in the best light possible (literally and figuratively).
- Neighborhood overviews: Though not as common as listing videos, these recordings can get buyers to imagine what their lives would be like residing in your market. Highlight the best attributes of your community.
Don’t reinvent the wheel with your real estate videos. Look at what’s made other agents successful with their YouTube video marketing and examine how you can spin your own version of their clips for your channel. For instance, if you like the way in which a fellow agent explained what it’s like to live in their market — the neighborhoods, businesses, and restaurants there — write a script for your own video that does the same. Just be sure you use long-tail real estate keywords in your videos’ titles, tags, and descriptions so they’re discovered by home buyers and sellers in your market.
Titles: Create captivating headlines that get found and inspire clicks.
Just as you need to fashion SEO-friendly, witty, enticing real estate blog post titles, it’s imperative to craft headlines for YouTube videos that incorporate relevant keywords and makes users want to watch your clips. The good news is there’s really no difference in approach between writing titles for blog articles and titles for YouTube videos.
Head to Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner (or one of the countless other keyword research tools out there) to identify which terms are the most applicable to your videos and overall marketing strategy. Organize the keywords so you can distribute them across your video content, maximize your reach (since you’re taking advantage of multiple terms), and discern over time which words and phrases bring about the most clicks on your recordings.
Once you have a keyword list to work with, it’s time to get imaginative and develop titles for each video. Think of a few different options for each clip and select the one that both sounds natural when reading and is different from other videos on the topic. A great way to determine both of these things is to search for similar videos on YouTube and see what headlines have been used already.
Should you implement a series of videos, think of a recurring title you can use and add in subtitles for each new episode. For instance, if you dispense tips on searching the market for the right home each week, you could call the series “Searching the [Town/City/County Name Here] Market with [Your Name Here].” Subtitles for each episode could simply be whatever you’d normally call the episode (e.g. a video in which you describe how to use search engines to find the right listings could be called “Google Your Way to a New Home”).
Calls to Action: Add Cards and Annotations throughout your real estate videos.
Annotations have been the core calls to action (CTA) marketers have added to their YouTube videos over the years. A new CTA type, however, is on the horizon. Cards were announced by the video platform in early 2015 and will eventually take the place of annotations as the primary mid-video marketing method brands can use. Whichever CTA you implement in your clips, remember the essential structure for promotional pop-ups: succinct copy that explains why you want viewers to click, and a link that brings viewers to the page they were promised.
This goes back to having a concrete real estate content marketing strategy to support your YouTube channel. Create website pages and blog posts that offer your audience ample value. Then, you’ll have plenty of places to send those who click your CTAs. This annotation used by California-based Mainstreet Realtors for its innovative Google Glass listing tour video is another avenue you could take: Keep viewers on your channel and checking out as many properties as possible:
Thumbnails: Ensure viewers know your videos’ focus with appropriate images.
Besides attractive headlines, the thumbnail images that appear in the video list on your YouTube channel need to convey exactly what each video is about. The images don’t even have to be a frame from the video itself, but they have to relay the focal point of each clip. For example, if one of your videos explains the difference between buyer’s and seller’s agents, an image showing the title of the video, your name or agency branding, and a photo of you helping a client should be more than enough for viewers to interpret what the video is about.
Conversely, pixelated or irrelevant photos, small or missing copy explaining a video’s subject matter, and a lack of cohesion among all of your videos’ thumbnail images can lead to poor click rates and even hurt your overall real estate branding efforts. Consumers crave quality and consistency in the content they check out. Fail to offer both and your video creation could be for naught.
Below are examples of thumbnails Placester has used for our Marketing Academy Secrets video series, in which we presented advice on a range of marketing topics. The copy color, style, sizing, and placement are consistent across the board, as is the use of the photo of Placester VP of Sales & Marketing Seth Price, who speaks in each clip:
Descriptions: Write search-optimized copy describing your videos.
Writing a couple sentences that roughly summarize the concepts of your real estate videos won’t cut it. Instead, several paragraphs featuring either a transcript of your clips or a thorough explanation of the content need to be added to the description field so your viewers understand what the video will show them before they watch a single second.
As with titles and tags, write a description that clearly explains the topic for each video, and then optimize the copy for search engines. If you’ve written blog posts on the same subjects of clips, be sure to use different keywords so your videos and articles that relate to one another don’t compete in search results. This doesn’t mean you should use just any keywords with your video descriptions — they should still be highly searched, moderately competitive terms you have a realistic chance of ranking for in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Don’t forget to add links to your website either. If a real estate video of yours describes a neighborhood in your market, include a link in the description that sends viewers to an area page on your site that details that community. Additionally, link to your social media accounts in the descriptions for all of your videos.
Captions: Provide subtitles for the hearing impaired and foreign language speakers.
Though technically not a real estate video optimization tip, this helps in reaching prospective home buyers and sellers who cannot hear or whose primary language isn’t English. Making the effort to reach these viewers could have a sizable impact on your lead generation, so use Transcripts — which offers speech-recognition technology — to provide captions for hearing impaired users, and Google Translator Toolkit to develop subtitles for foreign users (you can translate your content in up to 58 languages).
Just like captions on TV, YouTube populates on the lower-third portion of the screen, as exemplified in this video from Teri Conrad’s Conversations That Matter channel, so as not to block the main content:
Playlists: Allow users to view a stream of videos related to the same topic.
After putting together a comprehensive collection of YouTube real estate videos, take a step back and determine if there are opportunities to set up playlists. The point of these curated lists is to provide your audience with related content to watch on your channel. In this regard, playlists act like Pinterest boards: There’s one overarching theme, but each individual piece has a different slant and has a different value proposition.
Let’s say six months into your real estate video marketing strategy you’ve developed 20 how-to videos that teach buyers and sellers the ins and outs of finding the right property, closing deals, and other essential information on their transactions. Since you have considerable amounts of content to share with both lead types, it’s in your best interest to bundle your buyer-oriented videos into one playlist and seller-related ones into another. After a buyer-themed video ends, for example, the next one up in the playlist will start playing.
This particular playlist from EXIT Realty is geared toward its recruiting efforts and features several videos aimed at attracting top agent talent to the agency:
Analytics: Examine the metrics associated with your real estate videos.
Google, YouTube’s parent company, has mastered (and continues to perfect), insightful analytics tools that show the basic metrics you need to monitor (total views, traffic sources) along with more intricate ones that can help you enhance your video tactics (like retention rates, which show how much of a video a viewer watches and when they abandon watching a clip).
The reporting capabilities are seemingly endless, but don’t get frazzled by the bevy of tracking options — just know that checking your analytics with relative frequency will only improve your overall real estate marketing strategy.
Promotion: Use your site, social media, email campaigns, and ads to boost views.
“Without promotion, something terrible happens … nothing!” This quote from P.T. Barnum couldn’t be more relevant for your real estate marketing, including your YouTube presence. Create all the videos you want, but without promotion, they won’t reach their full potential.
Schedule a regularly published stream of tweets, status updates, and other social media posts for your content. Moreover, use your email campaigns to share listing videos, how-to clips, and other recordings with your lead lists. The more videos you develop, the more you have to include in your real estate newsletters, so continue to create videos that you can integrate with the various email types you share with your audience.
And, of course, there’s your real estate website. Craft blog posts around your videos. Feature your neighborhood videos on pages about communities you serve. Explanatory videos detailing who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and how you can help buyers and sellers can go right on your about page.
Feedback: Determine where you can improve based on users’ comments.
This doesn’t mean solely reading the comments in the real estate agent videos themselves, but by interacting with leads who have viewed your videos to get feedback on what they liked, didn’t like, and want to see in the future. Perhaps they want to learn more about the community in which they plan to buy, or hear from top entrepreneurs in the area to get their thoughts on the job market. Whatever it is, take their answers to heart and use them to transform your YouTube channel for the better.
Have you seen success with your real estate video production for YouTube? Tell us how you make the most of your video marketing plan below.
Published on May 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.