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With YouTube one of the three most visited sites on the Internet, panelists of the recent “YouTube101” webinar sponsored by NAHB’s National Sales and Marketing Council urged builders and remodelers to put videos on Internet video sharing sites in order to effectively market their homes and services.
“There’s an unquenchable thirst for videos,” said Rich Carlson of Carlson Communications, who noted that billions of people view videos on YouTube every day. “I think videos are becoming the new norm for conveying information.”
“Think about YouTube in real estate terms,” added Meredith Oliver, of Meredith Communications. “It is really about location. You want to put your neighborhood or services on highly trafficked areas. You want to have a presence where they figuratively and virtually hang out — and they hang out on YouTube.”
Oliver said that builders and remodelers should regard posting videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites much like signage that leads prospective home buyers and customers not to communities, but to their websites. Think of posting videos — and linking them to community and builder websites — “as brand new roads to your neighborhood,” she said.
The videos should also be accompanied by cross promotion through other Internet-related sites and tools such as social networking, blogs, email, news feeds and any other online presence a builder or remodeler might have, Oliver said. The cross promotion will improve search engine optimization and help increase website visibility and awareness.
Just about everything that applies to using videos for marketing can also apply to photo sharing, Oliver said. Builders and remodelers can create similar impacts and boost their website traffic by using Internet-based photo sharing sites such as Flicr and Picasa, which is owned by Google. Many of the sites include free editing functions.
Photo sharing can also be a less expensive way to showcase homes, communities, products and events, especially for those not ready to use video, she said.
Types of Videos That Work for the Industry
The types of videos that building industry professionals will find useful in promoting their products and services include testimonials, informational videos, product demonstrations and question-and-answer videos, Carlson said.
He said all four types of videos are cost-effective and should be consumer-oriented and consumer-friendly. He added that product demonstrations can be created to answer questions while consumers learn more about the home or product so salespeople can devote more time toward closing the sale.
Industry professionals should also consider creating consumer interviews videos and events and training videos, which, in addition to training contractors, can be created to show salespeople how their company’s houses are built.
Creating Successful Videos
To create successful videos, builders and remodelers should first determine where the videos will be shown and then use the appropriate format, lighting, sound and images, Carlson said.
“High definition video is being used more and more,” he said, “and you want to make sure it is well lit.” He also said the videos should not have background noises or other distractions that can annoy or divert a viewer’s attention and that builders should vary the images they use on their videos.
Industry professionals can also use the videos, or parts of them, in other marketing such as in television ads, on the company website, in sales centers, at trade shows and through direct mail or email. Elements of the video’s soundtrack can also be used in radio ads, Carlson suggested.
Keep It Short
Videos should be short and grab the viewer's attention within the first 10 seconds, Oliver said.
“YouTube is its own unique platform,” she said. “Wow them visually and with music.”
Videos should be between one and two minutes long, “or you’re going to lose them,” Oliver said. “Don’t be too stuffy; don’t work off a script that is stilted. Keep your videos lively and fun.”
Just as importantly, Oliver said every video should have a call to action. “It can be a crawl across the bottom of the screen or a slide promoting a specific action during a limited period of time” by contacting the company or visiting its website.
A replay of “YouTube 101,” first presented as part of the Webinar Wednesdays series by NAHB Education, is available by clicking here. Handouts from the presentation and a YouTube 101 marketing checklist are also available.