Video Testimonials: Simple, Inexpensive, Convincing

In Vermont, we have a great tradition called Town Meeting Day, where members of the community come together and vote on local issues.  Depicted in a famous Norman Rockwell image, Town Meeting Day is one of the unique things about Vermont that makes this a wonderful place to call home.  Here in Burlington, our 39,800 residents makes us the largest city in the state (calling it both a city and within Vermont are considered debatable points).  Since we’ve outgrown the high school gym for our Town Meeting day, Burlingtonians go to the polls.  Accordingly, this past March we held an election for Mayor.

Amongst the candidates that ran for office, I publicly supported a moderate independent candidate named Dan Smith.  Unfortunately, he didn’t win.  However, Dan did do some pretty cool stuff on the web much of which involved the use of video.  Using the new $229 HD Flip Mino Video camera, Dan’s staff videoed a number of local supporters, myself included, and uploaded the videos onto youtube.  They then embedded the videos in his site (which is still online, but may not be much longer).  This was pretty simple to do, easy to publish and unique with in the campaign.

So what does this have to do with selling real estate, promoting your company, product or service?  A lot.

I’m a believer that device consolidation will eventually lead to your computer (or iPhone) being the one tool you use to access all media, including television.   At this time, however, video still has a little bit of the “wow” factor still left in it online.  Imagine a new visitor coming to your site and hearing from your clients, on video, talking about how they benefited from working with you?  It would be unique, compelling and not that hard to do.  I’ve mentioned the idea to a number of our real estate clients of videoing a young couple just after they have purchased their first time home.  Hearing them describe how you helped them find, negotiate and close on their home would be compelling.  Unlike a video tour of a home, which I also recommend, a video testimonial has a long shelf life on your site.

We have a couple of clients who have been progressive with their use of video, such as Dan Cypress and Jessica Bridge at RE/MAX North Professionals.  Jessica, who also endorsed Dan Smith, is photogenic and Dan knows how to do a thing or two with iMovie.  However, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to put together a great video about the Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure and post it on your site.  All it takes is a little initiative and a investment in a Flip Video Camera.

Please share links with us in the comment section below if you have posted cool videos on your site.


Why video is good for marketing real estate online.

Sony DCR PC100E Video Camera

Image by zcreem via Flickr

[Ed. note: The Real Estate Internet Marketing blog welcomes a new voice to the blog, our intern Tom Cull. We think you’ll enjoy his perspective and experience working with video in this and other posts.]

Remember when “Video killed the Radio Star“? According to The Pew Internet & American Life Project, almost 15% of all web traffic comes from You Tube and other video-sharing platforms. Couple that with Google’s increasing ability to index video into top search results and using video becomes a key component.

Many small businesses are jumping on this bandwagon as people are becoming more accustomed and willing to watching video online as they are to read text, especially with advertising. Using platforms like YouTube also saves on storage and bandwidth costs with great distribution possibilities from social networking.

But a caveat, large or small it is important to follow some basic rules of online video to communicate your message effectively and not turn off the viewer:

+ Continue Reading


Can Video live without Music?

Google New Logo For YouTube :)
Image by dannysullivan via Flickr

I was reading and article about site ranking on the Inman Report today. Here’s what Bernice Ross had to say about video and Google ranking:

“Google’s algorithm (the mathematical formula that determines Web ranking) seems to assign higher rankings to sites that have video. Consequently, use video to improve your ranking. Please note that virtual tours that scan still photos do not rank as highly as actual video. Furthermore, Google recently started using software that allows it to convert the voice track of a video into search-able text. This means that if you are using music on your videos, it’s smart to dump the music and replace it with a voice track. The music does nothing to improve your search-engine ranking, while the voice track does. Also, don’t forget to add plenty of still pictures, as this helps your ranking as well.”

I am heartened by some of these points. It was only a matter of time before Google’s sophistication at indexing video improved with the help of SEO fields on 3rd party hosting sites such as YouTube and WellcomeMat. Yet would I be sacrificing a key element at the altar of film-making by taking off my carefully syncopated soundtracks?  Sound and music is crucial to the narrative flow, even something as dry as a virtual house tour. It provides editing ‘beats’ and color. I personally am not going to strip music out of story-telling pieces. Straight up interviews might be another story, but I want viewers to enjoy watching my videos and feel like they are skipping along with purpose. Often, good music that is strategically placed provides a motif and further identity to the contributor.

Ultimately, it’s a decision about what you want a video to achieve on a site. If it’s to make it as engaging and watchable as possible to keep visitors on the site and communicate something, then think about using of music and sound effectively. If what is being said is keyword rich and part of a strategy to get seen by as many people as possible, then leaving off a soundtrack would be something to seriously consider.

Feel free to offer your feedback on this issue or on my use of music for some of Union Street Media’s video content!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Quick and Easy Video Marketing: Flip Mino HD vs Kodak Zi6

Test pattern

Image by dklimke via Flickr

Trying to decide which little video camera is the one to use for your online marketing efforts? The Flip is always talked about. But what’s this Kodak thing? Luckily, someone has done a side-by-side comparison of the Flip Mino HD and the Kodak Zi6 by rubber-banding the two together and wandering around his house.

Check out for the comparison shots (with audio comparison as well) and then you’ll know which little easy camera you need to make your internet marketing videos.


Use analytics to make better real estate videos

Schematic of image orthicon tube.

Image via Wikipedia

Making videos for real estate is a time consuming process no matter how you look at it. And you want to be sure you’re getting the best results for the time you spend making, editing and uploading your property videos. Why not use analytics to listen to your customers and let them help you improve your real estate video mojo?

Google is now tracking “drop off” over at YouTube. I haven’t taken the time yet to play with this yet but it looks promising. Here’s why:

  • See how long people tend to actually watch the videos you post: make your videos the right length.
  • See if there’s a particular room/angle/whatever that tends to turn people off and make them leave: show only the stuff that works.
  • See if actual video outperforms slideshow-style video: show the right kind of content.

Of course, the downside is that you have to use the miserable YouTube video compression etc. I think I know how Google is making this analytics tool work and it isn’t incredibly complicated. Perhaps some of the other Flash-based video distribution sites will start offering analytics as well.

Anyone out there using analytics with their real estate videos?


7 Tips to get started: making video

Chris Johnson at the Bloodhound Blog is getting into video. He seems a bit reluctant and admits that he is just getting over his “inherent dislike of it.” But from the looks of his post he’s getting off on the right foot. He ends by asking if he’s heading in the right direction. I bet he’s not alone in this.

In a former life I did a fair amount of filmmaking and I currently do some animation (when I’m not grinding out web analytics reports and recommendations). So I’m going to start with some very very basics for people to get going. Advanced cinematography, lighting techniques and blue-screen effects will be later. 😉

+ Continue Reading


Online Video Audience study by Pew Research

The Pew Internet & American Life Project did a study earlier this year about usage of online video. The total percentage of people surveyed who had ever interacted with a video-sharing site was 48%. But even more intriguing is this:

15% of respondents said they had used a video-sharing site “yesterday” — the day before they were contacted for our survey. A year ago, 8% had visited such a site “yesterday.”

This little tidbit is a measure of recency, how often people come into contact with video online. So about twice as many people are making significant use of online video content than the previous year. Recency is a good thing to watch because it eliminates the individuals who tried it out and then never used it again. Recency shows us what is actually being used.

The report includes a lot of demographic data about video users as well. You can see it at  “Online Video Audience Surges.”


Flickr Allows Video Uploading

Long rumored and now live, read about it on the Flickr blog. The example above is from Dunstan Orchard. A few quick tidbits:

  • 90 Second time limit. May sound confining, but frankly, it will probably save us all from ourselves.
  • 150MB per video file.
  • Pro members only (a pro account is insanely inexpensive).

All in all it looks pretty good.

I’ve long loved Flickr for it’s easy to use interface (and plugins that hook right into my iPhoto) and the great way of sharing photos online and putting them in blogs etc.

Now that same experience is translating over to short video clips. I also like the exceptionally clean interface of the video player itself: it’s all about the image and not at all about the play button. Very cool.

Do you use Flickr? How might you use this tool?


Maggie and G get internet famous, sort of

While at Inman Connect in New York last month Maggie and G. Dewald had a great conversation with Charlottesville, Virginia real estate maven Daniel Rothamel. He’s promoting his business by being an active video blogger in his community. One of the things I admire about his work is that he just keeps putting it out and doesn’t let the technology get in his way.

Later on during the conference Daniel approached us for some video quotes for his coverage of Inman Connect, which you can see posted on Real Estate Zebra blog.