Real Estate Marketing: Creating Videos on a Shoestring Budget
Of course to make a video, you do have to use something that’s capable of capturing video. Fortunately, the technology behind video cameras has improved tremendously in the past few years, making quality video equipment more and more affordable. Start basic. There’s no point in investing thousands of dollars on video equipment just to test the waters. Heck, you can probably shoot pretty high-resolution video on that phone you’re carrying around.
So pick a camera, any camera. Today’s $200 camcorder blows away anything made just a few years ago. You can even get cameras for under $100 that are perfectly fine for introductory video work.
Sound and lighting are also important factors when choosing a video camera. Entry-level cameras include a built-in microphone, which generally means marginal sound quality. That’s probably OK for your initial experimentation with video. However, consider spending a few extra dollars for a camera that can connect to an external microphone, which will dramatically improve the sound quality of your videos. In most cases, natural lighting will be sufficient for your videos; you don’t need to purchase any extra lighting.
Pro tip: One piece of equipment makes a huge difference for any video camera, regardless of price — a tripod. Get one. It will dramatically improve the stability of your videos.
Video editing software
It’s extremely difficult to shoot a complete video all in one go. You’ll need video editing software to connect various clips and scenes into one cohesive video, and to add a title and other information (such as your contact details). The good news is that you probably already have video editing software on your computer.
If you’re using a Windows-based computer, Movie Maker is probably already installed. If not, you can download it from Microsoft for free here. It’s very easy to use. There are also several other free video editing programs available for Windows computers — see this list.
“Video will change the way real estate is marketed!”
“What’s HUGE in real estate technology this year? Video!”
“Video is clearly the wave of the future in real estate marketing.”
Headlines and comments like these have been floating around the real estate industry for years now. While the use of video as a real estate marketing tool makes sense — as another way to visually showcase homes — the medium hasn’t supplanted other forms of marketing.
Why not? It’s probably a combination of factors — equipment cost, production costs, editing time, skill level, lack of knowledge, learning curve, and fear of failure (or fear of being on camera). After all, you’re a real estate agent, not Steven Spielberg.
Despite these concerns, the use of video in real estate is growing, and it will continue to grow as the technology gets cheaper and easier to use. Take advantage and start creating your own videos. Even on a shoestring budget, you can make videos that will help your bottom line. All you need is a video camera, video editing software, and access to the Internet.
Selecting a video camera
Gary Vaynerchuk, the social media sensation and New York Times best-selling author started down his path to fame with Wine Library TV, a video blog of Gary talking about wines. It helped him build a family-owned liquor store into a $60 million dollar business. Aspiring video bloggers and video marketers often ask him questions about his camera, lighting and microphones. Gary’s response is usually:
“Stop emailing me to ask what kind of camera I’m using. The camera is not the game, the lights are not the game, the mike is not the game.”
While I can’t speak for Gary, I do believe he would tell you that “the game” is content. Good content can overcome equipment limitations.
If you’re using a Mac, iMovie is installed and ready to roll. It includes video editing tools that are simple to use. Other free video editing programs for the Mac are listed here.
Distributing your video
You can produce an Oscar-worthy video, but it’s worthless if no one watches it. Fortunately, the Internet makes distributing and promoting videos cheap and easy.
YouTube is the most obvious place to upload your videos. Though it is technically not a search engine, more searches are performed on YouTube than on any site other than Google. It is popularly referred to as “the second largest search engine.” You’ll want to post your videos there, and uploading a video to YouTube is very simple.
“But if YouTube is the biggest, why put my videos on those other sites?” Why not? It’s free, easy to do and not everyone uses YouTube. That said, it does take time to go to each video website and upload, title and tag your videos. Enter TubeMogul, a company that offers a video syndication service called OneLoad. Upload your video to OneLoad and it will automagically distribute your video to multiple video hosting/sharing websites — for free.
Release your inner Spielberg
Real estate is visual. People select real estate agents in large part because they connect with them and like them. This is a personal business. Videos are a great way to display your inventory (units for lease) and a great way to display you, your skills and your personality to potential clients.
You don’t have to break the bank to get started. Video cameras get less expensive and more powerful by the day. Editing software gets easier to use.
Go ahead, give it a whirl. Dip your toes into the video world. Be careful though, you just might find yourself plunging in head first and becoming immersed in it. It’s easy to catch the video bug. Who knows, maybe you’ll become the next Gary Vaynerchuk, or wind up on stage at the Oscars.
Story by: Jay Thompson