RTV Blog

Tips to Help Drone Pilots Get Their Business Off The Ground

Aerial Drone PhotographySo you passed the Part 107 test, and now you’re working to build your aerial services business.

But how do you get started, and what are some of the key things to keep in mind?

These six tips were created to support you as you’re getting your business off the ground. Hope you find them helpful!

1. Develop Your Shot List

Of course, the first thing you need to do is master basic flight proficiency.

This may take a while, but it’s crucial. Make sure to use a cheap drone if you’re just starting out because you may well crash—trust me, it happens.

Using an inexpensive drone will help you build confidence. Check out YouTube videos from other real estate marketers, virtual tour providers or from people in the aerial services you want to do, in order to get a sense of the kinds of shots professional drone pilots are doing.

Practice orbits, side pans, and reveals, and develop a go-to list of shots for the type of work you want to do. This will help you get your skills up to speed, and will also mean that you know exactly what your workflow and process will be when you do land work.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to make the examples included in your portfolio as diverse as possible. It might even be worth taking a job or two for free/low pay if it is interesting, and will help beef up your portfolio. That being said, be careful about free work—most often people value services at what they cost. But if you really want a hotel in your resume, and you get an opportunity, it may be the time to jump on the moment.

2. Then—Get a Portfolio Together and On the Web ASAP

It’s hard to sell a service that you can’t prove you’re any good at.

A portfolio helps demonstrate your expertise, and also gives people a way to find you online. It also lets people who have already hired you easily tell others about your work.

The online aspect of putting together a portfolio can seem intimidating, but there are plenty of resources out there that are super user-friendly when it comes to building a website, and can help you get started.

Here’s a list of sites that can help you create a simple, inexpensive website:

WordPress
Squarespace
Wix

You can take a weekend to build your site on your own using YouTube tutorials to guide you, or you can find someone on a freelancing website like UpWork to help you at a relatively low cost.

Pro Tip: If you do decide to hire someone to build your website, make sure you know exactly what you want. Make a list of how many pages you want created, what the text should be, what you want the architecture to look like, and so on. The more organized you are up front, the more you will save.

3. Choose Your Hardware Carefully

When it comes to hardware you don’t need to spend a fortune, but you do need to be thoughtful and make sure you have the drone, camera, and other equipment that suits the type of drone service work you do.

There are plenty of camera drones out there for aerial cinematography, and you don’t need the latest and greatest system to get the job done. Focus instead on the end result you want to produce, and work backward to match the appropriate tool to the job.

Sure, you could get a DJI Inspire 2 and attached DJI’s newest ZenMuse X7 camera to it—and you should, if you have the budget, and you know you’ll make the investment back through the work it will get you—but there are plenty of professional drone pilots out there still working with a Phantom Pro 2 and a GoPro.

Do your research, think through your goals, and determine the appropriate hardware for your work.

4. Create a Sales Strategy

Let’s face it—sales is uncomfortable for many people.

Just because you want to provide aerial services doesn’t mean you want to be a salesman or –woman.

But having a sales strategy is crucial. You can bet that your competitors have one, and if you’re losing business to them, that could be why.

To be clear, a sales strategy doesn’t have to mean you’re going to be a snake oil salesman, hocking bad goods for marked up prices. In fact, your strategy could center on complete transparency around pricing, and telling your clients exactly the value and concrete deliverables they’ll get for different price points.

The point is, you have to think about sales—it doesn’t just happen on its own.

Pro Tip: Because sales don’t come naturally for many of us, it helps to develop a sales script that you work through so that you have the language to fall back on when you’re trying to close a deal with a potential client. Make sure to work in information on pricing, service delivery, airspace research, insurance, and why you’re better than the guy without a remote pilot certificate who’s charging less, but probably has a lower quality product (not to mention he’s operating illegally).

Keep in mind that many clients will not be aware of all the complicating factors—not to mention expenses—that go into aerial services work, and make sure to share these things with them. You can even break these items out in a mock invoice, so they can have something to take away and review

5. When It Comes to Marketing, Think Local

Your most likely customers are probably right in your neighborhood.

So if you’re going to spend money on marketing to bring in leads, make sure you’re spending locally.

Online, this would be targeted Facebook ads, or targeted Google ads with Google AdWords, and similarly targeted efforts (it’s pretty amazing how targeted you can get with geographic and demographic data points using digital ads these days—which means you don’t need to waste money showing your ads to people who aren’t relevant to you).

Offline, marketing local means creating a list of real estate brokers in your local market, or running free drone workshops with real estate offices to establish your expertise and educate potential clients on the value you can provide.

If you can show local brokers how much is required to do aerial shoots on their own—buying a drone, learning how to fly, getting certified, buying the right insurance, handling post-production—they may well hire you instead of going to all that trouble. And either way, making local contacts will give you the chance to share your portfolio and get it in front of more people (remember item #1 from this list!).

6. Keep Honing Your Skills

Don’t forget to continue honing your skills. Sometimes you can get so busy with the day-to-day of creating and running a business that your skillsets stagnate. Don’t let this happen!

The more you can be working to become better, the more your work will stand out.

Even if you only set aside one or two hours a week for your own growth—whether it’s in post-production, or learning how to use a new sensor like one for aerial thermography, or maintaining and beefing up your flying chops, the investment will pay dividends as times passes and you continue to improve.

And remember—the better you are, the more quickly you can work and the more you can charge. Pretty sweet.

Know a high school student who wants to get FAA certified to be a commercial drone pilot? Make sure to tell him or her about Drone Pilot Ground School’s new High School STEM Scholarship for Aspiring Commercial Drone Pilots.

7. Get connected

One last tip – Get connected with a National Drone Service provider to increase your chances of snagging jobs from large national and international drone photo and video initiatives.  

 

RTV System Updates – Seamless Matterport, YouTube, Vimeo & Third Party Embed!

Hello there and thanks for checking in here for our virtual tour technology updates. Our programming team has been bustling over the last several days working on bringing our HTML 5 player out of Beta and into full production mode. We are so close now! Tyler has a few more fixes to address as well as wrap up our Floor Plans and we will officially call our Fusion SLIM HTML 5 player done. You are going to love the new Floor Plan deployment on HTML 5 too by the way. We will be offering you three ways to experience Fusion floor plans ranging from an overlay on the image as we have now, to a pull out from the side of the tour window, and finally, we will introduce to you an all-new split screen look. It’s going to be awesome! Russ is in the process of wrapping up Fusion Experience in HTML 5 and then he and Tyler are off to integrate Fusion Site! (What is Fusion Site??? — You will have to wait and see!!)  Watch the video below to see some of these updates in action!

Here’s a full list of virtual tour software updates that hit last week:

Improved HTML 5 Playback / Transition – A new and highly improved transition was introduced to the HTML 5 virtual tour player as well as a more advanced Pre-loader to assist on slower 3G and 4G connections. Check it out – http://fusion.realtourvision.com/tour.php?tourid=704119&html5=1 

Seamless Third Party Embed – Calling all Matterport and Aerial Drone Operators!!! Are you looking to embed third party content into the Fusion player so you can take advantage of music, narration, weekly traffic reports and all the other bells and whistles that Fusion has to offer? Our latest update to “Embed Third Party Media” finally delivers it all! The team has taken the leap to a full seamless integration of third-party media. We encourage you all to embed your Matterport productions, HD Youtube or Vimeo videos, Google Streetview tours or even 360 video! Here is a tour example with Matterport integration – http://fusion.realtourvision.com/tour.php?tourid=932387&html5=1 & here is a virtual tour with an embedded Aerial Drone video – http://fusion.realtourvision.com/tour.php?tourid=469165&html5=1

Older Apple iOS support for sounds – We are proud to now support all of our virtual tour sounds including music and narrations on legacy iOS versions.

Ken Burns Improvements -We have improved Ken Burns transitions yet again for both desktop and on mobile devices.  If you have not yet taken a look at our new Ken Burns on mobile you really should!  It’s a setting in your buttons editor that is currently defaulting to off. Try it out today!

Stay tuned team and thank you all for your support! It’s been a great year full of virtual tour software updates and new tech. The year is not over yet!! Some of the very best is yet to roll out here in the fourth quarter. It’s your support and dedication to our brand that allows us to remain so competitive.

Sincerely,

Team RTV

Virtual Tour Software & National Photography Services

Order a virtual tour – 866-947-8687

New from RPM Marketing – Happy Halloween Post Card

Happy Halloween Virtual Tour Post Card

As the warm summer temperatures fade into falling leaves and longer nights, it becomes more and more critical for agents and home sellers to market their properties aggressively. There is no time like right now to reach out to your clients, or those who you would like to be your clients to remind them you are here to help them in that endeavor as well as have some fun in the process.

You have heard the term “out of sight, out of mind” but did you realize that this same principle applies to your business? The latest marketing piece from RockPointe Marketing is a fun, attention-grabbing Halloween themed postcard that can be printed and mailed inexpensively. This piece is a great way to keep your clients thinking about how your professional photography, savvy marketing, and virtual tours, help them to sell listings quickly and for more money. 

This standard size postcard features a fun message reminding them that bad photos “scare” clients away, and professional photography sells homes. The backside lets the reader know that you offer powerful marketing services such as Aerial Drone videos, Zillow Video Walkthroughs, 3D VR Headset Tours, Virtual Home Staging and more.  If you don’t offer all of these services you have the flexibility to customize the list or eliminate it altogether and add a handwritten note. Anytime you send a personalized piece to clients or potential clients you are creating a “touch point” that cements your professional relationship and keeps them thinking of you when they need photos of a property. 

This piece is available as a Photoshop or Illustrator file which RockPointe Marketing subscribers can download, customize and send to clients one at a time, or as a full mailing campaign. Add your own logo, contact information and personalize the message any way you would like. These marketing pieces give you the flexibility to carefully craft your own message or market your business quickly by simply adding your information and sending the files to the printer.

Halloween is approaching fast so log into RockPointe Marketing today to download your copy. Not a RockPointe Marketing member? Reach out to us today and ask how you can take advantage of the many benefits RPM has to offer.

Thank you – Team RTV

Fusion Virtual Tour Software Updates

Virtual Tour Software For PhotographersHello and good afternoon team!  We have been busy continuing with our battery of updates to the Fusion virtual tour hosting platform.  Now with three full-time & in-house developers working in tandem with Tom and his team, we see lots of updates coming to fruition.  In addition to launching the beta version of a brand new HTML 5 player last year, we now offer up secure HTTPS virtual tours, no longer require flash to upload media, vastly improved upon the Tour Shredder, launched our 3D VR Headset tours, added a long-awaited for media gallery http://fusion.realtourvision.com/tour.php?tourid=327951&html5=1#tourgallery and so much more!

The final piece required to finish off Fusion Slim in HTML 5 will be the implementation of floor plans.  You will love how we are attacking floor plans this time around too!  It will be a significant enhancement over the current deployment and handling of floor plans in the flash virtual tour player. After floor plans are launched and assuming everything goes well under our testing, we will be officially taking our HTML 5 player out of beta.

While the above is underway, we will soon announce the beta versions of our new HTML 5 Fusion Experience player and our all-new HTML 5 Fusion Site player. Fusion Site is a gorgeous single property website layout that we are sure our user base will simply love. There are so many exciting things on the horizon for RTV, and the momentum that we currently have is tremendous. 

Here are just a few changes that just went live to our HTML 5 virtual tour player.  We trust that you will continue to rally around the progress and we thank you all for your continued support.

UPDATES INCLUDE –

1: Fixed and improved the HTML 5 playback concerning “zoom factor” settings set in the manager for all panoramic image types.

2: Added new feature to HTML 5 player – All tours now have a pulse animation play icon when the tour is interrupted via mouse or finger tap. When the tour is interrupted, the tour player will start back up after 5 secs where you left off if you are not interacting with the tour.

3: Added a new feature to HTML 5 player – Spherical and cylinders now have a return to center call after the tour has been interrupted via finger panning or mouse click. After five secs of no interaction, the tour returns to vertical center and returns the animation where it left off.

4: Agent & CO agent info box improved on HTML 5 player. HTML 5 player no longer cuts off Co-Agent info at certain screen sizes and or devices.

5: RTV Radio Fix – Music will cease to play if the user has the manager flip switch “play on MLS” set to off. RTV radio now works correctly when music option is turned on or off on tour.

7: Desktop HTML 5 Player UPDATE: “Video Icon” blink on HTML 5 desktop tours before video autoplay has been fixed.

8: HTML 5 Player Video Fix: FIT To Scale – THe HTML 5 player now supports the fit to scale options in the manager for video. Both options now work across ALL devices.

9: HTML 5 Player Fix – Impacts Apple Devices Only – Apple does not support full screen on any of their mobile devices. We have therefore removed the full-screen button when viewing from an apple device.

10: HTML 5 Player Fix – Reported play and pause tour errors have been fixed on mobile devices.

11: HTML 5 Player Fix – We have significantly improved the ken burns animations on all mobile devices.

12: HTML 5 Player Fix – Users will now see the currently selected scene when using the scene selector.      

13: Fusion Experience Player Update (Flash) – New default RTV logo using “Real Tour Vision” has been added to the loader screen during tour playback. As always users can upload their loader logo to overwrite default RTV loader logo.

See some of the above updates in action by test driving the new HTML 5 player below –

http://fusion.realtourvision.com/tour.php?tourid=699960&html5=1  — Video, Stills, Music, Narration

http://fusion.realtourvision.com/tour.php?tourid=487259&html5=1 — Stills, Music

http://fusion.realtourvision.com/tour.php?tourid=327951&html5=1 — Video, Panoramas, Stills, Music, Narration

New From RPM – 3D VR Headset Tour Flyer!

real tour vision - 3D Virtual Reality tours

Fall is the PERFECT time for you to take a good hard look at your photography and virtual tour business and make some important decisions as to what steps you will take to further your sales for the following year. Last year it was drone madness. Many of you added tens of thousands of dollars to your bottom line by adding aerial drone services to your offerings. While the demand for aerial drone services will no doubt continue to rise, we vehemently feel that you are going to see an upward surge in the demand for virtual reality offerings such as our all-new 3D VR Headset tours. https://www.realtourvision.com/order-vr-tour.html

You might find that when the dust settles at the end of 2018, you will notice that your 3D VR tours are one of your top selling add-ons for your photography and virtual tour business. The jury is still out and only time will tell where this new up and coming technology will lead us.

To help get you ready for the VR rush, our team over at www.RockPointeMarketing.com is proud to announce a ‘must have’ marketing piece for those of you offering 3D VR tours in your area. Say hello to this gorgeous single sided one-page flyer that is sure to catch the eye of local realtors in your service area. This marketing piece has been professionally made and is ready to upload to your vistaprint or taken down to your favorite print shop and printed out on an 8.5 X 11 paper.

Login to your RPM account today to download this new marketing piece!

This piece was created using Adobe Photoshop giving you the ability to customize it with software you already use and providing the most professional look in today’s demanding world.

Click here to watch a video on this unique and exciting marketing piece! – https://youtu.be/3gctsr6dSrA

This piece is available for all Rockpointe Marketing subscribers as part of their membership subscription. If you aren’t currently a rockpointe marketing member, reach out today and ask how you can take advantage of all the benefits that Rockpointe Marketing has to offer.

Thanks for your support!

Sincerely,

Team RTV

RTV, Inc

www.RealTourVision.com

Virtual Tour Software & National Photography Services

866-947-8687