After reviewing Jason Lavanture’s Formula webinar on exposure package I felt that I could offer a few areas where my fellow virtual tour providers could increase their productivity and lower their cost of operation in the area of managing customers and delivery of features in their virtual tours.
I have recently spent considerable time reviewing the Craigslist Software that Jason LaVanture suggested in his Formula13 webinar dated on 9/15/09. The Craigslist Software now offers a scheduling software addition to their product. For $100 you can schedule your Craigslist Software distributions and forget about them! But WAIT! It’s not that easy. This Craigslist Software also has several new modules that can add significant time savings but at what cost? I researched this further and found out, with some helpful guidance from Jason, that a scheduler isn’t the only tool that is needed to fully automate this process. On first pass this seemed like it would be a great thing but then I realized that there were quite a few additional considerations that changed the picture.
In order to automate the process the captchas have to be automated. Captchas are the distorted letter images that you see on a lot of websites today. These are the ones that you have to type into a page to prove that you are a person rather than an automated process. Automating this process turns out to be VERY expensive. This Craigslist Software will ask you to purchase an additional module for captchas that turns out to be nothing more that a software interface between this particular software and another internet service called Captcha King. Captcha King charges a monthly fee that starts at $39.95 per month for up to 1000 captchas. They claim that they work about 95% of the time.
After I sent a follow up email to the developer of the CL software, he advised me to look at the auto-reposting software which was another $100 addition to the license. As I dugg into this tool I found that I still needed the scheduler and the captcha tool but would probably also need the auto-reposter. The auto-post tool opened the door to the need for IP spoofing software to emulate different IP addresses and another $100. HOLY cow!! As it turns out, you really need to spend well in excess of $500 to get a solution that can be automated on Craigslist. It was not the right answer for me. The developer and I exchanged several emails but he would not speak with me. I find it disturbing that a software plan that can range up to $500+ per license doesn’t offer more adequate support nor is he customer friendly. My internet search for alternative solutions found credible solutions ranging from $400 to well over $1000. This was simply way too much for my virtual tour business so I turned to other options.
If you are using an Excel spreadsheet to manage your follow on postings and don’t use Craigslist Software or don’t want to spend the money on it you should consider using Outlook to schedule a reminder. Simply send yourself an email then right click on the email, then select follow up from the menu. The rest should be self explanatory. You can even tag all these emails with a particular color flag so you know all these follow ups are related to Exposure Engine follow up! For years now top salespeople have used Outlook to manage events and many of you are probably doing some of this already today.
Another internet service I use is a database called Batchbooks. This is a remarkable database that has a limited free option that will work for many of the users that just want to track name address and phone number information however for $10 a month you get a very customizable database that is extraordinarily easy to use. One of the real values to this database is their integration with social networking sites. Today they support Linked in and Twitter but that will be expanding to other social sites. They even have a searcn feature that will help you find Linked in or Twitter feeds that your customer supports! What a great way to keep up on your virtual tour contacts. Just look at your database!
Another software that I use is a free software called PhotoStage Slideshow. This software makes a video unbelievably easy and manages any descriptions and movement within the picture very well. Best of all, it’s FREE!. Originally I had some problems with pixilation in the final product. I found that simply reducing the size of the image to start with from an 8mp image to images in line with what we do in our business solved this problem fabulously! I can visualize the whole tour from the interface and easily and visually make changes to the tour to align images with music or just to see all the details of the show in one place.
Finally, I researched where the feeds for Postlet go and found that when Postlets post to Trulia, they forward the Postlets E-Flyer out to 200+ newspaper and magazine websites! This is an unbelievable amount of exposure for both you and your agent from both the perspective of property exposure and SEO exposure. Don’t miss selling an exposure package to all of your clients. Neither you nor your customer can afford not to have this exposure!
Exposure Elements is an internet property marketing organization located in the Silicon Valley of Northern California. We specialize in virtual tour production, sms mobile marketing, as well as print and internet distribution services. All of our tours feature full screen, high definition photography no matter what screen size you have! Visit us on our website to learn more about us and how we can help your business or property or give me a call today!
Silicon Valley Virtual Tours
Owner Stan Davis
Order a virtual tour: 408-431-0461