Blog Tag: RTV software

Traverse City Virtual Tours Big 100

BlueLaVaMedia, Michigan virtual tour company is very proud to announce the coming and going of 100 Virtual Tours. As soon as the snow melted at the end of April up here in Traverse City it was as if a gun went off. Jim Blue, manager and virtual tour coordinator of BlueLaVaMedia, literally went from making cold calls and working on practice virtual tours to receiving phone calls and being behind on completing “Real Tours”.

These are certainly great problems to have in such a unique market. In my personal experience of bringing new virtual tour providers on all over the world, I know that a lot of people think that property marketing is falling by the wayside due to the gas and real estate crisis. Fortunately for us virtual tour providers out there it is exactly the opposite. It is now more important than ever to properly market homes via the Internet and give home shoppers the online experience they desire. Sure there are those who have stopped spending money on marketing but there are STILL and will always be those who want to stretch their dollars out and work smarter. Now approaching August and reaching nearly 50 tours a month we attribute our instant success in this market due to the fact that we have outstanding virtual tour technology, top notch customer service, great looking marketing pieces and of course very competitive pricing for our products.

Here is a compliment that we recently received from one of our customers:
“I do nearly all of my advertising via the internet. My sellers love the virtual tours, and they love being able to send the link to family and friends or being able to direct them to the single property website. It seems to be a source of pride for them. I’m waiting for my first call from a prospective seller who has noticed the PanoRider Custom Round and wants the same level of service for themselves! My sellers enjoy receiving the website hits too. It’s an easy way for me to “stay in touch” when there maybe hasn’t been as much activity on their homes. It helps them stay loyal and confident in the market. I appreciate your level of customer service and the quality product you produce.” Andrea Galloup – Traverse City Real Estate

It’s great compliments like this from forward thinking real estate agents that help us over here at BlueLaVaMedia realize we are making a difference in the way people buy and sell their homes. A big thank you to the Real Tour Vision development staff for giving us an amazing product to sell, the marketing staff for making us look our best in the field, and the dispatch and support team for keeping us going out there. Good luck everyone and we will see you all at the big 500!


Team BlueLaVa
Home of the Exposure Engine
Traverse City Virtual Tours
Order a virtual tour- 877-941-TOUR

A Tale of Two Marketing Campaigns

No matter what your business is, it is crucially important to remember that you are not primarily ‘in’ that business; you are primarily ‘in’ the business of marketing that business.

So whether you are a real estate agent that uses RTV software to advance your real estate marketing strategy or if you are a virtual tour provider that makes a living providing commercial and real estate virtual tours, your primary focus must be on the marketing of your business to be at all successful. Without marketing, there is no business and there is no way around that fact.

The marketing department here at Team RTV understands that we have many different businesses that utilize the marketing material, systems and campaigns that we produce for our Inner-Circle Members. That is why we are always on the lookout for unique ideas, even from outside our industry.

This week we came across two very different marketing campaigns, each from outside the virtual tour industry and each with very different conversion goals. In the first example I will show you how a company effectively spends marketing dollars on a campaign to bring highly qualified (yet unsuspecting) leads right to their front door with one advertisement in a magazine. In the second example, I will show you how a very large corporation spent what must have been hundreds of thousands of dollars on a marketing campaign that brings them zero qualified leads.

The first example is a marketing campaign for a children’s book company which is placed in a children’s magazine. The advertisement features a ‘scratch & match game’ that uses the assumption that you are playing to ‘win’ something. But, if you look closely, nothing in the advertisement says that you are going to ‘win’ anything. In fact, every bit of text on this advertisement clearly states that you ARE getting free gifts. All you have to do is scratch, paste, enter your kid’s name, place it in the mail and you get the free gifts. You don’t even have to fill out your address, because the magazine company has already personalized the advertisement with the address of the magazine recipient.

So, why the ‘scratch & match’ game?

Its way more effective in drawing attention to the ad, getting people involved with the offer by scratching the apples and dropping it in the mail. It’s so simple that even a kid could do it. And kids love games, especially ones that they win. Redemption of the ‘prize’ requires nothing more than the kid to fill in their own name and drop it in the mail. This tactic is borderline manipulative (using kids to obligate parents) in my opinion, but very effective in converting the magazine’s customer list to their own.

The second example is a small game piece featuring a “$50,000 cash out contest” for a lunchmeat company. The game piece is place inside the lunchmeat package with images of $100 bills and the words “$50,000 Cash Out Contest” in monopoly-like lettering. When you open the game piece to reveal your ‘PIN number’ for the contest, you are directed to a website to enter your code and find out if you have won.

So far, so good. The company has effectively reached people that are already buying their product. So you would think that the next step would be to collect information from these customers and sell more to them right? Nope. When you get to the website, you click on the link to take you to the page where you enter your pin. A screen comes up with an ‘entry form’. You enter your number and it tells you whether you did or did not win. That’s it. Game over.

I couldn’t help but feel an empty void when that happened. Is the marketing department sleeping? They spent ALL of this money on these game pieces and the website and they didn’t even ask me for my name. Nothing! Even if they had a ‘consolation prize of a 50 cent coupon, then there might have been a clear conversion goal, but there isn’t. Zero leads, zero up sell. The most they would get out of a campaign like that is geographical location of the consumer via IP address, but since the product is shipped to supermarkets and people usually purchase from supermarkets close to home, that would be a waste. Once this contest is over, they have no effective means of reaching consumers that engaged in their contest.

At the end of these two marketing campaigns, the first company has a customer list of parents with kids old enough to read, write and manipulate stickers on a page. Exactly the target market they are looking to sell their books. And I would be willing to bet that a pretty high percentage of those parents pay for the books that their kids ordered, so they also have many new customers. On the other hand, the second company has a cool looking website and no customer list.

Which company would you want to be after spending your marketing dollars?

Proactive and Customer Focused Virtual Tour Business Owner

Never underestimate the value of being proactive and customer focused. About two months ago, I received a call from Coggin Honda of St Augustine, a local car providership which had just opened a new location. They were interested in getting a virtual tour added to their website but were only in the initial stages of their search. Their Internet Specialist had found my virtual tour company (Ad Vantage Virtual Tours) on the internet and was calling for basic information.

Instead of just providing a quick overview of pricing, I took the additional time to review their website and suggestion how to integrate the virtual tour.

She really appreciated the information but needed to do some additional research. I knew they would be calling ‘the competition’ so instead of just waiting for a call back, I made sure to proactively follow up and offered to stop by and do some test shots when I was down that way on another virtual tour shoot. They were very appreciative of the focus on customer satisfaction.

I also made sure to bring examples of how we had customized virtual tours for other clients to align with their marketing and how we could add individual scene descriptions – both things that differentiates RTV tours from the competition.

Yes, they did talk to the competition but were concerned that they weren’t willing to really work with them and provide the service they were looking for. Bottom line, they selected Ad Vantage Virtual Tours for their new car providership virtual tour specifically because we had been proactive, took the time to understand their needs , and produced the quality virtual tours they were looking for.

Never underestimate the value of customer service and our ability to ‘go above and beyond’ as independent business owners.

Trish Edmonds
Ad Vantage Virtual Tours
Order a St Augustine Virtual Tour (904) 735-2339

Composing Great Stories with Virtual Tours

I’m not much of a writer, but put a camera in my hand and I can tell a story. I’ve been creating virtual tours for about three years using RTV software. Over those three years I have learned alot about the art of creating a good 360 virtual tour.

In general, good photos result from careful attention to the basics of composition, together with appropriate lighting and an interesting subject. When I shoot a still image I always have a subject to focus on. I don’t just shoot a kitchen; I use rules to help me compose the image to make it pleasing to the eye. For example, I use the rule of thirds which is theory that the eye goes naturally to a point about two-thirds up the photo. Also, by visually dividing the image into thirds (either vertically or horizontally) you achieve balance.

I also use framing in a photograph. Framing is using something in the foreground that leads you into the picture or gives you a sense of where the viewer is. Such as a dining table partial in the photo leading to the main focus of the kitchen, but not distracting from this focus.

Another rule I use is to place the main subject off-center and balancing the “weight” with other objects which will be more pleasing than placing the subject in the center. Use composition to help you tell the story. A picture that is well composed, should be telling a story about the subject being shot. As, they say “A picture is worth a thousand words”!

So, how does this apply to the creation of virtual tours?

What many other tour builders do, and what I used to do, was stand in the middle of the room and photograph the real estate virtual tours from there. It may be an easy way to do it, but it is not the best. I now take a moment in each room to compose my panoramic, before snapping the first shot. I divide my panoramic into three scenes and I look for the most interesting thing or things in the room (artwork, fireplace, windows, appliances, a bouquet of flowers, furniture). I fill each part of the panoramic with at least one element. If a room is empty, this can be hard to do, so I might only do a particle panoramic and focus on filling the scene with a window, a stairway, an interesting architectural feature or a door lead out of the room. If possible, I’ll open up windows and capture something interesting outside. This will help me locate the best place to setup my tripod for my 360 virtual home tour.

I then decide how I’m going to enter this room from the previous scene using navigational hot-spots and where i will place the hot-spot to exit from this room. This gives me a starting point and saves me time when I layout my tours in the tour building software.

When I layout my tour, I think about how someone visiting the home would walk through it and try to layout my hot-spots, so they travel through the tour the same way. Once you start to do this on a regular basis, it only takes a quick scan and a moment more to shoot a tour. If you take the time to compose a tour, you’ll improve the way your tour tells the story. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a well done virtual tour can tell a great story.

See examples of my Phoenix Arizona virtual tours.

Rudy Gutierrez
OnView 360
Maricopa County Virtual Tours
Cal to order a tour: 602-885-5974