Blog Tag: visual tour

Shreveport Virtual Tours Go Social

Ark-La-Tex Virtual Tours now includes a new social networking utility in our Shreveport virtual tours, making it easier than ever for your tour to be bookmarked. Now when a visitor comes to your website and views one of your property tours, they can take it with them when they go simply by selecting the ‘Share Tour’ tab then choosing their favorite social site.

Choose the Share Tab and the icons will appear at the bottom of the tour window

  • Choose the Share Tab and the icons will appear at the bottom of the tour window
  • Choose the ‘Share Tab’ and the icons will appear at the bottom of the tour window

Why is this important to real estate agents? Because your real estate marketing just went viral! What is viral marketing? It works like this:

When a visitor comes to your website they look at your listings and information then leave when they are finished. Your marketing information remains on your website. But with viral marketing, it means that the visitor can take information about you and your listing with them when they go. They can then place it on their favorite social networking site where their friends will see it. These friends can then place it on their sites, where their friends see it and so on, quickly spreading your information across the web.

And of course, the more people who see you and your listing the better the chance of converting visitors to clients.

But it doesn’t stop there. Because of the NEW RTV SpiderLink(tm) technology, tours are now Search Engine Optimized, which means that all these new visits serve to bubble your virtual tour and you to the top of the search engine rankings.

Ark-La-Tex Virtual Tours together with RTV are always looking for new ways to help you market your property and yourself. Our products are designed to help you stay ahead of the curve. If you are looking to boost your online presence this year, let us help. We will do the work so that you don’t have to. Leaving you free to do what you do best – sell real estate. Contact us today to discuss your marketing campaign.

Rebecca Bolda
Ark-La-Tex Virtual Tours
Shreveport/Bossier City Virtual Tours
Order a Virtual Tour (318) 572-1779

Is Your Website Down

I recently ran across a cool little tool that monitors your website (or any site or sites for that matter). It’s mainly for web developers who manage multiple sites, but even if you only have one site it is handy. Best of all it’s free! That seems to be the norm with web tools today. So many talented people recognize the fact that it’s good to give away something with the expectation that something (probably even better) will come back to them.

Ok, so head over to Are My Sites Up? and create an account. Then just enter in the site or sites that you want to monitor. If the site goes down for a significant amount of time you’ll get an email. Then you’ll receive another email when it comes back up. It’s that simple and that is all the tool does. Oh, and you can also have it send a text message to your phone instead of an email!

I have sites on a couple of different hosts and one in particular has gone down for ten or fifteen minutes at a time (mostly during the night). The others have yet to go down in the six weeks or so that I’ve been using this tool. That tells me that I may want to change hosts or contact support at the host. If you do contact support you also have a record to prove that you’re having a problem. A recent upgrade to the service gives you the error code that the site is returning.

Since we depend so much on our websites to market our businesses these days, making sure it stays up is important. Now you have an easy tool to keep an eye on it.

Hope you find this useful!

Brett Weaver
SpotLight Virtual Tours
Huntsville Alabama Virtual Tours

Order a Virtual Tour (931) 279-1047

By Jove it’s the Camera

Here is some information for all you Canon SLR users out there. I have been shooting interactive virtual tours here at BlueLaVaMedia for a little over a year now using a Canon 20D camera with a 17-85mm 4.5-5.6 EFS IS Canon lens. I also use a Canon 550 flash on a bracket attached to the RTV Rotator and use the flash for all my images.

This allows me to easily balance the exposure in the rooms with the ambient light through the window, as many of the homes here in Northern Michigan have great views. We are now approaching our one year anniversary here at BlueLaVaMedia and I have created well over 200 Traverse City virtual tours. We are continually expanding our client base and so far everyone that we work with has been extremely satisfied with the quality of our virtual tours. Exposure is good, white balance is not a problem, the tours are very sharp and RTV continually adds more and more features to the system giving Jason and I something new to talk about nearly every month. Overall in my humble opinion the 360 tours look just great!

As we all know in our industry virtual tour quality is extremely important. Many online shoppers will form their first impression of a property, the seller, business owner or a listing agent from the tour. At least that is what my friends all tell me when I tell them what I do now.

Anyway, all was well and good in my world except…when I photographed a property that had very white or light colored walls. In this type of home I would definitely have a problem with a dark vertical banding where the images were stitched together. It was time to do some trouble shooting. It was not an exposure inconsistency issue as my overall exposures were dead on. I then decided that since I was using flash that it must be related to that. I tried two different types of flash diffusers as well as bounced the flash off the ceiling where applicable. My flash also has a built in wide angle panel that spreads the light wider then my lens. Nothing was working and I was getting frustrated as I still had light fall off at the image corners.

I then tried some spins without flash and still experienced the problem. I tried closing the lens down more, to the “sweet spot” and still light fall off! Ok so what next??? I tried a newer 580 flash (I have a good relationship with my local provider so I was lucky enough to borrow it.) I also have a Canon 30D and I tried that, still the problem persisted. At this point I figured it had to be the lens, so I tried an inexpensive Sigma 18-55 lens. (Borrowed that too) and it seemed to help the problem. It was however still noticeable. What’s a photographer to do????

Well not to long ago I was reading my favorite monthly publication Outdoor Photography and looked over the initial test report on the new Canon 50D. What to my wandering eyes should appear than the addition of a lens peripheral illumination setting to correct light fall off at image edges. All of that testing for not. It was a problem that Cannon has had all along and they have now presumably fixed it.

I haven’t had a chance to borrow one of those yet though. (Don’t know if my Canon provider likes me that much) I still love my Canon system and have quite a few other lenses so I am not about to change. I still use the Sigma because the problem seems a little less pronounced with that lens (I have no idea why) and I have become pretty darn proficient and fast at using Photoshop’s dodging tool to blend the issue when necessary.

In the meantime I am saving my pennies for that 50D or maybe even the (by then) 60D camera. Well in closing I hope some of you Canon users will find all this helpful and save some time by realizing it’s just the nature of the beast or should I say, the Canon sensor!

Good luck out there!

Jim Blue
Michigan Virtual Tours
Order a virtual tour today! 877-941-TOUR (8687)

Hub and Spoke Virtual Tour Selling

After years of avoiding the real estate market and focusing my efforts on doing virtual tours soley for commercial properties, this year I finally refocused my efforts. I realized quickly that although the real estate market was different, the tactics I employed in both the commercial sales arena as well as in my full time job as a pharmaceutical rep is the same.

In all of these businesses there is usually a dominant player or thought leader that has the influence over others in their field. This is where the “Hub and Spoke” sales model comes in to play. Once I was able to find out who the “hub” or base of a business was, I used them to influence the “spokes” that look to them for leadership. Case in point is a large real estate company in my area that I employed this strategy with. “Realty USA” is a real estate company that has several individually owned and operated branches throughout the “Capital District” in upstate NY. Through some investigative work I found out that the Saratoga Springs office was the branch that everyone wanted to model after because of their progressive ideas making them the most successful in the chain. Knowing that, I spent a good deal of time trying to land them as a client which I eventually did. I was able to go back to the ancillary branches that turned me down in the past and reference that I am the virtual tour provider for Saratoga Springs and it was amazing how quickly they starting sending me out for jobs. Although this sounds simplistic, it does take time to identify and land the hub but the benefits will be far reaching.

Good Selling!
Charles Gise
Revolution 360 Virtual Tours
Saratoga Springs Virtual Tours

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