Everyone has heard the saying, ‘a picture is worth a 1,000 words’ before. Yet, how many words can a virtual tour bring to a potential homebuyer? Definitely more than 1,000, and maybe even a million. In this article, we will touch base on how to add virtual tours to your home builder site. As well as several other ways you can use them to elevate your marketing efforts.
Before we begin, let’s define what a virtual tour is and how a homebuilder will go about implementing one. Virtual tours are an online simulation viewing of an existing property or non-existing, whether that be a home, community or condo. Other elements such as music or voiceover, floor plans, or people can be used to enhance the experience even further.
These virtual tours provide a new viewing perspective for not only the home builder but also for their clients. Thanks to modern technology, home buyers can immerse themselves and fully experience a tour of one of your home-related projects completely online on a computer, smart phone or tablet. So, how do you get started?
The first step in adding a virtual tour to your website is to ensure your product is complete. The last thing a homebuilder wants is to show off an unfinished home or condominium. Once the home is complete, then you have two options. Conduct a virtual tour of the home yourself or use an experienced photographer or marketing firm to help you produce professional tours.
If you decide to take on this tedious challenge yourself, then the next step would be to buy or rent a 360-degree camera. These cameras allow the user to capture all aspects and angles in a given property. In addition, it’s also wise to get a tripod to ensure every picture is angled properly and is level for your audience.
Next step in this DIY project is to take panoramic shots and upload those images to your computer. The 360-degree camera uses a remote. So, when you take the pictures you’re out of the room and are excluded in each shot, showing your audience your product only. After you upload all of the images onto your computer, there are several tour creation software, applications, or services to help you put it all together.
While you might think taking pictures and uploading them sounds straight forward and easy enough, the hard part comes in creating the actual tour. Each software solution you’ll find online is different and each has its pros and cons. After you find which one works best for you, here is the last step: Upload your virtual tour on your homebuilder website for your target audience to view in amazement.
The next option you have is to utilize a professional virtual tour firm or marketing agency. After all, a marketing firm or professional service will take the creation trouble away from you. Which, in turn allows you more time to interact with your clients and focus on what you do best. From my many years in the homebuilding industry, getting professional assistance will provide you with a finalized product and the difference is night and day.
The first step in using an experienced service is to determine which of your products you want to showcase. Some communities have multiple different models and floorplans. Therefore, you should consider all options when conducting a virtual tour to give your target audience product variety.
As you can see, this community showcases two of its models in a 3D atmosphere – the Key Largo model and the Islamorada model. This opens up many doors of opportunity for those who are interested in this community. Additionally, these tours give consumers choices in deciding which home they may want to buy and live in.
This community not only provides their website visitors with consumer-directed virtual tours, but they also provide video tours of each one of their models.
After determining which property or properties to conduct a virtual tour with, then your team can start implementation. Keep in mind that a professional resource will be able to captivate buyers with their skills. In addition, they can use special effects and techniques to emphasize your product’s features and can ultimately bring in qualified buyers who are attracted to the virtual tours.
There are many advantages virtual tours can bring to homebuilders, especially when it comes to marketing. For example, they can add an interactive element to your website to help keep your visitors on your site longer. Exploring a property takes time and those who are ready to purchase might even spend more time analyzing the tours and your products. After all, 91% of buyers are looking for more visual and interactive content.
Another benefit virtual tours bring to homebuilder marketing is that they allow for a sense of ownership. When people look to buy a home or condominium, they want to picture themselves and their families in it. The longer a consumer interacts with a virtual tour, the closer they are to picturing themselves living there with their loved ones.
The last and probably most advantageous benefit of them all is that virtual tours can save you time and energy. Once uploaded to your site, virtual tours can be on there forever. Your website visitors can conduct a tour of your products on any day or time. Your target audience will thank you for making it possible for them to view your products in the comfort of their current home.
About Terry Zelen
Creative Director | Consultant | Author | President of Zelen Communications
Terry Zelen is a seasoned Creative Director with more than 35 years of experience in Home Builder advertising and marketing.
He is the founder of The Punch List, which is an online blog to help inform home builders and developers on strategic marketing insights to fuel their firm.
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