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Properties with good photos get the most attention, so isn’t it worth a little attention to detail to make your properties stand out? Marc Da Silva reports.

PROPERTYdrum

property_photographyHave you ever listed a property for sale or to let on a property portal – or indeed your own website – without any photographs? Maybe you used that phrase ‘Photography coming soon’ with one of those silly camera icons? Did you get much response? No, I thought not. These days, when everyone takes dozens of photos of everything – even their lunch – and shares them with the world, why would you list a property without any photos? It’s an immediate turn off.

Maybe not every property deserves a drone, but the effect is impressive!

And the turn o isn’t limited to the potential buyer – your vendor isn’t going to be impressed either, it’s a special moment when you see your home for sale online for the first time, it may be happy or sad but whichever emotion comes into play, an agent who is too lazy to get the photos done in time is likely to be let down in many other ways too.

“Visual presentation plays a vital role in creating positive first impressions with potential homebuyers,” said Paul Jaszynski at Zentuvo – and he’s right.

GENERATE MORE INTEREST

Research by Rightmove indicates that properties with photos get 81 per cent more interest than those without and additional photos increase click through rate by 15 per cent. So why do agents continue to list homes without having yet secured images first?

Whether listing a property on your website or on a portal, in a printed brochure or as part of a window display, including good quality photographs is quite simply essential, as they help potential buyers and renters visualise the layout and condition of the property beforehand, they get excited! “This is definitely the right property for us!”

Providing an excellent image puts you miles ahead of your competition and very likely make the difference between a viewing or not. Rachel Colgan, Building Relations

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Rachel Colgan

“Never underestimate the power of excellent photography when marketing a property,” said Rachel Colgan, head of Building Relations, a PR agency specialising in property. “As first impressions count, it is this image that will help decide whether a homebuyer will find out more about a property. To provide an excellent image to support your marketing material will put you miles ahead of your competition and that is very likely be the difference between a viewing or not.”

A property description without any accompanying photographs, no matter how good it may be, is always going to be ignored by many prospective buyers and renters, and if they do not, your listing is going to struggle to stand out against those that have included pictures.

What’s more, those buyers who view photographs are more likely to visit the property with a greater willingness to buy compared to those that do not. They won’t want to waste their own time, (and yours!) with fruitless viewings.

“Not only can photographs help prospective buyers decide whether or not to visit a property, but it can also act as a reminder of what they have viewed at a later stage, especially if they are viewing a multitude of homes,” said Daniel Cohen of Links Homes.

PROFESSIONAL TOUCH

Photography has now become such an important content marketing tool that some agents now opt to use professional photographers, rather than rely on negotiators to take pictures.

London-based Foxtons, for instance, has a dedicated photography department which includes a large team of professional photographers who are responsible for capturing every aspect of all properties registered with Foxtons. They make absolutely sure that they present them in their best light, which includes taking perfectly prepared photographs and composing 360-degree virtual tours.

Increasingly, agents are choosing to outsource this work. “A couple of years ago we bought lots of fancy camera equipment and got specialist training for the sales and rental teams on usage – but it really wasn’t good enough,” said James Wyatt of Barton Wyatt. “We have taken the decision to outsource it all – it is so much cheaper now. And in the right hands the results are very good.”

Barton Wyatt also recently made the decision to employ a drone specialist. James added, “I am really delighted with the results of this – one of which is shown in on this page – we will be doing more drone shots because they work beautifully!”

A PICTURE’S WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, BUT WHAT ABOUT VIDEO?

With visual technology rapidly improving, a growing number of agents are now also using videos. The options range from computer-generated videos to bespoke scripting and high-end fi lming, (usually for special properties of course) to create a professionally compiled recorded video or live feed, enabling them to walk a potential buyer through a home virtually and highlight the property’s best features.

Web pages with visuals drive up to 180 per cent more engagement, so if a picture says a thousand words how many does a video say? Matthew Craker, Fine & Country Brookmans Park

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Matthew Craker

“When you are selling a home, you are also selling a lifestyle. Well written words can give important information, but an accompanying video ties this information to a real perception,” said Matthew Craker of Fine & Country Brookmans Park. “This conveys not just the number of rooms or the layout of a house, but the ambience, the lifestyle, the warmth and the heart of a home.”

He continued, “Imagery and video are important tools when marketing a property. It’s been shown that web pages with visuals drive up to 180 per cent more engagement than those without – and if a picture says a thousand words, how many does a video say?”

The numbers are in and they do indeed confirm that video is exponentially more powerful than the written word.

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth approximately 1.8 million words.

“Viewers spend 100 per cent more time on web pages with videos. Double the time, double the engagement,” Cracker added. “Draw a viewer into your home and it is more likely to linger in their minds and ultimately lead to a sale.”

LIVETIME

An innovative broadcast concept, Livetime, was recently launched to the property sector with a view to revolutionising the marketing, selling and inspecting of properties, by allowing quality broadcast transmission from a small portable device anywhere, anytime – onto any device.

Founder of Livetime, Ken Burgess, said, “One viewing using Livetime can enable decision makers to view the property remotely at the same time alleviating the need for an agent to go back two or three times for a first viewing.”

Livetime, available for a basic monthly licensing fee of £50 plus at least £6,000 worth of live broadcasting minutes over a two-year contract, takes the portability of Skype, Facetime or Google Glass, but adds a TV camera to essentially produce a TV broadcast, which is automatically recorded.

“In addition to helping to sell properties, video marketing can raise profile, engage potential clients, provide instant information, present the people behind the business and bring a website to life,” said Jane Danser of Pure Brand Media.

ADD PERSONALITY

To help ensure that property videos are presented in the best possible light, some agents hire professional production companies to compile presenter-led video property tours to o er prospective purchasers and tenants the information they require and help them to decide whether or not to view the property in person.

“Presenter-led video tours give potential buyers a more informative experience helping them to make some key decisions before having to travel,” said Luke Power, Managing Director of Property Videos.

Power insists that “we’re only just beginning to see what video tours can offer the estate agency world”, but that “tradition and the added expense” of compiling videos remains “a barrier” for some agents.

VIDEOETTES

videoettesVideoettes, although not strictly speaking a video, present agents with a cheaper alternative to add multimedia to their property listings.

Unlike virtual tours or real video tours, Videoettes generally use an agent’s own existing images to create a slick video experience.

AUDIO TOURS

Audio tours are another cost-effective option. This high quality TV-style advertisement aims to combine smart photographs with a professional voice-over, complemented by video like moving images, designed to highlight the key selling points of a property.

3D WALKTHROUGHS

High quality computer generated video technology, often created using floorplan software, is another affordable way of showcasing a property, with costs starting from just £10 per property. Viewers are guided through the property and can move about the rooms at the touch of a mouse.

According to Alex Mann, Operations Director at Home Viewpoint, the use of film as a marketing tool to sell property is increasingly becoming the norm, especially with the main portals now offering dedicated URL fields for videos, and those agents that soon fail to adopt this form of content marketing will soon end up having to play catch up at a later stage.

“Our key goal is to prove that film and professional photography is no longer the sole dominion of the high end property, it is just as valid on a £150,000 property as it is on a £10 million mansion,” he said.

PRESENTATION

When taking photos of a property or making a promotional video, a well organised, smart looking home is always likely to attract the greatest level of interest.

Staging a property for photographs or video is likely to make it easier for an agent to showcase a property in its best light.

Collette Hanlon of Home Stagers commented, “High level marketing opportunities are lost on a property that is poorly presented and not shown at its full potential.”

MARKETING STRATEGY

Whether opting for professional photographs or/and video content, both mediums present agents with a viable way of marketing property for sale or to let.

This should help to attract more househunters, not to mention vendors and landlords, giving them a greater chance of winning more property instructions, as well as sell and rent more homes, boosting business activity and in turn profits in the process.

Do you get the picture?

Contacts:

Fine & Country Brookmans Park www.fineandcountry.com/uk/Brookmans-Park
Pure Brand Media www.purebrandmedia.co.uk
Home Viewpoint www.homeviewpoint.co.uk
Home Stagers www.homestagers.co.uk
Livetime www.livetime2.com
Property Videos www.thehomeseller.tv
Barton Wyatt www.bartonwyatt.co.uk
Links Homes www.linkshomes.co.uk
Zentuvo www.zentuvo.co.uk
Building Relations www.building-relations.co.uk

March 12, 2015

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