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You Had Me at QR Code…

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By Tim Denbo

RISMedia, May 19, 2011—Do you want to impress your sellers with your marketing expertise? Are you going on a listing appointment and you know the competition is fierce? Do you work with buyers and want to demonstrate your technical know-how? QR Codes and Mobile Tours are a great way to stand out from the rest and sell homes faster with more leads!

Virtual tours for real estate are not new. However, if you combine virtual tours with the new QR Code technology and a mobile tour optimized for lead-generation you will have an unbeatable combination that will set you apart from the competition.

QR Codes are not new—they were developed for automobile manufacturing in Japan in the mid 1990’s and have only recently gained popularity in the Middle East, Europe and more recently the US and Canada. QR stands for Quick Response and is a two-dimensional bar code able to hold more data than a traditional bar code. This extended data includes substantial information about a product, place or thing—and even directs the user to a URL (website). In real estate, QR Codes are being used to send potential buyers to virtual tours, property listings, and websites.

Many real estate agents we have spoken with want the option to include a QR Code (or not) on a variety of marketing materials, as well as the opportunity to choose between showing a specific property home tour, a YouTube video, or even the agent’s inventory gallery. Plus, the agent and broker want a way to track the marketing for results. These are a few things you want to look for when researching virtual tour providers or mobile tour providers.

Using QR Codes for marketing can be a little confusing unless you take the time to understand the consumer who is using this tool. Most buyers or prospective buyers who have a smartphone and have learned about QR Codes—or take the time to research and download the QR Code reader for their phone—are already somewhat tech savvy. So, when you put a QR Code on your For Sale sign, sign rider, flyer, or even in an advertisement, the buyer is expecting the QR Code to take them directly to the property listing information, mobile tour, virtual tour or other information to help them know more about this particular property. Rather than sending them to your agent or company website, use this opportunity to give them exactly what they want, and they will come back for more when the time is right.

Your QR Codes and mobile tours should work in synergy. The QR Code is strategically placed to give fast, effortless access to your listing. The Mobile Tour provides pictures, full-screen high-definition if possible and as much information about the property as possible while still being easy to navigate and not cluttered with too much information. After all, this is a mobile tour, not an MLS listing.

Last but not least, it is important to use a mobile tour that is compatible with the most popular mobile phones, including Android, iPhone, and Blackberry smartphones. You also want the prospective buyer to be able to contact you easily. Having a mobile tour with “click-to-dial” or direct email is a great way to get a showing or a lead. Now that you are armed with all this information and technology at your fingertips, the next listing appointment you go on, the seller is likely to say “You had me at QR Code…”

Tim Denbo is President/CEO of VirtualTourCafe, LLC which is based in Dublin, California. The business is a limited liability company and has an advisory board made-up of professionals in the real estate, technology, and marketing fields. VirtualTourCafe continually donates a minimum of 10 percent of all net profits to charity.

For more information, please visit www.virtualtourcafe.com.

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