Real estate professionals invest a lot of time, effort and money into marketing themselves, “but when it comes to video, it’s not all about you,” says Stephen Schweickart, co-founder and CEO of VScreen, an Internet video services provider within the real estate industry. In fact, the numbers paint a pretty clear picture regarding the significance of video today: video makes up over 50% of all Internet activity; Google is 53 times more likely to rank video on the first page of search results since consumers favor watching video over reading text; and video thumbnails are 43% more likely to get clicked on. Of those that get clicked on, 84% are informational or how-to in nature versus 14% that are transactional (virtual tours, agent profiles, etc.). As video continues to evolve, Schweickart and his team have all the resources in place to provide their clients with video that matters.
“Over the last year or two, we have seen a lot of real estate professionals go out and actually grasp the power of video, which has rapidly changed their understanding of the types of videos that are most effective,” says Schweickart. While many brokers and agents have gotten caught up in the idea that profile videos and home tours are the way to go, they have missed a crucial element—providing consumers with a reason to visit their site in the first place.
“This is the void that needs to be filled,” adds Schweickart, who has made it his mission to not only find out what consumers want to see, but to then create those videos for agents and brokers while providing a distribution strategy to drive eyes back to their respective website. “For as little as $29 per month (less than a dollar per day), we provide real estate professionals with video that matters,” says Schweickart, who has taken the time to research consumer trends and pinpoint what prospective buyers are looking for. Whether it be videos that provide tips on how to pick a real estate agent, the best home design tips, or how to install a fence post or remortgage your home, consumers are craving information now more than ever.
Schweickart and his team are constantly looking into and integrating the latest technology into their company so their clients can focus on what they do best, which is sell real estate. “We are trying to make it so the agent doesn’t have to do any work when it comes to their video strategy,” he adds. “At the same time, we are positioning ourselves to become the turnkey agency that handles research, content and distribution.”
Maintaining a Competitive Edge
Staying ahead of the curve is a crucial piece of the puzzle, especially as video and the technology behind it continue to evolve. “At any given moment, we are 12-18 months ahead of the real estate curve, but we take the time to roll things out in a fashion that is easy for our clients to absorb,” adds Schweickart. While real estate professionals don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to video on a day-to-day basis, VScreen’s No. 1 priority is to create services that deal with the three problem points that video presents—cost, production and deployment—while remaining affordable and easy to use.
“There are so many aspects that can go wrong when putting together a video,” says Schweickart, “that most people don’t want to bother with the production process.” While VScreen’s blog is dedicated to educating individuals on how to produce a successful video, the company works closely with its clients to ensure they receive high quality, professional videos. Taking this one step further, VScreen has created a deployment strategy that brings added value to the agent/broker. “Our YouTube SEO strategy provides an easy way to distribute video, getting the content in front of as many eyes as possible,” adds Schweickart. “The more we are able to get the video in front of consumers, the more value the video production has to the agent.”
Preparing for the Future
Schweickart and his team are always looking for ways to take things to the next level when it comes to video production and offering clients the tools and services they need to be successful in today’s real estate market. Having recently expanded and relocated the company to the back lot of Universal Studios Florida, VScreen and its clients have a lot to look forward to.
Not only is the company in the process of upgrading their studio and all of their equipment, but a secondary facility on the west coast, at Universal Studios Hollywood, is on the radar. “As technology rates decrease, our production ability increases, and all of these major changes will help us bring our service to the next level.” The company has also added major clients within the last year, including Realtor.com®, Zillow and Yahoo Real Estate.
“It’s important that we not pigeonhole ourselves as a high-end agency,” adds Schweickart, “but instead show that we can offer a great service for not a lot of money to real estate brokers and agents.”
VScreen is also in the process of rolling out new features that will help its clients get the most out of their video strategy. Launched at the end of July, VScreen’s video optimization product, offered in express and pro versions, will help clients understand how to best optimize videos for success while driving traffic back to their website. The program is created and managed by YouTube and Video SEO consultant, Mark Robertson of ReelSEO.com, who has established an exclusive partnership with VScreen. Automated video channels will be available to clients around September/October, enabling individuals to instantly add video to their website and even create their own video platform that can be customized to reflect the look and feel of the broker/agent’s brand. VScreen is looking to take this a step further with an automated video service, which will automate the client’s video experience, bring the cost down and make it easy for people to create their own channels with professional content and syndicate it on their website.
For more information, visit www.vscreen.com.