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In luxury real estate, marketing is all about helping sellers differentiate themselves from the competition. In the search for innovative digital marketing, many agents are turning to video to tell their sellers’ stories, as well as their own.

Every year, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing recognizes agents and teams raising the bar in the real estate industry with innovative marketing with its Leaders in Luxury Marketing Award. This past year, several real estate professionals submitted personal marketing videos or property marketing videos. Here, the winning duo and a couple of finalists share their insights on why video is the necessary next step in marketing, and how agents can best leverage video to help build their brand and sell their listings.

Jean Ludwick, broker associate at Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, and an award finalist for her submission of California Paradise, says that over the years, “video marketing has become more and more important.”

Looking to jump into video, Ludwick learned from Carole Rodoni, a real estate economist and speaker, that there are four things one must do:

  1. Have a video about yourself, but don’t brag about yourself.
  2. Capture attention and resonate with people.
  3. Be authentic. Pick a topic that you are passionate about.
  4. Keep it to a minute.

Jim Zeller, who leads the Luxury Leaders Team at Watson Realty Corp., with Linda Ostoski, presented the Inspiring French Chateau property video at the Leaders in Luxury event. He agrees that keeping the audience’s attention is key, and that has a lot to do with length.

“Keep the video short and engaging,” says Zeller. “The ideal video length is between two and three minutes. Buyers look through hundreds of homes during their search and only have minutes, even seconds, to determine if yours is a contender.”

Christine Battista, who co-founded and co-owns the Denver and Beyond Team at Keller Williams Luxury International with her husband, Carl Battista, says they use video throughout their entire listing process. The team won the 2019 Marketing Award with its Penthouse of the Pros property video, and suggests that agents first focus on the following:

  1. Before ever spending a dime, get the full publishing rights from the producer and drone pilot.
  2. Get written permission from the seller to film their property and list out that you want to use a drone pilot in writing.
  3. Make sure the drone pilot is FAA-licensed and check out the laws in your jurisdiction.
  4. Check with the HOA, if there is one involved.
  5. Encourage the sellers to participate by paying for part or all of the video and reimburse them upon closing. It keeps their skin in the game.

In terms of what the videos should focus on, for property videos, Zeller says agents should “highlight a unique or desirable selling point of the home at the beginning.

“First impressions are important,” says Zeller, “and the first few seconds of the video should give the viewer a reason to keep watching.”

When marketing with video, especially for branding, it is essential that agents utilize the multiple avenues available for video formats. Ludwick, for example, links to her videos on her email, website, and personal and business Facebook posts.

“I have exposed it to social media, but you must keep doing this and keep up with technology to get more people to view it,” says Ludwick. “I make sure that any new client sees it before a listing presentation. It is a great way to introduce yourself without bragging about yourself.”

When taking platform into account, luxury agents should consider trends. For example, Battista says that “research shows over 50 percent of YouTube viewers watch videos on silent, while 80 percent do the same on Facebook.” Therefore, ensuring that the video evokes emotion even when silent is key. Because most users view these videos a mobile device rather than a desktop, the video should be mobile-friendly, as well.

Lastly, the video should tell a story. Zeller says, “Video marketing can truly bring a property to life and demonstrate a lifestyle. It should illustrate the home in ways that are not easily understood only through text and photos.”

To do this, Battista recommends putting people in action scenes to bring the video to life.

“Tease the audience to really pique their interest,” says Battista. “Make sure the scenery is world-class and the footage screams luxury. Music really affects the emotional center of the brain. Pay very close attention to that and what the tempo says about the piece.”

The ultimate benefit to videos, however? Their lifespan.

“Videos last a lifetime on the internet,” says Zeller, “whereas flyers and postcards are only good until they are thrown out. Your brand will have an everlasting presence with videos, making you a name to remember.”

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at