Hey everyone! Check out the conversation that Michael Aldea, President of Go Left Marketing had with Alex Ferguson, CEO of Your Local Studio, located in Raleigh and Charlotte, NC. Your Local Studio is a video production company specializing in real estate marketing.

Marketing Video Tips for Real Estate Agents

In the video we talk about:

  • some of the myths about video marketing
  • treat statistics about video marketing, and…
  • a few DIY tips if you want to dive into this yourself.

There is also a fun segment where Michael asks Alex a few personal questions so you can get to know him better!


MICHAEL: I want to make this short and sweet for our audience, with nice bite size pieces, so tell us a little bit about you and then tell us a little bit about Your Local Studio.

ALEX: Sure, I’m Alex Ferguson and I started in the video world back in 2005. I start off freelancing, saw an opportunity for a Kinkos of video production model, which we launched in 2009 and we renamed it in 2012, Your Local Studio. On the personal side, I’m actually Canadian, even though I’ve been living in the US for a long time, married and have a kid on the away, so life is good.

MICHAEL: Awesome! If you guys are just listening to this and don’t see Alex, you’re probably going to assume that he started this when he was three years old. Not all of us have a baby face like you Alex. It is great to have you! 
The first thing I want to ask about are some recent statistics that you’ve been kind enough to pull together about using video as a part of a marketing strategy. Can you go into that for us?
ALEX: There are a whole bunch of video stats online, but these are just a couple that I found that are fairly recent.
  1. In 2013, MediaPost shared that 90% of consumers are watching online video 
  2. Invodo, an e-commerce video platform, they had a 2014 marketer summary and they shared that 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video, so just couple of years from now, three quarters of the entire Internet traffic is going to be videos
  3. Mary Meeker’s 2015 internet trends report that, Facebook video views increased from 1 billion per day to 4 billion per day in just the last 6 months, 4 billion video views per day.
It’s astonishing.
MICHAEL: It is and there is a whole bunch of science behind this.  We process videos and images faster than text, it keeps people engaged, so I think you definitely, being Canadian, are definitely skating to “where the puck is going to be and not where it is”, so kudos to you and your vision for that.  
Well, both of us, me with Go Left Marketing, and you with Your Local Studio, have clients and prospects in the real estate vertical. So, if you can go into why this (video marketing) is important for a real estate agent or a real estate company, that would be awesome.

ALEX: Sure, so specifically for real estate agents;

  1. The first point I would say is, it can communicate so much about your property in such an efficient and effective way. It can get a ton of information all done in just a couple of images over a couple of seconds.  So if you want to get the best bang for your buck, video is definitely the best way to do that.

  2. Second thing is looking at you as a realtor, it gives a great way for your potential clients to meet you, see your personality, your character, what you like; virtually meeting you before they even get to see you. So all the people that would work best with you already are able to see you as your true characters.  “Wow! This person is so energetic!” They (can see if you) are lively  – or not. They can see that already ahead of time.

  3. The last one is that all homeowners and potential homeowners are so used to seeing video (as the statistic just stated about 4 billion video views a day on Facebook), they’re expecting it.  So right off the bat, that’s the reason being doing video in real estate.

MICHAEL: And if I can just dive a little bit deeper into this, I certainly have clients that are camera shy. How do you either tackle that or maybe sidestep that if you’re in the real estate business, not used to being in front of the camera, but want to put something out there that is high production value?

ALEX: Two thoughts on that:

  1. First I still, am a fan of having the main person behind the business on camera.  Even just once, so people know who they are working with. If you are camera shy, then I will suggest more of an interview format.  Get someone to interview you and you can be much more relaxed and be able to show off your personality if you find it a little scary to look straight into a camera and share something.

  2. The second thought is, there are lots of ways you can get a voiceover done, or you can just do a voiceover set to footage of your property or graphics and contents. You don’t have to be on screen all the time.

MICHAEL: That dovetails into another objection I get for my clients when I mention using video as part of their marketing strategy. It’s about the dollar signs; they just automatically assume that it’s going to just break their marketing budget. Can you talk about that?

ALEX: Absolutely;

  1. Doing video affordably, it is possible, it really is.  The first step is, don’t over complicate – keep it simple. One way you can do that is try to do one shot videos. The less editing that you need to do, the less you have to do after you’ve recorded, the more cost-effective it is.  Also, creating a template, so if you are going to be creating videos a regular basis, which I recommend, then you create a template.  For example, say my videos are going to be consistent of “this”, “this”, and “this” part.   Take a look at online talk shows or TV shows – they are all made of segments and they always have the same theme.  So, if you create a template that you spend a lot of time up front thinking about – (i.e. – what’s going to be part of my video), then once you start creating them, it can be a lot more affordable.

  2. The second point doing video affordably, I would say, is you can use your smartphone.  You can use these wonderful devices.  They have great quality, they really do. You just have to plan ahead and figure how are you going to use it. You can use it probably for recording your properties, showing that off. Actually we just did a video blog post on some tips on how to shoot with your phone, so you can check that out. Finally, once you’ve recorded on your iPhone (or Android for those that are not iPhone people out there) when it comes to the editing, you can make it a little snazzy. So even if you shoot on a smart phone with a bit of the post production, you can take the quality up a fair amount with some music and some graphics and some other editing contents.

  3. Third point for doing a video affordably – if you do hire a video person or team, plan ahead-  do the prep work! 
    If you’re able to get all of the scripts done – you know exactly what you want to say, where you want to say it, and where you want the graphics, then the time you spend with that video team will be very minimal.  It will be a lot more affordable and if you are able to do all that prep work, you can record a whole bunch of videos in one session.  Then you have a whole bunch of content you can release over time and it will only cost you a little bit of amount to do the whole bunch of videos.
MICHAEL: Fantastic, that’s great. I think something that was eye opening to me was realizing that they don’t actually shoot a movie from beginning to end.  They get great shots where they can and they try to save time by bunching different shots together at certain times of the day and so sort of batching those videos.  Like you said, doing the prep work.  And practicing, and practicing, and practicing on your own time certainly will save you dollar bills. 
Now I did mention a high production value and I would like all my clients to end up on the high production value side because I want them to avoid what I call the Velveeta factor. The last thing you want to do on accident (you could be cheesy on purpose and it can work), non-intentionally, is to put something out there that has a high Velveeta factor – something that’s cheesy, that people just click away from, that repels people. So give us a few things to cut down on the Velveeta factor?

ALEX: Sure, absolutely;

  1. So first off, if you are planning on trying to do it yourself and I understand.  There’s still that thing (in your heads that says),  “Okay, well I have all the equipment. I can try and do it myself. I have my smart phone.”   I’ll give you one quick tip. If you are going to use your smartphone, please do not record in vertical.  (We are used to) using your phone and looking like this (vertical) and you record video like this (vertical). Video is meant to be horizontal –  it’s meant to be 16 x 9. So turn your phone sideways – right away you’re going to get rid of some of that Velveeta factor.  Viewer will then think “Wow, okay this realtor really does know what they’re doing”.

  2. The second thing is, if you are going to get a video for your homepage, I would definitely suggest investing in higher quality, high production value there. That’s the first time someone is going to learn about you. It is your first introduction and you want to make sure your first impression is a favorable one. The rest of the videos (i.e. – if you’re doing video blogs on a recurring basis) can be a little bit more casual, more like you’re meeting someone you know for coffee. But if you’re meeting someone for the first time, you want to put your best foot forward, so invest a decent amount on that homepage overview video about video.

  3. And the last part as far as trying to cut down on Velveeta factor, provide something useful, something valuable. Don’t focus on promotion – try to stay away from the car salesman, ”come on down I’ll give you a sales price, just come on over here, I’ll give you good deal, just for you”. Web videos generally are best when they provide (something) and are used as utility marketing.  Jay Bear is a pretty cool guy, he talks about this in his book YOUtility – being focused on providing something that people can use. So when you create your videos, try to provide some value that people will say, “Wow! this is useful information I can use elsewhere” and no matter what the quality of the video is, the fact that you provided that value and you’re not just promoting, ”hey! Come check out my service and hire me”, it already will detract from any quality of the footage. It will bring it up  and away from that Velveeta factor.

MICHAEL: Great!  I do want to ask you about something that has sort of busted on the scene  just recently or I can be way above the curve and it’s been out there for a long time, but these live streaming tools like Meerkat and Periscope – I haven’t personally used them but I have had clients clamoring to use them. I wish I had something to tell them, can you help me out?

ALEX: I see right now, both Meerkat and Periscope, they are based off of Twitter, so right off, if you feel that your audience that you’re targeting is on Twitter, then right away, definitely explore it more. If they are not, if they are on Facebook or LinkedIn or elsewhere, ignore it. It is definitely early adopters jumping on it right now.  I mean Meerkat was the first one to create it and then Twitter was like, “Wow, we should have one”. Instead of buying it, they created their own – Periscope. And it’s a rush right now, everyone’s saying, “Oh we need to try this out!”  So if you are on Twitter and if you find your audiences on Twitter, people on Twitter find it interesting, so create it.  And the way I’ve seen it used now, I agree with the usage, it’s for those who are already doing Twitter chats and schedule Twitter chats.  You can turn a Twitter chat into a Periscope or Meerkat life stream, so you can be chatting to thousands of people who you are tweeting with at the same time. But again if you’re not and if your audience is not on Twitter, ignore it.

MICHAEL: We’ve talked enough business. I want to turn this a little more personal, I want to sort of get into your head. I’ve got a couple of questions for you. 
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?

ALEX: I would be flying rockets or testing video games, one of the other two.

MICHAEL: I think one of those is a little less dangerous.

ALEX: Both very fun though.

MICHAEL: With the baby on the way, I would go with the whole video game testing absolutely. 
We are both busy, we are both entrepreneurs, but I still like to read as much as I can. What are some books – and I said books, because I’m in the middle of about 4 books now – that you’re in the middle of reading or have high intentions of reading?

ALEX: That’s a great question, I’m a big fan of autobiographies or biography books, because I like to see how other people have gotten to a position in their life.  I’ve been reading, I’m not going to remember his name right now, (Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos), but he is pretty fast at what he was able to accomplish and where he went with that.  The book that I just got, my wife actually bought it for me, was by, the fellow who designed Tesla cars and Space X program and Solar city.

MICHAEL: He sounds like a cologne, he’s Elon Musk.

ALEX: Yes, that’s it, that’s right, Elon Musk! Both works I’m finding very fascinating, It’s interesting that to peer into someone’s life and be able to see what they’ve achieved and the goal, so those ones I’m reading right now.

MICHAEL: Right, last question. 
if you had one piece of advice for small business owner – that’s who I work with the most and they are who you work with the most- what are one or two things that if you had to start over knowing what you know now – what would you make sure you would be doing?

ALEX: It’s a good question; I wish I got that question ahead of time, so I could have thought more about it.

MICHAEL: I wanted this to be completely sprung on you and I wanted something candid, so this is good.

ALEX: I would say, just because in a recent conversation that came out, focus and figuring out what your unique element is. Because if you end up spending a lot of time in your early stage of trying this part and trying this part in this and you never really focus and hone in your niche. That’s what I felt really helped us and it took me a little while to say, “We are just going to focus on is video production, not website design and all these other stuff”.  That really differentiates you. For everyone to remember, “What does this guy going do” and then they will always remember that, because it (being focused) makes it easy for them.  You can grow a lot faster and farther I believe.

MICHAEL: That’s not just solid for new businesses, that’s solid for businesses that are 10 years old, so thank you for that.
Lastly, let us know the best way we can get a hold of you and contact you about Your Local Studio and to start working with you.  What’s the best way for me getting in touch with you?

ALEX: Absolutely, you can check out our website, yourlocalstudio.com, not too hard remember to remember, yourlocalstudio.com.  We try to do lots of cool content marketing with amazing people like Michael.  You can check out our blog and you can if you want to have a question about video, you can send it to team@yourlocalstudio and one of us will be able to respond and we’ll give you some good video ideas.

MICHAEL: I appreciate your time Alex, I hope that you guys have learned a little bit about how to use video, what to look for and we’ll talk to you again soon, okay Alex.

ALEX: Thanks so much, it’s great chatting with you.

MICHAEL: Alright, thanks.


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