Are you ready for your close-up? If you’re anything like most of the real estate agents we work with, the answer here is probably no. And that’s a shame because of all the social media channels available today, YouTube is one of the best for generating leads. Good leads.
That’s why we decided to take a deep dive into how Karin Carr, a successful Georgia Coast Realtor and team leader, gets 70% (yes, really) of her clients from YouTube. Oh, and by clients we mean clients, deals, and closings, not leads.
Why YouTube Is the Perfect Social Media Channel for Real Estate Agents
If you ask a typical real estate agent what their go-to social media channel for lead generation is, they’ll probably tell you Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, in that order. In fact, the NAR Member Profile Report backs this up. As a lead generation strategy, YouTube doesn’t even make the list.
As you might imagine from the title of this article, this means most real estate agents are leaving leads, and money, on the table by ignoring YouTube. Here are a few reasons why YouTube should be at the top of your lead generation strategies:
1. YouTube Videos Rank on Google Much, Much More Easily Than Articles
Since Alphabet, the parent company that owns Google, purchased YouTube way back in 2006, Google has been slowly but surely integrating YouTube videos into their search results. Since there are fewer real estate agents on YouTube, and Google wants to promote more videos, that means ranking your video on a Google search is much, much easier than ranking a blog post.
In fact, for most real estate agents, ranking blog posts on Google is all but impossible. After all, they’re competing with Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and hundreds of millions of other sites. Since Google ranks content by ranking signals that include the age and authority of your website, the odds of that squeaky new InCom website ranking for anything are slim to none.
2. YouTube Is a Welcoming Place for Amateurs
While you’re (hopefully) not an amateur real estate agent, if you’re reading this article, then you’re more than likely an amateur YouTuber. For many real estate agents, this is enough of a barrier to entry to keep them from even trying to make YouTube videos. After all, their videos will look cheap and amateurish, right?
Well, the good news is that this doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as you might think. In fact, many people actually prefer to watch content created by amateurs rather than slick professionals who inevitably have ulterior motives.
Don’t believe me? Well, the most subscribed YouTuber in history with more than one hundred million subscribers is a dorky Swedish guy named Pewdiepie, who doesn’t even have a set—let alone a professional set.
3. People Are Much More Likely to Watch a Video Than Read an Article
This one makes perfect sense if you think about it for more than a few seconds. Reading an article is like homework. Watching a video is fun. Worse, most of your leads probably just spent eight hours reading emails and Slack messages, so their eyes are going to immediately start to glaze over if you present them with a wall of text on closing costs.
4. It’s Easier to Highlight Your Brand (& Personality) in a Video
Raise your hand if you come across better in person or on the phone than you do in writing. Thought so. Frankly, I’ve yet to meet a real estate agent who can manage to let their personality shine through in writing. Those that do, like yours truly, generally end up leaving the industry.
5. YouTube Is a Search Engine
Unlike TV or most video sites, most people search for content they want to see on YouTube. Once they watch a few videos they searched for, Google’s algorithm will then display similar videos every time they log into YouTube. That means a lead might watch a video you make, then log back in to watch a skiing video—and another video of yours might be recommended to watch next.
6. Leads Who Reach Out Because of Your YouTube Videos Want to Talk to YOU, Not Talk About a Listing
While this might seem like a minor distinction, it isn’t. Cold leads who stumble across your listings or Zillow Ad are calling about a listing. You’re just in the way of that listing. Leads who contact you after watching a YouTube video, on the other hand, are calling to talk to YOU. Which do you think will be easier to convert?
7. You Don’t Need a Ton of Views to Get Your Phone to Ring
The great thing about YouTube is that it gives your leads a way to “meet” you with zero pressure. They listen to you talk, get a sense of your personality and how much you know—all without feeling stuck in a sales pitch (ugh).
You’re a Real Estate Agent With an OFF Button
That means that people are going to be much, much more likely to call you after watching a YouTube video than after say, reading a paragraph of stilted listing copy and looking at your tiny, Photoshopped headshot on Zillow.
7 Steps to Creating a Successful YouTube Video That Will Make Your Phone Ring
Creating videos on YouTube and getting people to watch them is one thing. Creating videos that people will watch AND get you leads is quite another. Here are Karin’s seven steps to creating a successful YouTube video that will actually get you leads.
1. Research Your Topic
As someone much smarter than us once said, “If you gave me four hours to chop down a tree, I would spend three hours sharpening my axe.” As with any marketing project, in order to create great YouTube videos, you need to do your research.
As a content creator, you need to keep two things in mind before starting any marketing project. 1. How will this get me local leads? and 2. Is this something my leads want to watch?
The answer to the first question should be pretty straightforward. Create content that is hyperlocal and useful for people who are relocating to the area, first-time buyers in the area, or other topics that are local and useful for buyers and sellers.
One great way to do research for your videos is to use Google Suggest. All you need to do is type in a topic you’re thinking about making a video on, and then look at what other topics Google suggests for that query in the drop-down menu.
For example, let’s say you want to make a video about “best neighborhoods in Brooklyn.” When I type those keywords into Google, they suggest similar keywords that other people have searched, like:
- Best neighborhood in Brooklyn for families
- Best neighborhood in Brooklyn for young professionals
- Best neighborhood in Brooklyn to live
- Best neighborhood in Brooklyn to stay
2. Write Your Hook (WIIFM)
Since most people online today have the attention span of a goldfish, you need to tell your audience what they’re going to get from your video right away. In marketing, this is known focusing on WIIFM? What’s in it for me? For your audience. Why are they spending two minutes watching your video?
Karin suggests (and we agree wholeheartedly) that getting to the hook right away will lead to more views and more leads. Remember, people want to know WIIFM more than they want to know how eloquent or clever you are.
So in our example above, your hook might be something like, “Hi, my name is _______ and today we’re going to talk about which Brooklyn neighborhood is the best to live in and why. I’ll also go over the top five neighborhoods for families, and the top neighborhoods for young professionals.” Easy enough, right?
3. Create Your Visual Branding & Make It Consistent
The name of the game in successful branding is consistency. You want your audience to remember your brand and recognize it immediately. That means you need to create consistent branding across your YouTube identity.
One great way to keep your brand on YouTube consistent is to create a short video intro. Oh, and by short, we mean short. Think 10 to 15 seconds short. So don’t overthink it. A quick animation, some music, your logo, and contact info should do it. Check out Karin’s intro below:
That was five seconds long.
How to Create Visual Branding Assets for Your YouTube Videos
Unless you happen to be tech savvy or a budding motion graphics designer, chances are you should stick to having your intros and other branding assets made for you in the beginning. Here are a few places to have them made:
Fiverr is a smart real estate agent’s secret weapon. Using Fiverr, you can hire someone to create quick, cheap, one-off projects like video intros, logos, banners, or editing starting at just five bucks. It’s quick, easy, and since there are millions of talented people from around the world using it, an affordable way to get design work done quickly.
You can also go the DIY route using apps like Canva, Ripl, or Animaker, but if you’re just getting started, Fiverr will almost always give you the best ROI.
4. BRIEFLY Introduce Yourself
Did we mention BRIEFLY? Good. I hate to say it, but almost all of the hundreds of agents we’ve worked with have a tough time putting this word into practice. Also, don’t recite your resume or LinkedIn profile. Remember, just answer the WIIFM for your audience. Chances are, a long list of your accomplishments since third grade is probably not why they clicked on your video, and is definitely not why they’re going to stay.
5. Cover Your Topic
It might sound weird, but everything we mentioned above will likely take up less than 30 seconds of your YouTube video. Now you need to deliver the goods. In order to get started, Karin recommends repeating your hook, then getting into your topic in enough detail to answer the question, but short enough to keep people watching until the end. Also, remember to SMILE.
Anything over five to ten minutes is probably going to be too long and too boring for a YouTube video. So keep it under five minutes or so and offer more detail in other videos or a lead magnet. More on this later.
Since this is going to be the meat of your video, you’re also going to want to edit out all of your mistakes. Even though people enjoy watching amateur content, they probably won’t enjoy your ummms and uhhhhs and mispronouncing Kosciuszko Bridge or Ten Eyk Street.
Again, you can hire someone from Fiverr to edit your first videos, or try your hand at DIY using a free program like IMovie.
Also, change up your shots. One long take of you talking can get boring quickly. So move around, add some graphics or stock video, and change things up. Here’s another example from Karin’s agent Nicole Moore:
6. Wrap It Up With a Call to Action
Once you’ve covered your topic, you’re going to want to wrap up the video with a quick call to action. If you’re relatively new to marketing, a call to action, or CTA, is a short statement that tells your audience what you want them to do next. In most cases, a call to action might be something like “If you want to buy or sell in _____, call me.”
However, while a simple direct call to action like this might work perfectly for other marketing, Karin recommends thinking a little outside the box for YouTube. Remember, WIIFM?
Karin suggests offering more value in exchange for their contact information by offering them a free lead magnet in exchange for their email address. Of course, to set this up, you’re going to need a landing page on your website, as well as a lead magnet. Let’s handle those one by one.
First, a landing page. A landing page is just a page on your website that has a pitch, a contact form, and ideally can hook up to your email marketing software like Mailchimp. Once they click on your landing page, they read your pitch, then enter their contact information to get your lead magnet. Unbounce is a good way to create professional looking landing pages.
A lead magnet is just something you offer your lead in exchange for their contact information. It could be an e-book, an article, or even just a PDF with more content on it. The idea, of course, is that this content is something your leads cannot find—or at least will have a hard time finding online.
You might offer your YouTube leads a relocation guide, a list of new developments coming soon to your farm area, how to stage a listing, or anything else your leads might be interested in. Remember to ask for their phone number and actually follow up with a phone call.
7. Keep Them Watching Until the End of Your Video
One of the ways that YouTube decides what videos rank on YouTube and on Google search is how many people finish the video. This makes perfect sense when you think about it. If 90% of the people who click on a video stop watching after thirty seconds, then that’s a red flag that the video is duller than watching paint dry.
That means getting your audience to watch your video until the end or for as long as possible will help you rank better. Karin suggests using teaser language, like telling people they have to watch to the end to get their free relocation guide. Hey, that’s your lead magnet!
Over to You
What did you think of Karin’s YouTube strategy for real estate agents? Are you planning on giving YouTube videos a shot to generate leads? Let us know in the comments.
By the way, Karin also has a course that goes into a ton more detail about generating leads on YouTube. Check it out here.