You may think of YouTube as just a place to host your longer videos, but if we look under the hood, it’s actually a well-oiled search engine.
That also makes YouTube an incredibly powerful lead generation and business growth tool, albeit vastly underutilized these days (so there’s a bigger opportunity for you).
I truly believe that the average Realtor, mortgage lender, or business owner can start using YouTube for business and see results after 30 days, with significant ROI (or, ROT: Return on Time), within three months or less.
Oh, and it’s also easy, free, and requires no special knowledge or equipment.
I’ll break it all down for you in this article, but to start, we have to talk about a different company: Google.
By far the most popular search engine in the U.S. (and the western world), Google now accounts for 73% of all internet searches.
Next on down the list of traditional search engines you’ll see Bing second with 7.91% of internet queries. They’re followed by Yahoo with 3.95%, Ask (formerly Ask Jeeves) with 0.42%, and AOL (which wouldn’t even be notable save for their prominence in the early days of the internet) with 0.06% market share.
If we add it to that list, YouTube is a far bigger search engine than Yahoo, Bing, Ask and AOL – combined!
Thinking of YouTube as a search engine – not just a video platform
YouTube isn’t widely used as a search engine yet, but that’s exactly what it does, syncing seamlessly with Google to produce one of the most powerful and effective search engines in the world. (Notice that they ask you for a Google account or Gmail address to log in?)
Just by posting enough quality content with the right headlines, descriptions, tags, and links, you can vault your content to the top of the search engines. That will allow you to rank highly for important key words and search equerries, reaching your potential audience en masse like never before.
It’s within easy reach for the average Realtor, mortgage lender, or small business owner to rank high on YouTube, whereas ranking #1 or even on the first page of Google can take a whole lot of SEO and money.
Here are some quick stats on YouTube, particularly as a search engine:
YouTube by the numbers
And YouTube is still growing
The YouTube youth movement…and seniors, too?
An audience that is looking for YOUR content, not the other way around
Most Facebook and Instagram users scroll, post, and comment for entertainment’s sake (or messaging, sharing photos, etc.).
But YouTube viewers are specifically looking for information, reviews, guides, video experiences, and How-To’s.
In fact, the average YouTube viewer spends 8 minutes and 41 seconds on the site each day.
YouTube instruction is so prevalent, that the term, “University of YouTube” was coined for DIY learning, and one US mother built her own house from the ground up just off of instructional videos – with no previous building experience!
In fact, the three times as many people prefer to watch a How-To video on YouTube instead of reading an instruction manual.
That’s a big paradigm shift – and the key to how YouTube can completely revolutionize your marketing.
YouTube as a lead generation tool and sales magnet
With one simple video, a Realtor, mortgage lender, or business owner can reach tens of thousands of viewers (or way more) in your local who are actively searching for that kind of content.
Don’t get me wrong: Facebook or Instagram are important tools as well.
But, when someone scrolls through their newsfeed on FB or IG, they aren’t actively looking or searching for your content (usually). You can only hope to capture their attention for a second or two – usually by paying for ad placement or boosting a post – before they scroll on.
That’s like placing a billboard under an airport and expecting air passengers to see it as they zoom on by!
Conversely, YouTube is much more efficient for getting your message across to a larger and more appreciative audience – on their own terms.
It’s as if they park their car under that same billboard and look up.
It’s also an ideal way to initiate your marketing funnel.
(YouTube > Subscribe > Giveaway > Email List > Website or Blog > Social Media > etc.).
But, like everything, the key is being consistent with your branding, messages, and frequency of posts while always focusing on adding value.
I’ll talk a lot more about best practices for using YouTube as a lead generation engine and sales magnet in future articles, but we’ve established that YouTube is a kick-ass search engine and WAY underutilized among real estate agents, mortgage pros, and other business owners.
Contact me if you’d like to chat more about how YouTube could help your business.
The best damn marketing you can do…if you only have 5 minutes per day!
I received a great question from a new client the other day.
Based in breathtakingly-gorgeous Lake Tahoe in Northern California, my client is even busier than the average realtor (or mortgage lender). One minute, she’s showing luxury homes and negotiating better deals for investors. The next, serving 'Tahoe locals who are trying to buy their first home, in between managing vacation properties and dealing with the peaks and valleys of the off-season versus the ski season.
So, she's thrilled to have me on-board to help, freeing her up to focus on meeting new clients and selling homes ($200/hour-and-up tasks) instead of grinding away with mundane marketing (the $20/hour tasks that I handle).
However, this soon-to-be-superstar Lake Tahoe agent was still worried about the time it would take to commit to our new marketing campaign.
“So, if I only have an extra hour each day,” she asked me. “What’s the most important thing I should be doing to market my business?”
Fantastic question – and many of you are in the same boat, with so many obligations and important matters (like putting out fires and closing deals!) pulling you in every direction that it’s really hard to find an hour – yet alone a few minutes – to sit down and dedicate to marketing.
“I’ll do you one better,” I told her. “And tell you what you can do in just five minutes every day to grow your business.”
“What is it?” she asked, eagerly.
“Just turn on your camera and start videoing!” I said.
I genuinely believe that is the #1 most beneficial marketing activity for any real estate agent, mortgage lender, or any small business owner or entrepreneur.
If you only could do ONE thing for marketing…
And only had an extra 5 MINUTES every day…
The best use of that time is to shoot a few short videos.
Like marketing icon, Gary Vaynerchuk says, “No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story.”
I can give you a ton of data to back up that assertion, like that 83% of brands, companies, and entrepreneurs using video marketing think it gives them a good ROI.
But that's kinda boring, so I’d rather get you excited about how easy, fun, and effective this is.
You're already paying too much for your smartphone every month, and it's with you at all times, so why not put it to work? These videos don’t need to be fancy, formal, or use any special equipment – just point and hit record.
The opportunities are boundless. In the car driving to an appointment? Turn on the camera and talk about the house, the clients, the market, or the crazy things the home inspector just found.
Take that time to wish a client happy birthday, send them a happy home-buying anniversary vid, congratulate them on getting married, or thank them personally for that last referral they sent you.
You can shoot quick videos to update buyers and sellers, or answer a common question or concern you hear often. Lenders should be doing this EVERY DAY with valuable content that helps Realtors as well as educates and informs their clients. And a personalized video update is a great way to invite people to events you’re promoting.
The best part is that you can film short vids anywhere and anytime as you go about your typical day. Do you love it when the leaves start to change color in autumn? See a stunning sunset from your new listing’s back yard? Your first-time homebuyers just got their keys and are practically (or literally) jumping with joy?
Turn on the camera and share those moments!
Here are examples from three of my clients who do a great job shooting quick videos all the time.
You can also give tangible, concrete advice and information with these quick videos. Discuss a statistic or market trend in a video, walk through an example of a good (or bad) investment property, or talk about property taxes and why it’s better to buy than rent, etc.
Oh, you’re having a bad hair day (or, a bad hair decade like me!) and look like you just rolled out of bed? Simply turn the camera around the other way so it’s pointing out into the world. Narrate the video as you drive through certain neighborhoods, visit local landmarks, and walk through homes you’re buying or selling.
At your escrow office for a signing? Introduce your favorite title and escrow team - or appraiser, home inspector, and home improvement contractor.
Lunchtime at your favorite local restaurant? Why not scan the room, video the menu, say hi to the owner, and give them a great video recommendation?
If nothing else, just share a few of your thoughts on gratitude, why you love your job, or THANK someone.
You’ll be surprised how fun this is once you get rolling and make it a habit, and how much fantastic marketing content you can produce in just five minutes a day.
If the video comes out too dark, your voice is drowned out by an 18-wheeler, or you just come out sounding like a rambling crazy person (me again!), then you simply discard that video, or edit out the parts you don’t like.
With video marketing, short and sweet is better, and you can share them on Instagram (feed, story, or TV), Facebook, YouTube, etc.
I realize that I’m getting fired up and talking a lot about WHAT to video, but you get the point – stop thinking and just turn on the damn smartphone and get started. It will offer the highest ROI by far on your time and marketing dollars.
In just five minutes a day, you’ll be FAR ahead of the competition and, most importantly, far ahead of where you were this time last year.
Now, I gotta run – I’m going to fix my hair and try to take my own advice by shooting a few helpful marketing videos!
P.S. Need help with those $20/hour marketing tasks so you can focus on making $200 an hour or more? Hit me up!
Shoot these 50 videos and I’ll make you a real estate or mortgage celebrity!
Those are the words I wrote to a mortgage broker who recently hired me to work on his marketing (and I'm working overtime!).
I say that tongue-in-cheek, but shooting videos is the single best way to make yourself a marketing force to be reckoned with.
(If you wanted to know why or read some statistics on video marketing, check this out: Why I recommend video, video, & more video for your real estate and mortgage marketing.)
So, I've included list of some of the videos you can make. By no means does this list cover everything you can shoot a video about, and you’ll naturally start adding a whole lot of topics to this list.
You can shoot them in any order you want, but good to cover the basics about you and what you do, first.
Of course, distribution is just as important as content, so sharing these videos according to best practices on Instagram, Instagram TV, YouTube, and Facebook is pivotal.
You'll also notice that they were written for a mortgage lender, so Realtors can easily adapt these suggestions to their own field. (For instance, home inspector instead of appraiser; home buying tips instead of home loan tips, etc.)
Good luck and press RECORD!
Shoot these 50 videos and you'll be a real estate or mortgage celebrity:
1. Introduce yourself (Quick hello, how you are, what company you work for, what you do – provide home loans, where you operate, etc.).
2. Video of you driving up to the office, the outside, and walking inside.
3. Introduce your staff.
4. (Processors, underwriters, etc.)
5. Any video testimonials you can get from past clients or Realtors you’ve worked with is gold!
6. Quick intro of your favorite appraiser.
7. Title company/rep intro.
8. Any videos breaking down the basics of a mortgage:
9. Why rising rates are not a big deal (houses still affordable in your area, can lower the total cost by paying off interest faster, can refinance, still historically great rates, etc.)
10. Why it’s so important to get prequalified before you go looking for homes (and how easy that process is with you).
11. The documents a borrower needs to organize before they apply for a loan.
12. The benefits a borrower will get from working with you.
13. The benefits to Realtors when they send their home buyers to you.
14. Explaining the loan process.
15. Explaining the title and escrow process (or do a quick interview with a rep).
16. First time homebuyer loans and tips.
17. Getting a loan with a low credit score (FHA, etc.).
18. Will interest rates go up or down?
19. Credit score tips.
20. Why to stay away from big internet lending companies (delays, not delivering, appraisal issues, last minute rate hikes, etc.)
21. Why you should be careful rate shopping (bait and switch)
22. Common mistakes homebuyers/borrowers make (this is a very popular one).
23. Charities or causes you’re involved with.
24. WHY you love doing what you do.
25. Tour your old neighborhood, house you grew up in, introduce your parents, tell your STORY etc.
26. Introduce your family – why you work so hard.
27. Give info on school systems and rankings in your area (Note: lenders can do that but real estate agents can’t.)
28. Explain Good Faith Estimate, loan disclosure forms and timelines, etc.
29. Break down a closing statement/settlement sheet.
30. Why a 15-year loan saves you so much money (great to get a few refinance conversations going).
31. Explain amortization and total interest.
32. Attend a Realtor meeting and say hi.
33. Attend an open house and say hi and film.
34. Talk about pest inspection from a loan standpoint/interview an inspector.
35. VA loans.
36. Investment loans.
37. Loans for second homes or vacation homes.
38. Why parents should buy a house or condo in the area where their kid is going to college (rent out rooms, possibly make money on appreciation to defer cost of college, have a place the kid can live after graduation, teach responsibility). (Possibly several videos.)
39. A quick profile on your favorite sports teams in Sac.
40. A walk through downtown.
41. Go out on the street (downtown or a good area) at lunch hour and ask people some questions!
42. Highlight communities, happenings, openings, etc.
43. Any mortgage facts or basics that come to mind that you always find yourself explaining often.
44. Reservations and the emotions of first-time buyers.
45. FHA loans or financing options for investors who want to flip.
46. Buying a lot and building with construction financing.
47. How and where the mortgage “bad guys” rip off or deceive borrowers (protect them).
48. Tips for getting the best mortgage loan possible.
49. When you know it’s the right time to refinance (equity, rates rising, etc.)
50. The day in the life of a SUPERHERO mortgage broker.
Contact me if you'd like more info about video or marketing help!
Real estate agents do a whole lot of marketing, but there is no better use of their time and resources than producing short and simple videos. We’ve covered the research behind this before, but here’s a compelling summary:
85% of home buyers and sellers admit that they want to work with a real estate agent who uses video.
Homes for sale that have video marketing have 400% more views and inquiries than homes without any video.
86% of potential home buyers are using video to research communities, and 70% use it to view inside of a home.
But, here’s the rub: we’ve known (for years!) that video is THE next big thing. However, Realtors still are using it reluctantly – or not at all.
And I totally understand that because it’s intimidating to get in front of the camera and “act natural.”
I’ve found that if you have a carefully planned, focused and specific topic that’s offering a lot of value to your audience, it’s much easier to turn on the camera and just let your passion and expertise take over.
So, here are 100 video topics for Realtors to shoot:
1. Community videos (Introducing and covering general information about different neighborhoods and communities).
2. Listing house tours (of course!).
3. Architectural tours (talking briefly/showing one kind of architecture with a few local examples).
4. Listing presentation – have a short video to send to your potential clients ahead of the listing presentation.
5. FAQs for listing your home – convenient to send to new clients and have on your website/social media.
6. FAQs for buyers – same thing.
7. Special FAQs for first-time buyers (first-time buyers needs extra education and TLC!).
8. Monthly market updates.
9. What IS included with a typical home sale?
10. What ISN’T included with a typical home sale (but maybe negotiable).
11. About the loan/mortgage process (bring your lender into this one!).
12. About title and escrow and the process (same as above but with title and escrow staff).
13. Breaking down property taxes.
14. About your home inspection (including bringing in your favorite inspector for a cameo).
15. About pest inspections (same).
16. Answer a single question from your clients or audience – maybe even live!
17. Preparing first-time buyers for the stress, uncertainty, and fear they might experience.
18. Getting ready to buy with a mortgage lender (preapproval, etc.).
19. The benefits (and high Return on Investment) of home staging.
20. Fixing up a home to sell (including your contractor).
21. Fixing up a home once you buy it with tile, paint carpet, fixtures, and other cosmetic fixes.
22. About roofs, repairing or replacing roofs, roof certifications, etc.
23. Talking about the appraisal process with your favorite appraiser.
24. Revealing real estate agent secrets.
25. How to choose a good lender (what to look for, questions to ask, avoiding big internet companies, etc.)
26. How to choose a good listing agent (you!).
27. What to look for in a buyer’s agent (you again!).
28. What to do in a bidding war (for buyers).
29. How to create buzz that might result in a bidding war (for sellers).
30. How to get more for the sale of your home.
31. Negotiation tips, strategies, and tactics.
32. What goes into a purchase offer other than just price.
33. Breaking down and explaining a purchase agreement.
35. Cover community events, local fairs, festivals, fun runs, etc.
36. Profile local businesses.
37. Interview local politicians.
38. Interview local school principals (although you can’t give school system ratings or rankings as a Realtor, so be careful with this one!).
39. Cover new restaurant openings or just give a shout-out to your favorite neighborhood restaurants/bars, etc.
40. If you lived in this neighborhood, THESE would be your local amenities…series.
41. Summarize all of your written blog posts.
42. Funniest things you’ve seen as an agent.
43. Home security does and don'ts (with an alarm company).
44. Why you DON’T want a discounted agent or a low-cost real estate brokerage.
45. Don’t be ZILLOW’D!
46. Covering the details of a Comparative Market Analysis, and how it helps determine a fair and accurate home price.
47. Youth sports and athletics in your neighborhood/community/city.
48. Yoga in your neighborhood/community/city.
49. The best gyms in your neighborhood/community/city.
50. Best coffee shops in your neighborhood/community/city (very important!)
51. Best ice cream shops in your neighborhood/community/city.
52. Parks and recreation areas in your neighborhood/community/city.
53. Common buyer mistakes to avoid.
54. Common seller mistakes to avoid.
55. Local holiday themes (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.).
56. Awesome house amenities, appliances, new tech innovations, etc.
57. Covering one specific amenity like floor tile, countertop surfaces, fixture metals, etc.
58. All about swimming pools and real estate (prices, liability, renting with a pool, impact on sales price, etc.).
59. Homeowner liability.
60. Homeowner insurance (you can do several videos with your insurance agent!).
61. Interview a policeman about crime and safety in a specific community (but Realtors CAN'T give their own information about crime statistics and levels, just refer to a third-party source).
62. Common neighbor nuisances, disturbances, and issues (and who’s right?).
63. A day in the life of a Realtor (you!).
64. All about HOAs.
65. Are condominiums really a good deal?
66. What to look for – and what to avoid – when buying a condo.
67. Rent versus buy broken down.
68. Radon safety.
69. CO2 detectors and safety.
70. Fire safety in the home, including the cause of most home fires and how to prevent them.
71. What buyers or sellers need to know about unpermitted upgrades, rooms, or structures.
72. Inside a real estate closing/document signing.
73. When is the best time to sell your home?
74. When is the best time to buy a home?
75. Septic tanks, sewers, and common plumbing problems.
76. All about closing costs – and who pays them?
77. About your company.
78. Why you love selling real estate.
79. About you, both personally as an agent.
80. Design trends, paint colors that are “in,” etc.
81. How to spruce up your curb appeal.
82. Landscaping tips.
83. Painting tips.
84. Energy saving/going green tips.
85. Money saving tips.
86. Cool and fun around the house hacks.
87. Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market?
88. Special offer, raffle, giveaway, etc.
89. New home buyers jumping for joy!
90. History of your community/neighborhood/city.
91. Great things to do in the summer in your area.
92. Or, great things to do in each season.
93. Or, even a weekly “What to Do in _______ (city name) This Week” series.
94. Video scavenger hunt/neighborhood/city trivia contest.
95. Profile of the area’s pro sports teams.
96. Buyer/seller regrets (and how to avoid them).
97. Investing in rental units.
98. Buying multi-family or multi-unit real estate.
99. Whiteboard instructional videos (there are some great services that can make these for you if you send them the written bullet points).
100. A breakdown of why home ownership is still the best way to build wealth – and the American Dream!
Can you commit to doing all of these this year? (That's about one every three+ days). Or, maybe highlight the ten you like most and schedule them for next month to get started. Either way, you'll see the results with your marketing and client engagement almost immediately!