While technology continues to evolve the real estate industry, open houses, when done correctly, continue to be one of the most effective tools an agent has in their arsenal. At Weichert, it’s one of the hallmarks of our marketing strategy. But what do you do when you can no longer hold the events the traditional way? You hold them virtually, of course. In fact, you may be surprised at the results–and the benefits.
One of the biggest advantages of open houses has always been that they provide you with the opportunity to meet new people. This includes neighbors of the listing and anyone interested in touring the property. This is true for virtual open houses too! If you apply solid marketing methods with some modifications, you will generate the same, or in most cases, even more even greater connection opportunities. Our Weichert affiliated brokers across the country have reported hundreds and thousands of virtual attendees for their weekly open house events.
So, where do you start?
First, Learn How to Pivot
Create an event on Facebook around your Open House and share it on your personal page and to the Facebook groups that you are part of. Use the sharing functions in Facebook to invite friends or other agents directly to the event. Consider investing a few dollars to promote it to the area to hit a broader audience. You might be surprised at the attendance it attracts.
You’ll still want to promote the event in advance, just like an in-person Open House. Use the event URL to create a squeeze page or landing page to drive people to the Facebook event details and capture their contact info in the process. You can promote that page via email, text or right through Facebook. If you can integrate the lead capture from that page with your CRM, even better! However you do it, make sure you build in a way to capture interested viewers’ contact info ahead of time if you can.
Be sure to promote via email to any opt-ins from your landing page and contacts in your database who may be interested in attending the virtual event prior to the event, including Buyer agents, using the link to the event details.
Engage with Virtual Attendees
On the day of the event, use the Facebook Live option within the event to go Live. Press Start and record your video. Walk through and narrate the tour of the property. Take your time. Don’t go through it too fast. Pan slowly and maintain a steady pace. Have fun. Invite comments. Try to monitor the questions and answer them Live as much as you can. One of the many benefits of hosting your virtual open houses on platforms like Facebook Live or YouTube Live is that you can interact with your viewers in real-time and get them excited about the property.
As you are giving people a tour of the property and the neighborhood be sure to call out your viewers by name and welcome them to the open house. Ask people to comment with their questions and opinions about the property and give you direction on what they want to see next. Take the time to ask your viewers if there is any part of the property they want to see in detail, so they walk away fully satisfied with the tour. Also, prompt them to ask any and all questions they have. It really pays to pay attention to the details during virtual open houses. Take the time to use your phone’s camera to draw attention to the little things that help make a property special like the molding, which might be easy to overlook in a photo or video, or the view from the 2nd floor balcony, etc. You can also include calls-to-action during the video, like asking viewers to tag anyone they think should see the house in the comments of the post.
While your normal Open House event might run for 4 hours, the virtual Open House video does not need to be that long. It should only be as long as it needs to be to adequately show the property and answer questions to your live audience. Target no more than 20 minutes. Once you finish recording, you can then share it after the event to those who were unable to attend.
Leverage the Benefits of Being Virtual
There are some obvious benefits here, right? First of all, Open House events are no longer limited to Sundays. You can hold them in the evenings or any time that’s convenient for you and the seller. They are also not as big of a time investment on the agent’s part, as far as the event itself. There’s also less of an investment on the part of the attendee. Now they don’t need to carve out as much time to drive out to a property to check it out. They can pop on and get the information they need from the comfort of their couch, which will only help increase your attendance. But probably the biggest advantage is the expanded shelf-life. People who attend can watch the video again and again and share it with their friends. Those who missed the Live event can view the video later. You can also share the video post after the event is over. All of this adds to the overall engagement of the event, the property and you as an agent.
Follow-up Still Matters
Concerned that viewers of your virtual open house will disappear after the event, leaving you without the opportunity to collect new leads? Make sure you capture as many leads in the advance promo period as you can. It’s still important that you follow up with them promptly, preferably within 24 hours. Be sure to thank everyone for attending. For those that you don’t have direct contact info for, thank them for attending via the event on Facebook and with a landing page link to learn more. It gives you one more chance to capture their contact info.
Tie It Together with Technology
Having a solid technology platform can help you pull all the pieces together seamlessly. Weichert agents, for example, have the benefit of their smart tech platform, myWeichert, to help with this. myWeichert has the ability to create landing pages for events such as these that feed opt in info right to your CRM. By being able to categorize incoming contacts by event, it makes your pre-event promotion and post-event follow-up that much easier and efficient.
The virtual open house has become extremely valuable, and this is likely something that will continue even when virtual contact is no longer needed. The sooner you and your team embrace virtual open houses as the new normal and discover all they have to offer, the better positioned you will be for the future of real estate.
If your business could benefit from coaching on how to operate in a virtual real estate world and the technology to prepare your business for the new normal, go to www.weichertfranchise.com