The life of a real estate agent may seem glamorous and adventurous (and, to some extent, it is), but it’s also filled with challenges and hurdles. The market is extremely competitive, especially if you operate in a high-profile area, and even the smallest fluctuation can mess up your plans.
Let’s take the COVID-19 pandemic as an example. The lockdowns, the general state of confusion, and the loss of jobs meant that many people put on hold their plans to become homeowners. As a result, the real estate market went through a period of change and adaptation. But, there was also a time for new opportunities, such as virtual real estate presentations, events, and tours.
From a real estate marketing perspective, the lockdowns also meant that people will be online more. Therefore, they would be more likely to see ads, participate in virtual events, or search for their future new home online. The pandemic opened a new (virtual) world that allowed brokers and agents to extend their reach and network.
And this is why today we are going to talk about organizing a badass virtual estate event that will bring you new leads and open new doors. We will provide a few tips regarding the organization, the type of engaging content that brings results, and more.
Organizational Tips & Ideas
While a virtual event doesn’t pose as many challenges as an in-person event, it has its own hurdles that you need to know.
Quick Tip: Before running any kind of event, it’s good practice to make sure all real estate agents in your agency are up to date with and understand the real estate compliance requirements, both local and federal.
#1: Get to Know the Video Conference Platform
The first thing you need to do when planning a virtual event (of any kind) is to familiarize yourself with the platform.
Most modern platforms, regardless of brand, have included features that can be activated by mistake if you don’t know what you’re doing. And, unless you want to be featured in a Best Zoom Fails Youtube video, you have to learn the ropes of your platform.
Start working with the platform and setting up practice meetings with your friends and family at least a few weeks before the event. Furthermore, the knowledge you gain during these practice sessions will be useful during the event, when you’ll have to provide tech support to some of your guests (there’s always at least one person who doesn’t know how to stop filters or how to unmute the conversation).
#2: Build the List of Speakers and Guests
This step is very similar to what you would do while preparing for an in-person event, but you also need to consider your guests’ technical skills and if they have access to the right devices.
Quick tip: To get to know your future guests’ tech skills, you can run a quick survey asking people if they would be interested in a virtual event. If “yes”, ask them to specify the device they will use (smartphone, tablet, laptop, and so on).
Lastly, it is a good idea to invite a few speakers (preferably experts in a related field) in order to keep the event engaging. These people can connect to the conference as speakers, so there is no need to have them in the same location. However, you may find it a bit difficult to bring everyone together at the same time, especially if some of them live in a different geographic area. So, make sure to plan ahead.
#3: Get Tech Support
Unless you are a tech-savvy real estate agent or broker, it’s best to ask for help from a specialist. They should be in the same room with you during the event so they can intervene and fix any tech-related problems on the spot.
Additionally, if you hire a specialist in video conferences and similar events, you should also ask for their help in setting the “stage”. Moreover, they will be able to provide advice and guidance on stuff like:
- the best spot in your house or office (for a videoconference)
- whether to be sitting or standing
- choosing additional lights (so you’ll look good on camera)
- introducing interactive materials in your presentation
#4: Do a Rehearsal
A few days before the event do a practice run to see how everything goes. You can register the entire rehearsal event and check your posture, tone of voice, and other elements in order to make sure everything will go well.
Quick tip: Don’t expect everything to go smoothly. Most events, virtual or in-person, have hiccups, but when you are prepared, it’s easier to solve every unexpected bump.
#5: Collect Data
The event is over and everyone seems happy with your delivery and speakers. You feel confident everyone enjoyed the experience and feel ready to start working on a new project.
However, if you want to know for sure guests enjoyed themselves, the end of the event is the perfect time to collect valuable data. Send out a post-event survey (which can be filled in anonymously) asking guests’ opinions on your efforts. You can sweeten the deal by offering a downloadable pdf with useful information available to anyone who answers the survey.
Engaging Content Ideas & Formats
Now that you have all the logistical and technical aspects under control, let’s talk about the type of content you will deliver to your guests and how to package it.
This part can be tricky if you’re not used to giving presentations in front of a virtual audience (hence the rehearsal step mentioned above). Still, it can be difficult to retain your audience’s attention for 30 minutes of 1h, which is why it’s important to know what makes them tick.
#1: Virtual Open House
Virtual open house tours are quite trendy these days, as it’s more convenient for interested buyers to get a first look at the house and decide if they want to see it in person.
Now, depending on the platform you’re using, the features are going to be a bit different, but all platforms will allow you to invite a few guests (depending on your plan), have a few details displayed on the screen during the presentation, and most importantly, receive questions and comments from the interested buyers.
This type of virtual event is pretty entertaining since it engages the participants’ attention as the image changes.
#2: Workshops & Seminars
Workshops and seminars are a fantastic way to keep interested buyers’ focus on your listings while also delivering some valuable tips. Just make sure it’s something interesting enough to keep them listening and asking questions.
Here are a few interesting topic ideas:
- 5 steps you need to take before buying a home
- How to check if the neighborhood is friendly before moving in
- 10 areas you must inspect in every house before deciding to buy
People will want to listen to your professional opinion, so use this to your advantage.
#3: A Webinar
Webinars are a bit more like a presentation with a Q&A session at the end. During a webinar, you can invite speakers from different areas of expertise or you can ask former customers to make an appearance and share their experience while working with your agency.
Overall, webinars are great for pitching a new area or talking about the properties you are representing in a way that’s not promotional but informative.
#4: Podcast with an Expert
Podcasts are some of the most popular content formats nowadays.
After all, it’s easy to understand why - you can listen to them while driving, jogging, or cooking dinner. And, you don’t have to be available at a specific time and date. You just listen to the episode whenever you feel like it.
Additionally, as the one doing the podcast, things are a lot easier from a logistic and organizational point of view. All you have to do is grab a microphone, some audio recording software, and start chatting!
Still, if you truly want to get attention from prospects, it’s best to invite an expert (like an interior designer or a contractor) and let them chat your ear off about various topics (established ahead of time).
#5: A Community Meeting
This one is a bit more like a get-together where neighbors can get to know each other and interested buyers can learn more about the community. This type of meeting is more interactive as all participants should be able to speak and voice their concerns.
You will be playing both the role of the entertainer and the mediator, but it’s important to shift the focus on the guests.
We may be tempted to believe that virtual meetings and tours are a temporary trend and that they will go away the moment the pandemic is over. However, this type of content comes with huge benefits for both parties.
For buyers, it makes prospecting the market a bit easier and convenient, while for real estate agents, the online world offers a wider range of promotion methods and channels. So, if you want to make sure your agency will stay competitive, it’s important to integrate virtual meetings, podcasts, webinars, and more into your routine. Online communication and promotion is not something anyone can afford to ignore right now!