The MassInteract Blog

4 Best Practices to Create Successful Virtual Tours in Higher Education

Thanks to the intense competition online businesses face these days (with every small and big brand vying for customer attention), it isn’t surprising that many of them are using virtual tours to gain a competitive edge. And it’s not just hotels, gyms and spas that are using these 360 degree tours to attract and engage potential customers. Higher education institutes like colleges and universities have also adopted these tours to bring in more applications and make the students’ online experience better. Moreover, the COVID outbreak made it essential for colleges to replace in-person campus visits with virtual tours for introduction and orientation. In fact, close to 1.4 million people watched campus virtual tours on YouVisit from March to April this year.

However, with so many virtual tours for education out there, you need to follow these best practices, to stand out and convince students to choose you over others:    

  1. Tell a story – Did you know that the average age of those who take virtual tours of colleges is 16.6? This means, they are at that juncture of life when they have plenty of dreams as well as questions, and they are keen to know if your college will take care of them and nurture their ambitions. So, your virtual tour should clearly tell them why you are unique as an institution and better than others. It might be your awesome location, beautiful campus, great recreational facilities, vast library or the exclusive courses you offer. Here is how the Art Institute of Vancouver nailed it.
  2. Focus on the basics – No matter how wonderful your college virtual tour is, it won’t engage with students unless it is easy to find and navigate. So, have it on the Home page of your website or on the Admissions page. The tour should load quickly but look compelling too. Share the tour on social media pages as students are more likely to come across it there, given their age. Also, the tour should be easy to explore across all devices. Check out how University of Windsor is making it happen.   

    Read – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

  3. Ensure an immersive experience – This basically means that students should be able to imagine themselves on your campus, in various settings, whether they are doing their own thing or interacting with others. In other words, your college virtual tour shouldn’t just be a walk through the different campus areas or facilities. Like, instead of just showing what the cafeteria or classrooms look like, cover the types of foods served or students attending a live teaching session. Highlight students having fun in the dormitories or counselors offering career guidance. This will show candidates that your institution is a living, breathing affair and can actually cater to their needs.   
  4. Use Call to Action or CTA for better engagement – University virtual tours need to incorporate powerful and specific call to actions to convert the viewer into an applicant. For example, if your tour zeroes in on the admission office at the end, include a button for application here to nudge the prospective candidate to apply online. Or, if your state and city regulations permit, you can add a link to schedule an in-person visit later on. CTAs can also encourage a student to ask more questions or connect on social media.   

To wrap up, virtual tours have become absolutely necessary for higher education institutes to reel in candidates, impress them, and establish a meaningful connection. After all, this year, high school students are checking out such tours at a 228% higher rate than in 2019. So, if you feel that you need some expert guidance to put together a unique virtual tour, just email us at info@massinteract.com

Must Read – Get Your College the Attention It deserves with a Custom Virtual Tour

3D Virtual Tour

6 Ways in Which A 3D Virtual Tour Can Boost Your Presence on Google

As an online business, you must be aware how cut-throat the competition is, when it comes to ranking high on the Google search results page or getting more website traffic, especially in the light of the pandemic. So, to stand out from others and boost you digital presence, a 3D virtual tour is one of your best and most innovative bets. After all, visual content sticks to the viewer’s brain way more than plain text. In fact, websites that feature 360 degree photos witness a 27% higher conversion rate than those with the usual 2D images. So, you might well imagine how effective an interactive and realistic virtual tour can be!  

Now, find out how Google virtual tours can improve your business’s online presence in multiple ways:

  1. More customer engagement – A high-quality 3D virtual tour can encourage your site visitors to interact more with your content and spend more time on it, thereby reducing the bounce rate. Your potential customers can get a better feel of what you offer, whether you are a café, spa, gym, hotel, college or even golf course, and trust you more. They will also consider you to be a progressive business that keeps up with the times to reach out to its target audience. And it can translate to higher customer satisfaction.  

    Read – Find Out Why Your Business Needs 3D Mapping for That Competitive Edge

  2. SEO boost and better Google ranking – Better customer engagement with a 360 degree virtual tour basically means that Google will reward your site by ranking it higher than others. That is because it will consider it more valuable, informative and relevant for searchers. The click-through rate will increase as potential customers will be curious about what your tour covers. Even if you have already optimized your textual content for the search engines by including the right keywords, a virtual tour will boost your SEO strategy by keeping site visitors hooked for long.   
  3. Local search optimization – By adding a virtual tour to your Google My Business listing, you will show up more when someone in the locality searches for a business like you near him. And that is because Google will consider your listing to be more trustworthy as you are offering visual proof of your establishment and have nothing to hide.  
  • Easy to share or embed – It is pretty easy to embed a business 3D virtual tour on a website or social media page. And it can be shared quickly as well. This means, you will be able to reach a wider audience base than you previously could, or more site visitors. Hence, such tours are ideal for boosting brand awareness, promoting the features or benefits of your business or products, and getting conversions in the long run.

    Read – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses
  • Sensible move during the pandemic – The COVID pandemic has made it quite impossible for most people to visit restaurants, resorts, gyms, educational institutions or adventure parks in person. However, with a 3D virtual tour, you can help them make plans for when things go back to normal. They can explore your offerings from the comfort and safety of their homes and make an informed decision. This is also a good way to show them that you care about their pain points and are embracing new things to make life easy.
  • Competitive edge – If your competitors are still using the same old 2D images on their websites to reel in traffic, this is the time to make the most of virtual tours. You will be offering an exciting and unique experience to your target audience this way, and can grab and hold their attention, generate more leads, and convince them to make a booking or buy something.     

All in all, a 3D virtual tour for business can boost your global Google presence forever, despite being a one-time investment. No matter where your potential customers are located, they will be able to view your tour, visit your website and convert. So, are you ready to give your business new life with a virtual tour? Simply email to info@massinteract.com and get expert help. 

Read Also – Google Interactive Tours vs Street View: Which is Better?

3d mapping

Find Out Why Your Business Needs 3D Mapping for That Competitive Edge

No matter what your business deals with, being aware of the latest technology and embracing it can lead to a stronger presence in the industry and more customers. And when it comes to technology, 3D mapping is an innovation that you cannot ignore. It basically refers to the profiling of an item in 3 dimensions, so that the item gets mapped in the real world. Or, if it helps you to imagine better, 3D mapping involves stitching an array of overlapping photos together to create and interactive map that is three dimensional. Since this process ensures a realistic and in-depth view of any object, it is used in many fields like construction, healthcare, sports, agriculture, archaeology, and so on.  

So, find out exactly why you should choose 3D mapping for business.

  • You can gain better project insight – 3D mapping or projection mapping is a great way to gain better insight about large or small real estate projects and properties. Especially when implemented via drones, 3D mapping can survey even a vast piece of land in minutes, highlight the details, and take measurements. Builders and developers can use 3D mapping to put together beautiful virtual presentations for prospective clients.

Engineers can create 3D concepts way more easily and cost-effectively by using projection mapping instead of building actual models. The infrastructure of an entire city can be quickly and precisely visualized with this too.

If doctors and dentists decide to use 3D mapping, they will be able to study and assess muscles, arteries and veins, organs and the teeth more closely, diagnose more accurately and treat patients better. 

For scientists and astronomers, 3D mapping can make many complicated concepts simpler to understand. Archeologists can use this technique to recreate ancient civilizations easily.

In the sports and entertainment industry, 3D mapping can give spectators a clear picture of what’s going on and pump up the excitement factor. It can also help organizers identify any problem areas and even conflicts.

Read – Drone 3D Mapping Made Easy With This Quick Guide

  • It will save your time and money – Whether you are using 3D mappingto scan a wheat field, a construction site, an archeological site or something similar, you won’t need to employ manpower to do the job. And this means, less time as well as money (labor cost) will be wasted.
  • Benefit from real-time tracking and make changes faster – When you use 3D mapping for business, you get to observe everything in real time. This means, you can spot issues instantly and carry out corrections or changes quickly. For example, if a wall is not holding up right in a construction site, you can find out what is the problem without any delay. It will save you future hassles and extra expenses.  
  • It is ideal for attracting and engaging audience – With projection mapping, businesses that regularly host events, exhibitions or shows can easily grab eyeballs and keep the audience hooked for a long time. A three dimensional audio-visual experience can be extremely realistic and help the onlookers to relate with the brand better.
  • You can market your brand better – These days, many forward-thinking businesses are using 3D mapping for marketing, as the realistic projections can attract more potential customers and ensure better recall even after days. This will not only improve brand awareness, but also establish your authority in the industry and increase your credibility. Potential clients will come to you for solutions and end up converting.

So, if you are business that intends to stay ahead of its competitors, availing 3D mapping services makes perfect sense. Send an email to info@massinteract.com to get the guidance and help you need. 

Read also – What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

Visual content marketing

Visual Content Strategy: How to Use Visuals to Get More ROI

If you are reading this, you are already aware that content marketing can boost your website’s organic traffic and generate more leads than paid advertising, when done right. However, with countless brands joining the bandwagon of content marketing, the field has become immensely competitive. So, to stand out, you need a smart visual content strategy. Why? Because when textual content is combined with relevant and attractive visuals, readers recall 65% of it even 3 days later. This means that visuals lead to better brand awareness and website traffic, which can lead to more conversions or sales. In other words, if you want to get greater returns by investing in content marketing, you cannot ignore visuals.

So, how exactly should you use visual content in business to get better ROI? Read on to find out.  

What types of visual content should you use?

Here are some ways in which you can include visuals in your content to address different needs and pain points of your prospective or current buyers.

  • Charts and graphs for more information – A market research study showed how more people consume content that incorporates charts and graphs rather than only decorative images. This is because charts and graphs are data-rich visual content and drive the point home more easily than just words.
  • Photos that appeal – Whether you wish to promote a food, travel or healthcare blog or website, well-shot, bright and crisp images are a good bet. Make sure they are relevant and choose the feature image with extra care. If you don’t have your own photos, pick stock photos that your audience can relate with, and not something generic. This will ensure better recall.
  • Infographics for quick reading – Did you know that blogs with infographics get 12% more traffic than those without? The use of clean and relatable images, bold colors and crisp text make infographics easy to consume quickly. Also use catchy titles, include important statistics, and make it easy to share.
  • Videos and virtual tours for realistic experiences – Globally,more than 50% marketers say that videos bring the maximum ROI. People can connect better with your brand through a video and remember your products more. Plus, a video that evokes powerful emotions can go viral too. Among visual content ideas, 360 degree virtual tours are also becoming popular as they let you explore a property without actually visiting it. Hotels, cafes, spas, colleges, gyms and golf courses can use these to attract more potential customers and engage them. You can add a virtual tour to your Google My Business listing to get more traffic.

How can you guide the buyer journey with visuals?

Awareness, consideration and decision are the three major stages of a prospective buyer’s journey. So, at each stage, your visual content needs to address his mindset and need.

  • For instance, during the awareness stage, your target reader or site visitor might not be able to identify what exactly his problem is or what he needs a solution for. So, blog posts rich in images or infographics might be helpful.
  • Once your site visitor has identified his problem, he will be looking for all possible solutions. So, during the consideration stage, guides, case studies, whitepapers and e-books can help you get his attention and establish your position as an industry leader who offers the best solution. All such content formats should contain images, graphs and videos wherever possible.
  • During the decision stage, you can use product reviews or product comparisons that are image-rich to convince a site visitor to convert. A virtual tour, demo video or a how-to guide with screenshots of every step of using a particular product might help too.

Takeaway

All in all, to boost your online presence, search engine ranking and attract more traffic and leads, you need to embrace visual content marketing. Consistent efforts will increase your brand value and credibility, improve sales, expand your loyalty base and enhance ROI. Need help to come up with attractive and impactful visual content? Send an email to info@massinteract.com.

Google Interactive Tours vs Street View

Google Interactive Tours vs Street View: Which is Better?

Faced with cut-throat competition, businesses often adopt the latest technologyto stand out from the crowd. Unlike before, there are many advanced tools to empower a business so that it can leave a lasting impression – right from the outset!

Google Interactive Virtual Tour and Street View are two of the most innovative tools which businesses can take advantage of for a more impactful representation. If youare wondering which one of these two is better, or for that matter, which one should you choose to give your business a boost? We have set Google Interactive Tours vs Street View for a direct faceoff to let you figure out just that.

Google Interactive Tours vs Street View
Google Interactive Tours vs Street View

Google Interactive Virtual Tour

A Google virtual tour is designed to deliver an interactive 360 experience. To be more precise, it is a complete simulation of your business attached to your Google My Business listing.

Interactive Virtual Tour

Google virtual tour is an amazing representation of your brand. The interactive tour not only showcases what your business has to offer with immersive detail, but also helps it win attention that proves to be a decisive factor.

Google Street View

Google Street View is integrated into Google Maps and Google Earth that showcases interactive panoramas of stitched images. With Street View, users can explore world landmarks, take a glance at wonders, and even step into arenas, museums, restaurants, and small businesses. And that too right from their fingertips.

That’s what makes Street View so fascinating for both everyday users and businesses.

Street View

How to Create Google Virtual Tour

Creating a Google Virtual Tour is quite straightforward. All you have to do to get started is to capture images > edit them with precision > stitch them together to produce high-res panoramic photos, using a virtual tour software. And then, upload the tour to the correct Google My Business listing.

How to Capture 360 Videos for Google Street View

Thanks to the Super Handy Street View app, publishing and linking 360 photos is a breeze. Ensure that your images are at least 7.5MP (4K) with a 2:1 aspect ratio. Besides, also make sure that they are not more than 75 megabytes in size.

Be sure to disable any gyroscopic stabilization and keep your camera upright. Also, position your camera support system precisely to ensure it takes up not more than 25% of the bottom of the resulting 360 images.

So, Which One – Interactive Tour or Street View – is Better?

Coming back to the all-important question as to which one is better: Interactive Tour or Street View. Though both are great for a visual representation of your business, Interactive Tour is a bit more impactful.

Both in terms of showing off your business personality and providing vivid detail of your offerings, the virtual tour has a slight edge. For instance, if you own a luxurious 7-star hotel, you get the most out of the interactive tour to showcase the beautiful interior, different cuisines, and even offer a sneak-peek into your hotel’s specialty.

The immersive tour immediately catches eye-balls, giving people a taste of your brand’s identity. And that too without consuming much of their time!

If you are willing to create a top-notch 360° virtual tour of your business, contact us to get the job done for you with unmatched expertise. Being Google’s number one agency, Mass Interact excels in creating 360° virtual tours that never fail to leave a lasting impression.

Why Wedding Venues Need Virtual Tours to Gain a Competitive Edge

My particular upbringing has allowed me to gain a great deal of insight into the challenge that wedding venues run into when recruiting clients. Wedding venue owners work strenuously to create and market the perfect space for couples to experience the best day of their life.

I grew up in Apple River, IL, on an outdoor wedding venue called Oak Hill Weddings. My mother decided to invest in building a wedding venue from scratch, which naturally became a family business. I have watched couples come to our venue in search of their “happily ever after”, throughout my life. I have helped my mother with everything from touring to marketing – which has proven to be one of the most challenging parts of owning a small business, given our many competitors.

Every year, in the United States, around 2.5 million weddings are held. This steadfast industry is hard to disrupt – the institution of marriage continues to be respected and cherished! So, what is the secret to successful wedding venue marketing? Wedding Wire, a listing and blogging platform devoted to weddings, popped up in 2006, allowing brides to quickly evaluate potential venues. Similar platforms started to emerge soon after, such as WeddingBee, Bridal tweet, Wedding Mapper, etc. Nowadays, along with this free marketing, venue owners tend to lean on social media, Google Search, and their website, to sell their services. Although a website is essential to successfully build a business, small business owners need a competitive edge to stand out and make an impression.

Read Also – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

I also interviewed my mother’s managing partner, Sandra Wolfram, about the challenges that Oak Hill Weddings has faced with regard to marketing development. She stated, “Our clients come from a 2.5 hour radius, making it hard for potential clients to make the trip to Oak Hill Weddings. In-person tours have also declined tremendously, given the current societal circumstances – COVID-19. We have multiple beautiful outdoor ceremony sites, a brand-new pavilion, a barnhouse, country store, and church that are dying to be shown off.”

The solution? A virtual tour, also known as 360 degree panoramic imagery. A virtual tour offers a uniquely immersive online experience, giving potential clients the opportunity to explore the beauty of a venue, without being physically present. Business owners can embed this tour on their website, social media pages, and all Google platforms, to boost bookings as well as online traffic. Hence, a virtual tour can eliminate the stress of marketing and simultaneously improve a business’s image, sales, and brand value.

Read Also – 5 Ways in Which the Real Estate Industry is Benefitting from Virtual Tours

Drone 3D Mapping

Drone 3D Mapping Made Easy With This Quick Guide

Drone 3D mapping is highly efficient when it comes to delivering accurate mapping results. And this commendable efficiency that makes it a great asset for several sectors including agriculture, mining, construction, real estate, and infrastructure inspection.

Having an accurate photograph or 3D model of your projects complete with in-depth data plays a vital role in making an informed decision. Not just that, drone mapping is also comparatively cost-effective and less tedious. If you have set your sight on it, here is the quick drone 3D mapping guide to getting started on the right note!

What is Drone 3D Mapping?

Drone mapping takes advantage of an innovative technique called photogrammetry to acquire essential data or gather measurements. For those unfamiliar, photogrammetry is the technique that enables you to take measurements from photographs.

Thanks to the drone’s rapid speed of data acquisition and advanced software, you can now create survey-grade (ASPRS Standard) data a lot faster and with better proficiency.

Depending on your needs, you can show the derived data as an orthomosaic, topographical map, a point cloud, a digital terrain model, or even a digital surface model. Moreover, the data can also be visualized through a 3D textured mesh.

Read – What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

How much does drone mapping cost?

Gone were the times when drone mapping was considered quite an expensive proposition. Thanks to the introduction of cost-effective yet exceptionally advanced drones like Phantom 4 Advanced and Phantom 4 Advanced Plus (starting price $1350), drone mapping will no longer burn a hole in your pocket.

Drone Mapping

So, whether you are a farmer, a land surveyor, or a real-estate businessman, you can make the most of a drone to carry out the essential tasks faster. And that too without having to break the bank or sweat!

Which drone mapping app should you choose?

Unlike before, the market is flooded with a ton of drone mapping apps that allow you to transmit and process the data in the cloud. As to which one should you choose entirely comes down to your requirements and budget.

Based on functionality, there are three types of drone mapping apps in the market: Acquisition Software, Processing Software, and All-in-One Drone Mapping Software.

Read – The Top 4 Predictions for the Future of Photography

Acquisition Software: It is handy for planning missions to garner aerial imagery. Pix4D Capture and Maps Made Easy are some of the notable examples of acquisition software.

Processing Software: It enables you to create maps, orthomosaics, point clouds, as well as other deliverables from imagery with the help of photogrammetric calculations. PhotoscanAgisoft, Inpho, Pix4D Mapper are some of the well-known examples of processing software. 

Sticky Note:

  • A point cloud is basically a compilation of points or coordinates on an object’s surface. You can use the compilation of points to create a 3D model of an area.

All-in-One drone Mapping Software: As the name itself suggests, it’s a powerful and high-end software that’s designed to take care of all the tasks related to drone mapping. Be it the ability to transmit the data to a cloud server or the skill to automatically process the data in the cloud to create the desired output, it’s got you fully covered.

DroneDeploy has long been a top-notch drone mapping software. What sets it apart from many other rivals is the ability to excel in several fronts including the ability to make digital terrain models, orthomosaics, garner NDVI data, and even generate 3D models. It’s aimed at three industries like farming, surveying, and construction.

Pix4D is a robust suite of photogrammetric software. It consists of several different versions like Pix4DMapper for mapping, Pix4Dbim for construction, Pix4Dag for agriculture, and Pix4Dmodel for 3D modeling.

Furthermore, Pix4D also offers a handy mobile app (PIX4DCapture) to let you automate the mapping process with both DJI drones and Parrot drones.

Read Also – Hands-On Guide to Getting Started with 360° Photography

360° Photography

Hands-On Guide to Getting Started with 360° Photography

When it comes to immersive viewing experience, nothing comes closeto a 360° photo. With the deep insight into the surrounding, it capturesthe attention right away. If you are charmed by 360° images and are looking for the pro tips to get started with 360° photography, you are at the right place!

What is 360° Photography and Why It’s So Exciting?

In an age where Facebook and Instagram dominate the sphere and smartphones like iPhones and Galaxies challenge the supremacy of DSLRs, sharing stunning images has become an order of the day. While businesses share eye-catching shots of their offerings to stay in the hunt, netizens share their memories to win attention.

Thanks to the ability to deliver vivid detail, 360° photography has become a rage today. For those uninitiated, 360° images are a series of still images snapped in a sequence, presenting a remarkable view of not just the subject but also the background.

Read – The Top 4 Predictions for the Future of Photography

What sort of gears do you need to capture 360° shots like a Pro?

The key to capturing top-notch 360° photos is to have an armory of solid gears. If you don’t want to compromise with the quality of the shots, invest in them.

DSLR or flagship smartphones like iPhone and Pixel

Though smartphones like iPhones, Pixels, and Galaxies have come a long way in terms of camera quality, they are still not in the same league as DSLRs. So, get one to deliver top-of-the-line visual appeal.

A robust tripod

You should go for a robust tripod for better control. It can let you install your DSLR or smartphone perfectly to capture desired shots from different angles.

Cayer AF2451 ($164.99 on Amazon) is one of the better professional camera

tripods.Constructed with high-grade aluminum, it sports a durable appearance. What puts it ahead of the curve is the ability to offer 360°-panning and +90/-70° tilt.

(Pic Credit – Amazon)

Fisheye lens featuring 180° FOV

The fisheye lens with 180° FOV (field of view)is designed to deliver excellent visual distortion that plays a vital role in creating wide panoramic or hemispherical photos.

Shutter release cable or remote

We would suggest you get this one. Pressing the shutter button with the finger could cause the VR head to shift which might disarray the stitch alignment. Thus, get a remote without fail.

Pick the right software

There is no dearth of software for 360° stitching. However, the 360° photo stitching programs that are ahead of the curve are PTGui and Hugin.

Go for a neat VR head

A VR head comes in super handy when you want to set up your equipment to shoot 360° pics. And for this purpose, it’s Nodal Ninja Ultimate seems a touch better than many other counterparts.

Read – What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

Best tips and tricks to shoot top-notch 360° photos

No matter how good your gears are, they can’t deliver the best, if you haven’t set them up properly. For starters, find the perfect spot for the camera and ideally set up the tripod in keeping with the theme and the sort of images you want to capture.

Another step is to fine-tune the camera settings like focus, aperture, white balance, and shutter speed in line with your needs. For instance, if you want to capture sharp and detailed images, always shoot 360 images at an aperture of f/8.

Shooting 360 photos with precision

Once you have customized the camera settings, it’s time to get started with the shooting. We are going to use the Nodal Ninja VR head powered by the Sigma 8mm fisheye lens.

To get a full-on 360° image, we will need to snap four photos at 0°, 90°, 180°, and 270°. Bear in mind, rotating the VR head counterclockwise could unscrew it. Therefore, always make it a point to rotate it clockwise.

After that, you can export your stitched panoramic image and share it with your friends or followers. If you wish, you can even turn it into a 360° virtual tour by using programs like My360 and Pano2VR.

Read Also – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

Visual Marketing

Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

The human brain can process visual information 60,000 times faster than simple text. Surprised? Well, if you think about it, you can indeed remember photographs or videos better than just words. This is the reason why, when a brand puts up a funny or emotional video online, people tend to connect or relate with it better. So, if businesses wish to survive an intensely competitive marketplace (physical or digital), visual marketing is the way to go.

Popular Content Types for Visual Marketing

Visual marketing essentially refers to the use of images, drawings, logos or symbols, posters and videos, to send your brand message across. Different visual mediums can be used to narrate your brand’s story, vision, and how you can help potential customers. Here is a look at the most popular visual marketing content types:

  • Photography – Be it a website, blog, online magazine, e-book, e-store, Google business listing or physical marketing material, high quality photographs can make a world of difference. A picture that is well-shot, color-balanced and perfectly touched up, can say more than a thousand words. 360 degree or panoramic photos are especially popular nowadays.

Read – The Top 4 Predictions for the Future of Photography

  • Videography – When you add action and emotion to pictures intelligently, you get videos that evoke happiness, curiosity, and love. Since 90% of the information processed by a brain is visual, brands are embracing video marketing to engage their target audience and ensure better recall.
  • Virtual tours – Businesses likehotels,eateries, spas, gymnasiums, academic institutions and even sports centers can use virtual tours to provide an interactive and engaging experience to prospective customers. These tours allow you to explore every corner of the establishment, from floor to ceiling to décor theme and furniture to lighting and windows. This realistic experience helps customers to choose easily.

Advantages of Visual Marketing

By embracing visual marketing, a business can benefit in the following ways:

  • Better and organic website traffic – Relevant and good quality visuals can attract more visitors to a site and also compel them to linger and read the associated text. Infographics and videos get more visitors too, as they are visually rich.
  • Search engine ranking improves – Bright, crisp, and appealing visuals can make your web or blog content seem more relevant and useful. And more people will be drawn to it, thus making your website more important in the eyes of search engine algorithms. Consequently, you will rank higher. 
  • Easy and fast brand messaging – Imagescan talk volumes about your brand value, image and mission, even if the visitor doesn’t read the text. Visuals that highlight product benefits or features are especially useful.

Read – How to Maximize Exposure for Your Brand by Marketing Your 360 Virtual Tour

  • Greater brand recall and audience engagement – Visualmarketing not only improves brand awareness, but also helps your target audience to recall product features and advantages better. It has been noticed that when people read something that includes images, they can recall more than 60% of it. However, just hearing about something leads to 10% recall after a couple of days.
  • Increased shareability on social media – Have younoticed how more people tend to read social media posts that contain images rather than those that are just text-heavy? Naturally, they end up sharing text-heavy posts less too. So, incorporating memes, images or videos is essential while marketing your brand on social channels.
  • Improves decision-making ability – When brands use visual mediums like videos, virtual tours, images or infographics, the viewer tends to feel an emotional connect. Plus, he or she understands the brand or its products more comprehensively. This pushes the viewer to make a buying decision more often.  
  • Exploring new markets will be easier – Sinceimages have no language barrier, you can use these to appeal to markets in other countries. Of course, your website will have a translation option, but pictures can encourage viewers to consider trying your product or service.

To wrap up, humans have an average attention span of 8 seconds, and brands can make the right move by using visual marketing to grab attention and improve conversions. To get help with photography, videography or virtual tours, send an email to info@massinteract.com.

Read Also – Does Your Business Need a Virtual Tour?

The Top 5 Benefits of Virtual Staging for Realtors

In a post-COVID world, more people are choosing social distancing as a way of life. Which means that a lot of decisions around the real estate — whether it’s rental or purchase decisions— are being moved online. Which means that the shortlisting process has become a lot more rigorous and prospective customers are only taking a physical tour of the properties that they are really interested in. In this scenario, virtual staging becomes a really appealing option.

What is virtual staging

Virtual staging is a process by which graphic designers do the interior decor of a property. They work by visualizing the aesthetics that need to be projected and creating decor, furniture, and fixture based on this aesthetic. As a result, when a property is displayed online, it’s not shown as a set of empty rooms but as what it would look like when it’s actually being used.

Benefits of virtual staging

Here’s how virtual staging for real estate can increase the chances of your property making it to that coveted shortlist:

Read Also – 5 Ways in Which the Real Estate Industry is Benefitting from Virtual Tours

Enhances the visual appeal

You’re not really selling a property, you’re selling a lifestyle. So empty rooms that leave much to the imagination don’t really work as well as a property that showcases exactly what it will look like when it’s being used. In a world where prospective customers are going through hundreds if not thousands of listings, this is one of the best ways of making sure you stand out.

Cost-effective

If you were to actually dress an entire property to take pictures, it would become prohibitively costly. You would have to spend lots of money in buying (or moving) furniture, fixtures, and dozens of other items. You can save thousands of dollars in the long run by investing in a virtual staging software that will allow you to create a beautiful visual spectacle for all your properties, both residential and commercial. 

Read Also – What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

Saves time

Imagine physically dressing every room for photographs. Moving furniture, setting it up till it looks just right, and then adding various decor pieces to enhance the aesthetic appeal. Going through all this trouble could easily take up an entire day if not more. Whereas with virtual staging, the software does the job for you.

Emphasize some parts of the property

Want to highlight the pool area? Or really showcase the island kitchen? Having a virtual staging tool at your fingertips means you can use virtual staging images to focus on those parts of the property that really stand out. This will ensure that customers are immediately attracted to the property when browsing online.

Plus, you can also emphasize different parts of the property and customize the aesthetic based on your target audience. For instance, if millennials are your target audience, you might want to go with an aesthetic that feels more modern.

A better idea of dimensions

An empty room can often appear a lot smaller than it really is — it’s hard to understand the dimensions of a room without proper context. Having furniture and fixtures gives people a much better idea of the actual size and shape of the area and whether it could work for them.

The bottom line

Virtual staging is one of those marketing assets that has all three attributes— it has a great aesthetic, it’s relatively simple to execute and it’s also cost-effective. Which is why it’s one of the easiest ways for realtors to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly virtual world.

Read Also – How to Maximize Exposure for Your Brand by Marketing Your 360 Virtual Tour

College Virtual Tours

How College Virtual Tours Are Becoming the Key to Student Recruitment in a Post-COVID World

In a post-COVID world, college virtual tours have become a thing of the past. With travel nearly coming to a standstill, there is very little scope for students to go around the country visiting college campuses this year.

But if you think about it, this is a great time to make things a little more equal. Usually, students can physically visit only a few campuses. Now that physical tours are becoming nearly impossible, students are switching to virtual tours. In fact, a survey by Cappex revealed that students prefer virtual tours as their tool of choice for initial evaluation of a campus — 36% said they would really like to have it while another 30% called it a must-have.

A college good virtual tour can give unprecedented insight into campus life, and this is a great opportunity for lesser-known colleges to compete on an even footing.

Here’s how college virtual tours are evolving to keep up with a post-COVID world:

Beautiful visuals

Colleges are taking it to another level with incredible visuals of their most beautiful features. For instance, Marietta College has a comprehensive tour showcasing some of their most unique areas — from the planetarium, recreation center, library, media center, science center and halls. It gives students a complete feel for the campus.

Virtual events

Colleges are taking campus tours one step further by also including both live and previously recorded events. This isn’t just for prospective students but for incoming classes as well. For instances, the University of California, Berkeley is including a virtual Cal Week to its regular campus tour to replace the usual in-person events for incoming students.

Creating a more inclusive tour

It’s important for a campus virtual tour to talk about the diversity and exclusivity of its campus. For instance, the Anglia Ruskin University’s cafeteria tour has three words below a 360-degree panoramic view of the cafe — “halal food available”. This immediately gives showcases the campus’ commitment towards diversity and inclusivity.

Read Also – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

Campus life

Post-COVID, a good virtual tour goes beyond just the buildings and pathways. It gives prospective students an insight into whether the campus life is going to be a worthwhile experience. So, things like extra-curricular activities, parties, clubs, and so on should be highlighted in a fun and interesting way. Students should be able to actually experience a live and pulsating campus from the comfort of their living room.

More interactiveness

Campus tours are now using hotspots to create different multimedia layers that make the college virtual tour more attractive. From questions about distances to campus life to financial aid, all the answers can be found on interactive hotspots.

Extending the audience

Campus tours are no longer just for high-school students. There are different versions that are also being designed to attract grad school students and people who have been working for a while and are looking to continue their education. So highlighting additional features that may be attractive to a more mature audience is a good idea.

Colleges are adapting to the post-COVID world quite rapidly. As things move to the virtual sphere, this is an incredible opportunity for upcoming colleges to showcase campus life in an engaging and compelling way. As students expand the scope of their prospective colleges from the comfort of their living rooms, a great campus virtual tour can make the difference and get those extra applications.

Read Also – Why You Need to Have a Custom Virtual Tour for Your College?

What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

Photos and videos are now passé. While videos and photos give a realistic idea of how a product or service would look, illustrations focus more on adding artistic value to existing visuals. While illustrations pique curiosity, they leave too much room for interpretation. Photos and videos, on the other hand, appeal to the senses a little bit too directly. That’s where 3D modeling comes in. 3D modeling for business has recently become one of the most effective ways to promote products and services.

What is 3D modeling?

3D modeling has been around for a while now. It uses graphical techniques to produce a 3D representation of any kind of object or surface. 3D modelers use special software that manipulates specific points called vertices to produce the 3D version of the object.

3D modeling has been around for a while now — especially in engineering and architecture. CGI (Computer-Generated Images) in TV shows, movies, and video games is a perfect example of 3D modeling.

Recently though, 3D modelling has started being used extensively in marketing products and services.

5 Questions to Ask Your Virtual Tour Photographer Before Hiring Them

Benefits of 3D modeling for Business

There are a number of ways that 3D modeling can help you market your business in a more effective way:

Develop a feature-rich model

When you go in for 3D modeling, you can integrate all the features in it to make the product more appealing to prospective customers. This is especially useful in made-to-order products so that people can see all the features they want in the product they order. You can even customize the way your product is being showcased — so you can segment your target audience based on which features they would be interested in, and show them those features as part of the 3D model.

Customized marketing campaign

Once you have a basic 3D model, you can adapt it based on the specific context. You can adapt the model based on your marketing pitch — whether it’s a seasonal offer, a short-term discount, a new product promotion, or a product modification. Using 3D modeling while advertising your product allows you to adapt the marketing message based on the buyer persona that you are targeting. You can also use CG imaging to present the same product in different ways to different customer segments.

How to Maximize Exposure for Your Brand by Marketing Your 360 Virtual Tour

Use a white background to make your product stand out

When you use 3D modeling, you can present your product on a white background. This has become an extremely effective way to market a product, especially if you use contrasting colours against this white background. Presenting a 3D model against this white background gives marketers the opportunity to showcase the colours, shape, volume, texture, etc of the product in a way that simply isn’t possible with a regular photo or video.

Perfect for products that aren’t photogenic

One of the best 3D modeling features is the fact that it’s a perfect alternative for products that aren’t exactly photogenic. This includes things like canned and frozen foods, fresh veggies, any packaged goods, household appliances and so on. This way you won’t have to invest in an expensive photoshoot to make your pictures look attractive.

Branding and pitches

3D modeling makes a world of difference when you’re designing your company branding. From animating your logo on the website to adding 3D elements in a marketing presentation (making it look more high-tech and professional), there is a lot you can do with 3D imaging and design. Even just creating 3D models for graphs and charts can go a long way in creating that impressive pitch that helps you win over a big client.

Photos, videos, and illustrations all have their role to play when it comes to visual marketing but the tide has been decisively moving towards 3D modelling in the last few years. If you don’t have in-house professionals who can build 3D models, you can just outsource 3D modelling to a service provider that has the right experience and expertise. In either case, it’s worth investing in this new-age marketing asset to see what kind of difference it can make for your business.

Read Also – Hire the Right Company for Your Business Virtual Tour

apartment virtual tour

Millennials are Going for Sight-Unseen Leases in a Big Way: How an Apartment Virtual Tour Can Seal the Deal

Millennials today are moving more frequently than previous generations. With globalization, the internet, and the world coming closer together than ever before, this trend is here to stay. Millennials are moving both for higher-paying jobs, as well as for the rich experiences that staying in their hometown may not be able to deliver.

Having said that, it’s really hard to take time off work and go all the way to the city you’re moving to for apartment hunting. There’s far too much planning, scheduling, and effort involved — and most people just don’t have the time for that.

As a result, most people have to find a house in a matter of a few days once they move to a new city, and that can be really challenging. Instead of spending tons of money on a hotel, people are now choosing to lease and rent sight-unseen.

A few years ago this would have been unheard-of but technology has made this increasingly possible. Today, potential renters are okay with signing on that lease agreement on the basis of a high-quality, ultra-detailed apartment virtual tour. As long as the virtual tour gives them the feeling of having really seen the apartment in a complete, comprehensive way, they don’t mind signing the dotted line.

So if you’re targetting a sight-unseen lease — specifically for millennials and important businesspeople with little time on their hands — an apartment virtual tour is a must-have. Before you get that virtual tour up and running, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Make sure your apartment virtual tour is easy to access

What this means is that a potential renter shouldn’t have to search for the virtual tour, they should naturally gravitate towards it when scoping out the apartment. While the virtual tour is likely to be the clincher when it comes to a sight-unseen lease, you have to remember that renters are unlikely to search for a virtual tour. It’s more important that the virtual tour is a part of a seamless viewing experience. This means that you should display the virtual tour prominently  — whether that’s on the home page or on the listings page.

A lot of people look at a virtual tour as something that exists lower down the sales funnel. In other words, they try to use it to close the sale. While that is an important function of the tour, it’s just as important to have the prospects see the virtual tour when they’re casually browsing the listing. This way, they will have a much more in-depth idea about the apartment, so the leads that you get will be highly qualified. This saves a lot of effort and energy later on in the sales process.

Choose your virtual tour provider with care

There are many virtual tour software out there, some of which are even available for free. But if you want to get a professional-looking virtual tour (which is highly recommended when you want to close a sight-unseen lease), consider hiring a professional. Check their references, make sure they fit within your budget, and of course look at their portfolio of work. Preferably work with a provider that already does apartment virtual tours so that they know exactly what works.

Interactivity is important

What makes virtual tours different from videos is the interactive element. With virtual tours, users are expected to click on where they want to go, zoom in and out as they please, and even engage with the descriptions and information. You need to ensure that your virtual tour has a number of “hotspots”, with clickable icons and interesting copy, so that users are much more involved than with a regular video. What’s more, if your virtual tours are interactive, customers will stay on your website for longer. This is something that search engines take into account which will mean more traffic for you in the long run.

At the end of the day, if you expect someone to rent or lease an apartment without ever having seen it, then you need to give them a little bit extra. Renters today are willing to take that leap of faith— as long as they have extra information to bridge that trust gap. Virtual tours of apartments are the perfect fit.

Real Also: Real Estate Photography: Use the Right Visuals To Generate Buyers’ Interest

Hotel Virtual Tour Advantage

How a Hotel Virtual Tour Could Give Your Business a Huge Post-COVID Advantage

As we all know, this isn’t the best time for the hospitality business. There is uncertainty in many parts of the world, and it will be a while before long-distance travel goes back to where it used to be pre-Coronavirus.

Having said that, COVID-19 clearly has an end-time, as experiences in many countries, from China to New Zealand have shown. With the pandemic in full swing in many parts of the world, and travel has come to a halt, there are two ways to look at the situation. The first is to simply live this situation out amid a general environment of fear and panic. The second would be to actually take advantage of this free time to invest in marketing assets that will help you generate bookings as soon as things are up and running so that your business can find its feet faster.

As far as hotels go, whether it’s an opulent 5-star property or a boutique place, being able to showcase its beauty to prospective customers is the first priority. While high-resolution images were enough to do that up until a few years ago, today state-of-the-art hotel virtual tours are a must on your website. Here’s why virtual tours for hotels have become so popular in the last few years:

First impressions are important

Think about it from the point of view of a prospective customer. Would you rather book a room in a hotel that has some standard, poorly-lit photos? Or a hotel where you can see a 360 virtual tour of the entire property— from the room and the bathroom to the lobby, the breakfast buffet, and the sprawling grounds. A virtual tour is an easy way to make an incredible first impression and get that online booking.

Build credibility

A Google Street View virtual tour means that you’re showing your property with an incredible level of detail. With a regular website and photos, it’s easy to use clever angles to hide or emphasize some parts of the property. And customers are now aware of this. So when you create a hotel virtual tour, you’re creating a level of transparency that is rare in the business, and that will make customers trust you instinctively.

More control over the viewing experience

Every customer wants something different when they look at a property online. A customer might be looking for the perfect family vacation, another for a honeymoon, and yet another for a business conference. A comprehensive hotel virtual tour allows prospective customers to customize the viewing experience for themselves. They can zoom in and out of areas that they are more interested in, go through the information given in the hotspots, and pan left, right, up and down to get a better view.

Searchability

Having a virtual tour on your website gives you an immediate edge over the competition. The Google Street View 360 tour will automatically help you when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Having a virtual tour is also one more step in completing your Google Business profile, and a completed profile also makes your hotel more searchable. Having your business consistently rank high during Google searches is a big advantage of having a virtual tour.

 Likely to get organic shares

A good hotel virtual tour has high entertainment value. People love to browse through these tours and do some vicarious traveling. Even if someone is not booking your hotel immediately, chances are that they will enjoy the tour so much that they will share it with friends on their social media. This will immediately give you organic reach among your target audience.

It’s understandable that you’re going through a period of turmoil and uncertainty. But the best way to make the most of this time is to have a long-term view of your business and to invest in relatively reasonable marketing assets that will last you in the long run. Hotel virtual tours are the best way to do this. Not only are they relatively easy to create, but they will also give you an immediate competitive edge as the hospitality industry starts getting back on track.

Does Your Business Need Google Street View? The Pro & Cons of Google Street View

In today’s world, a virtual tour is one of the most impactful and cost-effective marketing assets you can have. It allows prospective customers an immersive, in-depth view of your business which builds an incredible amount of trust and credibility while they’re evaluating whether to purchase your product or service.

This means that it’s important to offer potential customers the chance to take a virtual tour of your business. In fact, research says that businesses that have virtual tours have complete search listings and are 29% more likely to motivate a purchase.   Luckily, Google itself has all the tools you need to build that virtual tour.

What exactly is Google Street view?

It’s simple enough. Street View is a compilation of all the 360-degree panoramic photos that are used in Google Maps so that users can better understand the area/business that they are searching. These photos aren’t just the ones that have been uploaded by Google. Businesses can also click these panoramic photos and submit them to be uploaded and become a part of Google Street View.

Taken together, these panoramic photos provide a kind of virtual tour that helps customers understand your business better. In fact, businesses that have this 360-degree Street View as part of their listing are likely to get double the interest from potential customers.

Advantages of Google Street View

Google Street View can have a transformative impact when it comes to marketing your business more effectively. Here are some of its major advantages:

Build transparency and credibility

In a world where so many purchase decisions are made online, customers are looking for an experience that brings transparency and credibility. A Street View of Google virtual tour shows customers what your business is all about, taking them through all the little nooks and crannies. It’s a great way for customers to be able to put a vivid image to your business. It shows them you are happy to be upfront and let them into your inner space.

Helps in the purchase decision

Whether it’s an apartment that a prospective renter is looking at or a store that they want to visit, having a virtual tour helps them make that important decision. Getting an in-depth view of the physical location helps prospective customers decide whether they want to continue going through the sales funnel. What’s more, the people who do end up visiting the hotel/apartment/store are likely to be those who are extremely interested in the actual purchase, since they already have a good idea about the product.

Zero in on your target audience

Let’s say you’re a sports bar that caters specifically to Premier League fans. Having a virtual tour that shows off your Premier League Decor or showcases the live matches on your massive screen will go a long way in attracting local football fans to your bar.

Easy to share

A great Google Street View virtual tour provides an engaging, immersive experience. This lends itself to sharing in a big way. Let’s say you have a high-street fashion store that a bunch of customers just visited and found some great clothes. They would share the Street View with their friends so that others can also see what the store looks like and be tempted to go there. Or let’s say someone is planning their next travel and goes through a virtual tour of your hotel property. They might get so impressed that they share the tour on their social media so that more people in your target audience also get to see the Street View tour.

Cons of Google Street View

On the flip side, there are some concerns around privacy, over-sharing, and limited accuracy when it comes to Google Street View.

Having said that, the pros far outweigh the cons. Google Street View is slowly reaching maturity and businesses that adopt this technology and actively contribute to their virtual tours automatically have a strong competitive edge.

These 5 Golf Course Marketing Ideas Will Help You Stand Out

It’s likely that there isn’t too much to do around the golf course in the time of COVID-19 and social distancing. But instead of hanging up your socks, or giving into panic and worry, this is actually a great time to work on some golf course marketing ideas. The time and effort you invest now when you and your team are relatively free will pay off massively in the long run once the world returns to normalcy and people come back to golfing with a vengeance. Here are some sure-shot golf course marketing hacks that you can start implementing from today:

Set up a golf course virtual tour

This is one of the most effective golf course marketing tools out there at the moment. Google Street View allows you to set up a professional golf course virtual tour of the entire golf course. Which means people will now be able to see panoramic views of the entire course from the comfort of their living room, giving them an immersive experience like none other. This will make sure that yours is the first golf course that people book the moment they’re able to travel again.

Sort out your website

This may not be true for everyone, but a lot of us have websites that can do with some updating. In 2019, if you don’t have a dynamic website, integrated with all the latest SEO tactics, marketing tools and plug-ins, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Start by looking at where you stand from an SEO perspective — how you’re ranking in Search Engine Results, what your keyword optimization looks like, and so on. Then move on to user experience. Make sure your user experience is absolutely seamless, especially when it comes to booking and making payments online.

Automate and personalize your marketing

A lot goes into personalized communication — especially with people who’ve been to your golf course before or are regular users of your website. If you’ve been thinking about it for a while, this is a great time to put marketing automation in place.

With the right tool, you can send customized emails to current and prospective clients — tailored to their behaviour (frequency of golfing, time of golfing, golf holiday habits, etc). Not only emails, but you can also integrate other channels — from SMS to Whatsapp Business to push notifications. You can use a tool like MoEngage or WebEngage to get this process in place.

Up your Instagram game

If your social media presence has been lacking, this is the time to catch up. For golf courses, Instagram is the best medium as it’s a highly visual platform. Use photographs (especially 360 photography from your virtual tour) and short videos to showcase the beauty of the course. From the greenery to the chirping of the birds to the gorgeous views of sunrise and sunset, make sure your audience doesn’t miss out on any aspects of the golf course. If you regularly host golfing holidays, then make sure you include some great visuals of the accommodation and the clubhouse facilities.

Become a strong voice in the golf course niche with a blog

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to golfing. From the history of the sport to the latest trends in the industry to new equipment, there’s no dearth of content. This is the time to invest in a blog, posting frequently and with authority about various golf-related topics. A good idea would be to localize your content — talk about upcoming events, local players in the city, the best places to buy clubs, golf balls, and accessories, and so on. While the situation surrounding the Coronavirus seems dire at the moment, China’s example shows us that things will normalize sooner than later. Use this free time to make a smart marketing game plan and execute it to the best of your ability. It will reap rich dividends in the coming season.

Read also – The Top 7 Virtual Tour Stats You Need to Know

Google Maps Live View ‘AR’: Everything You Need to Know About This

Have you ever been confused by the Directions on Google Maps, taking a wrong turn at the last minute because you couldn’t quite figure it out? Google Maps has finally launched a cutting-edge new feature that will solve this common and sometimes exasperating issue.

The Live View Maps AR feature uses Augmented Reality to help users better understand where to go. The Live View overlays arrows and directions in the real world outside, allowing you to understand exactly how to navigate the confusing turns or where to start your walking journey.

In March 2019, Google released the alpha version of this Live View feature — limiting its use to Google Maps local guides and Pixel users. In August, however, it released the beta version and decided to extend the use of this feature to all users.

The way Google Maps Live View works is fairly straightforward. To use Live View, you need to choose the destination in Google Maps as per usual and then tap the Directions button. After this, you need to choose the walking tab because as of now Live View is only available for walking navigation. Next to the start button, you can see the Live View button— you need to press the button and begin the on boarding process.

Of course, the Live View feature doesn’t mean that you have to keep the phone in front of you as you keep walking. It is designed specifically for navigating complex turns and directions that ordinary Maps and Compass confuse sometimes. Live View uses a combination of GPS, Camera, and Compass data to know exactly where you need to go. All you need to do is to point your phone at your surroundings so that the technology can recognize them. It then provides arrows along with street markers overlaid on the actual scene you’re looking at. This makes it completely seamless to find your way in settings that are unfamiliar, and where regular Google Maps just doesn’t cut it.

The Live View feature is now available in its beta version for both Android and iOS devices that support ARCore and ARKit. It’s important to note that Live View works wherever Google Street View is available. What’s more, this feature is currently only for walking navigation. Having said that, there are some car manufacturers that have already implemented AR navigation in their vehicles so it’s very likely that Google will soon extend this feature to the driving navigation as well.

Given that Live View works wherever Google Street View is available, this will eventually have a significant impact on the way businesses build their Google 360 virtual tours. We can now expect virtual tours to also have that added element of Augmented Reality which would make the tours even more effective and immersive than ever before.

The bottom line

The Live View feature hasn’t been around for too long but it has already created quite a stir among users. It’s use of Augmented Reality to give people a far more immersive and effective navigation experience has been appreciated in a big way. That’s not all of course. This AR-powered feature is likely to have ripple effects in a number of different areas, especially Google virtual tours. So if you’re looking to build a brand new virtual tour, or revamp your existing one, Augmented Reality is an opportunity that’s definitely worth exploring.

Real Estate Photography: Use the Right Visuals To Generate Buyers’ Interest

Have you thought of photos as a necessary, but not a critical piece, of a real estate business? Think again.

Firstly, 51% of people who bought a home last year found their home online. That’s a lot of people.  But it’s not just about people finding potential homes online. In this online search, photos play a key role. In fact, listings with high-quality, professional-level photos sold 32% faster than those with ordinary photos.

That’s the difference that good real estate photography can make to your business and that’s why you need to get those photos just right. Here are some of the most important tips to make that happen:

Professional property photography vs amateur photos

While you can use a camera and a tripod to take your own pictures of listings, this isn’t recommended for a number of reasons. Firstly, professional photography equipment is expensive, and it can be a big investment. If you choose sub-par equipment such as a simple 360 camera, the difference between photo quality will be very stark. And in a visual business like real estate, this could cost you heavily in terms of both the quantity and quality of leads. This rule doesn’t apply just to palatial mansions but to all kinds of homes. At the end of the day, compromising on photo quality just isn’t worth it.

Read Also – 5 Questions to Ask Your Virtual Tour Photographer Before Hiring Them

Choose the right real estate photography services

When it comes to deciding whom to hire, there are some simple metrics you can go by. The first, of course, is their portfolio. In an area like real estate photography, work samples will go a long way in showcasing someone’s skill.

You should also make it a point to check out references — the process of working with someone is as important as the end product. It’s a good idea to make sure that the team you will be spending so much time coordinating with is communicative, professional, and respectful.

Shoot 360 photos

In an era of virtual tours and panoramic photography, you should make it a point to have amazing 360 photos as part of your listing. These photos give viewers a never-seen-before insight into the listings, and will automatically set you a cut above the competition. You can even include 360 photos in a virtual tour of the property. This not only gives viewers an extremely immersive experience but also an in-depth understanding of the property so that you only show the property to genuinely interested buyers.

Decluttering and staging the home

You need to declutter the home so that the photos have a pristine quality to them. For instance, take things off your kitchen counters — from the toaster to utensils to the blender. Then scrub the kitchen floor and all other surfaces — from the stovetop to the kitchen table.

You need to apply the same process to every other room. Clear shoe racks, hide pet beds, and any other items lying here and there. In short, everything except large pieces of furniture and light fixtures should be gone.

Then there’s the task of “staging” the home. Ideally, your photography partner should be able to provide this service for you. Professional staging — from a bottle of wine and two glasses on the outdoor table to the right pillows on the couch to a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table — goes a long way in creating attractive photos.

Figure out the lighting with your photographer 

Figuring out the right kind of lighting can sometimes be tricky because there are no set rules. For instance, indoor shots are great when the sun is bright and shining, while outdoor shots come out better when during dusk. Having said that, if a home has beautiful artificial lighting, then some night-time shots can really bring that out in a lovely way. It’s best to communicate with your photographer and figure out the best way to capture all these aspects.

While every realtor knows online photos are essential to generate interest in a listing, not enough realize how much difference a professional set of photos can make. Try using professional 360 photography and you’ll immediately find yourself ahead of the competition.

You may love to Read – 5 Ways in Which the Real Estate Industry is Benefitting from Virtual Tours

Social distancing? Explore the World From Your Living Room with a 360 Virtual Tour

COVID-19 has disrupted life across the world. And if you’re staying home and practising social distancing, you’re one among millions right now. But just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make social distancing any easier. For those of us who thrive on travel and new experiences, this is a particularly challenging time. There’s only so much Netflix you can watch in a day.

Luckily, there’s a solution. If you’re missing out on those grand, surreal experiences that usually only come with travel, 360 virtual tours can be a great substitute. Built on the same technology that powers Google Maps, these virtual tours can take you into an incredibly immersive experience— and from the comfort of your living room!

For the museum geeks

If you’re the kind of person whose idea of the perfect day is getting lost for hours in a museum, check out the Google Arts & Culture tours. From the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to the Van Gogh Museum to the Guggenheim and even the Louvre, these virtual tours are incredibly immersive. With state-of-the-art 360 photography, you can now see the Mona Lisa, the Raft of the Medusa, and all these legendary paintings up-close and personal. What’s more, you don’t even have it wait in long queues or jostle through crowds of tourists!

Looking to rest in nature?

Google Earth allows you to access virtual tours of 32 national parks, from Acadia to Zion. From incredible views of the Grand Canyon, Alaska’s Kenai Fjords, and Bryce Canyon in Utah, to guided journeys through Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and Hawaii’s volcanos, there are thrills galore. So if you’re really missing being in nature and surrounded by scenic greenery and breathtaking views here’s your shot.

Choose from the list of flagged locations of different parks or use the list on the right-hand side of the screen to go to the park that you want. You’ll immediately be zoomed down into the park and you can scroll around the screen to get wonderful 360-degree views. Maybe you can even plan your first post-Corona trip!

Travel through time

When it comes to ancient cities steeped in culture and history, it doesn’t get much better than Jerusalem’s Old City. You can take a fabulous tour of the city— complete with the Israel Museum, the Church of Saint Anne, and a number of holy sites. Once you’ve had your fill of Jerusalem, you can move on to Tel Aviv and check out the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Take a deep dive

If you want an even bigger thrill, try exploring the ocean floor. Thanks to virtual dives from the National Marine Sanctuaries, you can check out a range of areas — from the Florida Keys to American Samoa. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) has also teamed up with Google Street View and provides underwater views from around the world— from Australia to the Philippines to Mexico to Bermuda.

Get that campus experience

Were you planning on going on some college tours in the summer? Given how widespread the pandemic is, this may not be possible. On the other hand, it’s a great opportunity to explore potential college campuses through virtual tours. These tours give a fairly in-depth understanding of what the campus is really like, helping you make the right choice.

If you’ve already got into college, this might be a great opportunity to watch the virtual tour of your college of choice with your friends and family. If you’re an alumnus, this is probably the perfect time to sit down with your college buddies (virtually of course) and watch your alma mater’s virtual tour altogether. Nothing beats the social distancing blues like a great trip down memory lane.

The bottom line

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean disengagement. There are still ways to experience all that’s beautiful in our world — even if we can’t go outside right this moment. Exploring the wonderful universe of virtual tours and all that they have to offer is a great place to begin. 

Read Also – Does Your Business Need a Virtual Tour?

How to Maximize Exposure for Your Brand by Marketing Your 360 Virtual Tour

Perhaps you’re considering building a virtual tour. Maybe you’ve even created it already or hired a virtual tour company to do it for you. What’s important to remember is that just creating a 360 virtual tour is not enough. It’s how the tour is marketed that is crucial. You have to work on making the most out of this marketing asset — which means more visibility and increased exposure. Here’s how:

Email signature

This is a very simple yet effective way to start promoting your virtual tour. You can’t physically embed your virtual tour onto an email, but you can definitely hyperlink it in your email signature.

One way of doing this would be to take a screenshot and downsize it to 30×30 (30 pixels in width by 30 pixels in height). Then import this thumbnail into your email signature. Click on the thumbnail, find the paper clip icon and click on it, and then add your virtual tour URL to this. If you want something even more creative, turn the thumbnail into an animated GIF, making it even more likely that people will click on it.

If this seems like too much work, just have an anchor tag like “Take a look at our property” in your email signature and just hyperlink it to your virtual tour.

Integrate the tour into your website/app’s user journey

It’s important to have your virtual tour displayed prominently at the right part of the customer journey. You need the user to see the tour after they start exploring the site a little bit, but long before they are coming to a purchase decision. Using pop-up windows at the relevant time is also a good idea to make sure people can really look at everything that your property has to offer.

Promoting your tour on Facebook

Facebook is one of the most friendly social media platforms when it comes to marketing your virtual tour. You can post your tour on your business page and then boost the post or create an ad out of it to generate more traffic to your tour and thereby your website. Facebook ads are fairly economical so if your goal is to get more hotel bookings or get your real estate listing out there, there’s no better way.

Facebook also has an option called 360 photos, where viewers can get 360-degree views of a given area. What you can do is take a look at all your 360 photography and find panoramic photos that you can use in 360 photos. This will give an added edge to your marketing strategy.

Promoting on other social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin)

Facebook is the only social media platform that offers 360-degree compatibility. Having said that you can create animated GIFs of your virtual tour (there are a number of free apps that you can use for this), and then post those to garner attention. With this animated GIF, you can have a short, hip video that will help you gain quick traction on these platforms. Of course, the platforms you will choose to focus on will depend on the nature of your business. Hospitality businesses would likely promote more on Instagram whereas a real-estate business that is selling a commercial property might be better off on Linkedin.

Virtual tours have indeed emerged as the most trendy marketing tool out there, especially in the last few years. But there’s no point in investing time and money to get the tour just right if you’re not going to make it a point to promote it. Make sure you integrate the tour into every aspect of your marketing strategy so that you can get the biggest bang for your buck.

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