Digital marketing is an entire world that can decisively contribute in enhancing sales in a myriad of ways. Virtual tours are just one of the ways that describe this world and as soon as you finish reading this article this should come as no surprise. Property sales can be broken into many pieces, which as a whole, explain the properties business, and virtual tours are one of these fundamental pieces. They are an accurate reflection of a location simply obtained through a sequence of images, which can significantly influence your business. But the relationship between both might not be crystal clear. Nonetheless, with the following advantages, we believe marketers will understand the importance of this new trend:
- If a picture tells more than 1000 words, a virtual tour is a 1000 pictures. With high quality images, visitors can experience the facilities without having been there by “walking through” the property and not just “seeing through” like in the past. Decision-making is made easy with accurate information that describes properties and showcases what to expect for the money paid. Choices are founded on a real view rather than a hunch of what the property looks like. Reaching out for credit cards is safer and is less prone to unfortunate surprises.
- Cost effective marketing tool. Numbers speak for themselves; virtual tours reduce the amount of wasted viewings by 40% (source: Property Week). This means they are responsible for increasing the likelihood of visitors closing a sale while navigating in your website. Moreover, pictures are taken simply once to build the virtual tour but stay available for an infinite amount of views, improving the return on investment dramatically. A cost friendly and truly time saving marketing technique.
- Interactive tour, controlled by your clients. The tour is entirely on your client’s fingertips. The decisions of what to view and when is in their hands. Thus, all clients will be satisfied as the website is tailored to their different needs or priorities; they only view what is of their interest, at their own pace. Having virtual tours is the most efficient way of allowing visitors to interact with your property without being physically present. Viewers can pan up, down, left, right and zoom in when appealed to look for further details. Customer’s interaction with property's stepped up into a whole new level.
- First long-lasting impression. It is always about first impressions and people hardly ever forget them, they generally trust instincts. So, why not leverage on creating a positive first impression? Virtual tours are eye-catching features that gain users’ attention. Characterized by being memorable, they lead to an enduring visual and emotional impact. Alluring and fun, the ultimate “wow” factor. Virtual tours consist in value-added experiences that provide a cutting edge marketing tool to marketers that adopt them.
- Sticky* content that keeps visitor longer on your page. Sticky content is known for drawing users’ attention, as is the case of chat rooms or online forums. Virtual tours are yet another example of sticky content that actually generate sticky websites. Websites endowed with these tours get users to return to that particular website, hold their attention and get them to spend longer periods on the website. It is a successful mean of gaining new customers and retaining old ones, as it keeps them interested. And there is more, the “cherry on top of the cake” is that the more potential clients are on your page, the less time they spend on competitor’s pages. *A site with a 360 virtual tour and interactive media will receive 40% more views than a competitor’s site that is lacking media” (Source: Pew Internet Life Study).
- Enhanced exposure. Virtual tours give properties maximum exposure of their accommodations 24/7 from anywhere, besides enhancing the facility’s online presence. Moreover, increasing exposure maximizes the opportunity of closing sales, ultimately converting hits into customers.
- Another viral marketing technique? Easily shared via emails and social networks, virtual tours can be spread around the globe at the distance of one click. In fact, according to Property Week, "properties that include virtual tours are, on average, clicked 10 times more than those that do not offer this service."
- Full 360º virtual tours offer your web visitors unparalleled access to your location or business without ever leaving your website whilst boosting your web visitor retention and sales or bookings. Known as sticky content, virtual tours are proved to keep potential customers longer on your website, allowing them to interact with your products or services with just a click of a mouse.
- Potential customers can view a property in a much better way than through traditional photography. Because a virtual tour makes a location easier to understand, clients that contact the business are better informed and generally higher quality contacts.
- People decide quicker to choose a business when they can form a good impression through a Virtual Tour. It is proven that 73% of the people who research their destination online visit two or more websites before choosing. When your website provides these potential visitors with good visualization, the customer can form a better and faster decision to choose.
- The 2 important ranking factors are click-through rates (from SERP to site) and stick rate. How many click-throughs and how long they stay are 2 indicators of popularity to Google and helps the algorithm see that a particular site was a great match to the query.
- Provides detailed visual information to your potential customers beyond merely text and one or two still photos (A photograph is worth 1,000 words, a virtual tour is worth 1,000 photographs).
- Opens your location or services to the online public in a detailed and fast-loading virtual reality environment, allowing you to showcase key features of your location or service.
- People enjoy taking virtual tours; it gives them the confidence to make a decision online or by telephone.
- Virtual tours can be a persuasive decider between you and your competitors.
- 360º virtual tours are interactive; viewers can select which images they would like to view and navigate as they choose.
In summary, virtual tours are an innovative trend that is expanding to many new businesses. What started out as a way to promote museums, universities, real estate business and others, has now moved into other segments where showing a property is vital to success. Virtual tours now comprise a vital piece of the sales puzzle, as they are highly accountable for a significant amount of conversion rates. Now Google’s virtual tours can “showcase all the details that your customers love,” easily convincing them to choose your facility.
According to Matt Dunne, Google’s head of community affairs, “Google’s mission is to make the world’s information universally useful and accessible” and with Street View Virtual Tours, businesses can share images of their property clearly and with high resolution. The only investment needed is to hire a photo shoot with a photographer or agency empowered and trusted by Google, and you can have your virtual tour available online.