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Make exterior photography a lead generator

Post by Daniel Morris | Date: 12-10-2022

Make exterior photography a lead generator

Fall is our favorite time of the year. The heat from the summer is a distant memory, pumpkin spice lattes are part of our morning routine, and the leaves are changing into vibrant colors. In some areas, the fall foliage is so beautiful that it warrants a weekend getaway. But in real estate, fall represents an opportunity for agents to develop their winter and early spring pipeline of business.  

Capturing exterior photography in the fall is a great way for you to qualify leads and build content for your social media marketing. We believe that all listing photo and video content should be repurposed for social media. You should take the opportunity to speak to your audience on your social media platforms when you are preparing a home for photos. And speaking of preparing a home for photography, you want to communicate with your potential sellers before you photograph the property

A creative way to build your spring market pipeline  

Like most realtors, you want to be a market expert in a particular town or neighborhood. A popular way to capture leads is to go door knocking in a neighborhood and introduce yourself as the local expert. The hopes are that the conversation will potentially lead to a listing. But most people are not ready to list when you knock on the door, so how do you keep the conversation going? Offer them free exterior photography. Do this to show the potential home seller that you are a proactive agent.  

Most homeowners are not going to agree to have their exteriors photographed by a realtor unless they are considering putting their home on the market in the near future. This is a great way for you to qualify leads. When a homeowner accepts your offer, you should deliver the photos via file sharing sites - like Dropbox - and disable the ability to download (you can watermark the photos as well). By doing this, you are   giving the seller a reason to reach out to you when they are ready to list their home in the winter or spring - keep the conversation going months after your first interaction.  

For the leads that you have that are “on the fence” whether to sell or not, taking exterior photographs is a great way to get them into the mindset of selling. Turn the seller’s procrastination into action by booking aerials and dusk photography while the property is still showing well. Keep that conversation with them going on during the winter and be ready to market if and when they decide to put their home up for sale. It is important that you stay top of the seller’s mind during the winter months - and having seasonal exteriors is a great way to do that.  

Build content for your social media and fall marketing

Developing a cadence for social media marketing is key to building an audience. In order to have the proper cadence you need to have content. Creating content can be a cumbersome task but it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem. A great way to develop content is to have your marketing team develop vertical videos of your listings. We created a teaser video while filming a $7.5M listing and posted it to our social media.  

Communicate with your audience and inform them about the best practices for marketing a home. You can do a teaser video or simply talk into the camera while you are filing a property. Take advantage of the “action” that photographing a property presents and work with your marketing team to develop content for social media.  

But marketing your brand is not limited to social media. Print marketing is just as important and can be just has effective. If you end up listing the home then you can utilize the seasonal exterior photos for Coming Soon and Just Sold postcards. Direct mail marketing is a great way to build a business in a neighborhood

Stunning photography for the winter market

Depending on the position of the home, foliage may cover unwanted sight lines from the adjacent properties. The look and feel of a backyard is very different in the winter months versus the summer and fall. Grass can turn brown, plants may be dead, and the backyard could look uninviting. Fall is the last season where you can truly advertise the indoor/outdoor flow of a home. Savvy realtors will seize this opportunity for the winter market homes.

And what about the fall foliage? You want to capture the leaves changing colors, right? Leaves start to change color by late September and peak around mid to late October. The best time to capture your exterior photography is while the leaves are still on the trees, so mid November is your last opportunity to capture the fall seasonal photographs. Capturing aerial or dusk photography while the leaves are vibrant is ideal. Fall skies tend to be a bit more dramatic and the vibrant foliage presents a spectacular setting for your listing.  

By taking advantage of the seasonal photography, you are also saving yourself time and money. One of our most common photoshop request in the winter is to add leaves on trees and remove the snow from the ground. These photoshop jobs can be a great tool, but the cost can add up if you are doing multiple photos and you may have to wait a little bit longer for your marketing material.

Get the best out of your exterior photography

A key step in the process is execution. After all, what good are exterior photos if the homeowner is disappointed with the results? The first thing that you want to discuss with your homeowner is the direction of sunlight. Sun glare can be very difficult to overcome during an exterior shoot and will effect the results. The ideal time to take exterior photography is midday - between 10am and 2pm. But time of day is not the only thing you need to discuss with your homeowners.  

You want to make sure that the home is prepared for exteriors. It’s important to make sure that the exterior of the home is presentable. It would be ideal to have the cars off the driveway, patio furniture staged, toys picked up and organized in the backyard, and to have the landscaper come the day before the photoshoot. For your convenience, our team created a checklist for homeowners to use when prepping their home for photography - feel free to share our guide with your homeowners.  

Another consideration you may want to account for is the need for photoshopping. While the fall foliage is beautiful during mid to late October, it could also mean that the homeowners have already closed their pool. Discuss the state of the pool with the homeowners before you photoshop it open. While utilizing photoshop is a great tool, it can also lead to issues if you misrepresent the property. Getting ahead of these issues will most likely lead to a smoother transaction.  

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