I’ve been working for years on developing a killer real estate marketing program. I’ve developed innovative internet tools like this blog, McCormickRanchRealEstateHomes.com, and others.

Not everything worked out. I’ve created a few “but I learned a lot” websites.

Search Engines – can’t live without ’em

At one point I thought search engine ranking was the key to great internet marketing. I often spent an hour or three a day studying search engine optimization.

Today, you can see some of the results, HomeSaleNews.com has ranked in the top 10 in Google for “Arizona homes” for most of the last 6 years. At one time I ranked in the top 3 in Google for many keywords such as “Tempe homes,” “Gilbert homes,” etc.

I de-emphasized search engine rankings years ago. Sure, your site’s gotta rank high in the search engines or no one will ever find it but it’s amazing home little business a high ranking in the search engines will actually generate. Your time is better spent improving your services to your clients. Now I only dabble in search engine optimization.

Video – nah

In 2005, long before YouTube, I thought video listings would be killer for marketing homes on the internet. I did a few videos of my listings but it turns out video has no “Wow Factor.” Video is very clinical – “Here’s the living room. Here’s the family room…” Video of homes just doesn’t generate any emotion, no “Wow Factor.”

Perhaps the biggest problem with real estate videos is “window burn out.” All the intense Arizona sunlight pouring in through the windows makes the rest of the interior look like a dark cave. “Cave-like” is not good for marketing a home.

Photographs – yeah

I started to emphasize the photographs in my listings. I spent a tremendous amount of time taking photos of individual homes.

The photos I put in the MLS were far better than average but I wasn’t happy with them. Window burn out was a terrible problem. No matter how many shots I took, no matter the time of day, certain rooms looked horrible in the photos.

So I researched the big rigs, broke down and bought a $2,500 Nikon camera setup last Fall.

The new camera solved most window burn out problems with it’s flash. The flash throws so much light on the interior that it doesn’t look like a cave anymore.

Also, a wide-angle lens lets me get a lot more of small rooms into a photo (but it can create distortions in the photo as well).

Finally, computer programs like Photoshop Elements and Lightroom are absolutely critical to adding some “Wow factor” to an average photo, in particular, lightening up shadows.

I still have a ton to learn about real estate photography but I’m liking the results I’m seeing.

Single Property Websites – Your home is worth it

Okay, I have some pretty good photos of homes I’m marketing. What’s the best way to show off the photos and the homes?

I was making my own webpages of the homes and was considering making my own websites for each listing. Then last week I rediscovered postlets.com. Postlets.com lets you create a custom “website” for each of listings.

One of the best parts about postlets.com is the way they display photos. Their photos are absolutely huge – 700 pixels by 525 pixels. (I also like their emphasis is on promoting the home, not on the Realtor.)

Now, if you have blah photos, displaying them in such a large format is probably not a good idea. The large format won’t flatter the photographs, the home or the photographer.

If, however, you’ve got good photos, the larger the better for showing off the home.

A Key to great internet marketing of homes

I’m convinced that great photos are a key to great internet marketing of real estate.

To test out the idea, this evening I re-optimized some photos to display at 700 pixels by 525 pixels. It’s very time consuming but now the photos of the home look great on the home’s exclusive postlets website.

Tell me what you think of the results.
Check out the photos in this website.

NEXT TIME. Okay, you have great photos on a great web site made exclusively for the property. How do you get people to see it?