When REALTOR® Karin Carr relocated to the Savannah, Georgia, area, she was faced with the hard reality of having to build up her client base from scratch. But instead of letting it get her down or scrambling to pay for leads, Karin rolled up her sleeves, picked up her smartphone, and started making videos for a YouTube channel. A lot of videos. And wow, has this superstar produced some impressive results. A mere one and a half years later, her YouTube channel produces an eyebrow-raising five leads a week. A stunning 70% of her closed transactions come from YouTube. And you know how much it costs her? Nada. Zero. Zilch.
Karin believes firmly in the importance of organic leads, and she generates hers by focusing all her efforts on building a library of valuable real estate content on her YouTube channel. By using carefully selected keywords and focusing her videos on topics that are of interest to her targeted audience of local buyers and sellers, Karin is able to connect with clients who are already interested, clients who trust her and seek her out, clients who see her as a local expert and, sometimes, even a celebrity.
In today’s episode, Karin confronts the often-daunting issue of self-image and having the guts to put your face in front of the camera, noting wisely the importance of desensitizing yourself by just doing it. She also chats about various steps in the YouTube video production process, including video editing, custom thumbnails, and content production schedules.
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IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:
- How you can generate organic leads as a real estate agent
- Why it’s important to just dive in with your marketing and not overthink it
- How YouTube is superior to Facebook when it comes to online marketing
- How to overcome issues you might have about being in front of the camera
- What tools Karin used when she started recording her videos
- Karin’s top tip for getting started in making YouTube videos
- Why YouTube’s conversion rate is so much higher than Facebook’s
- Tips on how to interact with video viewers
- How Karin uses keywords to guide her video production process and up her view count
- Karin’s tips and suggestions for the video editing process
- How Karin approaches the content production process each month
- Karin’s tips for using custom thumbnails to increase video views
- Why Karin believes you should stick with one social media platform for building your personal brand and content
LINKS FROM TODAY’S EPISODE
- Karin Carr website
- Karin Carr YouTube channel
- Keywords Everywhere plug-in
- Final Cut Pro editing software
- iMovie editing software
- Canva YouTube thumbnail maker
- Phonto app
- Kristina Smallhorn’s Your Real Estate Whisperer YouTube channel
- Karin’s YouTube For Agents course website
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Geoff: Karin Carr is a real estate agent in Savannah, Georgia, and she’s got a very interesting story. She created some challenges for herself by relocating her business twice in her career and had to basically start all over. Well, I brought Karin on because she is one of the few agents — and I’ve been looking and searching for quite a while — but one of the few agents that’s really done an amazing job of creating a presence on YouTube, creating her own YouTube channel, creating a brand, and most importantly, getting business off of YouTube.
You’re going to hear her unpack her story of how she began, how she got started. It’s very “simple beginnings,” if you will. One day, she just realized that she didn’t want to pay for leads anymore, and she wanted to generate obviously traffic, being in a new area. What was she going to do? She had to build a name and a brand for herself, so she did that by creating a YouTube channel.
Well, here we are a year and a half later. She gets an average of five leads per week from her YouTube channel, and I just actually asked her less than five minutes ago what the transactions were that came out of her YouTube presence, and it’s 19 of 27 transactions came from YouTube, came from her online presence. A combination between her blog and YouTube. 19 of 27.
Folks, that’s like over 50% of her business for free. No ad spend. No cost other than her time, a little creativity, turning her phone on video and on record. You’ve got to listen to this episode because it’s so amazing when she says people reach out to her after watching her videos and say, “Hey, my name’s Jim and Nancy Smith, and we’ve been watching your videos for some time. We’d like to meet you. We’re ready to buy a house.”
That happens to her repeatedly, over and over again. She gets high-intent, organic leads calling her, reaching out to her, messaging, texting, whatever, and just saying, “You know what? I’m ready. I’m in.” She doesn’t compete with Zillow. She doesn’t compete with other brands in the area. She simply gets chosen, gets picked, and she does so because of the personal brand and content she’s built.
Over 2,400 subscribers, over 140 videos, over 100,000 total views. I think she’s hit over 400 watch hours. I mean, folks, if you want a crash course in how to get business off of YouTube, this is the episode for you to listen to. And if you’re a loan officer listening to this, this is the episode to share with your real estate agents and share from the show notes Karin’s page, which you can find on YouTube.
There’s links in the show notes, but if you want to do a search on it, just go to YouTube and it is Georgia Coast Homes by Karin Carr. Karin is K-A-R-I-N. Carr is C-A-R-R. Georgia Coast Homes by Karin Carr. Go check out her YouTube channel. Subscribe, watch, learn, share, and apply if YouTube is your thing.
With that said, I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. Check out her YouTube channel, and let’s get into this week’s show.
Hey, Karin, welcome to the show.
Karin: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Geoff: I am so excited to have you because this topic of YouTube and real estate agents has been on my mind, my horizon, for quite a while. We’ll unpack a little bit about what do I mean by that, but for the listeners, give us the quick bio — who you are, what do you do? Why do you love real estate?
Karin: Got it. I’m a real estate agent with Keller Williams in Savannah, Georgia, been in real estate since 2005, but we’ve moved a lot. Every time you move to a new market, you are starting over. Nobody knows you. You have no market share. They’ve never heard of you before.
The last time I moved was from Atlanta to Savanna. It was a little over a year and a half now. When I got here, I decided, “You know what? I have no clients. I have no money coming in. Nobody has any idea who I am. How am I going to market myself? The people that work in this market typically have lived here their entire lives. They know a ton of people. They have a ton of name recognition. I’m going to make YouTube videos. Maybe it’ll work. I’ll get my name out there. It’ll work for some branding.”
Within six months, that’s where I was getting the majority of my leads. Now I don’t pay for leads. I don’t buy leads. I don’t do any other marketing, really, except blogging and doing YouTube videos, and I’m getting anywhere from probably an average of about five leads a week from people that are ready to go. Either “I’m ready to sell” or “I’m ready to buy,” and “We’ve chosen you. Will you help me?” It’s the best thing I ever did for my business.
Geoff: Okay, that’s awesome. Number one, I guess you get the bravery award. Just to step out there and like, “I’m just going to do YouTube videos.” You had never done them before?
Karin: Yeah. I had done them before sporadically. Not with any real plan. Not with any consistency or schedule. I figured how hard can it be? We’ve all got a smartphone.
Geoff: How hard?
Karin: I know. Right? Because you don’t know what you don’t know. You’re just thinking, “How hard can it be?”
Geoff: No. I love that attitude. I think more people need to have that. It’s like, don’t overthink it; just do it. Let me just make sure I’m following the timeline. About a year and a half ago, you really went serious on YouTube?
Geoff: How quick, then, did you start getting people inquiring with you?
Karin: I got my first lead after three months. I’ve heard of other people that it happened a lot sooner than that, and I’ve had other people say that it took more like nine months. Three months is probably, I would say, fairly… Three to six months would probably be pretty typical.
Geoff: You could’ve done a lot of different things. You could’ve gone Facebook ads, all that stuff, but why did you decide YouTube?
Karin: A, YouTube is free. B, YouTube takes into account SEO, and that was my big thing. On Facebook, everybody that I was connected with on Facebook, either through my personal profile or my business page, were people that did not live in Savannah. I can market myself all day long on Facebook, but if I don’t pay to promote the ad, the people that are going to see that are people that do not live in my market and probably don’t intend to buy or sell anytime soon in my market. Why would I spend all my time putting videos where I did not have the eyeballs?
Whereas if I do it and put it on YouTube, that goes out into the internet, people that are doing Google searches — not just YouTube searches, Google searches — can find those videos, and then the only people that are going to see the video are people that were searching for that topic. So if my video is “Are you moving to Savannah?” Are you going to be stationed at Hunter Army Airfield?” Are you looking to buy your first house ever using a VA loan? Are you interested in staging your home on a budget without hiring a professional stager?
If I’m making videos on these topics and I am smart about what the title of the video is going to be, if somebody goes out on Google and they type in “How to stage your home on a budget?” they find my video. They didn’t stumble across that by accident in their Timeline. They were searching for it. I’m only putting my video in front of people that were actually interested in the topic.
Geoff: Obviously, you’ve heard the roadblocks people have about getting starting with video in general is the whole “I don’t like how I look” and all that jazz. You had none of those trepidations?
Karin: Well, I mean, we all do at the very beginning, but I quickly overcame it, just because I decided I was going to make a video a week. When you make a video and then you sit down and you watch it back and you’re editing it, at first, you’re like, “Oh, God, I look so bad. Every wrinkle in my eye is showing up. Why do I always do this with my forehead and then I get these big lines right here?”
But after you watch it back over and over again, within a month, you’re totally over it. This is how I look. This is how I look in real life. This is how I look on a video. What am I going to do, like, never leave my house because I have wrinkles in my forehead? That’s stupid. You desensitize yourself, if you will, by just seeing yourself on camera over and over again.
Geoff: You just get used to it.
Geoff: Okay. This seems to be that… When you began your quest into YouTube, you had a lot more awareness in terms of strategy content and stuff like that. Where did you get that from?
Karin: Well, I had started blogging when I lived in Atlanta, and I was writing blog posts. Then I would put in an infographic or put in photos or put in another video. I would go find a video on YouTube that the chamber of commerce had done and embed it in the blog, just because I knew that it would help the blog post rank better. That works. It’s very time-consuming, and it’s definitely a long-term strategy.
It took months and months and months and months before I started getting any sort of leads from my blog, but all of the blogs where I also did a video of myself and I put the video in the blog post, people would start saying things like “I feel like I know you already.” I already kind of understood about SEO, and when I got to Savannah, I just decided… When they would say things like “I feel like I know you already,” instead of starting with blogging, which I know might take six, nine months before I get anything from it, why don’t I just go straight to video? I’ll basically do a blog post in video form?
Having a little bit of background — I’m not any sort of expert in SEO — but I understood the basic concept of it and how to figure out what people are searching for on the internet so that you make a video or blog post that answers that question.
Geoff: What did you start with in terms of recording your video? Were you just doing the handheld mobile phone or what?
Karin: Yeah. Totally. I used my iPhone. I had a tripod that was probably… I think my husband bought it in the ‘80s, so it’s more than 20 years old. It was so old.
Then I had to buy a little… I take that back. I started on my iPad, and the only reason I used my iPad was because it records in 4K, so why not? The camera on those suckers is so good. I had to buy a little adapter for it off of Amazon because the iPad is big versus your tiny camera on your phone. It was like a $10 adaptor that you screw into the tripod and put your iPad in the front.
I don’t think I was using a microphone at the beginning, and then I broke down and I bought a $20 type that clips on your lapel, just because when the camera is across the room and you’re yelling at the camera to be heard and it’s echoey because you’ve got wood floors and there’s no draperies in there. It sounds like you’re in a gymnasium.
Really, very, very little out-of-pocket investment. A cheap mic, and everything else I already had.
Geoff: Right. Right. Yeah, it’s very easy to get started with video as long as you can get over the whole self-image thing.
Karin: Right. That’s the biggest hurdle. That’s the biggest hurdle, but I kind of figured that this is what I look like. If you saw me on video and then you called me and said, “I want to sell my house. Will you come give me a listing presentation?” when I show up in person, that’s what I look like. It’s not like you’re going to have — I don’t know — online dating where you can have a totally different picture for your profile picture, I guess, and then you show up in person. They’re like, “What? You’re 60 years old. You said you were 20.”
If you’re on video, that’s how you look. If somebody doesn’t want to hire me because of how I look, then I don’t want to work with them either.
Geoff: Very interesting. Yeah, I teach a number of classes for real estate agents, and I basically echo the same sentiment. I’m often struck by the surprised look that I get on agents’ faces when I remind them that you’ve chosen to be in a business that requires your face to be out there.
Karin: Right. Very true.
Geoff: I’m sure you hear all kinds of feedback from people, excuses, if you will, about getting started with video.
Karin: Yeah. They say, “I hate the way my voice sounds.” Well, guess what? Your voice sounds the same to every person in the world except you. The only reason it sounds different to yourself is because it has to echo through your head before it comes out. Everyone else will hear it the same way. I’m sure when you started podcasting, when you listened back to it, you were like, “Oh, my God, that’s what I sound like?”
But after you hear yourself five, 10, 20 times, that’s what I sound like, and you get over it. Really, the only way to get over it is to just be doing it frequently enough that you become desensitized to it. that’s really the only way to get over it. The longer you wait to start, the longer it will be before it’s no longer an obstacle for you.
Geoff: Your inspiration if you will — versus desperation — to get started with YouTube was you’re in a new area, and you wanted to quickly ramp up, gain exposure, and you, because of your experience with blogging, recognized — and obviously some of the dabbling, perhaps, you did with YouTube, a bit of an understanding on SEO — you just realized that YouTube is where it’s at, and you’re going to go all-in on that.
Karin: Plus with Facebook, I’ve done my fair share of Facebook ads. I can get leads dirt-cheap off of Facebook. What I’m not good at is converting them. If people click on the ad to watch it, but then you call to follow-up and they don’t answer, and you call them again and you call them again. You contact them 10, 12, 15 times before you ever get them on the phone, and then they say, “Oh, I wasn’t really interested in buying a house. I just thought it was pretty, so I clicked on it.”
I personally am not that great at being consistent enough to follow-up with them. Once they say “no” to me, that’s not one of my great strengths. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to generate leads, knowing that I probably would only convert one or two out of 100. To me that’s just not a really great return on investment.
Geoff: Those are the stats, by the way. Yeah.
Karin: Yeah. Somebody that’s killing it with Facebook ads is probably getting a 5% conversion ratio. I’m not good with those numbers. I don’t want to spend that much money to have a 5% conversion ratio. Whereas when they contact me and say, “I saw your YouTube videos. I subscribe to your channel. I feel like I know you already. We’re ready to buy a house. Will you help us?” They convert.
They’ve already picked me. It’s like a 50% conversion ratio minimum. The only time they don’t convert is if they don’t move after all.
Geoff: Do you find the people who do contact you are more buyers versus sellers?
Karin: Yeah. I’d say that I’m probably more 60 to 70% buyers, 30% sellers, but that’s also because of the content of the videos that I make. I wanted to specialize in working with military, and I know that they move in and then they move out.
The videos that I started making at the very beginning were more focused toward buyers. “Are you moving to Savannah? This is what you need to know about the area.” If I decided I only wanted to attract sellers, I would start making a lot more videos that were only about selling your house. You’ll attract the content that you’re making.
Geoff: Yeah. Briefly then tell me, what is that buyer contact process? They watch your videos. Like you say, they contact you. How are they contacting you — phone, email, what?
Karin: A lot of times it’s phone. A lot of times it’s text. A lot of times it’s email. Sometimes they go to my website, so at the end of my video, I might say something like, “So now you know everything that you need to know about moving to Savannah. Would you like my free buyer’s guide? Click here. Go to my website.”
They click. They go to my website. They have to put in their name and their email address, sometimes their phone number, to download my free thing. Then when I call them to follow up — “Hey, I saw that you just downloaded my free buyer’s guide” — they’re like, “Oh, that’s so awesome. I can’t believe I’m talking to you. I’ve been watching you on TV forever.”
Geoff: You’re like a celebrity.
Karin: I know. It’s like I’m not on TV. I have this little YouTube channel, but they feel like we’re already great friends.
Geoff: That’s very cool. Alright, so just to clarify for the marketing geeks in my crowd, you said something interesting. You actually call them. That’s probably a leg up.
Karin: I know. Crazy. Right?
Geoff: You also put them on some type of a nurture automation campaign?
Karin: Yeah. After I’ve spoken with them, I will decide. Are they ready to do something now? A lot of people will say, “I’m thinking about moving six months from now, 12 months from now.” I’ll put them on a campaign where I’m keeping in touch with them.
A lot of people are ready to do something immediately, so I don’t really need to put them on a direct campaign because they’ve already told me, “I’m going to be here next weekend on my house-hunting trip. Will you take us out and show us houses? My report date for my new job” — Gulfstream is a big employer here — “I’m going to start my new job at Gulfstream on April 1st.” I don’t really need to do a heck of a lot of nurturing once they’ve already contacted me because they’re ready to go by that point.
Geoff: Well, and that goes back to what we were talking about Facebook briefly. As you well know, it’s all about intent-based, and Facebook isn’t really intent-based. People aren’t actively searching for homes, but they are on YouTube, so they’re much further along.
Karin: Yes. You’ll get fewer leads by going through YouTube, but they have much higher intent. These are people that are interested in buying or selling in your market. That’s why they did a search for that topic. That’s why your video showed up in their search results. All you have to do is be yourself on camera, and if they like you, they will watch your first video. Then they’ll watch the next one and then they’ll watch the next.
They start to get to know you and they trust you. By the time they reach out to you, they’ve already chosen you, so the conversion process is super, super easy. Like you said, the intent was there at the very beginning. It wasn’t, “Oh, I was just on Facebook, and that video looked funny, so I watched it, but I’m not moving anytime soon.”
Geoff: Right. You said earlier — sorry, I forgot — on average, per week, you’re generating how many leads?
Karin: Probably around five.
Geoff: Five organic leads a week totally free to you.
Karin: Yep. Yeah.
Geoff: You’re not doing YouTube ads yet?
Karin: I started running one last week, but I stopped to think about it, and I was like, I’m competing against myself. When you do an organic search and you type in… The video I was promoting was the moving to Savannah video. It already shows up in the top spot organically, so why would I pay to run an ad where now it’s going to be at the very, very top spot, but the next one down is already me for free?
I ran it for several days, and then I turned it off because I was like, “I don’t see the benefit of this.” Because I’m already getting the top spot organically. I think I’m going to try it again with a different video, maybe a video that’s showing up on the first page of search results but not right at the very top, and then be more strategic about who I’m showing it to. So far, all of my results have been from organic search results.
Geoff: Yeah. That is a good place to be. Organic. Top #2, #1 ranking. That’s awesome.
Karin: I know. Some of those videos show up on the first page of Google results as well. If it’s performing very well on YouTube and it’s showing up at the top like that and it’s getting lots of positive engagement on YouTube, if somebody does a Google search, that video shows up on page one also organically. That’s just freaking amazing to me.
Geoff: Yeah, so let’s talk a little bit about that. You are, then, using very specific keywords for that?
Karin: Yes. The one that I like to use is called Keywords Everywhere. It is a free keyword search tool. It is a plug-in for either Chrome or Firefox, and what it allows you to do is you go to Google and you type in “moving to Des Moines, Iowa” or “cost of living in Des Moines, Iowa” or “buying a house in Des Moines, Iowa, neighborhoods.” Whatever it is.
You have an idea of what your video topic is going to be and you type that into the Google search bar. Below what you’re actually typing into the search bar, it will tell you how many monthly searches are being done for that exact phrase and how competitive it is to rank for.
You’re looking for something that gets a fair amount of search volume. You don’t want to make a video if it only gets 10 searches a month because that’s not a very good volume, but let’s say it gets 100 searches a month.
Now we look at the competition ranking. It’s on a scale of .01 to .99, the lower, the better. If it has .09 as the competitiveness, that’s a really great keyword. If it has a .78, that’s not a good keyword. That’s pretty high. So you’re looking for something with a fairly decent amount of search volume and a very low competition score. Now I’m going to make a video on that exact topic because I know that people are looking for it and I know I’ll be able to rank for it.
Geoff: Okay. How many of those have you discovered? Are you purposely writing your YouTube descriptions with those keywords? Does that make sense?
Karin: How many videos have I made using the strategy? Is that your question?
Geoff: Let me ask it this way. How many keywords have you researched? Long-tail keywords? How many keywords are you using to try and come up in search? Is it just the straight-up “buying a house in Savannah” or military or whatever?
Karin: Well, I’m trying to use one keyword per video, but I do this for every video that I make. Even my listing tours. My listing tour video will not be 123 Main Street, Savannah, Georgia. It might be “Home with a pool in Richmond Hill” or something like that. Even the listing tour, I’m trying to think of how can I get it to show up in the search results? Because if they are not searching for the street address, they’re not going to find it.
Geoff: With that same tool, to your point about keyword searching, you can see those, what they call a long tail? People put in long descriptions, like, “homes with a pool in Richmond under 300K” or whatever.
Karin: Yes. Yes. Exactly. Yeah. The whole point is to get it to show up in the search results because if it doesn’t show up, they can’t click on it. If they don’t click on it, they’re not going to watch it, so what’s the point of making a video that nobody ever sees?
I go to channel after channel after channel where I can see all these videos that the poor people have made that get seven view, 12 views. If they have a really great video, it might get 50 views. Why spend the time to do that? If you’re going to make a video, we want people to see it.
My best performing videos have 7,000, 8,000, 10,000 views and more. It’s very typical for me to post a video now, and it has 100 views within the first 48 hours. To me, that’s fantastic. That’s being a very small channel with a very hyper local business. To get that many organic eyeballs on a video is really exciting to me.
Geoff: You’re getting that exposure, showing up in search, because of… I’m looking at the description you have for the home for sale in Richmond Hill. You’ve got very detailed descriptions. That’s helping. Right?
Karin: Yeah. Right. Yeah. If you’re going to put a video on YouTube, you don’t just leave that description box blank. It’s going to default to something like the date that you uploaded it, and that’s all it will say. You want to fill that out. Put some information in there. Link it back to your website. Link it to a landing page where you can capture their information.
If it’s just a generic video about, like, a neighborhood tour, you’re talking about a specific neighborhood in your area, you could link it to a page on your website where they have all the houses for sale in that neighborhood. You could link it to a free Facebook group that you’ve created for residents of that neighborhood. Be strategic with what you’re putting up on YouTube so that you can try to engage them and capture their information.
Geoff: Alright, so let’s talk about that. Rice Hope, a newer neighborhood of single-family homes. You did a neighborhood tour there.
Geoff: Let me see here.
Karin: Rice Hope is just the name of the neighborhood. There’s a ton of new construction going on in there. I’ve closed a lot of listings in that neighborhood recently, so I started doing a tour of the neighborhood. Are you looking at the one about new construction?
Geoff: No, this is the Rice Hope neighborhood tour? December.
Karin: Okay. Yep, so that one was just a tour of the neighborhood. Here’s what it looks like. Here’s what the pool looks like. Here’s where it’s located in relation to downtown Savannah. This is what the HOA fees cover.
It’s basically just like a video blog post that the builder would do. You know when a builder has a page on their website of these are the 10 different models that we have and this is what’s included in the neighborhood and this is where it’s located? You’re just doing a video version of that. People would much rather watch a video than just go read a big, long blog post.
Geoff: Oh, heck, yeah. I’m watching that video.
Karin: It’s nothing fancy. I recorded it with my phone and a selfie stick. I went to the neighborhood. My husband drove. I was in the passenger seat. I stuck my phone on the selfie stick out the window, and we drove like 10 miles an hour through the neighborhood. It’s nothing fancy.
Geoff: No, I like it. Actually, I’m looking at it, and it looks like you do some nice editing.
Karin: Thank you. Thank you. I’ve definitely gotten better at editing over time.
Geoff: What are you using for editing?
Karin: Now I’m using Final Cut Pro. For the first couple of years I used iMovie. At one point, I got really, really busy, and I decided to outsource my editing. I started sending it to people on Fiverr. For 10 or 15 bucks, they’ll do a perfectly fine job editing.
Geoff: Yep. Yep. I do the same thing with the podcasts. I go to Upwork but same difference. Yeah. Very cool. No, that’s very nice.
I’m always looking for great examples of real estate agents doing video, and I haven’t watched this one before. That’s a great one because sometimes agents can’t put it together in their head. They’re like, “Well, I don’t know how this is going to look. What am I going to do?” Like you said, “Am I just going to drive around with my selfie stick?” Yeah.
Karin: Pretty much. I like to record an intro, so “Hey, everyone, come with me as we take a tour of Rice Hope.” I’ll be talking to the camera, so I get a little face time with the camera. Then I go over there, and I just take video in the neighborhood.
I go to Maps.Google.com, and I pull up the neighborhood. I just take a screenshot showing where the neighborhood is in relation to major landmarks. Where is it in relation to downtown Savannah? Where is it in relation to Hilton Head? Where is it in relation to the airport? I just take a screenshot. I do that as B roll on the video of like, “This is where Rice Hope is located.”
It’s nothing that anyone cannot do. You do not have to be super tech-savvy. You do not have to have great videography skills. We make it so much more complicated. When you see a really good listing tour that blows your mind, they didn’t do that themselves. They paid a professional. They probably spent $1,000 or more to have that done. I’m not doing that. I’m doing this myself with my cheap gear, and it works just fine. Trust me when I tell you.
I got a lead this morning where they said, “Found you on YouTube. I love your videos. I’m preapproved. I want to buy a house. I’m coming in on Friday. Will you help me buy a house? Let’s go together on Saturday and see houses.” This works like gangbusters. You just have to make yourself do it.
Geoff: Do you have any sense of when you do get those leads contacting you, what time frame they’ve typically consumed some of your videos before they do reach out?
Karin: It’s probably a long while. I’ve never asked people, like, “How long did you stalk me on social media before you picked up the phone and called me?” I had one lady that was quoting stuff I said in my videos back to me. I said, “Holy cow, when you say you’ve watched my videos, you’re not kidding.” She said, “Oh, yeah. In this one video you said this, and in this video you said this.” I’m guessing it’s probably anywhere from a week to a month or more before they reach out and contact me.
That’s okay because I know that I’m getting a lot of facetime with them if they keep watching the videos, if they subscribe to the channel. I post one video a week. That’s it. One video a week. If they’re getting that notification — hey, there’s a new video on the channel — and they watch it, every time they watch that video, it’s the equivalent of a face-to-face meeting because they’re getting to interact with me again.
Geoff: Yeah, but a three-month average cycle time, that’s actually very good, particularly when you compare that to Facebook, which we mentioned is a much more longer play.
Karin: Yeah. Agreed. I bet the vast majority of those people are not watching it for three months before they reach out. I think it’s probably a lot shorter than that because they have the intent. They’re ready to look at real estate. They’re ready to sell their house. I don’t think that they watch your videos for three months plus before they ever pick up the phone and call. I think it’s probably a lot less than that.
Geoff: Yeah. I mean, they’re starting their search. Like you say, if they’re relocating, they’re going on Google. They’re starting their search there, so hopefully, you’re coming up in some of those. The key point is this — like you said, it’s what they call “come list mes” on the sell side.
This is like, “Hey, come represent me.” There’s no selling. You know what I mean? They’re just like, “Okay, I’ve chosen you.” How fun is that?
Karin: That was the very first lead I got off of my channel, and I didn’t realize that it was a “come list me,” so I went over to their house. I did my big listing presentation, and I’m thinking, “Okay, I haven’t lived here all that long. They’re going to ask me ‘How many houses have you sold in this neighborhood before?’ and my answer’s going to be ‘Zero.” What are all of my answers to these objections that they’re going to come up with?” At the end of the presentation, I said, “Who else are you interviewing?” and they said, “No one. We picked you.”
That was such a huge eye-opener to me. What? I’ve been in real estate since 2005. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a “come list me” phone call before from a random internet lead. It was crazy.
Geoff: Has this allowed you to have more fun in your business?
Karin: Oh, heck, yeah. Heck, yeah, because I don’t like to cold call. I would rather stab my eyeballs out with a fork than call FSBOs and expires for two hours a day. I’m just going to be blatantly honest about that. I hate it, and I think that life is too short to do something that you hate for two hours a day.
I think that that’s why real estate agents get burned out and they leave the business. Because prospecting is not fun, and so after the first year, that’s why the wash-out rate is so high. Because the prospecting was just too hard. It was too big of an obstacle. They were not making as much money to compensate for the fact that they had to do the prospecting, and so they just say, “Forget it. I’m going to go back to corporate America.”
This, for me, is enjoyable. I can make a video. I don’t even have to make notes anymore. I figure out what I’m going to talk about. I might make a bulleted list of don’t forget to mention these five things, and that’s pretty much the gist of it. I just turn the camera on and start talking because I’ve done it so many times now that it’s second nature to me. It’s a piece of cake. It’s fun. It’s easy to stick to because I enjoy it. I get results from it, so it’s easy to stick to, and it costs me no money, which is pretty awesome. It’s extremely profitable.
I don’t say, “Well, okay, I had to spend $1,000 a month on my Zillow leads and then I closed this many. But over the course of the year, it was a $12,000 expense.” My expense was my $20 microphone and the time that I’ve spent to make it.
Geoff: Right. It’s interesting you mentioned Zillow, and I’ve been doing a lot of talking with people and researching and stuff with the whole discussion around Zillow and the disruptors. It all gets back to — I think I heard Gary V. say — this is all you’re going to have left is your personal brand. Clearly, you are a living, breathing example of how personal brand can beat somebody like Zillow because you’re hyper local. That’s one thing they can’t do.
Karin: Yep, and the thing that I really like about this, too, is that when they call me, they are calling to speak with me. When they’re on Zillow and they say, “I’m interested in 24 Magnolia Lane,” they were calling about the house. When you follow up with them, they don’t know you from Adam. They have no loyalty to you. It could’ve been you. It could’ve been me. It could’ve been Suzie down the street. It doesn’t really matter who calls them. They just wanted the information about the house.
That is going to be a harder lead to convert. Even if you were very nice on the phone, they didn’t know you before you called them. Whereas when I call them, I get “Oh, my, I can’t believe I’m talking to you,” which is awesome because not only is that a huge ego boost and it makes you feel good, but the whole conversation is so much easier. Because I’m not selling. You’ve already picked me.
Now I’m just talking to you and we’re chitchatting and I’m making jokes. I’m like, “So you want to come into the office tomorrow?” and “Let’s figure out exactly what we need to do to get this house sold” or “Why don’t I come over on Saturday morning, and I’m going to tell you how we’re going to get this house sold?” They say, “Okay, that’ll be great.”
Geoff: It accelerates everything. In the last few minutes I have, I want to make sure I get a couple of things in. One is do you have a content strategy planned? Do you map out something on the calendar with topics?
Karin: I would love to say yes. The fact of the matter is, no, I do not. I’m lucky if I plan it three weeks in advance. I just have a running list. Any time I have an idea of “Oh, this would make a good video topic,” I just write it down. Then when I’m sitting at my computer and I’ve got 15 or 20 minutes, I do the keyword research.
Now I know the topic I’m going to talk about, and then I figure out what the actual keyword will be that I’m trying to rank for. Then I try to record once a month now. Rather than recording a video a week, I record one day a month, and I just do four back to back.
I sit down and I look at what my topics are, and I pick the four that I want to do for that month. I have tried making out a big content calendar, but I am just not that organized. I figure if I’ve got at least four topics that I can quickly do enough research that I know what I’m going to be talking about. I don’t pick topics that I don’t know anything about. I’m not going to pick something that I would have to do three weeks of research on to talk about.
I do a lot of neighborhood tours. I do a lot of videos talking to first-time buyers. I do a lot of videos about if you’re thinking of selling, this is how you get your house ready for the market. They’re not anything that other people have not done a million times before. I’m just not saying it every single time to somebody new. I’m recording it once so that that was it. I don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over again.
Geoff: Well, it’s what agents should know and talk about anyways. The only difference is you’re putting a camera up and hitting “record.” I love that. You’re batching, so one time a month you’re doing four videos. Have you toyed with the idea of doing more than one a week?
Karin: I have thought about it, but here is the thing. YouTube rewards you for being consistent, and I did not ever want to get to the point where I was so busy that I couldn’t meet the deadline and that I was missing it. Then my consistency was not good and I started being penalized by YouTube. I thought one a week is enough.
I can see traction with my channel, which I have. A year and a half ago — so it was June of 2017 when I started doing this regularly — I had 18 subscribers. I now have like 2,500. In a year and a half, roughly, I went from 18 to 2,500 with doing one a week. If I get a new listing and I make a video for the listing tour, I put that on there as well. Sometimes it’s two a week, but my posting schedule is every Monday at 9:00 AM. That’s what I do. Then if I post something else, it’s in addition to.
Geoff: Do you upload yourself?
Geoff: Wow. There you go. Look at you. Just a practitioner doing it all.
Karin: You know what? You don’t have to. When I started doing all this stuff, I had lots of time but not a lot of money, so I figured I’m just going to do it myself. When I got really busy, I started outsourcing the editing to Fiverr. They would do the editing. They would send the video back to me, but then I upload it, because that doesn’t take any time. Uploading it to YouTube doesn’t take any time.
What I’m going to write in the description box takes me all of 15 minutes to write a little blurb and then choose some tags. Then I have a boilerplate “about me” thing that I just copy and paste under every single video, so that part I’m not doing that new every time. I’m literally, copy, paste, done.
Geoff: Yeah, you’re following a good form. I also can see over time you’ve stepped up your… What do they call those? The thumb things again.
Karin: The custom thumbnails. Yep.
Geoff: Thumbnails. Yeah. Thank you. What are you using for those?
Karin: Canva. Or I discovered a really cool app for your phone called Phonto — it’s P-H-O-N-T-O — where you’ve got your design, and then Phonto puts the text on top of the thumbnail and makes it all pretty and easy to read and stuff like that. As I recall, it was free or else it was $1 or something. It was really cheap.
Geoff: Well, we’re going to put links to that in the show notes for sure and any other thing we’ve talked about. That’s cool, too, because I need to step up my YouTube channel also in terms of the thumbnail things.
Karin: The thumbnail is super important because if they don’t click on it, they’re not ever going to see your video. They click on it because they thought the thumbnail was engaging. YouTube takes three stills from your video, and usually, they’re not flattering, so you don’t want to use one of the ones that YouTube chose for you. Just make your own. It doesn’t take any time at all, like 15 minutes.
Geoff: What you’re doing is you’re taking an image, a selfie, if you will, of yourself, and a lot of the stuff is pointing to the text on the thumbnail. Because the whole point is we’ve got to draw the eye in. That sells the video basically.
Karin: Yep. Yep. Just one day when I was having a good hair day, I set up the camera and the lights. I just set my camera with the timer, the three-second timer, and I would just stand there and kind of go.
Geoff: Right. All the poses.
Karin: Just make a whole bunch of stupid, little things, and then you just remove the background around your image so it’s just your picture, your cutout. Then you change the color behind you, and you can put some emojis or whatever. Whatever you think’ll be eye-catching that somebody would say, “Oh, that looks interesting,” and they’re going to click on it.
If it doesn’t work, you can go in and look in your analytics in YouTube. If you see that your click-through rate is 2% and you want it to be more like 10%, then just mess with your thumbnails until they start performing better. Then make a note. “Oh, this one got a 10% click-through rate. I need to make more thumbnails like this.”
Geoff: Have you tested out YouTube Live yet?
Karin: Only a couple of times. I have a friend that is doing it. You should definitely link to her channel. She is Your Real Estate Whisperer. Her name is Kristina Smallhorn. She’s around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She does lives at least once a week, and she gets a huge amount of watch time from doing these lives.
They’re not even anything real estate-related most of the time. It’ll be like Star Wars trivia real estate edition. They’ll say, “What was the name of Luke Skywalker’s dog when he was little?” or “What house did he grow up in?” It somehow ties to real estate, but it’s really just like a game show almost. She gets tons of watch time by doing that.
Geoff: Ah, but is she getting clients?
Karin: Yeah, she does. She gets a lot of clients from her channel.
Geoff: That’s good. That’s kind of a different approach. It’s probably close to her personality. It’s fun. You’re fun, too, but that’s kind of her thing.
Karin: Yep. She is very funny. She loves to dress up in characters.
Geoff: Oh, I can’t wait to see this.
Karin: Every video she is… They’re hilarious. They are very funny videos, and she gets a ton of listings from her videos.
Geoff: Okay. Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. We’ll put that in the show notes too. Do you do any Facebook Lives then?
Karin: Very infrequently. That’s just not my wheelhouse.
Geoff: No. That’s cool. I’m just going to close out with a couple rapid-fire questions. I think the message to that is you’re all-in on YouTube. Right?
Geoff: I’ve heard a couple of other interviews you’ve done, and I also remember you saying you’re not really on Instagram. Is that true?
Karin: Yeah. Yeah.
Geoff: You don’t need to feel guilty.
Karin: I kind of do. People make you feel guilty if you’re not everywhere. You know what? I now have a team. I have a team of people because I have so many leads coming in that I can’t service them all myself. I had to build a team. It’s been a year and a half and that’s been through going all-in on YouTube. I really feel like you need to pick one platform and dominate it, no matter what that platform is going to be.
You can have a presence on the other ones, but you don’t have to say, “Okay, I’ve got to spend half an hour a day doing Instagram and half an hour a day on Snapchat and half an hour a day on Facebook and half an hour a day on this.” I think you spread yourself too thin when you do that and that’s how you get burned out.
Geoff: Well, I think also, too, understanding who your market is. Your market, like you had said earlier, tends to be military relo. Right?
Geoff: It’s the demographic. What’s the age demographic of your market?
Karin: Well, actually, I get a lot of retirees, too, so I don’t know I really have a demographic. The military people tend to be in their 20s and 30s, and then I get a lot of retirees that are just tired of shoveling snow in Ohio and they’re going to move to Savannah and buy a beach house.
Geoff: Here’s the key, though, and this is really for those listening, whether you’re a loan officer or a real estate agent. I know, man, we all feel pressure. It’s like, oh, we’ve got to be on social and everywhere, but here’s the thing. Back to the word “intent.” People aren’t searching for homes, relocating homes, on Instagram. They’re not.
Maybe they’re looking at pictures and all that kind of stuff, but the odds of them typing in, hash tagging, “relo to Savannah,” it’s just not happening. You’re being smart and using your time wisely, on social still but using that time. That’s actually going to generate results instead of burning a bunch of time, as far as I’m concerned in your situation.
Karin: I agree. I’ve been on Facebook now since 2007, I think. I’ve probably gotten an organic lead from Facebook a handful of times in all of that time, so I just don’t want to put a ton of time into Facebook when I know that that’s not where people are looking for real estate information. I know that they’re googling it, so I’m going to put my information there.
Geoff: Yeah. No, it makes total sense. I wrote down a question regarding Facebook Live. We’ll see where this goes. I had heard you say something about not uploading your Facebook Live videos to YouTube.
Karin: Only because everybody holds their camera this way, and it needs to be this way on YouTube. And because when you start a Facebook Live, you’ve seen a million of these, “Hey, everyone, okay, I’m a little bit early. I’m going to kill some time while I’m waiting for people to pop on. Hey, Sally.” Five minutes into it, they just started to talk about their topic.
That’s not going to fly on YouTube. If you have a Facebook Live that you’ve downloaded from Facebook, you’ve got to cut all that stuff out and then upload it to YouTube. “Hey, everyone, today we’re talking about the best neighborhoods in Savannah that have a golf course” or whatever it is that you’re talking about. Your topic has to start right away because on YouTube, they’re not going to sit around for two minutes watching you stall while people attend your Facebook Live.
You’ve got to get to the point. It’s got to be rapid-fire information, then get out. If they’re watching it on their phone, it’s already a teeny, tiny image, and now you’ve only got that little bar with black on either side, because you’ve filmed it vertically. Those perform very, very poorly on YouTube.
Geoff: Do you have any stats? I haven’t looked at this in a while, but stats on mobile viewers on YouTube, is that the dominant? Most people are mobile?
Karin: Yeah. It is.
Geoff: That’s what makes sense. Very cool. Are you doing anything differently here as we’re in 2019 now in terms of marketing strategy, branding, anything like that?
Karin: You know what? I’ve started doing a little bit less introducing myself on the video. When the video starts, I start in the middle of… I just start with the topic and not as much introducing myself. Because now I feel — I don’t know — it’s almost like I have such a following on YouTube that I don’t have to spend as much time telling them who I am.
That’s something that I’ve been kind of experimenting with a little bit more, but in the beginning, I absolutely started every video with, “This is what we’re going to talk about. Hey, everyone, I’m Karin Carr. I’m a REALTOR® with Keller Williams in Savannah, Georgia. You really should subscribe to this channel.” Then I started with the topic of the day.
The very beginning info didn’t take long — 10, 15, 20 seconds total before we were talking about today’s video topic — but I find myself doing a little bit less of that these days.
Geoff: Well, yeah, because as soon as somebody comes to your channel, clearly, it’s well-branded. It’s deep. As a mater of fact, let me pull this up right here. Based on research — I don’t know where I grabbed this from — but it said you’ve racked up over 100,000 total video views to date.
Karin: Yeah. That’s pretty awesome. I know. I just hit the milestone where you have to have 4,000 hours of watch time and 1,000 subscribers in order to be able to monetize your channel. You know how the ad plays before your video and then after five seconds they can skip it? You can actually start to get paid for those ads that run on your channel now if you want to. You don’t have to but you can.
You have to have 4,000 hours of watch time to get to that milestone, and I just hit it last week. It takes a lot of views and a lot of people before you get to that milestone. I was joking about it on Facebook. I’m like, “Yay, now I can start making $6 a month in ad revenue.”
Geoff: I know. Right? I was going to ask if you were going to turn those on because the whole brand thing.
Karin: I think I probably will because everybody that goes on YouTube, they know that they have to watch this five seconds before they can skip it and see the video. I don’t think I’m going to drive anybody away from my channel. They know that that’s how it works, the ads are going to run.
I’d be curious to see what kind of revenue are we talking about. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very, very small amount of money.
Geoff: Yeah. A cup of coffee a month.
Karin: Right. In which case, if that’s what it is, I’m just going to turn it back off again.
Geoff: Right. Because I know those can be annoying a little bit. I know it’s kind of an expectation thing, but if your bigger vision is… That’s not what you’re about. You don’t want to make 20 bucks a month. You’re about the bigger picture.
Karin: Precisely. If you were going to make 500 bucks a month, now we’re talking, but if we’re talking like $10, yeah, it won’t really be worth it.
Geoff: Yeah. Fair enough. Cool. Before we close out, I know you’ve got a couple of resources because the audience listening to this is either loan officers and/or hopefully they’re going to share it with their real estate agents. I actually am a member of your YouTube course and class for agents. Tell us a little bit about that and if anybody wants to learn more.
Karin: Sure. I started having success doing this, and agents started coming out of the woodwork saying, “Will you teach me how to do this? Do you do private coaching? Can you hire you as a mentor?” I just don’t have the bandwidth to do that. I don’t.
So I made an actual course that you are welcome to sign up for where I walk through my process step-by-step. How do you come up with the ideas? How do you figure out who your target audience is? You should have an ideal customer avatar. What equipment do you need? How do you film? How do you edit? How do you make sure that these get seen? Basically, everything that I’m doing just start to finish.
If you go to YouTubeForAgents.com — and loan officers can take it too — but YouTubeForAgents.com, all the information is there.
Geoff: Yeah, and by the way, it’s very good. There’s a number of YouTube classes that I’ve participated in. First of all, you have the heart of a teacher, so you’re really good at engagement, but you’re also very good at breaking it down and making it understandable.
Karin: Thank you. I try.
Geoff: Yeah. You try. You definitely do a good job. For LOs that are listening, it’s a great resource to share with your agents. Turn them on to Karin’s YouTube page. By the way, Karin, you should know this. I do a video marketing class for agents, and I discovered you probably about three months ago. You are now the prominent YouTube example that I feature. You’re my poster child.
Karin: Oh, awesome. Thank you.
Geoff: Yeah. You’re going to get a bunch of new subscribers, agents, and all that stuff. I just did two weeks ago. I’ve searched high and low for YouTube channels that kick ass. They’re hard to find.
Karin: I’ve been to channel after channel where they’ve got tons and tons of videos, but all they are are listing tours and the agent is never on-camera. Listen, nobody can connect with you if they don’t see your face and they don’t hear your voice. If it’s just a video of the house and then your business card pops up on the very final slide, no one’s going to call you because of that, unless they were interested in that exact house.
You don’t have to have listings for this strategy. You can talk about neighborhoods in your town. You don’t have to talk about a specific house. You can talk about a subject. What color should you paint your front door if you’re thinking of selling? I’m going to tell you what the new statistic says. Did you know it was blue? Really? I would never think to paint my front door blue, but apparently, your house sells 40% faster if you paint your front door blue or whatever that statistic was. I think it was from NAR or Realtor.com or something. You can make a video talking about that stuff.
Geoff: Right. Very cool. Yeah. It’s all about information. That’s it. Just educate. Alright, cool, and by the way, for those that want to check out Karin’s YouTube channel, of course, links in the show notes, but it is Georgia Coast Homes by Karin Carr. That’s K-A-R-I-N, C-A-R-R.
Karin, thank you so much for being here.
Karin: My pleasure. Thanks, Geoff.
Geoff: You bet. Listeners, as always, if you liked this episode, please let us know. Give us a shout-out on the interwebs. You know where to do that. Appreciate you tuning in. See you on the next one. Bye for now.