Updated: Sep 17
On July 16, 2021, Inman did an opinion piece in their magazine, talking about Explore My Town. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, as well as some things I’d like to clarify. So let’s dissect this together.
Author, Craig Rowe, begins by explaining what Explore My Town provides: “Opening an account with Explore My Town means gaining access to a wide array of tools and resources, from a very sleek, simple script-creation tool and shot list, to high-end editing and marketing services.”
We help you know what to stand, what to say, and how to shoot the video. And then we market it for you. We guide you through the process of knowing how to film an amazing video, every step of the way.
“Explore My Town is a media company focusing on localized marketing for real estate agents.”
Myself and my partner have been in the business for decades. We know what real estate agents need because we used to be in the trenches, just like you. So we’ve taken our years of experience knowing what works, and maybe more importantly, what doesn’t work, to help you propel your real estate business forward.
Rowe continues by listing what he sees as the top selling points:
Professional video editing and content services
Included scripts and coaching
Shot list video structure advice
Helps build YouTube accounts
His prime concern was, “Video pages are hosted underneath an ‘Explore My Town’ subdomain, which impacts brokers’ web optimization, and to some extent, branding credibility.”
While Explore My Town was originally using subdomains, we eventually switched to an extension. So they're no longer a subdomain, but instead are an extension of the website and of the agent’s social media.
Inman voiced another concern that I’d like to address: “Explore My Town runs focused Facebook advertising campaigns underneath its personal account on behalf of its shoppers that don’t need to abide by the FHA settlement reached with the social media firm in 2019. As a result, it's not an actual property firm. Brokers ought to be cautious of this facet of the service.”
This is an accurate statement. Explore My Town is not a real estate company, we’re a media company. So we aren’t bound to the same marketing rules and restrictions that agents typically have to follow. We follow the agents’ community and their town, but we aren’t restricted by traditional regulations that might prevent us from targeting a specific geographic subset of people. This allows us to target our market much more effectively.
Rowe continues by saying, “A typical video includes the agent performing as a host, interviewing business owners, discussing products and generally creating a really upbeat, news-channel story.”
We have a professional actor on our team, who understands the entire process of creating a series. He is amazing. He teaches others and helps them do what he is doing. We have PR professionals, editors, marketers, and various other people who help get the word out about the videos.
Rowe then addresses one of the three most common reasons why people are nervous to film videos themselves: fear. “Naturally, that intimidates a lot of people, both technically and personally. However, that's exactly why Explore My Town is in business: to help you overcome the fear of becoming the star of your own show.”
There are typically 3 things that keep people from doing this:
Fear - they’re worried about what people will think and say
Knowledge- they don’t know how to edit, and what to say
Time - they don’t think they have the time to learn and execute all of these new skills.
Explore My Town can help you overcome your fear. We help you overcome the fear through coaching. We give you the knowledge you need to do well. We can’t give you more time. However, as things change, video will take over real estate, and you will be irrelevant if you haven’t come along. So in that way, we help you make the most of your time in making sure your activities will carry you through into the future of marketing.
“The company excels in hand-holding, in a good way.” We pride ourselves on having excellent customer service. Editing, training, marketing; we render the videos in different sizes so you can use them on different platforms. We make sure you know what you’re doing, start to finish, give you scripts, tell you what to get on your B roll, give you a hook, and then some. We do everything we can to take fear and uncertainty out of the situation for you.
Rowe then commented about the efficiency and quality of our product: “Finished videos are returned usually within a week, and the examples I saw looked great. There was a very authentic, Travel Channel vibe to the examples I watched, and even though I knew the person wasn’t a broadcaster, the structure and professionalism made me forget that.”
Can you imagine making videos with locals that looked so good, they looked like they were made for a professional channel? While accomplishing something like that is difficult on your own, we set it up so that all you have to do is shoot the video. We do the rest.
“Even the best films in the world need distribution to get seen, so EMT helps agents to run campaigns on Facebook.”
I’ve been in the business a long time. I’ve spent tens of thousands trying to get leads the wrong way. But with Explore My Town, we have professionals who help you spend that money the right way, a smarter way.
“As mentioned above, the company runs agents’ campaigns under its own account, as every feature lives under the greater Explore My Town domain. This helps them scale, of course, but it also puts the agent at some risk because Explore My Town isn't restricted by the ‘15-mile radius’ standard put in place to prevent advertisers from creating geographically and demographically narrow audiences, or lookalike personas to propagate messaging to a specific group.”
Having one consistent brand for Explore My Town benefits all those who join. As Explore My Town grows in other places, it helps with marketing and distribution to have everything in a centralized location. If you decide to leave Explore My Town (which is highly unlikely, after you see the results you’ll be getting), we remove our branding from everything, and you become the admin.
“Given that EMT is designed to promote small businesses within specific neighborhoods while elevating the presence of an agent, it could be argued that targeting those proximal to the video subject is essential to the success of the product. Plus, they’re not advertising a specific home. There's some nuance here, and I advise agents to open a dialogue with EMT about it, and clear it with your broker.”
This Is true. We need to be within a few miles of the subject town, so we can make sure our videos are hyper local. And, as always, check with your broker before you sign up.
At Explore My Town, we help you build your YouTube page, but you get to have control over it. The playlist from your social media and YouTube also sync to your website. We optimize headlines and write-ups too. But control of all of those things remains with you, and you alone.
“I'm a little worried that Explore My Town’s distribution services don’t sync cleanly with agents’ existing marketing and resources, letting valuable content live in multiple places.”
We make awesome videos and help you step through your fear, which is going to help you in every area of your life. We post the videos to different places so you can build a following and your audience will be notified. With everything we do for these channels, we still allow you to customize those services in whatever way you would like.
“There’s not much EMT doesn’t do to make sure its agents’ videos get seen. And again, the production is very well done, and creative agents can take their show in multiple fun, effective directions.”
We give you the paint, you create the art. We’re just guiding the hand that’s giving instructions, but you can go out on your own and make something totally different any time you’d like.
“I’d like to see EMT relinquish some control over its final product. Agents are super sensitive about remaining in control of their business data and content (just ask Zillow), and as of now, the distribution deal is very studio-centric. It is as if the director wants to be the actor, and not the other way around.”
To this point, the agent can create whatever he or she wants. You don’t have to follow the scripts. We are building a national brand that you can lean into as lightly or heavily as you want. We put your logo and our logo on it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You have full control over the end product. We are ultimately here to help you build a brand, not us.
“Overall, there’s a lot to work with here. My concerns are by no means deal breakers. Have fun with it. Go break a leg.”
We thoroughly agree.
We are changing the way that marketing is done, giving agents and local professionals the power to grow in ways that are difficult to do on your own. All major social media platforms are switching to primarily video. Keep up! Video is not the future, it is NOW. Get on board or get left behind. We’d love to bring you along with us!
Till Next Time,
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